News / Asia

Pakistan-India NY Talks Get Muted Response Back Home

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 29, 2013.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 29, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
The much-awaited meeting in New York between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan on Sunday has been met with a mixed response back in their home nations. While some suggest it might have helped ease simmering military tensions in Kashmir, others say only a sustained and substantive dialogue on how to resolve long-running bilateral disputes will improve ties.
 
As was widely being anticipated, the first ever meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, did not produce any major announcements other than the two leaders agreeing to instruct their military commanders to take steps to restore the ceasefire across the disputed Kashmir frontier.
 
Critics in Pakistan, like former ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman, played down the significance of the event. She insisted that even the dates for the proposed army commanders meeting have not been announced. But Rehman stopped short of calling it a wasted opportunity.
 
“There were no big takeaways for broader peace initiatives. But there was a consensus on de-escalating the crisis in Kashmir, which was a dangerous spiral of violence that needed to be controlled by both sides with effective border mechanisms," she said. "These are mechanisms that really should be in place in any case. So they need to have taken this forward. So it keeps going back to the same reset.”
 
Reactions in India

In India, analysts sound a bit more optimistic, hoping that the talks lead to more regular meetings that could work to overcome the two sides’ mutual deep distrust.
 
“They were meeting on the sidelines [of the U.N. General Assembly]. And in a region like South Asia, the top political leadership must meet more often and in a manner that would be deemed as 'normal' and thereby increase the comfort level of these personal interactions," said Uday Bhaskar, who is with the Society of Policy Studies in New Delhi. "I think that has been reasonably satisfied or that objective has been met. On the substantive part, the fact that both of them have now tasked their respective director general of military operations to look at the Line of Control is also a small step but I would still characterize it as a positive step.”
 
Indian leaders maintain they want to have better relations with Pakistan to discuss outstanding territorial disputes, including Kashmir. But they say Islamabad needs to take steps to prevent terrorist attacks in India.
 
In his address to the United Nations Saturday, Singh called Pakistan the “epicenter of terrorism” in South Asia and said authorities must take a tougher stance against terrorist groups inside their borders. Sharif was more optimistic in his U.N. address, calling for a “new beginning” with India.
 
Uday Bhaskar says that addressing Indian security concerns has become the most important issue in talks between the two countries.
 
“For India, I think purely in terms of security challenges, I would say this is the top priority and the next few months will be very critical in getting a sense about how the Nawaz Sharif commitment is being translated into action,” Bhaskar said.
 
Among other security issues, Indian officials also demand that Pakistan speed up the trials of several suspects linked to the planning and execution of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

But former ambassador Rehman says that the two sides need to avoid putting conditions for having a normal bilateral relationship.
 
“I think we do need to move forward on finding a resolution to the Mumbai case but you can’t keep on posing conditions constantly and then still saying we are looking for a good outcome,” she said.
 
Singh’s party faces elections early next year and has been challenged by Hindu parties that favor a tougher stance against Pakistan. Skeptics say such political pressures could make engagement difficult for the Indian leader in the short term. But Sunday’s meeting may have set the stage for tangible improvements in the months ahead.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More