Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has long wanted to secure what his dozen predecessors have failed to achieve: lasting peace with arch rival Pakistan. But, if the WikiLeaks cables are to be believed, Singh probably remains isolated in pursuing his dream.
In a week when officials from both countries meet to resume talks broken off after the 2008 Mumbai attacks and when the two prime ministers play “cricket diplomacy“, have the chances for peace improved?
There seems to be too much loaded against the initiative. The enmity between the two nations is rooted in their very existence and peaceniks are a handful. There is little political gain and much risk to be had from pursuing peace.
Both sides have hardened positions on Kashmir, the Himalayan territory that is claimed in full but ruled in part by both. The two countries have fought two of their three wars over the region. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of aiding separatists and wants this to end. Pakistan denies any help apart from moral and diplomatic support.
And while Singh appears to be the only Indian leader the Pakistanis respect and trust, he has little political clout. His Congress party and the government run on the dictates of powerful party chief Sonia Gandhi. A series of corruption scandals and high prices have eroded his image as a leader above India’s murky politics and put him in the opposition’s firing line.