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Pakistan and India Take Baby Steps Toward Rapprochement

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.

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  • Atanu Maulik

    Pakistan has been trying to undermine India for the past 60 years without much success. Now when you can’t do much when India is the world’s 10th largest economy and has the 10th largest defense budget, will you find it any easier in 2020 when India becomes the world’s 5th largest economy with a military to match or in 2030 when it may rise to the 3rd spot ? Hopefully some in the Pakistani establishment will start thinking along these lines and change course. This obsession with India is ultimately ruining Pakistan.

  • Raymundo

    The Pakistani PM visited India on 30 March 2012 to watch the World Cup Cricket Semi Final. He was invited by the Indian PM. They watched the game together. India beat Pakistan in a ripper of a game.

  • Raymundo

    Sorry, I meant 30 March 2011

  • carvaka

    this is like a groundhog day. though unfortunately not much of a comedy.

    this “start” is nothing new. in the last 15 years – there were 4 such starts. the last three successively were disrupted due to kargil war, parliament attack and 26/11.

    so it not a question whether the latest one will be of any success ?
    – it will until the time it fails.
    or how long will it last?
    -until the next terror attack. pakistan so far hasn’t shown any indication of dealing with the terrorists. it is just a matter of time till the next one happens .

    the real question is how long indian politicians can afford to use their political capital in this game of running in circles.

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