The United States is urging India to restart peace talks with Pakistan. The U.S. Undersecretary for political affairs William Burns is on a four-day stop in India, which includes rounds of talks with top Indian government officials. India put a pause on the slow-moving peace talks after tension rose sharply between the two nuclear-armed neighbors following November attacks on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants. Some version of a dialogue is expected to start soon, possibly before the visit of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to India which is likely in the first week of July. India knows that powers like the US would try to nudge India to the negotiating table, and it would be better not to be seen as having been pressured into the talks.
The Times of India said Foreign Minister S M Krishna quoted President John F. Kennedy to his officers: “Never negotiate out of fear, but never fear to negotiate.” The statement showed Indian sincerity as the quote was also borrowed or taught by the US officials.
The relationship between the United States and India has gradually warmed in recent years. A major breakthrough was a civil nuclear deal achieved during Prime Minister Singh’s first administration and the second term of President George W. Bush.
The deal was opposed by India’s left. But the Congress Party, the largest in the current government, is no longer dependent on the outside support of Communists to stay in power. That means there are now little, if any, political risk from responding to Washington’s calls for even closer ties.
Have a look on the same news reported by two different Pakistani and Indian journalists present in different part of the globe.
Mansoor Ijaz, an American of Pakistan origin writing in the Washington Post, said it is high time to resolve Kashmir issue. Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari should call for a peace summit this summer. Singh and Zardari were two leaders who could make peace, he argued.
Sanjeev Miglani, an Indian political news editor based in Singapore reviewed the same news in Reuter’s blog as Peace with Pakistan was in India’s “vital interest” as told by Manmohan Singh to parliament in a speech, presumably directed at those in the Indian strategic establishment who believe in a more muscular approach toward Pakistan especially after the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan has welcomed the recommence offer of talks but the point is that India wants peace talks on a condition of elimination of militants. Bilateral talks should be on equality basis not on conditions. All the issues from Kashmir to Siachin will be addressed, not only addressed should be resolved now. It is the high time to do something other than just talks. Indian sincerity towards the talks is still questionable but result should be assured, otherwise all American efforts will end in a smoke.
Image: Pak Tea House