India, Pakistan must have green talks

  • Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 23, 2015 22:43 IST

It’s just too bad the Indo-Pak talks stand cancelled. I have been hoping for some kind of post-terrorism talks for a while. Meaning, that once there is measurable progress on commitments related to Pakistan-supported terrorism in India, we could have spoken of many crucial environmental issues.

For one, both India and Pakistan have populations of what top rate amateur birder Devesh Saini calls an iconic bird — the Macqueen’s Bustard. As the history of birds globally tells us, this requires habitat and species level protection. What stops us from implementing a joint ecological task force that identifies the best ways to protect the birds, ensuring their safe trans-boundary habitat?

This is not trivial — recall how the specific race of Siberian Cranes that once came to India have entirely stopped — possibly due to disruptions and killings in Afghanistan.

India must also explore urban sustainability with Pakistan. According to lawyers Ahmed Rafay Alam and Sanjay Upadhayay, with 35% of its population living in urban areas, (30% in India), Pakistan is South Asia’s most urbanised country.

We must exchange solutions and cross-learning. How are both countries, vulnerable to climate change, working towards a resilient, adapted urbanism? Will the impact of climate change not cost both countries heavily? Shall we not brace up to tackle not only terrorism, but another common foe-ecological disaster?

I for one am eagerly looking forward to a successful series of first level talks, so we can embrace and nurture our common boundaries and ecologies soon.

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