mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Skepticism Abounds as Pakistan and India PMs Meet in New York


Indian PM Manmohan Singh confirmed today that he will be meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in the coming days. While both Indian and Pakistani peace activists will be happy to see a handshake and talks between the two leaders, this meeting will ultimately do little to move the normalization process along.

The BJP, its hawkish allies, and the Indian media have opposed the embattled Congress party’s overtures to Pakistan. These overtures have never truly been reciprocated by Pakistan, which historically has had a knack for ruining any substantial negotiations. The Pakistani military invaded Kashmir a month after former PM Vajpayee’s visit to Pakistan in 1999. And Pakistani militants attacked Mumbai in 2008 when both governments were close to a negotiated settlement over Kashmir. Even now, Hafiz Saeed, the cleric whom India has identified as the man responsible for the Mumbai attacks, roams around freely in Lahore under government protection despite the $10 million bounty on his head.

While Pakistan’s civilian leadership wants a negotiated peace with India, the military does not. And the fissure between the civilian and military leadership in Pakistan becomes exposed particularly when it comes to dealing with India. Unfortunately for the prime ministers, the Pakistani military will still have the last word on peace between India and Pakistan, handshake or no.

[Manmohan Singh photo courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service