By Afia Ambreen
In a major breakthrough, Pakistan and India announced that they were resuming the dialogue on outstanding issues, ending a two-year long stalemate. The revival of the dialogue was announced by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, during her visit to Islamabad to attend the “Heart of Asia” ministerial conference on Afghanistan. The Composite Dialogue between the two countries, which later became the Resumed Dialogue, is being restarted as Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and would have same pillars as the earlier processes. The Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue as it has been named will include all elements covered under the previous versions of the talks peace and security, confidence-building measures, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people to people exchanges and religious tourism.
Ironically, Sushma Swaraj was being criticized, while briefing Lok Sabha about her visit to Pakistan, for speaking Urdu and wearing green colour saree. However, defending her decision to speak flawless Urdu, she said there was nothing wrong in speaking Urdu as it is one of the Indian languages. It is very strange that Swaraj criticized for strange reasons which show that some elements in India want to sabotage the peace process. As ever, the India-Pakistan relationship has not failed to surprise though for once in the most welcoming of ways. A rush of meetings over the past days has achieved a most remarkable of breakthroughs, credit for which must first and foremost go to the governments of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The agreement on resuming the dialogue came after a series of high-level contacts between the two sides. Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi first met in Paris on the sidelines of the Climate Change summit. Their brief interaction, which took place through British mediation, was followed by a meeting of their national security advisers in Bangkok. The engagement that started from Paris was the fourth attempt to normalise the ties since Mr Modi became the prime minister. All three previous attempts, including PM Sharif`s visit to Delhi for attending Modi`s inauguration, a secret meeting in Kathmandu on the margins of Saarc summit and the two prime ministers’ meeting in Ufa (Russia) on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, failed.
Now, the hope will be that by the time Modi visits Pakistan next September for the SAARC conference, the two governments will have achieved a meaningful breakthrough in some of the areas to be discussed under the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue. It will not be easy. The earlier Composite Dialogue appeared to progress smoothly, but agreement on the so-called low-hanging fruit proved elusive. On the Indian side, the challenge will be to withstand the opposition to the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan. While Modi’s supporters have appeared to be at the vanguard of the anti-Pakistan sentiment in India in recent months, there are a range of other populist and establishment forces in India that will try and scuttle or slow down the dialogue process. Mr Modi and his government will have to demonstrate a great deal of resolve domestically. Although India and Pakistan don’t have good relations in past but for the sake for future of their people peace is required. India and Pakistan are 1/4th part of total population of the world and both are nuclear powers.
Pakistan wants good relations with all countries of the world and with India as well. Peace between India and Pakistan is not only in favour of both these countries but its also important for the whole world. Indian officials should resolves the issue of RAW’s involvement and should answer the evidence of Proxy war and involvement of Indian agencies in Pakistan provided by Pakistani officials in UN and other international forums. Estrangement in Indo-Pak relations is a hurdle to regional peace and the new comprehensive bilateral dialogue process is expected to usher in an era of peace and development.