News / Asia

Archrivals India, Pakistan Renew Peace Efforts

India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid speaks to his staff as they attend the 46th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, July 1, 2013.
India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid speaks to his staff as they attend the 46th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, July 1, 2013.
Aru Pande
Officials from archrivals India and Pakistan say there is political will on both sides to take the often-contentious relationship to a new level.  Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's special advisor on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Brunei on Tuesday, in the first such talks since the Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan's new leader. 

In recent years, both India and Pakistan have pledged to normalize economic ties, including Pakistan promising to grant India Most-Favored Nation status, which New Delhi granted Islamabad in the 1990s.

For its part, India is considering providing electricity and natural gas to help Pakistan combat crippling power shortages, including building a cross-border transmission line.  Both sides held energy cooperation talks last month just days after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office.

On Tuesday, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid met briefly with Prime Minister Sharif’s Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and said there is political will to take ties between India and Pakistan further. He told reporters in Brunei that New Delhi is already working in that direction.

“You have seen an immediate response given by India on issues of urgency in Pakistan, on the scarcity of power and gas," Khurshid noted.  "We are looking at the technical issues that are involved on both sides and we will respond within our capacity to the maximum extent.”

Even before his election in May, Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif had called for building greater ties between Islamabad and New Delhi. His foreign affairs advisor Aziz on Tuesday reaffirmed that sentiment following his 20-minute meeting with Khurshid.

“We have reviewed the various steps in the CBMs [confidence building measures] and in the composite dialogue that has been going on," Aziz said. "We discussed ways and means of fast-tracking them because there is a desire to on the part of people on both sides to accelerate cooperation.”

Aziz went on to express hope that Prime Minister Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh will meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September, if not earlier, to “provide greater political impetus” in the dialogue process.

Indian analyst Bharat Karnad with the New Delhi-based Center for Policy research says the dialogue is marking a new chapter in India-Pakistan relations.  He said it is time now for the Indian government to focus on the country’s role on the larger Asian geopolitical stage.

“India has to think big, has to think beyond the region, beyond the subcontinent and begin thinking in terms of emerging as a counterpoint to China in Asia," Karnad said. "That’s not going to happen if you keep obsessing about a small little weak country on the flank, such as Pakistan.”

Karnad said India helping Pakistan with its power shortages is a good step to ensure a pacified neighborhood, while also affording economic opportunities to the Indian market.

The question that now lingers is whether both governments can overcome longtime domestic opposition to forging closer ties.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid