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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid counter-terror intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid