Musharraf’s major achievement has been repairing ties with India: Cohen

November 14th, 2007 - 1:52 am ICT by admin  
Cohen, who is the head of South Asia studies at the Brookings Institution, said that when Musharraf leaves power, this would be considered one of his major achievements.

In an analysis of the general situation in Pakistan, Cohen considers the development unfortunate since Pakistan’s military effectiveness on the Afghan border depends on a truce between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s relations with India, and not its strained ties with Afghanistan, will probably determine the ultimate strategic balance in South Asia, Cohen believes. He calls President Musharraf’s cooperation in curbing radicalism “notoriously uneven”.

Cohen maintains that the “composite dialogue” between the two neighbours was initiated not out of a change of heart, but because of compulsions on both sides.

Indian officials want to resolve the Kashmir problem and move on to a grander stage as a leading Asian power. Pakistan is looking for “face saving” arrangements that will allow the country to devote more of its energies to domestic reform and the growing internal threat from militant Islamists, he added.

Cohen points out that both sides are sincere, but the process still remains fragile, and a few adverse developments, such as an assassination or a series of terrorist attacks, could easily lead to another armed confrontation.

He believes that the present situation can turn into a “slippery slope,” where despite the presence of strong complimentaries, political compulsions could end up forcing both sides to end the dialogue.

Cohen, however, warns that Pakistan could become increasingly impatient over the lack of Indian flexibility to its proposals on Kashmir. Political pressure may force Islamabad to reinitiate “diplomatic brinkmanship”, he added.

New Delhi’s efforts to increase its already substantial presence in Afghanistan could lead Islamabad to once again look the other way with regard to infiltration into Kashmir, the Daily Times quoted Cohen, as saying.

India, has alleged that infiltration from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is on the rise. The current situation, therefore, presents a limited window of opportunity, he cautions. (ANI)

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