With a breakthrough on core issues hard to come by, the India-Pakistan dialogue process is adopting the all-too-familiar “step-by-step approach” to normalise ties.
The dialogue process remains in a fragile state, but on track. The revelations of Abu Jundal, a handler in the Mumbai attacks, have increased demands for action against the perpetrators in Pakistan – making progress on the issue of terror a major domestic imperative for India to push ahead with the dialogue process.
The Asif Ali Zardari government — which is passing through a difficult time of its own — does not want to take any chances with India either.
However, Pakistani officials say as Zardari has walked the extra mile with India on many issues, it would only be befitting for India to reciprocate in kind.
According to them, Zardari should be given credit for braving fundamentalist opposition to give India the most favoured status in trade, and releasing people such as Surjeet Singh who later confessed to being a “spy”.
“We want good ties with India, and President Zardarai has taken many steps to normalise relations. He even came here for talks with the Indian Prime Minister,” said a Pakistan official. However, India wants Islamabad to do more on the terror front.
Though Zardari has been pitching for concessions on Siachen, no major breakthrough has emerged till now. The Sir Creek issue seems to be a more achievable task.
Meanwhile, the two countries are taking one step at a time. During the talks, Pakistan foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani called for resumption of cricketing ties. His Indian counterpart, Ranjan Mathai, said a decision will be taken by cricket boards of the two countries.
“Both sides recognise the need to strengthen the existing Cross-LoC CBMs for streamlining the arrangements for travel and trade across the LoC,” a joint statement issued after the talks said. A meeting of the working group on Cross-LoC CBMs will be held in Islamabad on July 19, 2012, to enhance the situation in this regard.
“They emphasised on the importance of greater parliamentary exchanges, promotion of cooperation in various fields, and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other,” the statement added.