23 November, 2020

Lahore Balance-Sheet

There's a sense of relief about the decade's first bilateral meet. The bad news:nothing to capture the imagination.

Lahore Balance-Sheet

WHETHER prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to Pakistan turns out to be a historic or merely a defining moment will depend on what the two countries do from here on. Ultimately, judgement on the 30 hours in Lahore will be the business of the next generation. But what of the here and now? How shall we reckon the achievement and the disappointments?

The general mood in India, clearly, is one of quiet satisfaction. There is also a palpable sense of relief. The ice has been broken , as Nawaz Sharif said in his press conference; the first bilateral summit in a decade has actually happened. Attached to this is a sense of relief: no disasters, no horrendous gaffes and no snafus.

The summit's achievements were at least commendable at three levels: the symbolic, the normative, and the substantive.

At the level of symbolism, the summit, first of all, was a response to the fanatics on both sides of the border-the Jamaat and company in Pakistan, and the Shiv Sena and cognate brigades here. The hardliners are still at work on both sides; but the radical hysterics were...



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