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Military

Pak-India dialogue resumption raises peace hopes

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 30, IRNA -- Pakistan and India, which had been at the brink of war over the 2008 Mumbai attacks, have resumed the stalled official dialogue and even the Prime Ministers of two countries sit together to watch cricket match in the Indian city of Mohali.

India had suspended all kinds of talks with Pakistan immediately after Pakistani militants stormed at least five places in the Indian commercial center and killed 170 people.

Pakistan strongly advocated resumption of the Composite Dialogue with India stressing that it was “unfair, unrealistic and counter-productive” to allow the issue of terrorism to stall the process of improving relations.

Foreign pressure has also forced the two nuclear rivals to come at the negotiating table and build trust deficit.

The majority in Pakistan hails the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan terming it a positive sign.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the cricket World Cup semi-final between the two countries.

‘We are willing to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan… We sincerely hope Pakistan will grasp our hand of friendship,’ said Manmohan Singh.

Pakistani Prime Minister earlier had said that the cricket match between India and Pakistan was an opportunity for the two countries to show the world that they can play together and deliberate together on key issues.

Cricket is not new to diplomacy between the two countries. Former military rulers Gen Ziaul Haq and Gen Pervez Musharraf had used cricket matches to improve bilateral relations.

The history of Pakistan-India relations had ups and downs. Now the ice between the two South Asian rivals becomes to thaw.

Since independence, relations between Pakistan and India have been characterized by rivalry and suspicion. Although many issues divide the two countries, the most sensitive one since independence has been the status of Kashmir.

The two countries fought three major wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971 and a partial war, known as Kargil war, between the two countries took place in 1999.

Water-sharing has also been another important issue between India and Pakistan.

In 1998 both Pakistan and India carried out successful tests of nuclear arsenal. So the two rivals and warring neighbor countries became nuclear armed entities. After 1998, the world was intensely focusing on relations of the two countries.

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan first met in July 16, 2009 in the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheikh after the Mumbai attacks. Both Prime Ministers recognized that dialogue is the only way forward.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan then met in February 2010 but the talks remained inconclusive.

On April 29, 2010 Singh and Gilani again met in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu on the margins of the 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit to revive the promise of Sharm el Sheikh.

In July 2010 Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visited Pakistan to help in improving the strained relations of both countries.

The meeting between Pakistani Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart S.M Krishna enabled both the countries to develop better understanding towards each other and to remove mistrust.

In January 2010 Pakistan called Indian Deputy High Commissioner G. V. Srinivas to ask for an update on investigations into the February 18, 2007 Samjhauta Express train bombing that killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, near Panipat in India.

On March 29 India and Pakistan have reiterated commitment to fight terrorism in all forms.

A joint statement, issued at the end of the two days Home Secretary level talks, reiterated the commitment of the two sides to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice.

Pakistan conveyed its readiness, in-principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a Commission from India with respect to Mumbai terror attack investigations.

New Delhi had been unhappy over Islamabad's reluctance in cooperating fully in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage.

The Interior Secretary of Pakistan invited the Home Secretary of India for the next Home Secretary level talks in Pakistan. The invitation was accepted by India.

It should not be difficult to realise the importance of India-Pakistan talks even if they are confined to exploring possibilities of cooperation in the fight against terrorism. An understanding in this area is in the supreme interest of both countries.

Analysts believe while no breakthrough on core disputes was likely in the short term, the renewed engagement between India and Pakistan was a good sign.

Members of civil society from both sides have been meeting to express a desire for peace and to offer, according to their various areas of expertise, solutions to the problems that plague India-Pakistan relations.

Foreign analysts say that it is high time that both India and Pakistan forego interests for overall prosperity of the region.

Analysts say that cooperative relationship between India and Pakistan could bring peace in the region and deepen economic integration, and ultimately provide a smooth platform for both countries.



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