Not an encouraging time for India, Pak to talk: Ex-official

February 11th, 2011 - 2:37 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Feb.11 (ANI): Neither India nor Pakistan have much leverage, and both are at ‘wobbly’ political points at home, and for both countries to come up with any landmark agreement or solution to their bilateral problems, is very distant, feels a former Indian foreign secretary.

“The time is bad. Both governments are really wobbly at the moment [and] the preoccupations of both these leaders will be elsewhere than these talks,” the Christian Science Monitor quoted Salman Haider, as saying.

Neither government is in a strong position to be making major deals.

Pakistan’s prime minister has just dissolved his entire cabinet due to opposition pressure and continues to face massive challenges steering a nation around the shoals of bankruptcy and Islamic insurgency.

India is engulfed by corruption scandals, sapping some of the government’s moral authority that it will need to parlay effectively with Pakistan.

That said, back room negotiations in the recent past did come close - “down to the semicolons,” according to accounts - to a deal regarding the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The announcement to resume talks, argues Najmuddin Shaikh, a former foreign minister of Pakistan, is partly the result of a “growing realization” in India that its priority on seeing a wider Pakistani dragnet for Mumbai before all else “has proved counterproductive.”

No date has been set for resumed talks, but when they do, Mumbai will be looming over them.

“It becomes very difficult to send [any agreements] to anyone in India if the feeling is that we have not really pushed hard enough on Mumbai,” says Haider.

But, since the announcement spoke of a dialogue “on all issues,” Pakistan could budge some on Mumbai, while India gives on other issues, he adds.

Shaikh points out that with resumed talks, some of the standoffs that were close to being resolved in the past may now move forward.

Two of these include the border disputes of Sir Creek and the Saichen Glacier.

But he’s quick to caution that talks won’t be easy.

Indeed, talks between both nations have always been enormously volatile. When momentum builds, diplomatic spats and terror incidents often yank the opportunity back like Lucy with Charlie Brown’s football. (ANI)

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