Christians found themselves in the crossfire of the war between India and Pakistan. Those in India seemed hardest hit. There were no immediate reports of injuries to missionaries, but a 100-year-old Anglican cathedral was bombed out and Christian-operated hospitals were obliged to care for wounded troops. A Roman Catholic cardinal was tapped for service with an emergency Indian defense committee.
Both India and Pakistan deny that their dispute over Kashmir is religious per se. India, however, invariably reflects the priorities of its predominantly Hindu population, while Pakistan champions the cause of Islam. India has the largest Hindu population in the world (some 85 per cent of its 450,000,000 inhabitants), and Pakistan is the biggest Muslim country (some 86 per cent of 99,000,000). The nations’ commitments to their respective religions can hardly be extricated from the basic conflict.
A measure of insight into the contrasting religious views could be found in a pair of ambassadorial luncheons at the National Press Club in Washington, D. C., last month. B. K. Nehru, Indian ambassador to the United States, asserted that Kashmir was not the cause of the trouble but “the effect and in a sense, the symbol. The conflict between India and Pakistan is a basic conflict of ideology as well as a conflict of power.” Nehru stated, “In the view of Pakistan, religion and religion alone can form the bond between peoples. Consequently the title of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and citizenship rights belong in fact, if not also sometimes in law, only to people professing the religion of Islam.” He charged that refugees have poured into India because of religious persecution in Pakistan.
The Pakistani Ambassador to the United ...1
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