Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
Following up on my earlier post about what is happening behind the scenes in the fraught relationship between India and Pakistan, it’s worth keeping track of this report that Islamabad is considering appointing former foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan to handle the informal dialogue with New Delhi known as “backchannel diplomacy”.
As discussed in this story there has been much talk about trying to get the backchannel diplomacy between India and Pakistan up and running again, both to reduce India-Pakistan rivalry in Afghanistan and to prevent an escalation of tensions between the two countries themselves. So any forward movement on the backchannel diplomacy, if confirmed, would be important.
To recap (and with apologies to those who already know this), India and Pakistan have many different ways of engaging with each other. They have a formal peace process known as the composite dialogue, started in 2004 and broken off by India after last November’s attack on Mumbai. India has said it will not resume the composite dialogue until Pakistan takes more action against those accused of involvement in Mumbai.
Then there are Track II talks, in which politicians, journalists, administrators and others on both sides of the border meet in a private capacity to try to promote understanding between India and Pakistan.