28 July, 2021

Still Running In Place

While peace is still a long way off, it would be tragic if Pakistan and India were forced to start the dialogue all over again.

Still Running In Place
LEADERS in India and Pakistan have gone round in circles and arrived at the beginning time and again. In 1989, they were on the verge of a "breakthrough" on Siachen. But Rajiv Gandhi inexplicably backed down. The Americans nudged the two governments to the table again in 1994. But this time Pakistan wanted to talk about Kashmir and only Kashmir while India wanted to talk about everything else except Kashmir. So both sides stuck to their guns, exchanged some "non-papers" and politely retreated to their respective bunkers. They started from scratch again last year. This time, however, the Pakistanis seemed to go overboard when they declared that a "historic breakthrough" had been achieved: India, they said, had finally agreed to talk about talks on Kashmir! In the event, however, the big bang in Islamabad turned out to be a damp squib in Delhi when I.K. Gujral got cold feet and Nawaz Sharif didn't know where to look.

India's nuclear explosions this year, followed by Pakistan's tit-for-tat, seemed to put paid to all hopes of a meaningful dialogue between the two countries....

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