Monday, May 05, 2003

India-Pakistan: a path towards peace?

I cannot say that I think peace if forthcoming between the two South Asian neighbors, but I can say that hopefully Vajpayee's third attempt at forging a real and lasting peace between India and Pakistan will lead the two nations towards some sort of framework that has the potential to lead to peace. Amy Waldman's piece in the New York Times suggests
that "Mr. Vajpayee has already made clear that his approach this time will be substantially different from his two previous attempts at peace, which were initiated with high-profile summit meetings." She also notes that Vajpayee reiterated that New Delhi's insists "that Pakistan must end cross-border terrorism to create the right atmosphere for a sustained dialogue." But more importantly PM Vajpayee is not rushing into anything which signals hopefully, a stronger attempt at creating an agreement that works. The Kashmir dispute has been brewing for far too long, and is far too important to the psyche's of Indians and Pakistanis for a quick and fast solution, so Vajpayee's denial of Pakistan's immediate invitation, signals his commitment to taking the proper course and time necessary in creating a strong solution.

This also shows two important things: First, Vajpayee is testing Pakistan and their commitment to stopping cross border terror during the peak infiltration months of May-June. If the decrease in infiltrations remains during these months, it could signal that Pakistan is actually halting its support and actively halting the insurgents they have patronized for so long. Second, offering the difficult hand of peace is much harder, and more symptomatic of great powers than bellicose war-mongering that any third-rate state is capable of. To be a true regional hegemon, or be player in the international system, it is not necessary to highlight military prowess-while it does help to have the prowess as backup-but rather, the strength comes in the ability to wage peace. I hope this initiative is successful.

Here is a link to an article I wrote prior to the Agra summit, and way before September 11 entitled "On a Path Towards Peace." It is interesting to see how things have changed.


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