May 12, 2003
INDIA-PAKISTAN 'DETENTE': ARMITAGE MUST 'CAJOLE'
America is the "only international power that has influence" in both
** English-language papers
in Pakistan support Armitage's effort to "facilitate dialogue," while
in India they cautiously welcome Islamabad's "peace initiative."
** Vernacular dailies in
both countries more openly both express distrust for each other and allege
Armitage seeks only to protect "U.S. interests."
The U.S. is the 'needed partner' for an 'outbreak of peace'-- Papers outside the subcontinent applauded the
U.S.' "far more interventionist diplomacy" in one of the world's
"most dangerous trouble spots."
Sri Lanka's pro-opposition Island stated that "never have
the two nations been so dependent on any one nation as they are on the U.S.
today." Britain's conservative Times
said that "troubleshooter" Armitage's "dramatic" visit offered
a "glimmer of hope," while the moderate Bangkok Post urged
Armitage to "apply pressure to both sides" to set a
"full-fledged [peace] conference."
Other papers warned "a sustained diplomatic effort" is
necessary to reduce the rivals' "atavistic animosities." There was a general "pro-India"
perception, with widespread praise of Indian PM Vajpayee's "olive
branch" and criticism of Islamabad's support of "religious
martyrdom" in Kashmir.
Subcontinent outlets urge building 'bridges of peace' and 'denuclearization'-- Moving past the traditional "surcharged
atmosphere of violence and terrorism," English-language papers were more
inclined to back closer ties. India's
centrist Hindu noted "deep longing felt at the ground level for
peace and cooperation," while Pakistan's centrist News praised
"any honest effort to create peace."
India's pro-reform Economic Times acknowledged Pakistan "may
be...serious about the current peace initiative," and Pakistan's
independent Dawn said Islamabad's traditional Kashmir policy degraded
"the holy concept of jihad by giving blatant terrorism a religious
cover." These outlets supported
Armitage, claiming he could "nudge the leaders of India and Pakistan to
the negotiating table."
Non-English papers took a harder line-- Local-language outlets had less faith in the
recent "detente moves."
India's independent Ananda Bazar Patrika blasted Musharraf's
"ploy of feigning to be a good guy," while Hindi-language outlets
asserted "Pakistan is incurable" and "cannot be
trusted." Pro-BJP Pratap
said New Delhi must watch "how long America's love lasts for
Urdu-language Pakistani outlets called India "responsible for the
deteriorating situation" in Kashmir, emphasizing the U.S.' reluctance to
pressure "India to stop its state terrorism." Leading Jang alleged that Armitage did
not want "the solution of the Kashmir issue, but the protection of U.S.
interests." Right-wing Jasarat
added the U.S. usually "sells its arms and ammunition by creating rifts
among nations," and in this case only backs peace to more easily access
the region's "oil and gas."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This survey
was based on 53 reports from 12 countries over 3 - 12 May 2003. Excerpts from each country are listed from
the most recent date.
Bronwen Maddox declared in the conservative Times
(5/7): "The mutual decision by
India and Pakistan to put themselves on speaking terms again does not yet
amount to peace in our time, but the move has been dramatic, and it springs out
of parallel decisions in each capital that acknowledge that something has to
change. That glimmer of hope--together
with the nuclear threat that has hovered over the past 18 months of tension--is
why Richard Armitage, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, has arrived today as
a troubleshooter yet again in the region.
What has changed? The quick
answer is American pressure on both capitals.... The Bush administration is also not blind
that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating.... Yet the longer, and more important answer, is
the change in mindset in both Delhi and Islamabad. In Delhi, the motivation is simpler and the
change perhaps more profound. Above
anything else, it appears that Vajpayee, considered a dove within the ruling
BJP party, has made a personal commitment to launch a drive for peace. There has been, too, the huge cost to both
countries of maintaining troops on the frontier for almost a year, particularly
at a time of economic pressure.... There
is perhaps a willingness to lower expectations and to deal with other issues
affecting both countries, such as trade, and not to home in on the hardest and
hugest problem from the start. And the
changes on the Pakistani side? There is
a recognition in Islamabad that the situation cannot continue as it is, and
that the U.S. is serious when it tells Pakistan to clamp down on cross-border
infiltration from training camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir."
Jochen Buchsteiner noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(5/6): “Since the Bush administration
has discovered the problem of WMD and their potential proliferation, the Indian
subcontinent has climbed on the list of priorities of U.S. foreign policy.... The pressure, which the U.S. exerted on the
governments in Delhi and Islamabad to prevent war, concealed the late insight
that South Asia should no longer be left to itself.... Both India and Pakistan are fixated on the
U.S. Intrigued by the U.S. economic and
military power. Delhi is today...trying
to get advantages by leaning on the U.S.
The robustly-led anti-terror war in particular serves as an orientation
for India for its treatment of Pakistan.
Islamabad, in turn, is one of Washington’s main allies in the war
against Islamic terrorism and lets the U.S. pay for politically and financially
for this support. With its grown
political and military presence in South Asia, the U.S. is currently the only
international power that has influence on the political classes both in
Islamabad and Delhi.... The U.S. has
recognized the Indian subcontinent as one of the most dangerous trouble spots
in the world and that it is willing to act seems offer the currently only
approach for detente in South Asia.”
Peter Sturm opined in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine
(5/6): “Nobody would be opposed to India
and Pakistan dismantling their nuclear weapons.
But the corresponding Indian proposal from Monday is mainly of
propagandistic value. On the one hand,
the nuclear weapons are for both countries evidence of their national
greatness. On the other hand, India is
faced not only with the Pakistani nuclear power but also with China. And India has a kind of competitive
relationship with this neighbor. Both
consider themselves leading powers in Asia.
That is why we cannot expect India to accept the Pakistani offer. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s step signals that
détente between the hostile neighbors could be more sustainable this time than
before. In Pakistan, the government is
trying to bring about a common policy of the leading political groups. We are now eagerly awaiting the leading
political force in India, the BJP, to convey to their supporters that it is possible
to find reasonable political solutions with the ‘enemy.’”
RUSSIA: "India And
Sergei Strokan wrote in reformist business-oriented Kommersant
(5/8): "After the visit to Pakistan
Richard Armitage will go to Afghanistan and on Saturday he is due in
India.... Talks in Delhi promise to be
complicated. The Indian side has made it
clear that normalization of relations with Pakistan may remain no more than a
good wish unless Islamabad convinces Delhi that it is serious about putting an
end to terrorism.... Richard Armitage
will have to cajole the Indians into showing more patience and continuing
political dialogue with Islamabad even if Pakistan's actions do not quite live
up to Delhi's expectations."
"A Final Attempt"
Valentina Kulyabina remarked in reformist Vremya Novostei
(5/8): "Last week Indian Premier
Vajpayee proposed to Pakistan to turn a new leaf in bilateral
relations.... Fighting over the status
of Kashmir has broken out twice between India and Pakistan. Last year it was only through the efforts of
international diplomacy, including Russia, that a war between the two nuclear
powers was prevented. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan
thinks that Pakistan had to develop its own nuclear weapons 'because of India's
nuclear ambitions. We would be only too
glad to liquidate our nuclear weapons,' he said, 'if India is ready to
liquidate its own. It calls for
AUSTRALIA: “Talking Out Old
The conservative Australian editorialized (5/8): “The counselors of despair who warned that
the war against Iraq would generate a Muslim rage around the world are being
proved wrong by an outbreak of peace between India and Pakistan.... Muslim Pakistan appears to recognize that
there is no future in religious martyrdom and is willing to start a process
that could end an arms race it can neither afford nor win against its much
larger neighbor. That an agreement to
restore diplomatic ties is being hailed as a breakthrough demonstrates how bad
things were.... It is difficult to see
how the two powers will resolve these differences but at least they have taken
one step back and as Winston Churchill advised, 'jaw jaw is better than war
war.' And in the most positive sign that
both nations are anxious for peace they have also agreed to join together where
they share a common faith--on the cricket field.”
Ding Zi observed in official Communist-party run People's Daily
(Renmin Ribao) (5/4): "The
hotline phone conversation on 28 April undoubtedly played a positive role in
speeding up the process of dialogue between Pakistan and India.... While showing concern for the diplomatic
'interaction' between the two countries, Pakistani public opinion has
repeatedly explored the prospects of the improvement in India-Pakistan
relations this time.... According to
another analysis, in the current international situation, improvement in
relations between Pakistan and India not only is conducive to promoting the
economic development of the two countries and South Asia as a whole, but also
conform with the national security interests of the two countries. This analysis holds that if the Kashmir issue
leads to the deterioration of Pakistan-India relations and causes the U.S. and
its allies to regard Kashmir as the focus of their 'intervention' in the future
and meddle with the affairs of South Asia, it will be 'disastrous' to both
Pakistan and India.... Of course, some
people in Pakistan also held that there are still many factors of uncertainty
in improving the relations of the two countries. An article says the dispute over whether or
not Pakistan has supported the 'cross-boundary terrorists activities' is not
yet over and the influence of the 'hawks' in India's cabinet remains quite
great. At the beginning of April, Indian
Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh still said it was necessary to
launch a 'preemptive' attack on Pakistan.
Therefore, it is easy for Pakistan and India to break the deadlock, but
it is not at all easy for them to reach unanimity on some sensitive and crucial
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"The Long Odds For Peace Between India And Pakistan"
Independent English-language South China Morning Post
Foreign Editor Peter Kammerer commented (5/10):
"Relations between India and Pakistan have never been friendly, so
expecting progress from the latest peace overtures seemingly belongs in the
realm of delirious optimism. Bringing harmony to South Asia is not simply a
matter of resolving the Kashmir issue--the hearts and minds of the people of
two nuclear-capable nations also need to be altered.... Amid this week's visit to both capitals by a
10-member American delegation, led by Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage, signs would point to the start of a process that would cap Mr.
Vajpayee's political career, likely to end in national elections due by next
October. Mr. Vajpayee is 78 and in poor
health. He has acknowledged that
bringing India and Pakistan together would be his legacy, prompting analysts to
wonder how deep such feelings resonate within deeply anti-Pakistani political
circles in India.... Washington doesn't
care about South Asia--that's the truth of the matter. There needs to be a sustained diplomatic effort,
money and time.... Whatever the solution
may be, Mr. Vajpayee will not see his moves reach fruition during his
premiership or, perhaps, even his lifetime. A single peace summit, or even two
or three, will only be the beginning of what will be a years-long process that
must eventually include meetings at all levels of Indian and Pakistani
"Reasons Behind The Moderating Of India-Pakistan Ties"
Shih Chun-yu observed in pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao
(5/5): "Recently there has been
surprising progress in diplomatic activities between India and Pakistan
surrounding the dispute over Kashmir....
The new moderate posture taken by the Indian leadership has opened a big
door toward solving the Kashmir question and improving the India-Pakistan
relationship.... The international
background is different, a reference to the launching of the Iraqi War by
U.S.-UK coalition forces. Vajpayee
openly pointed out that 'the Iraqi War has given us a warning that it is
extremely important and the only path for India and Pakistan that they solve
their differences by peaceful negotiation.'
This fully demonstrates that the Iraq war has shocked the world and
caused reflection in every country. It
has caused the countries involved in long-term disputes to undertake
self-criticism with the hope of taking the initiative in adopting measures to
seek peace and stability for their own areas.... To avoid attracting a wolf into the room and
giving a foreign country the excuse to interfere in regional conflicts, the
wisest thing to do is to use peaceful means to solve the differences between
India and Pakistan and to quiet down the Kashmir conflict."
Relations: Inside The Thawing
Moderate Tokyo Shimbun opined (5/12): "Amid continuing tensions, India and
Pakistan have embarked on a path to improve their relations. It is to be desired that both sides, between
which war has broken out three times, can restart summit meetings as soon as
possible and set out on a path towards stability in South Asia and a solution
to the Kashmir conflict.... We welcome
the movements towards improving relations from both sides, as a positive change
in Indo-Pakistani relations would have both direct and indirect effects on both
South Asian and world peace....
Regarding this current effort to normalize relations, officials from
both sides have made clear that they want to arrange a summit meeting, in
addition to working together on confidence building measures and to start with
easy-to-implement fields in both countries' common interests, such as resuming
sports exchanges and promoting trade and economic ties. Looking at the historical development of the
Kashmir issue, we are at a time when the Kashmir conflict must be ended. Violence between the countries is an everyday
event, and between 30,000 and 50,000 civilian victims have resulted. We hope that the leaders of both countries
can meet in a summit as quickly as possible.
The longer it takes to arrange a meeting that can grasp the thread of a
solution, the more the number of victims will increase."
"India-Pakistan 'Détente' Welcomed"
Business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (5/8): "Both India and Pakistan suddenly have
moved to improve relations. Although the
two nuclear powers remain at loggerheads over the Kashmir dispute, it is now a
good time for them to build up mutual confidence and ease tensions. When Deputy Secretary Armitage visits India
and Pakistan this week, he is expected to ask them to improve relations. But the immediate normalization of ties is
not likely.... Such measures as the
disengagement of Indian and Pakistani troops from the border and Pakistan's
intensification of crackdowns on radicals as well as goodwill cricket games by
Indian and Pakistani players would contribute to confidence building. Although difficulties lie ahead in the
normalization of Indo-Pakistani relations, both sides should take advantage of
'détente' moves to realize a summit of their leaders at an early date."
"Vajpayee Overture Boosts Hopes For Peace In South Asia"
B. Gautam wrote in the leftist, English-langauge
Japan Times (5/7): "At a
time when the world has given up hope of peace between India and Pakistan,
essentially because of fighting over Kashmir, New Delhi sprang a
surprise...restoring diplomatic relations with Islamabad. Making it very clear that this will be his
last attempt at peace on the subcontinent...Vajpayee, at 76, proved he is
indeed a leader with a genuine passion for peace. On the other side of the fence, President
Musharraf has enough clout over civilian and military forces to settle the
vexed Kashmir issue. If he lacks
comfortable command anywhere, it is over the religious elements in Pakistan
that have been setting up camps to train fanatical militants to carry out
cross-border terrorism.... Both
Musharraf and Vajpayee appear determined to end this hostile existence, and New
Delhi, as the larger neighbor, has taken very welcome first steps.... Given the volatile ties between the two
warring nations, predicting an outcome of India's latest peace overtures is
difficult. But nobody can deny the
urgency of peace.... One may or may not
agree with the view that New Delhi is now 'forced' to maintain a degree of
nuclear superiority over Islamabad: Since India has promised not to strike
first, it will have to brace itself for the effort and expense involved in
creating a second-strike capability. One
can then see how imperative it has become for these two states to forge peace
in Kashmir. More pertinent than this,
India and Pakistan must realize that their terribly wasteful expenditures on
defense--both conventional and nuclear--could be used for pressing
The pro-government Business Times editorialIzed (5/9): "The ice had been broken. Though New
Delhi has not officially abandoned its position that there would be no talks
with Pakistan until 'cross-border terrorism' ceases, it in effect did. This is
a 'very, very promising' development, as US Secretary of State Colin Powell put
it, opening an opportunity for the US to mediate between the two
countries. That opportunity must be
exploited aggressively, before the forces of negation in both countries get the
upper hand.... Even now, it is not
altogether certain that Mr. Vajpayee's surprise moves were not tactical in
nature, an attempt to gain the upper hand before Mr. Armitage arrives in India
today. The Indian overtures have in effect placed the onus on Pakistan to come
up with matching commitments, especially on interdicting cross-border
infiltrations of militants from Pakistan into Kashmir, or face international
pressure if it does not. If anything should happen in Kashmir now--another
terrorist outrage, say, or a bomb blast somewhere in India--New Delhi would be
in a better position to isolate Pakistan, having made a conciliatory
gesture. But whatever the tactical
reasons for the timing of the gestures might have been, the point is New Delhi did
make them, and Islamabad did respond positively.... There is no mystery about what a rational
solution to the Kashmir dispute would look like.... The essential point is this: Neither India
nor Pakistan can hope to attain their maximum aims in Kashmir. They must settle
on a minimum acceptable to both."
THAILAND: “Diplomatic Thaw
Should Aid Kashmir”
Top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok
Post editorialized (5/3): “New Delhi
has shown itself agreeable to a thaw in relations by restoring full diplomatic
ties and air links. The next step is for
it to reciprocate more specifically to the move by Islamabad to bring about a
permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.
Such a settlement is way past due and this is reflected by the rising
death toll among civilians in Kashmir.
Hopefully, Mr. Armitage and the UNSC can bring pressure to bear to get a
full-fledged conference going which will produce a lasting solution and benefit
all sides, not least the Kashmiris themselves.”
“Seize The Moment In Kashmir”
The top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok
Post editorialized (5/4):
"Deputy Secretary Armitage is traveling to the region in the coming
week to apply pressure to both sides to resume talks. This is a good move, as Armitage carries a
considerable authority, but it should be just the first one in a heightened
international effort to bring peace to an area with unsurpassed natural
INDIA: "Prelude To
The centrist Indian Express editorialized (5/12): "Mishra put the American role in
perspective, including American efforts at 'prevention of conflict.' A year after he sought to avert an Indo-Pak
war by carting to New Delhi an assurance that Pakistan would 'permanently' end
cross-border terrorism--and just hours after he conveyed Pakistan President
Pervez Musharraf's contention that terrorist training camps had ceased to exist
in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir--he was presented proof to the contrary. In
response, the envoy promised greater American pressure on Islamabad to curb
terrorist activity. America's leverage
in Pakistan has been repeatedly demonstrated in recent months, and it is time
Musharraf's army was held to account for its protestations about preventing
infiltration across the Line of Control."
"He Came And Went Back"
Pro-BJP Urdu-language Pratap held (5/12): "The visit of the Deputy Secretary
Armitage was apparently of no consequence because the Indian leaders simply
refused to accept his assertion made earlier in Islamabad that Pakistan's
support to terrorism had declined. After listening to the tough talks in New
Delhi, Armitage must be thinking that he should not have visited the area at
all. Last year, too, he had made wishful
statement after getting wrong assurances in Islamabad, which was proved to be
false later. Though he would not say it
publicly, the documented truth presented before him was let down by
Pakistan. This was evident from the way
he tried to clarify the purpose of his visit and the US role between India and
Pakistan. It is now to be watched how
long America's love lasts for Pakistan."
"Reversing Downgrade Of Missions"
K.K. Katyal analyzed in the centrist Hindu (5/11): "Armitage avoided putting an optimistic
interpretation in New Delhi on what he was told by...Musharraf, in Islamabad--that
if at all there were any camps (of terrorists) they would be gone
tomorrow. Islamabad did not succeed in
broadening the scope of bilateral dialogue--so as to include the idea of a
nuclear-free South Asia or de-nuclearization of India and Pakistan. In the past, Pakistan had initiated such
suggestions at the behest of Americans.
There was, however, no headway because of India's opposition. Islamabad obviously counted on pleasing
Washington and strengthening its position in relation to India. The US was not inclined to diffuse the focus
on the current Indo-Pak. issues. That
was evident from the remark of Armitage in reply to a question on the subject
in Islamabad. He did not seem to treat it as a matter of high priority. As a matter of fact, Pakistan was engaged in
a defensive battle in Washington last week on issues related to nuclear weapons
and cross-border terrorism. It had to
work hard for the withdrawal of a congressional amendment in the House Foreign
Relations Committee that would have hampered U.S. financial assistance."
"Good Beginning, But..."
An editorial in the Mumbai-based left-of-center Free Press
Journal read (5/10): "The US
State Department's assertion that it has no plans on Kashmir at best sounds
condescending given the manner in which senior administrations officials have
been waxing eloquent on the issue....
New Delhi is likely to view any 'plan' that US Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage brings with him for the subcontinent through the prism of the
largesse in the form or money and sophisticated armament that Washington is now
rewarding Pakistan with. Now even as the
'peace process' takes off with some ostensible CBMs, India has time to find out
whether US pressure on Pakistan is working on the ground. But it also gives the terrorists time to plan
and execute another attack on India, with or without Pakistani complicity. If that happens, it will be back to Square
The pro-opposition Urdu-language Qaumi Awaz opined
(5/8): "PM Vajpayee and his
government is taking precautions in responding to suggestions and announcements
being made by Islamabad...to avoid the fate of similar attempts of restoring
relations in the past. In view of the
past and prevailing nature of relations with Pakistan, India's apprehensions
cannot be ignored and no government in New Delhi can afford to compromise on
the national interests to facilitate talks with Islamabad. However, it would be unwise to reverse the
process of restoring relations and close the door for talks. Both countries have suffered enormously on
all accounts due to bilateral conflict and tension. The leadership on both sides must work to
facilitate peace and to keep the renewed process going."
"Aggressive Diplomacy Needed"
Kolkata's independent Bengali-language Ananda Bazar Patrika
held (5/8): "When diplomacy is
synonymous with the continuum of affront, it really makes sense to play the
game of demarche by keeping the ball in another's court. Both Indian and Pakistani policy-makers have
always tried to attain that goal. A new
edition of that play is now being seen on the eve of Richard Armitage's trip to
this subcontinent.... The actual target
of saying 'we are good and they are bad' is obviously Washington whose pressure
is there on both the countries--insistence on de-escalation of tension and
conflict as well as to establish peace.
That Islamabad has recently expressed its eagerness to rid the
subcontinent of nuclear weapons should not be construed as the distinct manifestation
of Pakistani military regime's goodwill.
Rather, that is certainly a ploy of feigning to be a good guy to the
U.S.... It is hard to say whether
Washington would be taken in by this knavery.... However, there is no doubt that Pakistan has
not misread the new game of bipartite diplomacy, initiated by Vajpayee's offer
of friendship and has so far been making smart moves.... India now needs to call the bluff of Pakistan
at international fora by pursuing an aggressive diplomacy."
Pravin Sawhney contended in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer
(5/8): "Vajpayee's peace call has
nothing to do with his sense of destiny.
He simply has no choice. Even
while acknowledging the existence of terrorist infrastructure in PoK, and
Pakistan's continued support to infiltration across the LoC, the U.S. has
finally made it clear that it will not push General Musharraf beyond a
point. The General is crucial to keep
Pakistan's nuclear weapons under tight control, to fight fundamentalism within Pakistan,
to help bring peace in Afghanistan, to provide safe land passage to the Central
Asian Republics across Afghanistan, to assist in fighting the al Qaida and the
Taliban terrorists hiding in Pakistan, and to continue providing military bases
in that country for counter-terrorist operations in Afghanistan.... The U.S. has silently accepted General
Musharraf's distinction between good and bad terrorists. While Pakistan would fight bad terrorists
alongside the U.S., the latter should wink at the good terrorists fighting
under the tutelage of Pakistan for self-determination in J&K. The U.S. professor-turned-diplomat, Robert
Blackwill, had difficulty understanding how the U.S. could run with the hare
and hunt with the hound. That the
Ambassador to India decided to quit on U.S. double-speak in the region is a
strong message for India that the State Department no longer endorses Delhi's
position. Vajpayee was faced with the
option of either displeasing the U.S. with his continued refusal to talk to
Pakistan, or to make a virtue out of necessity.
According to insiders, National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra helped
Vajpayee make the peace offer."
"The Road To Peace"
The centrist Asian Age opined (5/8): "India and Pakistan are moving full
speed ahead towards resuming talks, but are still maintaining a high degree of
caution.... It is true that Delhi was
hoping for some kind of move to confer MFN status on India, allow overflights,
and a stronger condemnation of cross-border terrorism. However, before
responding to every comma and semi-colon both countries would do well to decide
one, whether they actually want to talk, two, talk on what and three, are
committed sufficiently to ignore the barbs and drive full gear ahead. There can
be no in-between position.... There can
be no two opinions that peace between India and Pakistan is a must, just as
there are no two opinions that this cannot come about in a surcharged
atmosphere of violence and terrorism."
"Armitage At Home In India With No House"
K.P. Nayar commented in the centrist Kolkata-based Telegraph
(5/8): "The US may be attempting to
introduce democracy in Iraq, but America's top diplomat now in South Asia is
allergic to India's Parliament....
Richard Armitage will arrive in New Delhi a few hours after Parliament,
which unanimously criticized the Bush Administration's war on Iraq, adjourns
sine die.... Such an itinerary makes it
certain that Indian MPs will have neither the time nor the inclination to vent
their feelings against Washington once again, taking advantage of the presence
of a senior Bush envoy. Not that they would have done so for certain, what with
anti-American feeling only a fraction of what it was during the Vietnam era or
in the run up to the war for liberating Bangladesh. Yet, the Parliament
resolution on Iraq was a warning that unpleasantness must be avoided if
possible. Both India and the US agreed that the best way to achieve that was
for Armitage not to give any excuse to MPs to say or do anything anti-American.
Armitage has done his best in the run-up to his visit to dispel any such notion
and to rationalize expectations from his three-nation tour.... India's swift, but critical response to a set
of Pakistani confidence-building measures...are being interpreted...as an effort
to ensure that Musharraf reiterates his commitments in word during Armitage's
stay in Islamabad and honors them in deed after the US envoy has gone
home.... Armitage may suggest to
Musharraf that Pakistan should make an appeal to Kashmiri militant groups for a
cease-fire to give the current peace moves a chance. In return, India would
have to give a commitment to a process of sustained dialogue aimed at producing
"Putting Pakistan First?"
C. Raja Mohan maintained in the centrist Hindu (5/8): "The time has come, many analysts in
Pakistan believe, for Islamabad to put 'Pakistan First' in its national
strategy. They argue that Pakistan's
magnificent obsession to 'liberate Kashmir' at any cost since the late 1980s
has turned out to be disastrous.... The
success of the peace process between India and Pakistan, hopes for which have
risen in recent days, will depend a lot on whether Islamabad has learnt any
lessons from the 1990s and is willing to adopt a new course.... If the present economic trends continue,
there is a fate worse than this awaiting Islamabad. Bangladesh, until recently considered the
basket case of the region, is poised to beat Pakistan. A combination of factors has made it
inevitable that Bangladesh will soon have a larger economic standing than
Pakistan.... Equally shocking for
Pakistan are other social indicators. In
Pakistan, the mortality rate for children under five has barely come down from
128 in 1990 to 109 in 2000.... The
search for political parity with India has been the primary motivating factor
driving the Pakistani establishment.
Assuming there is no decline in this ardor, Pakistan will have to grow
much faster than India to maintain any semblance of equality with India. To stay even close to India, Pakistan
requires massive internal reforms. And
the success of that reform would demand a respite in the hostilities with India
if not genuine peace.... India, however,
should not allow the negative signals from Pakistan to undermine its peace
initiative. While demanding movement on
the questions of trade and cross-border terrorism before a formal dialogue can
begin, India must continue to build on the small steps the two sides have
broadly agreed. In addition, India must
also put forward another set of confidence-building measures to keep the peace
process rolling along."
The centrist Times of India opined (5/7): "General Musharraf...threw New Delhi
into confusion by talking about the prospect of a no-war pact with India
followed by de-nuclearization of South Asia, provided the two countries were
able to resolve the Kashmir issue. If
this was a clever PR tactic to take the peace initiative back from Atalji
(Vajpayee) and put New Delhi on the back foot, then it worked wonderfully
well. Instead of pointing out the
implausibility, not to mention the lack of sincerity, of the general's
unexpected offer, New Delhi chose to greet it with a show of silence.... Islamabad's proposal was a fine idea, but
only in theory.... In practice, as a
country that is widely known to have engaged in nuclear proliferation till
recently--in exchange for missile technology with Pyongyang, for
instance--Islamabad's credentials for a no-nuke pact are somewhat
suspect.... New Delhi's response was
singularly inept. It's time that changed
because reports from Washington suggest that New Delhi is set to face increased
American pressure on the question of N-weapons."
The pro-economic-reform Economic Times commented
(5/7): "Indications that Pakistan
may be more serious about the current peace initiative than it has been in the
past continue to grow. The Pakistan
government has made the domestic political moves necessary for any meaningful
dialogue.... Musharraf has himself put
his shoulder to the wheel by coming out with a vision of a no-war pact that
would lead finally to a reduction in the size of the Pakistani army and
denuclearization of the subcontinent.
But while these responses from across the border reflect a willingness
not to be constrained by old positions, they do not necessarily imply any
significant reduction in the differences between the two countries."
"Indo-Pak Talks: No
Change In Ground Situation"
An editorial in Punjabi-language Jagbani read (5/7): "Every Indian is thinking what would be
the gain of Prime Minister Vajpayee extending hand of friendship to Pakistan.
Although the statements of Pakistani leaders hold some hopes of mutual relations
improving, their actions do not yet match their words. Consequent upon the 2001
attacks on J&K Assembly and Indian Parliament, Pakistani over flights and
rail and bus services were stopped, the High Commissioner was recalled, forces
were deployed and mines were laid. In response to Vajpayee's gesture on April
18, Pak Prime Minister Jamali's telephone call on April 28 was meant to improve
relations and to undertake talks on all issues including Kashmir. Thereupon
Vajpayee called for putting an end to cross border terrorism and demolition of
terrorist training infrastructure in Pakistan to enable the resumption of
airflights between the two countries and the appointment of High Commissioners.
Airflights can now be resumed any time and hectic preparations for Samjhauta
Express and the Delhi-Lahore bus service have started.... Though Musharraf, Jamali and Kasuri are
talking of starting negotiations with Indian and improving relations, the
Pakistani Army and ISI are continuing terrorism and subversion in Jammu &
Kashmir without let or hindrance."
"Sustaining The Momentum"
The centrist Hindu contended (5/7): "The swing from the futile hostility and
rhetoric of the last few months to an embarrassing upsurge of expectations
reflects the deep longing felt at the ground level for peace and cooperation
between the two neighboring countries.
At the same time, it underscores the need for a measure of caution so
that the considerable gains of the past fortnight are not frittered
away.... There are some enduring lessons
to be learnt from the three weeks of subcontinental detente. The first is that the process has to be
graduated and measured so that it is sustainable. Which means that much ground
needs to be covered before even the Foreign Secretaries can meet while a summit
must await the conducive atmosphere that both countries are pledged to create.
Secondly, and more importantly for India, there is need for New Delhi to give
up its rigidity which in a large measure led to the collapse of the Agra
summit.... If compromise is at the heart
of good neighborliness, India as the larger nation must be willing and ready to
give more for the common good of the South Asian region."
"Armitage Starts Work After Gvining A Lesson To ISI"
Soumya Bandyopadhyay held in Kolkata's left-of-center
Bengali-language Sambad Pratidin (5/7):
"What is the reason behind a sudden trip to the U.S. by the chief
of ISI that has so far been considered to be the main thorn on way of
normalization of India-Pakistan relations?
The simple and cryptic answer is that the Bush Administration has
urgently summoned Lt. General Ehsanul Haq ... Only this development makes it
amply clear how desperate America is to evolve a solution to the intricate
Kashmir problem after having addressed the situation in Afghanistan and
Iraq.... Maybe, Musharraf has pulled the
strings behind this summoning.... India
may now certainly hope that probably appropriate actions would be taken in
order to reduce cross-border terrorism so the upcoming bipartite talks become
meaningful.... Those who think that with
Vajpayee's extending helping hands to Pakistan would be reviving a golden era
of camaraderie and Vajpayee would visit Lahore or Islamabad without any
hesitation would be committing a mistake.
In fact, a new era has just begun after a long spell of heightened tension. For the time being Pakistan will have to
prove its credibility and goodwill. The
roadmap to the exact agenda of the meeting would be charted later.... A clear picture will emerge during Armitage's
"Has India Been Able To Figure Pakistan Out?"
Hindi-language Punjab Kesri editorialized (5/7): "India should understand the basic truth
once and for all--Pakistan is incurable.
There is no way Pakistan will mend its ways. Whether Armitage comes
calling or his boss, none can straighten Pakistan. For India, there is no need to send a high
commissioner to Islamabad. To the
contrary, India should declare Pakistan a terrorist state."
Hindi-language Rajasthan Patrika observed (5/7): "Musharraf is trying to project that he
is all for peace and stability in South Asia.
Actually, the agenda that Musharraf is projecting as his own at present
is not really his own. It is America's
agenda.... Musharraf has very cleverly
kept himself in the background and kept Jamali in the forefront. This way, he gets the credit for any success
and Jamali gets the flak for anything that may go wrong.... Musharraf cannot be trusted. Twice before, magnanimity has cost India very
Hindi-language Rashtriya Sahara editorialized (5/7): "There is a reason behind all the sweet
talk that Musharraf is giving these days. Pakistan is in the doghouse of
international politics and badly needs to improve its image. Several nations have begun to blame Pakistan
for the violence in Kashmir....
Actually, having initially shown a desire to move forward, President
Musharraf has once again pushed the whole process back to square one. Even before the talks have begun, Pakistan is
giving indications that it will again insist on Kashmir being the core
issue. That is the indication one gets
from Musharraf's latest statements."
PAKISTAN: "Mission Of
Hamid Mir commented in leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang
(5/12): "Richard Armitage had no
message of consolation for the people of Pakistan or Kashmir. How could Richard Armitage, who himself had
been accused by the American media as supporting militants in Burma, term the
movement for independence in Kashmir as terrorism. Armitage by acting upon the 'might is right'
rule wants 'silence' in held Kashmir. He has no solution to the Kashmir
crises. He does not realize that the few
months' silence in Kashmir is not the solution of the problem. After that, the situation there would be just
like that of Afghanistan. Armitage
forced Pakistan to change its policy [on Afghanistan] but despite that, he
could not ensure peace in Afghanistan.
If he once again succeeded in getting Pakistan's policy changed on
Kashmir, even then peace would not be established. The leadership of India and Pakistan should
have a realistic reappraisal of the situation and should try to talk to each
other without the support of Armitage.
Armitage's mission was not the solution of the Kashmir issue, but the protection
of U.S. interests in South Asia."
"India Too Should Fulfill Its Responsibilities"
An editorial in center-right Urdu-language Pakistan read
(5/12): "Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage has said that all kind of violence in Kashmir has to be
stopped.... When Indian authorities
raised the cross-border terrorism issue before Armitage, he suggested third
party monitoring of the LoC, which was rejected by India. The Indian leadership should ponder over the
advice Mr. Armitage has given.... If
India believes in its stand on cross-border terrorism, then why does it not
accept neutral monitors on the LoC?
India cannot ignore whatever Armitage said about the killing of innocent
civilians in Indian-held Kashmir. The
fact of the matter is that India is responsible for the deteriorating situation
in held Kashmir."
"Time For Peace"
The centrist national News held (5/12): "The United States Deputy Secretary of
State Richard Armitage's clarion call to India and Pakistan to "live side
by side" deserves to be heeded, but to make that a reality, a continued
American role in helping the two states to settle their differences is essential....
History and experience cast a dark
shadow that could unhinge any honest effort to create peace. The American presence, therefore, is critical
to ensure that having started a dialogue, it is used for a fruitful
outcome.... The leaders would need to be
not only brave but have the political stamina to sustain their decisions. One expects that the American leader is fully
conversant with the differences between the two states and the extent to which
one or the other is the greater victim of injustice, and per se, requires its
case to receive greater sympathy. A time span of half a century cannot write
off an act of injustice.... Robust
commonsense should have made it clear that five decades of bitter differences
have not helped to go far in the war against want, disease, ignorance,
unemployment and other evils. Another
half a century of antagonism will make matters worse not better. Mr. Armitage made a correct observation when
he said: "We would like to see two great nations, India and Pakistan
living side by side in peace, security and harmony." But "living side by side" is easier
said than done, and the U.S. will need to do much more to manage that."
"Richard Armitage's Pro-Indian Stance"
Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat thundered (5/10): "In his press conference in Islamabad,
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said what the Indian leadership
had been saying from time to time. The
other details of his press talks also reflect that he is sitting more closer to
the Indians. By saying that infiltration has not stopped or raising the issue
of training camps before Pakistan he, in fact, was representing
The center-right national Nation said (5/10): "U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage can go to India satisfied over the success of his mission in
Islamabad. After a series of meetings with General Musharraf, Mr. Jamali and
senior government officials, Mr. Armitage told the press he had been given an
'absolute assurance' by the President that there was nothing happening across
the LoC and that there were no camps in Azad Kashmir today, and if there were
any they would be 'gone tomorrow.' Mr. Armitage said he believed this because
General Musharraf is a man of his word....
General Musharraf has now roused hopes among the freedom fighters that
the impending dialogue with Mr. Vajpayee would lead to a breakthrough.... To put things in perspective, the overtures
made by Pakistan have not been reciprocated by New Delhi.... If Mr. Vajpayee is to hold on to the position
that Kashmir is an integral part of India and what he terms as cross-border
terrorism should stop as a pre-condition, then talks can make no headway. Even
General Musharraf might not then be in a position to hold back the militants. If peace is to prevail in South Asia, the
issue of Kashmir has to be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the
"For A Better Future In South Asia"
I.M. Mohsin held in the moderate, Lahore-based Daily Times
(5/8): "We should learn from the rapprochement
between France and Germany following the Second World War. India realizes that it can't keep suppressing
the people of Kashmir. Despite the
deployment of over half-a-million troops in the valley and massive human rights
violations, the freedom struggle continues.
The Pakistani establishment, it is to be hoped, has also learned its
lesson after the Kargil fiasco that the Kashmir dispute cannot be resolved
through the use of force. An equitable
solution to the dispute has to be found.
Fortunately, the American administration is aware that the subcontinent
is a nuclear flashpoint. It also
realizes that Pakistan would not be able to play its role in the war against
terrorism if it has to deal with the Indian threat continually. The U.S. is working to promote better
relations between the two parties. The
Indians have taken a U-turn. The
Pakistani establishment is also making the right noises on the eve of Mr. Armitage's
visit. Perhaps this time around, the
dialogue will not be futile."
"Truth, Realism And Kashmir"
M.P. Bhandara wrote in the Karachi-based independent national Dawn
(5/8): "The time has come to face
the issue of our supporting or acquiescing in the so-called jihad in Kashmir
squarely and honestly. When a jihad
kills women and children and unarmed non-combatants, is it jihad or plain
terrorism? Are we not degrading the holy concept of jihad by giving blatant
terrorism a religious cover?.... Let us
recognize the fact that there is a strong fanatical lobby both in our military
and in civilian life that believes that 'jihadist' terrorism alone can free the
valley from Indian rule.... The militarist argument for the Kashmir jihad is
that for a relatively small investment from our side we can pin down an Indian
army of over half a million. The ratio
of expenditure is said to be very favorable to us: one of ours to fifty of the
enemy. However, this argument falls flat
if we consider that the GDP growth rate in India at six per cent is twice ours
in an economy several times larger than ours.
India has the means to sustain its military terror. Pakistan has consistently denied any aid,
training or support for the so-called jihadists. In this we have been economical
with the truth. Our consistent denials
have seriously eroded our credibility....
If we wish to come out of the closet, let jihad in Kashmir be discussed
openly and decided by parliament. Our secret closet is the ISI, which is the
invisible maker of policy and it thrives on open-ended state funding. If we are to make India a negotiating partner
in resolving the Kashmir problem, the cross-LoC movement by jihadists must be
reduced to zero.... There can be no
question of equating terrorism with jihad, and those who do so do a serious disservice
to Islam. There is also no question but that terrorism is morally repulsive and
cowardly in intent and execution, ill-disciplined as much of its force is
mercenary and counterproductive in the long run. It stands little chance of success when pitted
against an organized army.... The key to
a saner subcontinent is trade, tourism, and an end of press poison and, above
all, an end to terrorism. Let us
remember that an unarmed man baring his chest to bullets of an oppressor is a
hero. A sniper gunning down women,
children and non-combatants, a coward."
The centrist national News (5/8): "It is now up to India to extensively
respond to the offer made by Pakistan, and hopefully it will go beyond the
initial reaction of terming it as inadequate.... It will be wrong if India expects that only
Pakistan should reshape its policy to fit into the scheme of things it has
charted out for the region. If major
policy initiatives are needed, these should come from both sides equally. Rebuilding bridges of peace does not imply
that Pakistan jettison everything that India finds distasteful. Pakistan can
only build half the bridge, the rest must be constructed by India."
"U.S. Involvement In Kashmir Issue"
Nasim Zehra stated in the centrist national News
(5/8): "Deputy Secretary Armitage
arrives in Islamabad with a clear mandate to push forward the process of
Pakistan-India normalization as well as helping to create an 'enabling
environment' in which the Kashmir issue will be tackled by the two. Washington believes there is need to create a
conducive environment through confidence building measures. The Indians believe that from behind the
scene the U.S. will force the two to the dialogue table.... The Indian establishment believes that the
U.S. has concluded that the LoC should be converted into an international
border. Indian media and leading
strategists have referred to the latest CIA map showing IHK as part of India as
illustrative of the Bush administration's thinking. There is no formal announcement of change in
the U.S. policy on the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
The American position remains that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed
territory.... Inevitably, Armitage will
raise the question of cross-LoC infiltration.
In India, cross-LoC infiltration has been projected as cross-border
terrorism and as in the Kargil days, India's position has been inflexible. Then it was Pakistan's retreat to its own
side of the LoC. Now it is zero
cross-LoC infiltration. Physical
geography, the nature of elements involved in the Kashmir struggle and also
realpolitik within Pakistani policy-making circles, have ruled out the
possibility of a zero infiltration....
Washington and Delhi both must understand that without following the
principle of reciprocity no negotiations can proceed further.... In South Asia, given the power balance that
prevails, brushing aside reciprocity and moving towards a Kashmir solution will
not be possible."
Kashmir Is A Priority, Not Trade"
Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt commented
(5/8): "None of the confidence
building measures that both the countries have taken is related to the basic
issue, Kashmir.... India and America
want to reverse the situation to the 1989 level when the mujahideen had not
started their struggle.... It is
suspected that the Deputy Secretary of State has not come for the resolution of
the Kashmir dispute, but to have both the countries take CBMs like restoration
of trade, travel etc. links.... The
Prime Minister did consult the opposition and political allies, but what
stopped him from convening a joint sitting of the parliament to discuss
Pak-India dialogue issue and seeking their advice?.... In a TV interview Deputy Secretary Armitage
pumped up General Musharraf, saying that he was a man true to his word and that
he would be able to stop the infiltration."
"Don't Let The 'Hand of Friendship' Be Withdrawn Again"
Popular Din declared (5/8):
"The steps announced by PM Jamali have been welcomed throughout the
world and a response is awaited from India.
As Mr. Armitage has said, a lot will have to be done to bring the
temperatures down further. However, this
is only possible if India responds without wasting any time.... India's delay in responding to
confidence-building measures announced by PM Jamali only points to the
possibility that India has again withdrawn the hand of friendship."
"What Are American Objectives?"
Sensationalist Ummat wondered (5/8): "Why is the U.S. shy of pressuring India
to stop its state terrorism in Kashmir and make the environment conducive for
rapprochement. Richard Armitage has
appreciated the services rendered by President Musharraf in America's war
against terrorism. But the crux of his
statement is when he said that cross border infiltration from Pakistan in
Kashmir is the main bone of contention between the two countries...that the
struggle for independence in Kashmir is not by the people of Kashmir themselves
but rather by Pakistani infiltrators and terrorists, and that Indian troops are
innocent, then how could the U.S. mediate between he Pakistani 'oppressors' and
the Indian 'oppressed.' We don't know
why the Bush administration is hopeful that Pakistan, under the leadership of
President Musharraf, would do this in its attempt to improve relations with
"The Road To Rapprochement Demands Caution"
Popular Urdu-language Din declared (5/7): "There is no doubting the fact that
external forces are actively engaged in bringing the South Asian neighbors to
the negotiating table.... Deputy
Secretary Armitage and Assistant Secretary Rocca's visit at a time when both
India and Pakistan are talking of friendship is not without reason. In both Islamabad and New Delhi, they will
talk about normalizing relations and the possibility of resolving the Kashmir
issue.... However, the path to peace is
marred by obstacles and hurdles at every step.... If Pakistan starts trade with India, it would
conflict with Pakistan's stance of 'first Kashmir, then trade.' Did Pakistan not understand this aspect while
signing the agreement? If India insists
on the implementation of this agreement, it would clash with Pakistan's Kashmir
policy. We must find a way out of this dilemma.... The road to rapprochement has been made so
bumpy that we can only take one step at a time."
"Keep The U.S. At Bay"
Shireen M. Mazari held in the centrist national News
(5/7): "As is the way with the
Americans, their euphoria over the invasion of Iraq has unfolded their
grandiose designs elsewhere in the world--primarily within the context of
Muslim polities.... Despite official
denial, one should not be surprised to find an arrogantly triumphant Garner
holding forth on a 'roadmap' for South Asia!
And now Armitage and Rocca may well be coming with such a roadmap! And, as a precursor, the CIA has redrawn its
maps for the region by referring to Indian Occupied Kashmir as the Indian State
of Jammu and Kashmir--instead of disputed Territory/State--and to AJK as
'Pakistan-controlled areas of Kashmir.'
A CIA map, of course, represents the official U.S. government
viewpoint--so the new map (which was visible on the CIA website on the eve of
5th March but on the morning of 6th March had disappeared again!) reflects a
major shift in the U.S. approach to the Kashmir issue."
"Making A Case"
The centrist national News opined (5/7): "Pakistan's declaration that it will be
ready to de-nuclearize only on the basis of reciprocity by India comes at a
time when the two nuclear neighbors...are poised for yet another effort to resolve
their long-standing issues through negotiations.... With elimination of WMDs anywhere in the
world a centerpiece in the new American security paradigm that was seen at work
recently in Iraq...the U.S. must find this enough of a reason to ensure that
this time the bickering...neighbors walk the thorny road that leads to peace
and coexistence. All hurdles along the
way will, therefore, have to be crossed to reach the destination. At the same time, Islamabad's willingness to
de-nuke the region and its reiteration of support to the UN General Assembly's
resolution on a nuclear-free zone in South Asia will also win it the diplomatic
goodwill that may come handy in the arduous course of negotiations with
India. Indian muteness on the call, on
the other hand, will not help its cause, which maintains that it would part
with its nuclear assets only when the other nuclear weapons states agree to do
"Going By Consensus"
The center-right national Nation maintained (5/7): "As Kashmir involves the fundamental
right to self-determination of a people, who are our kith and kin, as well as
the question of our very survival, it defines our perception of India.... The mischievous suggestion of converting the
Line of Control into an international boundary is to be summarily dismissed, as
it would not settle the matter....
Kashmir constitutes the linchpin in relations between the Subcontinent's
two major countries, and without its equitable settlement, mere confidence
building measures cannot sustain a sense of goodwill thus contrived. It would be far easier to handle other issues
once this bone of contention is out of the way.
Commerce, culture, tourism, and all other businesses normally conducted
by neighboring countries would have a chance to flourish. This commonsense approach should be brought
home to Mr. Armitage and Ms Rocca when they meet our leaders tomorrow. Our decisions should reflect the President's
assertion that a nuclear power of 140 million people cannot be compelled to
give up its principles."
"Pak-India Dialogue: Joint Stand"
Karachi-based right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat
held (5/7): "The question is what
is the American interest [in Pakistan -India standoff]? It is an open reality that it sells its arms
and ammunition by creating rifts among nations.
In case of a peace agreement between India and Pakistan its arms would
not be sold in the subcontinent. [But
the real] American interest could be to establish peace in the region and then
divert attention towards the oil and gas resources in central Asia. If peace does not prevail here, it would be
difficult for the U.S. to get this oil and gas."
"Sustained Peace Process?"
Husain Haqqani contended in the center-right national Nation
(5/7): "The key to a sustained and
comprehensive peace process is political will on both sides. International
actors, such as the United States, can facilitate dialogue and nudge the
leaders of India and Pakistan to the negotiating table. But whether dialogue is
used for point scoring, as has been the case in the past in South Asia, or for
actually overcoming differences is up to the two parties.... Expecting Islamabad and New Delhi to overcome
their belief in the absolute righteousness of their respective positions might
be too much at this stage. But the two sides can try and control the bluster,
which has run previous peace efforts aground."
SRI LANKA: "Indo-Pak
Pow-Vow: Will It Be Any Different?"
The pro-opposition English-language Island commented
(5/7): "Much interest will be
centered on...possible American involvement. The U.S., under the Bush
administration, is not only following an unprecedented belligerent foreign
policy but is also pursuing a far more interventionist diplomacy than
before.... During the past half-century,
never have the two nations been so dependent on any one nation as they are on
the U.S. today. But can this power--the
power of the almighty dollar--transcend the atavistic animosities that have
made the two nations arch foes? In the
coming weeks there will be much speculation on the turn of events but events
seem to be running to past form.... And
so the old refrain appears to go on. Will it be any different this time?"
CANADA: "India And
Pakistan Decide They're Better Off Making Their Own Peace"
Jonathan Manthorpe commented in the left-of-center Vancouver
Sun (5/6): "The door opened by
India to a peace deal with Pakistan in advance of the visit this week by Deputy
Secretary Armitage is not a welcoming gift....
The Vajpayee government, reflecting Indian popular opinion, is deeply
perturbed by what it sees as the neo-colonialism of America's occupation of
Iraq and its Middle East adventure in general.
New Delhi is even more irritated by, in its view, Washington's double
standards in the war on terrorism. Why,
the Vajpayee government wonders, is the [Bush] administration supporting the
Pakistani leader, General Musharraf, when it is his armed forces that are
succouring anti-Indian terrorists in the disputed territory of Kashmir?... American officials admit they were caught off
guard by Vajpayee's olive branch, despite Washington having pressed the
nuclear-armed neighbours for more than a year to resume dialogue. Having grabbed the high ground, Vajpayee and
his ministers will be in a strong position to gently lecture Armitage about his
government's tacit support for Pakistani terrorism.... There is little confidence that Washington's
friendship can be counted on. Pakistan
recognizes that its possession of nuclear weapons, armaments deals with North
Korea and active support for Taliban and al-Qaida remnants among its people and
military make it a natural target for Washington rather than an ally.... Jamali's government appears to hope that with
the double pressure of Indian and U.S. anti-terrorism drives it might be able
to get the army under civilian control once and for all.... But, as ever, New Delhi insists a
pre-requisite to progress is that Pakistan stop supporting terrorism. Washington's man Armitage will be told that effecting
that outcome is the most useful thing he can do."