27 January, 2021

House Of Cards

The two old enemies grapple with Kashmir and terror

Illustration by Saahil
House Of Cards

At this month’s US-Pakistan summit in Washington, Islamabad sought US intervention to break the impasse over the India-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir. While Sharif was advised to engage in direct talks with India, the joint statement called for a sustained and resilient dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. And of course, earlier this month the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung sponsored the India-Pakistan Track II dialogue, the longest-running uninterrupted process following the attack on Parliament. They met in Bangkok to revive the dialogue. It also grappled with altering the framework itself, veering towards backchannel methods.

The trajectory is instructive. While the idea of regular dialogue was mooted way back in 1997, it was institutionalised only in 2004 after the unwritten ceasefire agreement of November 2003, proposed by Pervez Musharraf. By early 2005, three tracks of conversation were functional: official composite dialogue; summit-level meetings; and what turned out to be the most productive: a backchannel between special envoys....



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