News / Asia

India, Pakistan Struggle to Set Terms for Peace Talks

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, right, walks with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna, left, as they arrive for talks at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, 15 July 2010
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, right, walks with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna, left, as they arrive for talks at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, 15 July 2010

Multimedia

Audio

As India's foreign minister, S.M. Krishna, prepared to open Thursday's talks with archrival Pakistan in Islamabad, he said he was bringing "a message of peace" to his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Memood Qureshi.

But earlier in the week, India directly accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of coordinating the 2008 Mumbai attacks.  In the past, India has said the agency, the ISI, was linked to the attackers, but this week's allegations are the first to directly blame the Pakistani government.

Robert Bradnock, a senior visiting research fellow at King's College in London, recently published the first-ever public opinion survey of people living in both Indian and Pakistani Kashmir.  Bradnock told VOA's Barry Newhouse that despite a long history of strained relations, both India and Pakistan seem to want to get back on solid ground.

Robert Bradnock: "The stakes are very high. For the Indian government, the resolution of those Mumbai attacks, the successful prosecution of the case, against those charged is still a really central priority.  And it could still prove a huge stumbling block."

Barry Newhouse: "But if India is now saying that Pakistan's intelligence services directly coordinated the Mumbai attacks, and says they have new evidence to back up that claim, including the interrogation of David Headly, the Pakistani-American linked to the Pakistani militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, where does that leave them?"

Robert Bradnock: "It leaves it still in a very, very difficult position. There is no evidence yet that the Pakistan government is willing to concede that the ISI [Pakistan's intelligence agency] played any part in the Mumbai attacks. And the evidence of David Headly is going to be a very significant stumbling block. And basically, the Indian position is that, at the moment, the Pakistan government hasn't taken sufficient steps either against the Lashkar-e-Taiba  or against those elements in the ISI who continue to support militant activity. And so there's going to be a really stressed path, if you like, back to a stable, serious discussion."

Barry Newhouse: "And on the Pakistani side, in Islamabad, there's still a great deal of suspicion about India's motives in Afghanistan as well as resolving the long-running Kashmir conflict, what do you see as the Pakistani interest in these talks?

Robert Bradnock:
"Pakistan is deeply suspicious of India's interest in Afghanistan. Pakistan fears being surrounded, not just having India as a potential enemy or as an actual enemy, in Pakistan's eyes, on its eastern frontier. But [also India] manipulating the situation in Afghanistan against Pakistani interests. One of the things that has been most difficult for Pakistan to come to terms with is that India is now seen internationally as the major economic force in South Asia, as the major, the key political player in South Asia.  That's been very difficult for Pakistan to come to terms with. And yet, there is a longterm security gain for Pakistan if it can stabilize relations with India.

Barry Newhouse:
"You authored a recent survey on Kashmir, the only survey conducted from both sides of the Line of Control. What did you hear from the Kashmiris?"

Robert Bradnock: "The overwhelming majority of Kashmiris on both sides of the border say unemployment is the most important issue, along with a whole range of other economic issues. But having said that, nearly all Kashmiris do say that solving this crisis problem is very important to them personally. The thrust of Kashmiri opinon found in this report is that we need to be involved in a politically negotiated settlement. We can find that settlement, we can find it around looking at the Line of Control, modifiying the Line of Control, making it a soft border, but we need to be involved in all of those discusssions and in the politics. And that's still a big step for Pakistan and India to take."

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid