Not all bad news on India-Pakistan front: Editorial

July 23rd, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 23 (IANS) India poured a “bucket of cold water” on the fifth round of the just concluded composite dialogue with Pakistan but it was “not all bad news” on this front, with trade being enhanced and new confidence building measures (CBMs) announced, an editorial in a leading English daily Wednesday said. “In the restrained world of diplomacy”, Dawn noted, Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon’s “blunt statement” on Islamabad’s alleged involvement in the suicide bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul amounted to pouring “a bucket of cold water” over his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.

The editorial was headlined “The wrong dialogue”. The fifth round of the composite dialogue was held here Monday-Tuesday.

“It is not all bad news on the India-Pakistan front though,” the newspaper said.

New CBMs on cross-LoC (Line of Control) movement of people in Kashmir had been announced, Pakistan had expanded the scope of trade with India, and the foreign ministers of the two countries would meet on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Colombo next month, Dawn noted.

However, Menon’s “accusations” that Pakistan had “fomented violence” against India in Kashmir and Afghanistan “will certainly have vitiated the process of rapprochement”, it maintained.

“This will negatively affect the moves to settle political disputes since an overwrought climate does not help the diplomatic process.

“Most immediately, the flaring of tensions on our eastern border with India just as the pressure on our western border with Afghanistan has increased is a worrying strategic development,” the editorial maintained.

At the same time, Dawn said, Pakistan could not afford a confrontation with “old enemy” India “as it tries to convince a sceptical public of the threat posed by the new enemy - militancy”.

“This will play right into the hands of the hawks in the establishment who still view India as Pakistan’s foremost enemy and are alarmed by the growing Indian presence in Afghanistan, which has long been considered Pakistan’s political and military prerogative.

“A diplomatic row between India and Pakistan also does not bode well for progress towards resolving the six-decade-old Kashmir dispute,” Dawn said.

Therefore, the editorial maintained, both India and Pakistan “must do more: India must back up its allegations with credible evidence if any, and Pakistan must work to convince India of its peaceful intentions”.

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