Where’s Sharif-Singh initiative?

It has been one and a half month since putatively India-friendly Pakistan leader Nawaz Sharif has been sworn in as the new prime minister but there has been so far little headway in the relations between the two countries. Nor are there signs of an early engagement
between the neighbours. Only meeting of consequence was the one between foreign minister Salman Khurshid and the advisor to Pakistan
prime minister on foreign policy Sartaj Aziz on the margins of the meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan. Ever since despite the best of intentions being expressed by the two sides, there is little that is happening on the ground. In a further affirmation of the new resolve in Pakistan to improve relations with India, Pakistan’s envoy to India Salman Bashir has said that "all branches" of its government have been given "clear policy directives" to work towards it. He also said that the normalisation of trade relations with India was a priority and said "sky is the limit" for deeper economic cooperation between the two
countries. Interestingly Bashir who was addressing a gathering at the PHD chambers in New Delhi also touched upon the desire to develop SAARC on the lines of the European Union. "The logical course for the history to proceed is for these two countries to become good neighbours, friends and that is not only for the people of Pakistan and India but also forms a critical ingredient in realising the vision of a prosperous and peaceful South Asia," Bashir said. What the neighbours need now is to take concrete steps towards a new round of engagement which builds on the progress made in many areas over the
past decade. And this should also include consolidation of the ground they have already covered on Kashmir, the festering issue between the two countries. True, the looming general elections in India will forbid any substantive progress on the lingering political issues but it is important that the two countries start engaging and build confidence for the subsequent dialogue.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST

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