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l October 2003 l

The Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 2, No 6 l

E D I T O R I A L 

India / Pakistan: After the New York spat

What others say..........


Tit for tat at UN and later is all in the diplomatic game. Since wars of words are only peripherals, the two countries have to start in earnest to restart the peace process and restore some kind of normalcy. Vajpayee's “step-by-step” approach does not evoke any response in Islamabad. But what Musharraf has in mind is not practical (see US China relations: how the two countries have come to a working relationship after many wars of words and other confrontations). As in the past, verbal onslaughts are always interspersed with peace initiatives, whether they are fully fruitful or not. Vajpayee's Srinagar initiative took everyone by surprise, when he announced it immediately after a dreadful phase of calculated murders by Pak-based infiltrators.

 

Perhaps this time also, something similar has to happen, especially after great expectations have been raised by a number of visits by enlightened groups of citizens from both the countries to Delhi and Islamabad. In an unsophisticated reference to these contacts by the people of the two countries, Musharraf had evaluated their significance as nothing substantial. Many days of visits, many hours of speech-making and many socialite parties and congratulatory messages do not count for much since they produce only a lemon, Musharraf seems to think. Even so, contacts between the two peoples should be continued, whatever Musharraf may think of them. It is not in his interests that the two people should come to know each other better, with some reduction in tension.

 

There is no doubt that Islamabad is plotting to send more infiltrators across the LoC, as was proved by the Indian army to the diplomats of 19 countries by producing a district commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba who had come down from Pakistan to direct terrorist operations. In spite of all that, peace initiatives are inevitable. Bus links have been restored. What about air links now? Perhaps Musharraf would get an opportune moment to make the announcement on air links on the eve of SAARC summit in January in Islamabad. At the same time, Vajpayee has to take a decision on personally attending the summit.

 

To be in Islamabad and not to meet Musharraf one-to-one will be an unpolitical exercise, which is unnecessary. Perhaps Vajpayee can make some trade-related gesture to Pakistan, which that country is hardly likely to reciprocate. Even so, there is nothing wrong if India goes out of its way to give top priority to trade and commerce which the business men of the two countries are eagerly waiting to be put on a normal stage. But the Pakistan record in the matter is rather dismal. Every effort to normalise trade in the SAARC region has been circumvented by Pakistan. Then what hope normalcy now? In the face of an increasing number of irritants on both sides, improvement in trade is a far cry.

 

Pakistan has the suspicion that India is behind the ban imposed by the Commonwealth countries, ostracising Pakistan from the Commonwealth Conference. Which is not being lifted even this year. That is a Commonwealth decision, as more and more Commonwealth countries become aware of the sinister role of Pakistan in exporting terrorism, has no buyers in Islamabad. Similarly, Musharraf's ranting against India's membership of the UN Security Council has riled India to the extreme. What of the US good offices? The US would go only to the present extent and no farther. The US annoyance with India for not providing troops for Iraq is a major reason which was reflected in the omission of India from the number of countries targeted by terrorists mentioned by President Bush.

 

l Free Press Journal l

 

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