India Takes a Softer line on Pakistan ?

A softer line
Editorial Dawn, 07 Jun, 2010

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna reiterated his country’s desire for dialogue with Pakistan to resolve outstanding issues during his recent visit to Washington. This is in keeping with India’s changed, softer line towards this country. But the fact that Mr Krishna chose to make these remarks in the US capital suggests that Washington is gently nudging New Delhi to keep lines of communication open with Islamabad. The minister made the remarks at a reception attended by President Obama. In keeping with standard practice the American president chose not to publicly comment on Pakistan and India’s bilateral relations. But a senior State Department official has confirmed Pakistan featured in the US-India strategic dialogue. India has long rejected ‘outside’ mediation concerning its relations with Pakistan, yet all signals indicate the Indians are listening to what the Americans have to say.

The call for dialogue was coupled with the familiar mantra for Pakistan to do more to tackle terror. Particular Indian concerns — supported by the US — include progress in the trial of the 2008 Mumbai attacks’ suspects and action against Pakistan-based militant outfits that might target India. Without naming Pakistan, Mr Krishna claimed that the “epicentre” of terror lies in “India’s neighbourhood.” While efforts by anyone to help forge peace between Pakistan and India are welcome, both nations must realise that ultimately, they need to sort out their problems themselves. There is no doubt that Pakistan needs to take action against terror outfits active on its territory. But considering the amorphous and unpredictable nature of the enemy, the peace process must continue even if efforts are made to sabotage it.

India should realise that peace with Pakistan is in its interest. With a home-grown, increasingly brutal Maoist insurgency raging within, India needs to maintain good relations with all its neighbours in order to deal with its internal security issues. July 15, when the Indian external affairs minister is due in Islamabad for talks with his Pakistani counterpart, is some weeks away. The regional geo-political situation may well take strange twists and turns in the intervening period. It is hoped that the desire for peace and dialogue is just as strong when Mr Krishna lands in Islamabad.

Indo-Pak hyphen irrelevant, says Krishna; US supports - Hindustan Times
U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue Joint Statement - US State Department
Promoting Strategic Dialogue - Times of India


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