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India almost pulled out of Pak peace process

Friday, 1 August 2008 - 3:56am IST
Back-to-back exchanges of fire on the line of control, low-intensity violence in Kashmir and the series of blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad have hit the Indo-Pak peace process hard.

ISLAMABAD: Back-to-back exchanges of fire on the line of control, low-intensity violence in Kashmir and the series of blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad have hit the Indo-Pak peace process hard.

So much so, that, diplomatic sources in Islamabad said, India stopped short of suspending the process.

They said the Indian government was under immense pressure in the wake of the terrorist attack outside its Kabul embassy and the blasts in the capitals of two opposition-ruled states, allegedly by Pakistan-linked terror groups, but the chill in Indo-Pak relations had already set in.

The sources believe it would be difficult for the new coalition government of prime minister Manmohan Singh to sustain the pressure with general elections scheduled next year.

This is the second time that the peace process has come under stress in July. The first time was in July 2006 after the Mumbai train blasts.

The 2006 deadlock was removed at the meeting of Manmohan Singh and president Pervez Musharraf in Havana, Cuba, in July the same year.

As things stand, there is a possibility of a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in Colombo on August 2, but nothing is confirmed.

Though India and Pakistani foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Colombo, diplomatic circles believe the meeting could only provide temporary relief, as there is no quick fix to terrorist activities.

Even otherwise, sources said, no substantial progress had been made between the two nuclear-armed neighbours on resolving major outstanding issues including Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek despite several rounds of talks.

Diplomatic circles in Islamabad believe the conflict in the explicit and implicit interests of Pakistan and India in Afghanistan added a new dimension to the already tense ties between the two countries. They pointed out that the war-torn, impoverished landscape of Afghanistan had become a new playground for India and Pakistan to score strategic points over each other.

amir.mir1969@gmail.com




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