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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid