Thaw in India-Pakistan ties chance to demonstrate intentions
As the Pakistan-India peace process — or at least the shaky beginnings of the latest round — moves forward, several questions swirl over the direction it will take, according to an editorial in Dawn.
“Of course, in a relationship as complex as this, and with disputes going back over seven decades, peacemaking will not be easy, and there will be pitfalls aplenty before any workable agreement is reached,” the editorial said.
It pointed out there have been ups and downs over the past few weeks, with the first positive sign in a long time coming in late February, when both sides agreed to silence their guns along the Line of Control (LoC).
‘This was followed by an exchange of pleasantries and public pronouncements calling for peace in the region from the highest offices in both capitals, along with a decision by Pakistan to import Indian sugar and cotton. However, shortly afterwards, the trade plan was nixed,” it said.
The editorial referred to two fresh developments.
Firstly, the Pakistan Foreign Office has said the Saarc summit, due to be held in Pakistan in October, can take place if “artificial obstacles” are removed, in a thinly veiled reference to India.
In the second, more ominous development, the US National Intelligence Council has said Pakistan and India may “stumble” into a large-scale war within the next five years, it said.
“For the time being it seems that temperatures are coming down, and the jury remains out on what and who has triggered the latest desire for peace. The fact is that the latest thaw offers both Islamabad and New Delhi a chance to show the world that they are interested in long-term peace.
“And more than creating a soft image for the international audience, both sides owe it to their people to forge a peaceful path based on coexistence and friendship,” it said.