Too Much at Stake

Just when India and Pakistan appeared to be coming to terms with their new round of bitter exchanges over the reprehensible mutilation of two soldiers on Jammu border,  Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne  on Saturday talked of “other options” should firing on border linger. Browne who is also the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, however, didn’t elaborate what these options were but left little room for imagination about what these were. “Options are options. We do not discuss these options openly,” he said. The statement is likely to add a renewed dash of bitterness to the already edgy bilateral relationship. However, Browne’s statement is unlikely to halt the gradual, albeit stumbling march towards a normal relationship. After a week of being on the brink, Indo-Pak relations show every sign of being are on the mend. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has made it clear that India will not be “pressurised by the wild calls for revenge”. New Delhi has already requested a brigadier-level meeting in the Mendhar sector which will now be held on January 14. There has thus been an effort to try to find a local solution to the crisis while switching over to a more circumspect approach at the bilateral level. As both countries know, there is too much at stake to let the ongoing border skirmishes develop into a major confrontation. Though, the gains from the ongoing cycle of dialogue have not been dramatic, they have created a scope for substantive progress in future. The two countries have gone a long way to build some credible basis for a sustained trading relationship. The bilateral pact on a liberalized visa regime has laid the foundation for easy trade and travel between the two countries. The agreement will be consolidated further when Islamabad grants Most Favoured Nation status to India, hopefully later this month. This makes it incumbent for the two governments to override the current crisis and take steps to enforce peace on the border. At the same time, there is a need to reign in the people in government who make statements that further vitiate the atmosphere.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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