Indo Pakistan relations obstacles in the way: new hope? A DATE for the two foreign secretaries to meet agreed upon, and that’s about all.
This perhaps progress of sorts, given the nature of Indo-Pakistan relations and the obstacles in the way.
Not the least of which is the advent of a hard-line Bharatiya Janata Party government that does not need a coalition for survival.
Nevertheless, the positive aspect of it needs to noted.
The two foreign secretaries agreed to meet a month from now despite the recent clashes across the Line of Control.
The LoC clashes a bad omen — the last time the talks’ process halted was because of the trouble along the LoC.
The Indian foreign secretary raised the LoC issue with her Pakistani counterpart when they talked over the phone.
And that they should still choose to meet on Aug 25 deserves to be lauded.
Because it is indicative of the political leaderships’ keenness to move towards a normalisation of relations.
The Pakistani leader’s meeting with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi in May was not a ‘breakthrough’.
Indo Pakistan relations obstacles in the way: new hope?
The meeting was much criticised in the Pakistani media. Nevertheless, the brief New Delhi get-together did lead to the two prime ministers’ “vision” to “improve and establish good-neighbourly relations”. We have been here before.
All issues to be discussed with India, says FO
Let’s recall that the PPP and Congress prime ministers met on several occasions, and their foreign ministers pledged to pursue a dialogue.
They said would be “uninterrupted” and “uninterruptable”, which, nevertheless, turned out to be otherwise.
The task for Pakistani negotiators now is to probe the Indian mind and find out exactly how serious the Modi government is about peace with its western neighbour.
Mr Modi’s record and philosophy do not inspire much confidence. Yet, placed as they are, the two countries have no choice but to strike a modus vivendi.
This needs, to begin with, removing the sources of eternal complaints — the trial of Mumbai and Samjhota Express suspects.
The courts in both countries should proceed fast and remove this major irritant.
If the foreign secretaries cover ground, Mr Sharif and Mr Modi could meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
In a better atmosphere in which they could agree to implement decisions made in principle years ago — a liberal visa regime, cultural exchanges.
And a Pakistani decision to give India non-discriminatory market access, in spite of the army-inspired opposition to the move.