Hope springs eternal—in love and in public finance. A news agency reports that the new Economic Survey takes note of an unpaid debt. The Pakistan government owes its Indian counterpart Rs300 crore, which is its share of pre-Partition debt. The Indian government has not written off this unpaid debt as yet, nor has it claimed any interest on it. Our rough calculations show that the actual value of the debt—after 60 years of inflation—should be around Rs10,000 crore.
When there is sporadic talk of settling the Kashmir dispute by accepting the Line of Control as the international border, isn’t it time the Indian government accepted financial reality as well and wrote off this debt?
The way the government clings to hope reminds us of those old widows in Paris and London who did not let go of the tsarist bonds that their families had bought—even though Communists repudiated tsarist debt in 1921. It’s unfair—but you really have no choice.