Hopes low, stakes high when Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers meet

July 12, 2010

thimphuPerhaps one of the most telling features on the media commentary ahead of a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in Islamabad this week is the lack of it. Expectations could hardly be lower.

Part of that is the nature of the actors involved. In India, policy towards Pakistan is set by the prime minister’s office, not the foreign ministry. So External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is not in a position to deliver the kind of breakthrough that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh achieved at a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani when both agreed at a meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan in April to try to find a way back into talks broken off by the November 2008 attack on Mumbai. In Pakistan, the army retains a tight grip on foreign and security policy, limiting in turn the kind of concessions that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi might make.

Part of the low expectations come too from the very limited agenda set for the talks - to work out ways of  reducing the huge trust deficit between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Or as the Indian foreign ministry described it in a terse statement on its website:

“In pursuance of the mandate given by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, during their meeting at Thimphu in April, 2010, to the Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries of both the countries to work out the modalities of restoring trust and confidence in the relationship, thus paving the way for a substantive dialogue on issues of mutual concern, Hon’ble External Affairs Minister, Shri S.M. Krishna will visit Pakistan from July 14-16, 2010 for bilateral discussions at the invitation of H.E. Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

And they come too from a long and weary history of two countries which have tried, and repeatedly failed, to settle differences dating back to the partition of the subcontinent by departing British colonial rulers in 1947 – and indeed even before that when warring political parties wrangled over whether Muslims needed the protection of a separate homeland or whether they could achieve their political aspirations in a united India.

Over the years, any number of forums and formats have been tried out to find a way towards peace. There’s the formal peace process, known as the Composite Dialogue, broken off by India after the Mumbai attack blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, and yet to be resumed. There’s informal “backchannel diplomacy” – secret talks between special envoys held away from the glare of the media – which came near to a breakthrough on Kashmir in 2006-2007. Then there are “Track Two” talks – conferences held by intellectuals, politicians and retired military officers from India and Pakistan acting in a private capacity without the endorsement of their governments to try to seek common ground.

And equally, over the years, any number of proposals for peace have been put forward, from the “solve-Kashmir-first-and-the-rest will-follow” school of thought to incremental measures like increasing trade, relaxing visa restrictions and improving people-to-people contact in order to build enough confidence to start tackling the more contentious issues.

In the middle of those two approaches, are suggestions that India and Pakistan should try to resolve one of their conflicts which are substantial, but less emotional than the dispute over Kashmir – for example by ending the conflict fought over control of the mountains above the Siachen glacier in the Karakoram mountains since 1984.   That in turn would provide enough of a breakthrough to justify a peace summit between the leaders of the two countries and provide the momentum for intensive talks on resolving Kashmir.

Each one of those options has been tried (India and Pakistan had a tentative deal on Siachen as early as 1989); and each one of them has failed – often because some external event got in the way, from a big militant attack, to a change of government, to a major geopotical upheaval like the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that same year. So what will it take to break that logjam?

At your most pessimistic, you might conclude that both countries tend to make more progress towards peace after major crises. A near-war between India and Pakistan in 2001-2002 led to fresh talks and a ceasefire on the Line of Control dividing Kashmir in 2003 – one that has more or less held to this day. Even the 2008 Mumbai attack led, after an Indian election won in the middle of last year by the Congress party, to a fresh burst of diplomatic activity which eventually dissipated again into mutual recrimination.

If you wanted to find a historical parallel, you might argue that it took two world wars for France and Germany to settle their differences.

Yet neither India nor Pakistan can afford now to wait for a crisis to happen.  Over the last couple of years, Pakistan has faced its biggest existential challenge since 1971 (when then East Pakistan broke away to form Bangladesh); facing a wave of bombings which are gnawing through the country’s heartland Punjab province. Whatever else India might wish on Pakistan, it does not want to see its neighbour disintegrate in ways which would make Islamist militancy even harder to control, and bring the war in Afghanistan right up to its own borders. Add to that the dangers of all-out war between two countries with nuclear bombs, the missiles to deliver them, and a tendency to be over-complacent about how well they know each other — and therefore to misjudge each other’s red lines – and you have the potential for disaster that would make the nine-year Afghan war look like a sideshow.

The foreign secretaries, or top diplomats, of India and Pakistan have been working hard behind the scenes to pave the way for the talks between their foreign ministers.  More recently, they will have had to work out how to stop the latest flare-up in violence in Kashmir from souring the mood. We will find out this week whether they have come up with an imaginative way forward. Or whether the low expectations are justified. 

(Reuters photo:  Indian and Pakistani prime ministers in Bhutan)

Comments

okay, its chuckle time for me :)

So when is Pakistan getting a new symbol for their currency?

Moreover, any updates on that solar mission people talked about in blogs in response to India’s launch of Chandrayaan.

Posted by Seth09 | Report as abusive
 

@”back then Pakistan was just another country. Today it is the world’s first and so far only Muslim nuclear power”

Lmao, Somehow I knew that your response would contain the word “nuclear” about half a dozen times. Anyways, so what exactly are you saying here? You’ll use your nukes in kashmir or you’ll use them to crush the insurgencies in your country? Because we’re not talking about nuclear or conventional war here. You started by talking about Pakistan “reviving freedom struggle” in kashmir & I responded by talking about India doing the same in Pakistan. So, where do nukes come in the eaquation here?

@”What I advocate is peace between India and Pakistan and resolution of all disputes in a fair manner”

And how do you do that? By threatening to “revive an unstoppable freeedom struggle” in kahmir & then by threatening with your nukes?

One more thing, if you prefer a bankrupt, failed & radicalized Pakistan of today just because you have nukes to the moderate, progressive & prosperous Pakistan that you had in 1989 then there’s something seriously wrong with your thinking. Can you feed your nukes to your poor who are killing their children because they can’t afford to feed them anymore?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Umair:

@“No wonder once the situation in Afghanistan and FATA gets better I suspect Kashmir freedom struggle will be revived and another uprising will begin against India on a much larger scale than previously in 1989. And this time there will be no stopping.”
—Umair

Umair: Are you giving a rationale for India staying put in Afghanistan with torch lights to burn your tail so that you never settle down?

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

I am ignoring Umair’s Nuclear decay!

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@I get you think loudly and then put your thoughts into answering your own questions. By Kashmiris I meant all kashmiri people excluding the foreign military which is suppressing the population. I could not care about the religion they have or the gender or their agees. I am thinking of human species in that region who call themselves as kashmiris.”

—RexMinor: I do not think ur post in any way responds to what I said.

@By Kashmiris I meant all kashmiri people excluding the foreign military which is suppressing the population. I could not care about the religion they have or the gender or their agees.:
—I think you do care about RELIGION since you are expecting Pushtoons to reach Kashmir. What else is the commonality? Do you think Pushtoons will be making a visit to save Kashmiri Pundits?

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

KP Singh:

@Mortal, RajeevK, Dara, G-W, Keith et al,
I strongly recommend you guys to read “Nuclear Deception” by Adrian Levy and Catherine Clark. If not in the book stores, it will be in a library for sure.”
–Thanks for recommending that book.

Here is interview on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/medi aPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&i d=16251052&m=16251049

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Obsession with Kashmir is the root cause of most of Pakistan’s current problems i.e weak economy, weak democratic institutions, radicalization etc. Unless Pakistan’s leaders abandon violent means to resolve Kashmir, it’s suicidal demise is inevitable. IMO, the only person in the Pakistani establishment, who gets this, is Zardari but unfortunately due to his character flaws & propoganda by the PA, he’s constantly vilified amongst Pakistani people.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

89-year old “traitor” talking about four Indo-Pak wars

http://www.youtube.com/kashifhkhan#p/u/1  /7rGVpiWH-QI (Hindi/Urdu)

Too bad they could not give a refresher course to everybody in the Pakistan studies.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

Mortal1: “Obsession with Kashmir is the root cause of most of Pakistan’s current problems i.e weak economy, weak democratic institutions, radicalization etc.”

If Kashmir was not there, it would be some other issue. The core problem is not Kashmir. It is self-doubt in the minds of Pakistanis that has been sustained since the founding of that country. They formed it hurriedly in the name of Islam. Once they got it (too fast in my opinion), they had no idea what to do with it. Jinnah died after achieving his life goal – becoming a head of state. Most people living in the region that became Pakistan, did not care about a separate nation for Muslims. Now suddenly a new country was formed and they had no further agenda. It is always easier to stage protests, violent acts, riots etc against a system than govern one. In India itself the communists and Maoists revel in this. If they get to power, they deliver nothing. They survive by keeping everything utterly backward. Pakistan’s leaders have followed the same principle. They got the nation by staging violence. Once they were given the power to govern, they had no idea how to go about it. They did what they knew the best – stage violence outside of Pakistan and keep it going. So India has become like the governing establishment and Pakistan has become like a party that protests it. The mindset has not changed – protest against the system and let the system clean up all the rubble. This is all Pakistan has been doing ever since its birth. They killed off their potential leaders early enough. Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated. And the military of Pakistan stepped into the power vacuum. Again they did what they knew best – stage violence inside India. Kashmir was the God given opportunity for them. If Kashmir issue had been resolved, Pakistan would suffered from cold turkey and died off along ago due to internecine feud. Kashmir has kept them united. They are able to survive by creating a paranoia about India. So India is the basis of their very existence. And Kashmir helps them stage their protests against that system. If Kashmir is resolved, they would again be left in total confusion.

Thieves get used to way laying people, abucting and robbing others. They do not believe in an honest and ethical life. It appears boring to them. Hard work is not something they seek. Being thieves is more challenging. So Pakistan has sought that path. Thieves believe in macho, weapons, arm twisting, threatening and intimidating. One sees all these characteristics in Pakistan. It is a criminal state in the neighborhood. If Afghanistan or Kashmir get resolved, it will only push them towards killing each other more. They have relied on outward aggression for their survival. If that is suddenly taken away, the fall.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Hello. I would like to ask the Indians here some questions.

Let’s ASSUME Pakistan was to to stop its support of (terrorists/freedom fighters depending on your point of view) in Kashmir, suspend support of separatist organization in Kashmir and come to the negotiating table.

1. GIVEN this assumption, what would you as an Indian be willing to do in return?

Please state your personal answer not your government’s position. Also, please refrain from anger, insults, condescending comments, accusations etc. I am genuinely curious and I don’t want to engage in a pak/indo hate match.

If I get some genuine dialog, I will pose questions for pakistanis. We may or may not learn something in this exercise.

Thanks!

Posted by saif_1980 | Report as abusive
 

“what would you as an Indian be willing to do in return?”

Translation- if you want terrorism to stop, you have to do our bidding.

This is a non-starter.Basically you are reiterating your position of using terrorism as an instrument of negotiation.

And what makes you think Indians here are speaking on behalf othe government.LOL!

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive
 

@Saif

Besides I hope you are not trying to indulge in some spin here projecting as if Pakistani terrorism inside India is limited to the state of Jammu Kashmir alone.

I also hope you won’t claim Indians speaking truths here to be “insulting” or “condescending”, etc.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive
 

@Saif,

“GIVEN this assumption, what would you as an Indian be willing to do in return? Please state your personal answer not your government’s position.”

You sound sincere but there are problems with your question itself.

1) If it is GoP that would stop support to terrorists/separatists then why shouldn’t the response should come from GoI first. Why do you want people’s version? Had you had asked that if Pakistani mindset stops supporting trouble-makers in K than how would Indian mindset would respond and then your question would have made more sense.

2) Pakistan coming to negotiating table – there is no negotiation table young padawan. If at all, a coffee table might be put in place and then we sort of chat and take it easy, talk weather and do stuff. Expecting ice-cream in return for behaving well in front of guests is childish behavior. Pakistan is surely above that.

Now suppose there is something to be discussed, it would be the trade and it would be on EQUAL footing. People on both sides have much more in common and can greatly benefit from each other.

3) What should a trouble-maker expect from society in return for giving up his rowdy habits? Nothing, may be acceptance later! Or are we talking some sort of blackmail here? If yes, is there a wishlist somewhere?

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

@Saif.

stop support of Kashmiri terrorists?..its a start… but not enough..

more is needed…

comply with 1948 UN Resolutions, Pakistan vacate PoK immediately, removing all non-indigenous settlers, that being the punjabi sunni’s, all militants and entire Army back to Punjab and destroy all terrorist infrastructure in process.

In return, India draws down Kashmir entirely, removes Army and Kashmiri’s be given some time to stew and think it over, how they want their futures to fold, all without undue duress and pressure from either sides, all under the watchful eye of UN monitors.

Mind you, once India starts throwing cash, carrot and incentives of a better life, most of Kashmir, both sides will likely start drooling at the cash that India will infuse, if they both join India. Pakistan cannot compete in this regard, they can only keep Kashmir by brute force and propaganda, but Pakistan has nothing truly good in terms of a better life to offer Kashmiri’s, on either side….sorry but Quaran does not fill hungry man’s stomach.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Fair enough.

Revised Assumption:

1.1 pakistan suspends support of all separatists/terrorism/freedom fighters/liberation movements ANYWHERE in India. This would include ‘moral’, ‘financial’ support of even political organizations of kashmir that are pro-pak or pro-independence.

1.2 Let’s assume that india reciprocates with suspension of any actual/alleged links with balochistan or any other group in pak. so that 1.1 does not seem like a one-way ‘blackmail’.

what would indians be willing to offer/compromise/negotiate against this hypothetical backdrop?

Thanks.

Posted by saif_1980 | Report as abusive
 

In return For 1.1,

Indians are willing to discuss Trade and another willing to discuss Kashmir based on preconditions.

Here is the Indian Offer:

2.1. Negotiate Trade
2.2 Negotiate Kashmir WITH preconditions:
1 Pak vacate AJK
2 Remove ‘non-indigenous settlers’ based on indian specified ethnicity/sect
3 Remove ‘militants’ from kashmir irrespective of ethnicity
4 dismantle ‘terror infrastructure’

Pakistanis. Shuqaib/Umair/Tupak or others. Would you be willing to negotiate trade on these pretexts? what is your response to the preconditions.

Please be civil, don’t bring in holy books into this discussion.

Posted by saif_1980 | Report as abusive
 

There is a severe disconnect here. You claim your latest post is “revised”. I read it again and don’t see any “revision”.

No one should be obligated to do something in return for the opponet stopping terrorism.

Of course we could live as good neighbors and respect each other and focus on economic development.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive
 

Some Kashmiri muslims wanting to be out of India is Kashmir problem. Punjabis, Mohajirs living in Lahore and Karachi claiming Kashmiris need “self-dtermination” is manifestation of the much larger cancer called the “Pakistan problem”.

What have you acheived with the land mass and ethnic groups you got in 1947?

Kashmir project is desparate hope to undermine India. It remains only a hope though. We are absolutely committed more than ever. Meanwhile Pakistan is going down the drain.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive
 

seeker, even if you think pakistan is a cancer and going down the drain, i will remind you what prime minister behari vajpayee wrote in the visitor’s book of minar-i-pakistan

“India’s integrity and prosperity depends on the integrity and prosperity of Pakistan.”

but thanks for your feedback anyway.

Posted by saif_1980 | Report as abusive
 

To answer Saif’s question:

“GIVEN this assumption, what would you as an Indian be willing to do in return? Please state your personal answer not your government’s position.”

First of all, Pakistan had no business sending in terrorists into Kashmir or Afghanistan or Mumbai or anywhere. If Pakistan is a normal and civilized nation, it would not be sponsoring criminals to act in other countries, train them and protect them. So if Pakistan withdraws its criminal acts, then there is nothing to be done. India was moving on normally. If Pakistan decided to set fire to its neighbor and decides not to blow the air anymore, what should the neighbor do? Nothing. It just needs to snuff out the fire and move on. May be Pakistan should pay India for the damages it has caused.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Saif

“et’s assume that india reciprocates with suspension of any actual/alleged links with balochistan or any other group in pak”

How does one suspend alleged links? Indian PM Mr. Manmohan Singh announced in Sharm-al-Sheikh that we have nothing to hide regarding Balochistan and it was a very bold and honest statement to make for any country’s prime minister.

Time and again Pakistani foreign office propagates that they have proof of India’s involvement. Someone goes forward and says in the interview that a dossier has been given to India and what not. Do you really believe that if at all they had given anything, it would not come out in global media?

If you understand Hindi/Urdu, hear what Pakistan’s officials and media persons have to say in this regard:

http://www.youtube.com/kashifhkhan#p/u/1 8/QdQvT_cplMo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oH1vt3xlB zo

(I believe Rehman Malik is also on phone line in this talk show)

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

Sorry for digressing from the main topic…but cant resist.
I have been keenly following the discussion on this blog for a longtime. I have a few questions for all those who have been vigorously debating here. Can the present situation in Pakistan be analyzed from a social perspective rather than the purely political perspective? We all know that root cause of a social unrest can be radically different from the channel through which that unrest gets expressed. Is something of this sort happening in Pakistan or with the Muslim world at large? On the face of it, the current unrest is manifesting itself as a religious struggle- Jihad. But I feel the root cause of this unrest lies in the feudal social order which by its very nature tends to throttle genuine aspirations of the ordinary folks. In an ideal society with a matured democracy there are adequate political and social channels available through which the grievances of people can be channelized, but in the developing world this is not the case. So in countries like India and Pakistan in the absence of governance and due to lack of appropriate means to redress genuine grievances of various social groups; the unrest simmers-on unattended for a long time, and then it breaks out through whatever channel that is available. In Pakistan today the only channels through which frustrations of troubled society can be effectively expressed are religious ones. But then social or economic distress cannot be effectively expressed through religious or ethnic channels and they can morph into some thing vicious –Terror. Violence that ensues from religious or ethnic unrest tends to be malignant, a self sustaining chain reaction where justification for inhuman actions are sought in religious and ethnic contexts.

So, does Pakistan’s redemption lie in providing people with proper channels for venting their grievances by nurturing democracy and taking steps to ease their distress? Something similar needs to be done in naxal affected places of central India.

Posted by DesiPromethius | Report as abusive
 

@DesiP
Well said, I have tried but most are just obsessed with religion divide and nationality divide.
@KPsingh01
your post is only fifty percent in line with my knowledge. let me mention some history, apparently your fvourite subject, the invaders fron the north did not come as tourists in the so called Indian subcontinent to eliminate the man made gods in temples and private dwellings of the people ho practiced the burning of wifes when the partner left. Yes, they had no intention to occupy the territory but simply to preach to the people of one God and not several man made statues. History also tells us that the moghul rulers were fascinated by the non-believers innocence and rich culture and beautiful country that they decided to stay on and rule the units of India, allowing religious freedom of whatever sort, intermarriagers with the non believers etc. etc. We are all aware that the strategy of iron hand and then the great love affair, both of the mughal strategies failed miserably. To day there are more non muslims than the muslim people in the subcontinent engulfed in chaos and the law of the jungle. The Pashtoons are not likely to come to kashmir as tourists but to revisit the territory of the Indian territory in total, and examine what they left behind in 1947. They need to visit to be sure that another military of Jawans(some one mentioned this) is now brutalising the innocent kashmiri people and I am not saying muslims only but Kashmiris of all ethnic mix.For the so called paradise on earth as one mughal ruler described it is now being trempled by the military boots. Those who threaten loudly usually do not act, even if they have the nukes. The Pashtoons have never threatened the weaker, but have always confronted the strong ones. The myth of the Punjabi Pakistan army disappeared when they surrendered against the Indian army and the myth of the Punjabi Indian army was tainted with doubt when they surrendred against the larger chinese force. Two muslim citizens of India coming from the same village managed to manufacture nuclear bombs, one for India and the other one for Pakistan. Had Indian leaders not opened their big mouth and boasted about the bomb they had Pakistan leaders would also not have dedclared their possessions. They would have been no different than many countries including Israel and Iran, both of whom possess nuclear weaponry. But this is another subject.
Neither India nor Pakistan have achieved the status of a Nation, though they have a administrative control over a certain territory. Their population is in tatters and those who are well off keep boasting about the good old phrase, “I AM ALRIGHT JACK”. Millions of their citizens are migrants or asylum seekers in many parts of the world and even for a very simple education are running around like headless chickens, even in cold north american continent and hot climate Australia. India does not recognise the territororial bounds of Pakistan, never did, and Pakistzan does not recognise the bounds of India. Both country leaders are the vassal of the colonialist Britain and believe that what the Brits left is theirs. What a lot of crap. In both countries the Indian born politicians are running the affairs of the stte with militaryx support and those who disagree are regarded as insurgents, terrprists, communists, religous fanatics and so on and so forth. The engish language media is of little help. Both countries need to establish the identity of the people, the religous identity is insufficent. The institutions need to be reformed. Neither Nehru fanmily nor Jinnah families werre freedom fighters and they are not sufficient to create a Nation of the people!
Rex Minor

PS. Now do not give me a new nationality. I cannot even get rid of the computer allocated ‘Pakistan’.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Bhutto,
You have penchant for copying others.

Once again – not a single question answered even the very easy one of giving us the UN resolution.

More bombast. Is this how kashmir is to be discussed?

As I said earlier – nothing on this blog has changed except for the same repetition of distorted history.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,

I admire your ability to take such a charitable view of Bhutto’s ability to discuss Kashmir. With the responses received so far I refuse to talk to an blank wall!

Last night’s press conference saw Qureshi at his devious, pompous and elusive best. Side stepped every issue and gave us that famous yarn, Pakistan does not as policy subscribe to incursions into others territories. It was one better than the ‘non-state’ now state actors. That about sum ups the level of debate. Why do we even try? :)

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

saif 1980: were u here earlier by screen name “Saf”?

Dara:
Would not disagree with you on what u said.
saif_1980 is the right person to chat with on this.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

saif1980:

Any movement can be supported by indigenous groups and foreigners.

As an example, the foreign (pak)-based groups (LeT, JeM) make a mess of the a movement (Kashmir) since pakistan-based groups will not let Kashmiris take credit for uprising even when it is due.

Let us take this as an example to answer ur question:
@1.2 Let’s assume that india reciprocates with suspension of any actual/alleged links with balochistan or any other group in pak. so that 1.1 does not seem like a one-way ‘blackmail’”
–Assuming India supports Baloch or is sending militants (any XYZ from outside or from India -let us say RSS or Bajrang Dal guys or anyone else) in to Balochistan/Pakistan for Balochistan cause, India needs to stop total support. Stop support both to the indigenous Baloch groups as well as stop sending militants into Baloch and then make sure that this is no longer reversible/temporary withdrawal of support only to be revived later by preserving these groups. Ideally India must dismantle this infrastucture. How to do it and find out is my next question to you.

Same applies to your:

@1.1 pakistan suspends support of all separatists/terrorism/freedom fighters/liberation movements ANYWHERE in India. This would include ‘moral’, ‘financial’ support of even political organizations of kashmir that are pro-pak or pro-independence.

–suspend support? No Pakistan should work to uproot the foundations of this terrorism from outside–at all levels. Or you can tell what is the guarantee that these groups with bigger designs (LeT has its own grand agenda) will not start a movement again or a new one.

–A true “suspend” allows me to suggest that Indian Army is out of Kashmir, Pakistani Army out of AJK and Northern Areas, and Balochistan, handing over administration to locals, withdraw Pakistani settled in AJK and Northern Areas. Army goes to borders or wherever is required.

–There is a need to sign an agreement that India and Pakistan will not use any moral or material support of any kind in each other;s territories. This will fix a lot of problems. THis is basic and 2-way step. I think India did this with Bangladesh at some level.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

First of all Rajeev, thanks for recommending a dialogue with Saif. In fact I had just read his various statements and I was most impressed with the way his views are structured. I have been actually thinking about his questions and came here to give my response when I saw your response.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

@”GIVEN this assumption, what would you as an Indian be willing to do in return?”
Posted by saif_1980

With all due respect, your question is analogous to my neighbour asking me “what would you give me in return, if a put my dogs on leash & prevent them from ruining your garden every night?”. In other words “if you don’t give me what I want, I’ll let my dogs lose on your garden”.

First & foremost, you Pakistanis need to realize that by abandoning terrorism as a state policy, you won’t be doing anybody any favors and by doing so, the ones you’ll be helping the most, would be yourselves. Such a realization is imperative, if Pakistan ever wants to become a civilized & responsible nation.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Saif,

Good questions which deserve answers.

I have a simple amendment to make to your premises by giving you an idea of the mood that prevails here. It is not just stopping or curbing terrorist activities. The real seething anger in India to-day is on 26/11. This may sound as being repetitive – it isn’t. I have never seen just disinterest and apathy in the man in the street before and every time Pakistan tries to dismiss it with what seem to be irrelevant and disparaging comments – just makes matters worse. To give you an idea, a leading newspaper covered the FMs’ talks at the bottom of page 1 and continued it inside. This would never have happened if the people cared about the talks.

Given that background, personally, if I see even one sincere step from Pakistan in really making an effort to let Indians know that 26/11 is something that they feel should never have happened and that they will go all out to actually take serious measures to bring the perpetrators to book – I would be more than satisfied. At the moment what I see is that there is a farce of arresting some, then carrying out a trial by adjournments which moves not at all. The last time it was delayed because the Indian Home Minister was in Pakistan – why that is reason for adjournment is beyond my limited understanding. Now comes a demand that the magistrate and officers who recorded Kasab’s confession be sent to Pakistan. This is hogwash. The proceedings in an Indian court of law should be accepted anywhere, just as proceedings in a Pakistani court should be respected.

So I want to see some genuine, honest and heartfelt understanding of what 26/11 means to Indians. Forget about the foreign ministers’ fiasco and the trading of insults. 26/11 and 26/11 alone matters to people here.

In return I am willing to sit with Pakistan across the table and discuss anything and everything, freely, frankly and in a spirit of give and take. Kashmir, water, Balochistan, Sir Creek, Siachen, whatever – you name it. What happens thereafter is beyond my understanding, at present, as it is hypothetical. But yes, I will sit across the table and talk and talk, and not stop talking till finally a solution is hammered out.

Some things I would want done straight away – remove the hassles in traveling between countries. I think we two countries are the only ones in the world which do not issue country specific Visas but make them city specific for our respective citizens. Promote cross border education and exchanges at the student level. They need to become the force that makes respective governments to change attitudes. Open more communication links and promote toursim between the two. Money makes the world go round – so lets trade freely, let products from Pakistan flood Indian markets, why do we allow Chinese products to saturate our markets?

I may be against the talks at the moment, but it is only because I see a total disdain for Indian concerns over what happened in 2008. There is no alternate to dialogue really for us, but it has to be in the right spirit. That spirit is elusive at the monet unfoprtunately.

I guess thats for starters….

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor: “the invaders fron the north did not come as tourists in the so called Indian subcontinent to eliminate the man made gods in temples and private dwellings of the people ho practiced the burning of wifes when the partner left.”

All this is distorted Pakistan history where everything is portrayed as some kind of domestic injustice which was quelled by a benevolent foreign army. Muhammad Bin Qasim is depicted as a holy warrior who came in and liberated the natives of Sindh who were suffering under the cruel Dahir. Now the same thing is extended to the sub-continent where the natives are projected as degenerate, wife burning, eye ball eating monsters who were defeated by the benevolent Turks who came in from Central Asia, broke down all the idols and evil temples, brought clothes for the naked natives etc. The same song is sung in praise of the Pashtuns.

Here is what one can sense from this. History written by cowards resembles the above. Cowards quietly switch sides and rewrite their history, distort everything and join those who subjugate them.

The history of the Indian sub-continet has been full of conflicts, empires, golden ages and ruin. Turks from Central Asia first populated Afghanistan. Mahmud of Ghajni was a Turk. He was basically a plunderer who wanted to fund his campaigns in Central Asia. To achieve that, he frequently raided “Hindustan”, stole all the gold and took women as slaves. That’s all.

There is no fear in the hearts of the people in India about these “tribes.” All that is old history. Things are different now. India is now a proper country with its own military. Pashtuns cannot come into India at will. They have to sneak in. And they need support and cover to do that. The “non-Pashtun” coward army of Pakistan is providing that.

For all the glory sung in praise of these Pashtuns, they did not stand up and fight the Americans. They took refuge under the protection of the “non-Pashtun” coward army of Pakistan. They could have been decimated by the Soviets. But survived using the help given by the Americans. And now they are fighting them. What this tells us is that these people are not grateful. They’d take help when they need and stab the same people who help them.

You guys have been living by the principle, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Here is something for Pakistanis to chew on. Since they have been screaming about Indian military in Kashmir, may be they should take a closer look at their own military first before pointing fingers at others:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-as ia-10667545

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh:

RexMinor is no Pushtoon. To his credit, he has been able to provoke anti-Pushtoon sentiments by his false equation Pushtoon = Taliban = “guerrillas” and baseless presumptions (presented as factual).

He does not have the spine to stay put and discuss. So for sure he is fighting like a gueirilla.

The worst is he presents himself as a neutral and then give racist statements as one posted here.

WE all can save energy on this guy.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-as ia-10658865

Pakistan and India foreign ministers in diplomatic spat

-Being in Islamabad, I dont see the atmosphere good for the talks. S.M Krishna’s visit was wasted, another opportunity lost.
India is simply not a partner for peace. They dont want to talk Kashmir, they continue to view themselves as the policeman of South Asia. So be it. Come back when you really feel you need to forge peace with Pakistan. Good Bye!

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

…Also who was calling Mr. Krishna from Delhi?, and phone conversations back and forth between Islamabad and Delhi that Mr. Krishna was having. Someone else was directing policy to him, he was not prepared for talks, did not take initiative. India is biding its time, simply put these talks are another fraud, another cover. Who are we trying to fool? Lets just get back to reality. Peace between India and Pakistan has very little chance.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@KP Singh
You more or less confirm my analysis. The invaders and the plunderers as you call them did not come into the beautiful territory of maharajas to occupy it . They indeed came to destroy the country as much as they could and to plunder the land and its people and their properties. And if you follow the half truth history you would also note that they went into spain and most of France, not to occupy the territory but to destroy the barons and the kings and the whole european history is a living example of their adventrous and ruthless intrusion. They did not built mosques in today’s Hungary but converted their churches into mosques. This is not to say that the spaniards were kind to them in return after several centuries. They eliminated all the invaders and forced them to convert to christianity. Nor were they treated with love in budapest and Austria. Let us not imagine that the peace loving people of the hills, around sixty millions odd are not capable to repeat the history after having seen their land, their families and their homes being disgraced by the Pakistan military and the super super power USA and its european allies sending soldiers into their homes at night molesting their old, women and children. They have just managed to defeat the famous US general whose scottish ancestors are buried in the same land, with a limited number of snipers called Talibans. You are probably not aware the same Pashtoons marched on foot day and nioght to reach Sirinagar with very little resistance from the Indian military. They had one problem, they could not identify who the enemy was? No one resisted their advance. The Pakistan army could have done the same feat themselves. I am sure they hold no grudge against Indians and even respect the Pashto speaking non muslims.
From the news one reads in the west it would appear that they after the Pakistan military in Waziristan, they are now operating in Punjab proper and most of Sindh area unhindered. The Pakistan military finds it hard to protect their headquarter and the Govt. is already thinking of taking the capital back to Karachi. My advise would be to set up the capital on moon, even then its safety cannot be guaranteed by the military. George W was a great friend of theirs and there were regular flights from kabul to texas. George W did not expect that these famous warriors were not his friends, when they refused to hand over their guest to them, hence the USA action in Afghanistan. What have the USA achieved, a Pashtoon from a very strong tribe is in power today with the blessing of the USA administration, and no wonder the professional four star general had to behave like a civilian NGO director. Does any one still believe that after the withdrawl of foreign army things would return to normality, then they are really imagining. The Pashtoons do not show mercy for the weak one and respect only the stronger.No one on this forum knows more than you about these people but with wrong conclusions. You once wrote that if the british had more time they could have defeated them. One hundred years in your opinion are not enough,(read Warburton famous book about these people). You also wrote that the Soviets could have defeated them. You overesimate the role of USA assistance during the Soviet intrusion and any Pakistan military support for them.
They take what they require by force and not rely on foreigners help.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@RajeeK
I must say you have avery nice title name. You want to understand Pashtoons, the listen to Mr Karzai’s statements about Talibans. He is a Pashtoon and would be willing to sacrifice his american friends to save one single Pashtoon on Afghanistan side or pakistan side. Apart from this I do not favour his alignment with the USA administration. Only time is going to tell if his association with the USA was genuine or in fact the old Afghan Amir strategy with the Brits, when after signing the agreement he ordered the massacre of the British ambassadors and all foreigners in Kabul. He later said to the british that he did not understand the agreement he signed since it was written in english.
Rex Minor
PS what is that you want to discuss. i have expressed my views and you have your opinion. Let us leave it at that.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor: “The invaders and the plunderers as you call them did not come into the beautiful territory of maharajas to occupy it . They indeed came to destroy the country as much as they could and to plunder the land and its people and their properties. ”

Rest of the drivel deleted..,

In other words, you are an admirer of plunderers, thieves and robbers. You are singing praise of these people, projecting them as barbarians. And by the way, those who invaded Spain are not Pashtuns. They were mostly Berbers who had converted to Islam. For all the praise you heap on your favorite invaders, they got their spines broken by the European colonialists, their nations divided into pieces and turned against each other. Your Pakistan was carved out by the British. And your famous Pashtuns are divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan by the Durand line. The so called brave Pashtuns are still honoring that line. If the Americans did not settle score with the Soviets, the USSR would have crushed them and probably brought them from stone ages to the modern day. You have been inside the cave for too long. You need to come out and smell some fresh air.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor: “He (Karzai) is a Pashtoon and would be willing to sacrifice his american friends to save one single Pashtoon on Afghanistan side or pakistan side.”

Thanks for the much needed comic relief. If he is a Pashtoon, tell me why he is being protected by American guards wherever he goes.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “They dont want to talk Kashmir, they continue to view themselves as the policeman of South Asia. So be it. Come back when you really feel you need to forge peace with Pakistan. Good Bye!”

All this is paranoia. Talks do not hinge on Kashmir. Pakistan has nothing to do with Kashmir. India wants to talk about state sponsored terrorism and the recent findings from David Headley investigations which prove ISI’s complete involvement in Mumbai attacks. Pakistan is dodging it by hiding behind the Kashmir issue. Discussions cannot be one sided and on Pakistan’s terms.

We don’t want to come back. So let us know if you really mean your good bye.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “India is biding its time, simply put these talks are another fraud, another cover. Who are we trying to fool? Lets just get back to reality. Peace between India and Pakistan has very little chance.”

Because we know peace talks with Pakistan never led us to anywhere. There was always a Kargil or a Mumbai attacks inserted in between by Pakistan’s non-state actors (namely the ISI and your military). We really do not care if we have peace talks with you or not. When did we have peace in the first place?

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Rex Minor

@I must say you have avery nice title name.
–Yes Mr Minor! I do.

I am not going to discuss the fresh points u raised.

Address this:
1. You find a logic that Talibans (Pushtoons) are fighting the aggressors. Then at the same time you cheer them up by applauding their Eastward migration and INVASION into Punjab (Pakistan) and Kashmir. You further this by giving a historical evidence:

“The Pashtoons are not likely to come to kashmir as tourists but to revisit the territory of the Indian territory in total, and examine what they left behind in 1947. They need to visit to be sure that another military of Jawans(some one mentioned this) is now brutalising the innocent kashmiri people and I am not saying muslims only but Kashmiris of all ethnic mix.”

So u have 2 sets of rules for the game? Talibans must not be invaded and have the right to invade anyone they please since their judgment cannot be wrong. PLease tell us ignorant ones very clearly how do u reconcile ur 2 rules for one game.

2. @The Pashtoons have never threatened the weaker, but have always confronted the strong ones.”
—Who were those women who are flogged and innocents killed for small crimes? Now do not give me BS that this is American lies. This is reported by people in the region. Not known to you in Europe, perhaps.

3. @The Pashtoons have never threatened the weaker, but have always confronted the strong ones. The myth of the Punjabi Pakistan army disappeared when they surrendered against the Indian army and the myth of the Punjabi Indian army was tainted with doubt when they surrendred against the larger chinese force.”
—Taliban are too smart and they play within their limitations–which is their strength. They are too smart to take on 2 enemies at one time. You do not know them enough. It was a writing on the wall that they will survive. They can make a govt when good time and can hide in caves when it is not.

@… the invaders fron the north did not come as tourists in the so called Indian subcontinent to eliminate the man made gods in temples and private dwellings of the people ho practiced the burning of wifes when the partner left.”
–You mean they came here for social reforms? So nice of them. So ignorant of you. Ya sure u r a pucca Mussalman. They came here for just like any invader comes—money. You can quote Brits and Hindu reformists on the social reforms in India—wife burning etc . This custom has been made illegal since centuries ago and stays so. Unlike honor killing–compare with Sharia.

But if this was the reason for invasion, then you should applaud the West West doing the same—-democracy as a reform to fix Islamic social ills that even good Muslims are crying to get rid of—the honor killings, the stoning to death.

More later

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Umair:

@Pakistan and India foreign ministers in diplomatic spat

India is simply not a partner for peace. They dont want to talk Kashmir, they continue to view themselves as the policeman of South Asia. So be it. Come back when you really feel you need to forge peace with Pakistan. Good Bye!
Posted by Umairpk

—Umair you and me have no say on the matter but tell me what is your take on Kashmir and we go from there. Let this forum be a role model for these leaders.

“policeman of South Asia” is a rant not discussion.

what do u think is the status of:
1. Kashmiris in India
2. Kashmiris in Pakistan
3. What is Indian govt;s position on what Kashmiris need
4. What is Pakistan govt;s position on what Kashmiris need

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@”Also who was calling Mr. Krishna from Delhi?, and phone conversations back and forth between Islamabad and Delhi that Mr. Krishna was having”
Posted by Umairpk

As always, you post articles without even reading them. Krishna has denied having any conversations with Delhi, during his visit. Here’s an excerpt from the link posted by you:

“But in a news conference upon arrival at a Delhi airport, Mr Krishna hit back, denying he had taken policy guidance by phone during the meeting.
“I was totally cut off from India,” he said. “I never used any telephone. It’s an extraordinary statement to make.”

@”Lets just get back to reality. Peace between India and Pakistan has very little chance”

Yes let’s get back to reality and the reality is that there can be no meaningful discussions between a civilized nation & a criminalized state. If you seriously want meaningful discussions, reform yourselves & then maybe we can have a real discussion.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Here is the Indian version of what went wrong:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ar ticle518749.ece?homepage=true

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Thank you Rajeev/Dara for your responses.
Rajeev, Dismantling is a very difficult question to answer. I am not sure to be honest. Perhaps we can mark it off as assumption for now and discuss it later.

Revised Assumption:

1.1 pakistan dismantles all militant groups ANYWHERE in India. This would include ‘moral’, ‘financial’ support of even political organizations of kashmir that are pro-pak or pro-independence.

1.2 Let’s assume that india reciprocates with suspension of any actual/alleged links with balochistan or any other group in pak. so that 1.1 does not seem like a one-way ‘blackmail’.

1.3 Dara Ammendment: Pakistan jails and punishes the perpetrators of 26/11 and dismantles this group.

1.4 Rajeev Ammendment: Pakistan dismantles terrorist groups in pakistan.

1.5 India guarantees meaningful negotiations to core issues for amendment 1.1 & 1.4.

In return for above assumptions, A few indians are willing to negotiate the following:

2.0 Discuss Kashmir
2.1 Discuss Water
2.2 Discuss Trade

Pak Response:

I was hoping some other Pakistanis would respond but since this is not the case I will.

3.0 Pakistan would like to have multiple negotiations in monthly increments
3.1 Trade
3.2 Prisoner Exchange (Those poor fishermen caught in the middle)
3.3 Student/Cultural Exchange
3.4 Kashmir

Reasoning:
Mutal Trade concession, prisoner exchanges, student exchanges should be quick and easy to implement.
Some wins to go over the core issue from Pakistani perspective.. Kashmir.
Monthly increments to alleviate pakistan’s fear of perceived ‘delay tactics’

Rajeev & Dara, Would this order & agenda be acceptable ?

Posted by saif_1980 | Report as abusive
 

@Saif
Let’s say you are the pakistani negotiator. We reach 2.0 “discuss Kashmir”.
1. What are you going to discuss? and
2 What do you want from India?

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh:
“Pakistan has nothing to do with Kashmir. India wants to talk about state sponsored terrorism ”

-Pakistan has everything to do with Kashmir, we have a dispute and the status of Kashmir is disputed. Wait until the next Indo-Pak war to believe that Pakistan has a dispute with India over Kashmir. What do you guys think? Is Kashmir really yours? I have been to Azad Kashmir, have friends from their serving as officers in Pakistan Army. Your claim on Kashmir is not legitimate.
For Pakistan terrorism that targets Pakistan is a priority, groups like TTP that pose a direct challenge to Pakistan are the priority. Groups like LeT who are hostile towards India can wait, until India takes tangible steps to correct the situation in Kashmir.

-”We really do not care if we have peace talks with you or not.” KPSingh

-We will bring you to a point where you will accept that peace with Pakistan is necessary. Right now India does not realize that, Pakistan must toughen its stance towards India, cease all cooperation on curbing terrorism. This appears to be a reasonable approach given India’s intrancigence.

-”the reality is that there can be no meaningful discussions between a civilized nation & a criminalized state. If you seriously want meaningful discussions, reform yourselves & then maybe we can have a real discussion.”

-Criminal state is India which has kept the Muslim population in Kashmir under brutal oppression, criminal are those Indian security forces who raped and killed later dumped the bodies of two young innocent Kashmiri women. And surely Pakistan has the capability to make India pay for its crimes.

-Personally i feel sometimes a limited war is necessary to break the deadlock, when peace talks don’t work, and tempers boil, threats are exchanged guns are fired, someone somewhere realizes the seriousness of the situation and cool heads prevail. Mr. Krishna was in Islamabad for a ‘natak’ as you say in Hindi. Ye natak zada der nahi chal sakta. Either we push each other towards the edge or we sit down and have balacned talks. I am afraid given India’s advantages, a bigger country, depth, Pakistan’s lack of strategic depth, and many other things. Pakistan will have to continue its current policy of using a mix of proxies along with a strong Army, nuclear weapons and assymetric low intensity conflict to keep India in check. In the meantime Pakistan should continue to maintain links with big power patrons such as China or US. This is the only option Pakistan has in the face of Indian challenge.

Stupid Indians don’t realize the prize of having peaceful relations with Pakistan. Then blame everything on Pakistan military, i dont’ blame Pakistan military for their fixation on India, Pakistan military has to defend Pakistan under all circumstances. Much of the paranoia or whatever you call is because of India. What India did in 1971, Pakistan is justified to take revenge. But still I would say let bygones be bygones and start a new begining. If Indians don’t care about forging peace with Pakistan, for us in Pakistan we are not starving as well, we also have a wonderful country full of potential, once the economy of this country is back on track and picks up, Pakistan can become a regional power in real sense. We are also not that desperate to forge peace with India.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

“Pakistan ranked #1 in the world for xxx rated website searches” – Fox News

Land of the pure, indeed!

Posted by fitty_cent | Report as abusive
 

for some reason i’m unable to post the link for the above article but u can google the foll: “Pakistan top p-o-r-n search fox news” to get the link to the article. thanks.

Posted by fitty_cent | Report as abusive
 

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