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

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs