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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid