News / Asia

Ahead of UN Summit, Hopes for an India-Pakistan Meeting

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, May 22, 2013 file photo.Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, May 22, 2013 file photo.
x
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, May 22, 2013 file photo.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, May 22, 2013 file photo.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to meet with his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, later this week in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Analysts hope the proposed meeting will revive talks aimed at normalizing relations and provide an opportunity to explore solutions for long-running bilateral disputes, including the dispute over Kashmir.
 
Since the killing in early August of five Indian soldiers at the disputed Kashmir frontier, New Delhi has been reluctant to resume formal talks with Islamabad.
 
Initially, the Indian government blamed the deadly cross-border raid on Islamist insurgents disguised as Pakistani soldiers, but it later held the Pakistan army directly responsible. 
 
Islamabad has rejected the allegations. However, the incident sparked weeks of military clashes across the Line of Control in Kashmir, killing several people on both sides, including civilians.
 
The clashes have undermined a mutual ceasefire in the disputed territory that has largely held for more than a decade.
 
Senator Mushahid Hussain, who chairs the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of the Pakistani parliament, says suspicions and accusations come from both sides regarding the Kashmir clashes.
 
“The Indian government initially had a muted response. Then they came under pressure from the opposition and the media. Then they became more strident and then the harsh words were exchanged on both sides. So, I think the whole issue snowballed and it is spinning out of control of the government of India,” said Hussain.
 
All eyes are now on the proposed talks in New York between the prime ministers of the two nations. Observers call it a “good opportunity” for both nuclear-armed rival nations to move forward and open talks. 
 
Indian analysts, such as author and columnist Amit Baruah, are urging New Delhi to “keep the lines of communication open” with Islamabad, saying a policy of disengagement will not benefit either country.
 
“There has always been a very hawkish section [in India] which does not want good relations with Pakistan. Of late, they are getting quite a lot of play in the Indian media. But there is no doubt in my mind that talks are not a concession to anyone. Talks are about sitting across the table and discussing difficult issues and trying to arrive at solutions,” said Baruah.
 
Indian authorities have long accused Pakistan of funding and training Islamist militants who then commit acts of terrorism in India. 
 
Islamabad denies the accusations and claim Pakistan is the biggest victim of terrorism, maintaining that the human and economic losses in their country in the global fight against terrorism have been greater than in any other nation in the world. 
 
Indian Mani Shankar Aiyar, who represents the Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, says although terrorism is a subject that causes deep concern in India, it is also true that Pakistan is the world’s biggest victim of terrorism. 
 
“Therefore this should create a common ground for us to cooperate in containing terrorism from wherever it originates, rather than putting the argument in terms of saying that because we are the biggest victims of terrorism therefore don’t accuse us of spreading it. The fact is that Pakistan is both. And equally, India ought to realize, if it has not already done so, that we can never play the role that is our due on the international stage if we have this albatross of hostility with Pakistan on our necks,” said Aiyar.
 
A sustained and uninterrupted peace dialogue between the two countries is also considered crucial ahead of the withdrawal of most NATO forces from neighboring Afghanistan by the end of next year.
 
Analysts fear bilateral tensions will intensify if India and Pakistan compete for strategic influence in war-torn Afghanistan.
 
Indian analyst Baruah says a dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad can address those concerns.
 
“With the drawdown happening, a new strategic context will be created and there is very little doubt that both India and Pakistan will continue in their campaign for influence in Afghanistan. But it would be good if India and Pakistan could sit across the table and discuss some of the issues relating to a lack of trust as far as Afghanistan is concerned,” said Baruah.
 
Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain warns against using Afghanistan as a staging ground for an India-Pakistan proxy war, saying the consequences will be devastating for regional peace.
 
“I think the biggest challenge is that there would be a vacuum in Afghanistan and that vacuum should not result in Pakistan-India proxy conflict as we have had it in the past. And I have always felt that such a conflict would be debilitating not just for Afghanistan but for Pakistan and India, and it would draw our energies in a negative direction,” said Hussain.
 
India alleges that militant attacks on its diplomatic missions and citizens in Afghanistan are orchestrated by the Pakistani spy agency, the ISI. Islamabad in turn blames New Delhi for using its presence in Afghanistan to fund acts of terrorism on Pakistani soil, particularly in the resource-rich southwestern border province Baluchistan, where Baluch militants are waging a low-level insurgency.
 
In addition to its concerns over Afghanistan, India has been demanding Pakistan speed up the trial of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, prevent the use of Pakistani soil for terror attacks against India and conclude the trade liberalization process under its international obligations.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs