It has been seven years since a Pakistani head of state visited India, and almost four years since the Mumbai attacks (perpetrated, some say, by elements in Pakistan’s security services) put peace talks between the two nations on hold. But this week Pakistani Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and took another shuffling step toward peace.The FT reports:
“The relations between India and Pakistan should become normal. That is our common desire,” said Mr Singh. “We have a number of issues and we are willing to find tactical, pragmatic solutions to [them].”Mr Zardari said Pakistan wanted better relations. “We are hoping to meet on Pakistani soil very soon,” he said, accompanied by his son, Bilawal, who is co-chair of the ruling Pakistan’s People’s party.
Visits like this do not mean Pakistan and India will soon become best buds, but they should not be discounted as worthless diplomatic posturing either. Via Meadia is hopeful that Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a little progress on improving trade relations between their two countries; it’s a good place to start.As always, it’s best to keep one’s expectations modest. There are powerful forces on both sides of the border who don’t want rapprochement to go too far, too fast. But every step that Pakistan and India take toward one another makes American foreign policy just a little bit easier.