'Little expected from Indo-Pak talks in Cuba' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Little expected from Indo-Pak talks in Cuba'

Both sides felt frustrated with the other's apparent intransigence, sending a chill through the peace process.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 11:57 IST

A long-awaited summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharaf this week is not expected to produce any dramatic breakthroughs with both sides facing domestic political pressure.

Manmohan and Musharraf are due to hold talks at the weekend on the sidelines of a summit of Non-Aligned Movement nations in Cuba, hoping to reignite peace moves that have sputtered to a halt.

They would be considered to have made progress if they set a schedule to revive formal negotiations between their diplomats, called off by New Delhi after the July 11 train bombings in Mumbai, officials and analysts said.

"Looking at what is happening inside Pakistan and the responses that have come from Musharraf about India's concerns on terrorism, I do not expect any major breakthrough," said C Uday Bhaskar of New Delhi's Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

"The Prime Minister's position is 'I can hardly talk to you with a gun to my head'. So, the Prime Minister would be seen to be operating under pressure if he makes concessions," he said.

The India-Pakistan peace process, launched nearly three years ago, has been battered by separatist violence in Jammu and Kashmir and deadly attacks elsewhere across India, blamed on Pakistan-based Islamist terrorists.

New Delhi said the carnage in Mumbai, that killed 187 people, was engineered by Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and responded by postponing peace talks between top diplomats from the two sides.

Although India has since reaffirmed its commitment to the peace process, it has remained cagey about resuming formal negotiations, which themselves have made slow progress.

Indian officials said Singh would be looking for some concrete assurances from Musharraf to crack down on groups like Lashkar and live up to a commitment he first made at the beginning of peace talks in January 2004.

The last time the two leaders met, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York a year ago, they seemed to do little more than reiterate long-stated positions on cross-border terrorism and Kashmir, at the heart of their enmity.

Both sides felt frustrated with the other's apparent intransigence, sending a chill through the peace process.