The Simla Touchstone
Had Islamabad been smart, it would have accepted Delhi's offer unconditionally
illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Pakistan took almost a week to respond to New Delhi's 12-point proposal for restarting the movement towards a dialogue on 'all outstanding issues'. But on balance, its response has been satisfactory. As one had expected, Pakistan has wholeheartedly accepted the 'softer' proposals contained in the Indian offer of last week. These are the resumption of sporting ties, the opening of visa camps in several cities, the grant of permission to people over 65 to cross the Wagah border on foot, and the establishment of links between the two countries' coast guards. The resumption of sporting ties will be welcomed by all. Visa camps and crossing the border on foot will provide inestimable relief to the people in each country with ties of blood or marriage in the other. The former will make obtaining visas easier and less expensive—today applicants have to come all the way to Delhi or Islamabad to file their papers. Allowing the elderly to cross the border on foot will mean that Indians will be able to go to Amritsar by train and Wagah by taxi, instead of sitting 16 hours in a bus from Delhi....