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February 12, 2011

India, Pakistan talks at Thimpu — A way forward


February 12, 2011

The much awaited bilateral talks between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan concluded in Thimpu on 6th February ostensibly on a satisfactory note. Both the sides refrained from hurling conflicting comments post the interaction. Both the foreign secretaries agreed that India and Pakistan need to restart their dialogue process for resolving all issues that ail the bilateral relationship. Prior to the talks, the Indian officials indicated that terrorism issue will also come up for discussion which apparently did as the media persons quizzed Pakistan’s foreign secretary on terror related incidents. Terrorism has become a global phenomenon as each nation struggles to root it out from their national fabric.
India for long has used the terror issue for stalking the bilateral talks despite the fact that it continues to shy away from accepting its own home grown terror network. If India suffered in Mumbai incident, so did Pakistan in Samjautha Express incident. Both were terror incidents. As such, it would have been prudent for India to have agreed to expedite its investigations on Samjhauta Express terror incident as Pakistan sought to link it with that of Mumbai incident for cooperation in dealing with terrorism. Without showing any inclination or enthusiasm for an early end of Samjautha Express’s investigations and then asking Pakistan for expediting Mumbai’s terror incident, that too without provision of fool proof evidence, is just not morally correct. The involvement of Hindu terrorists in the Samjautha express incident has been many times confirmed even at the highest level in India. The obvious off and on handling of 2007’s Samjautha terror incident to take its perpetrators to task has denied the justice to the families of the 42 brutally massacred Pakistanis. Despite a lapse of four years, India is no where near to completion of its purported investigations and how many more years it will take, is anybody’s guess especially under the

shadows of growing Hindu terror clout.
In the wake of decades’ old estranged relationship between the two nuclear armed nations, Thimpu talks emerged as essentially about discussing the resumption of dialogue process, yet again, to resolve their differences. However, those following the India-Pakistan engagement processes have dubbed this particular interaction to have provided a glimmer of hope for a sustained engagement. It appears that both the sides agreed to desist from sticking to their immediate objectives for the time being to aid resumption of the dialogue as both the foreign secretaries affirmed the need to carry forward the dialogue process. The mere avoidance of rhetoric by either side points to have cleared the way for the respective foreign ministers’ meeting soon. The need for the two nuclear armed neighbors that are in a state of rivalry for the last six decades has never been greater as the people from both sides of the divide have suffered their progression towards regional prosperity and mutual understanding.
Normalization of relationship with India, as an objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been a priority with the government of Pakistan. Pakistan has always vied for essential peace with all its neighbors with honor, justice and worked to resolve issues through expeditious and sincere engagements. Pakistan and India have managed to co-exist since independence however the vacuum for an essential element of convergence on more equitable sustainable equation between the two countries continues to exist. The existing environment calls for an obligation to listen to each other and accommodate each others concern.

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