Knots in the tie?

Knots in the tie?

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh have vowed to open a new chapter in bilateral relationship.

In an hour-long meeting, prior to the opening of the 17th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), the two prime ministers predicted more constructive and result-oriented talks in the near future.

However, the Indian side has made it clear to the Pakistani side that unless there is some action against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa, it wouldn’t be possible for the two nations to move forward together.

“The discussions between the two countries had yielded positive results, but more needed to be done,” Manmohan Singh said.

While Prime Minister Gilani added: “The next round of talks will be more positive, more constructive and will open a new chapter in the history of both countries.”

Despite the public willingness to open a ‘new chapter’ in ties, are the talks at the Saarc Summit once again mere lip service?

Will they, like previous efforts, fail in resuming a proper dialogue?

More importantly, is the crackdown on Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa the only obstacle in Pak-India ties? invites its readers to give their views and suggestions.


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87 Responses to “Knots in the tie?”

  1. mahadev says:

    when germany got united,why can’t india and pak resolve their differences and make the common people of both the countries,little bit free to enjoy their basic human aspirations. if same things of past six decades continue then entire world leave apart europe and asia even africa will march ahead of this unfortunate subcontinent,which is said to had oldest civilisation on this globe.

    • R.Kannan says:

      In Germany, the split was completely political – USSR wanted to control the part of Germany it defeated in 1945 while US & UK wanted to retain control over the wester part. The local people were never consulted. In the case of India & Pakistan, it was local politicians who wanted the split as well as the British who wanted to split India further but their efforts found very little popular support. Today, I doubt if a sizeable section of the poulation, in either country, wants a merger. The only thing that the people want is an atmosphere of peace and the possibility for the normal person to earn his livelihood in a peaceful manner. Even the idea of free movement of men & material should wait for the first part which is good relations.

  2. SHARAT GUPTA says:

    India is making substantial progress and may soon become powerhouse of economical growth, with or without Pakistan. The world has recognised that, and Pakistan will ignore the same at its own peril. Today India shall seek and appreciate Pakistan joining hands, Tomorrow it shall not care.

  3. Kamaljit Sood says:

    It is heartening to know that India – Pakistan are moving towards a reconciliation. I have said several times in the past in this forum that Pakistan needs to give up the hate complex and recognise its natural relationship with India. Pakistan has gone through the full circle of alliances – Arab, USA and China. None of them has given Pakistan its true identity. Neither will they. Only a partnership leading eventually to an alliance will give Pakistan the the realisation of its inherent strength – growth economically, in culture and in dignity worldwide. Remember, it is with Indian only that Pakistanis can share a hearty meal despite being at loggerheads with India. With all others, it is only at an official level.

    Kamaljit Sood
    Anthem Press, London

  4. sohaib says:

    So Pakistan must also put conditions to normalize ties with India. First and foremost being some tangible headway on Kashmir issue. Next is the alleged role of Indian agencies in subversion activities in Pakistan. I dont understand why our point of view does not come out in the open more clearly. Why our issues are made to look insignificant and ridiculed.
    Trade with India is all right as long as it does not affect our industries. We must also put conditions in Indian goods passage to Afghanistan. Pakistan is not dying to have trade with India. In fact with outstanding issues and deep mistrust of Indian motives, we must not give India leverage or advantage which it can use against us. India’s ‘coercive’ diplomacy was reduced to mere rhetoric because India had no leverage against Pakistan.

    • raika45 says:

      Why would India need a leverage against Pakistan?India is doing very well on it’s own.India is extending a hand of friendship and brotherhood.It is time you both worked together.Cynical comments from people like you will arise now and then.It is best the people ignore them and move forward.

    • Zahid Anwar says:

      The reason is that Pakistan needs trade with India more that India needs with Pakistan. If Pakistan is 10, India is 100. Now we trade increases by 1 unit, for Pakistan it is 10->11 i.e. 10% increase, but for India, it is only 100->101, only 1% increase. So, it is Pakistan which has to make compromises. For India, it is not that big an issue. For India, more important issue is trade with China.

      • sohaib says:

        For Pakistan its not a big issue either. As Indian PM has said, we must trust Indians but verify first. Indians at state level have never been our friends. At individual level, its a different thing. State relations must not be confused with individual relations. This is the biggest pitfall in our Pakistani thinking.

        • Abbas says:

          Shoaib, unfortunately Pakistan does not have time. I guess I need not remind that poorly governed and economically weak end up divided. Yes-there is no time thats why Gilani and co are racing. its not a warning but reality. Either way its Pakistans problem. Its sad that the respect Pakistan commands at most is removal of militants in any discussion with neighbours-India or iran or even china. So stop worrying about India and what it wants -look at what you need to survive as nation.Practical.

  5. Riaz Ahmad says:

    There is nothing like peace in this world. India and pakistan have indulged in war and hostilities for several decades, it is about time peace is given a genuine chance.

  6. Mir Agha says:

    No ‘crackdown’ is needed at the unilateral insistence of India. Pakistan too has to see progress from India if these current round of bohomie is to bear fruit. These are stalling tactics to distract from the real issues at hand. Pakistan has made it obvious that real movement is expected if the talks are going to go in a positive direction.

    • Sandeep says:

      The militant groups are hurting Pakistan more today. It is in the interest of Pakistan to reign in such organizations such that Pakistan’s economy grows and people prosper.

      Reign in LeT etc not for India but for Pakistan!

    • Silajit says:

      The ‘crackdown’ would be at the unilateral insistence of Pakistan, not India.

      India has extensive crime and low life people but it does not have organizations that enjoy security in India and commit crimes against citizens of India’s neighbors.
      India is a bigger country and if it develops such capability (encouraging or turning a blind eye to non state actors that want to kill Pakistanis), Pakistan will get hurt far, far worse.

      Such a race in hatred helps nobody.

      Pakistan must – in its own interest of maintaining law and order on its own soil, punish criminals across the territory that it governs clamp down on LeT and JuD.

      This is irrelevant to whether Pakistan makes progress in talks with India or not.

    • sohaib says:

      Thank goodness for some sane and prudent comment. Otherwise any India Pakistan debate becomes a Pakistan bashing forum.

      • Mauren says:

        I’m also unconvinced about Manmohan Singh’s efforts toward peace.

        Every step to reconciliation is followed by militants crossing over or more things and people being blown up.

        Given that mutuality seems to come at a high prize, India and Pakistan should leave each other alone.

        Except for the ill-informed peaceniks, nobody believes peace, brotherhood and trade will happen between these two countries now.

        Unless Pakistan desperately wants peace, India should just go about its business and stay away from Pakistan.

  7. Sheetal says:

    Yes, Pakistan must act against LeT and its aliases. No one can dispute the fact that we had Composite dialogue going on before Nov2008 terror attcks in Mumbai and there was wide spread support for dialogue. Some progress has also been reported in the media during the course of several rounds of talks. Mumbai terror attacks shook the world and turned everything upside down. Pakistan had promised to bring to justice those responsible for masterminding it. But so far no result and I doubt there will be any. No reason is good enough to not to act against LeT. India has its own share of bad elements but their sphere of influence is limited and they are not crossing international borders to attack soft target like Hotels, Hospitals and Railway Stations.

  8. David Passi says:

    Crackdown on Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa is the only obstacle in Pak-India ties for short term which is required for long term solution on Kashmir

  9. R.Kannan says:

    Being a common man in India, the entire talks business appears meaningless. Dr Singh wants peace but his government faces the prospect of being out of power soon due to a number of domestic issues. The major opposition party, BJP, is against talks primarily because it feels betrayed twice (Kargill & Agra) when its government talked to Pakistan about a decade ago. Gilani has very little power in the Pakistani context and the Pakistan army has every incentive to oppose better relations with India. Pakistani feeling that MFN status to India is a big deal is not shared in India. The Indian economy will be much larger than Pakistan and the projected increase in trade makes little difference to India. For deacdes, Pakistani leaders have talked about Kashmir but it is unlikely that any Indian government can do more than convert LOC to border. On terrorism, Pakistan remains in denial even as all its neighbours -Afghanistan, China, India & Iran – point fingers at Pakistan. Under the circumstances, neither Dr singh nor Mr Gilani, can do anything other talk for the sake of talks.

  10. Rahul Pal says:

    yes,i think these are the only obstacle.terrorism has been always an obstacle in the peace process between any nation,esp. india and pakistan.Both the countries has been hit hard by terror.As the above mentioned organisation is related to pakistan,the relation between two neighbours face soon as these hurdles are answered properly,we will surely see a No-visa regime and will be able to visit karachi to mumbai and new delhi to islamabad without any formal ‘attrocities’

    • Malik Shahan Aslam says:

      its appreciable to know that Indian people are willing to visit Pakistan but beside this all political , economic and terrorism issues i am really shocked to know about Indian government that they have many Pakistanis in their jails without any case without any jurisdiction one pakistani is in Indian jail since 1965 without any crime , this is the biggest example of India’s loyalty towards Pakistan so how can we be expecting that India will give self determination right to Kashmirs so they can live there lives freely because Kashmirs are not in favour to be the part of india.

      • Sridhar says:

        Its really unfortunate that there are many Pakistani’s in Indian jail without any conviction. This is something that India certainly needs to look into and sort out to be seen as a just state.

        But I dont see why Kashmir comes into the picture every time a Pakistani talks about India.

        Its not like kashmir was part of pakistan and india took it away. Kashmir was an independent state and stayed with india for whatever historic reason.

        2 friendly neighboring countries can benefit from each other manifold economically, culturally and otherwise.

        If Pak for example allows for oil pipeline from iran to india then india will get cheaper fuel. Pakistan also will benefit out of the recurring money that india will pay for this.
        Pakistan can import agricultural products from india and vice versa at very little extra cost (of transportation)

        In India there is certainly an anti Pakistan sentiment among all created by historic events, but never has any one thought of accession. Its always about the fear of a unprovoked attack from Pakistan.

        The ball has always really been in Pakistan’s court. Ensure nothing anti India happens in Pakistan and you will see all the hatred go away.

  11. Nasrullah says:

    If banning jamat Ed dawa and Lashakar e Taiba will resolve this obstacle, then it is in the interest of the Pakistan people to do so. These organizations may feel that they are right but they could be harmful to the Awam and they have to learn and accept that vigilante behavior has been the downfall of any society. Self righteousness has always been the downfall of any nation in a global world. Even our friends in Saudia will never stand for this mindset. As far as China is concerned an organization like Lashaker e Toiba would have been eliminated eons ago.

    • Avinash says:

      I appreciate your comment! I hope these voices should gain importance in Pakistan for Pakistan and India as well. Love u..

  12. UV says:

    Till the majority people in both countries connect with the ideology of their respective countries, peace is not possible. In case of Pakistan, the trigger for formation remained religion only in a manner that hardly any other nation got formed. Europe had ethnicities but these got submerged thanks to world wars, USA was entrepreneurship and innovation while some other countries did not have to define something new like the Arabs or Indonesians who were always able to continue from their individual pasts. Indonesia is interesting since they are equally proud of being Muslim as well as appreciate the cultural heritage of their Hindu and Buddhist past. Since even the dominant thought in the subcontinent has been that all religions lead to God, people continued to live together for centuries without bothering the other. It has therefore not been difficult for modern India to adopt secularism not because it is a western concept but because the fundamental ethos of Indian Philosophy also says the same thing. It is better if the leaders try to simultaneously address this binarism though I agree that this is more difficult. I can give a simple example of Iran and one should know that Sai Baba in India had many disciples from Iran since he could connect them with their Rumi heritage and instead of converting them, made them better Muslims. Even Christmas is celebrated with great fervor in this Ashram. If more of such initiatives are done across the subcontinent, peace will be eternal and enmity created by Rightists on both sides will not find anyone willing to listen to their nonsense. Is this possible is the big question though !!!!!!

  13. Althaf Ahmed says:

    The fact that LeT operates openly despite being banned is symptomatic of a deeper divide that cannot be covered by words. At best, it suggests that the civilian leadership of Pakistan does not control the security forces and their jehadi allies. Therefore, it is not possible for the PM to deliver on a “new chapter” in ties. This motif isn’t entirely new either – the Kargil war took place while civilians were talking “peace”.

  14. harsha says:

    The crackdown against Lashkar or Jamaatud Dawa is one of the major obstacle if not the only one.The action if taken before normalising the ties shows the sincerity and the conviction of pakistan for long lasting peace with india.

  15. Ravi says:

    Well, answering your first question, yes it will fail if Pakistan fails to act against terrorist groups on its soil. Another attack on India, of the scale of 26/11 will probably trigger a war this time around, which will be harmful for both economies, more so for Pakistan.

    To your second question, no it is not the only obstacle, but it would definitely serve as a good gesture, reflecting seriousness on Pakistan’s part, that it is acting against perpetrators of 26/11.

  16. Manu says:

    From India’s standpoint, yes, crackdown on LET and JUD is of immense importance. I think there is no question that in Pakistan the army and ISI are a separate power in itself. The Pakistan government can say or promise anything but it is this other power that is in real control. Terrorist attacks on Indian soil in the recent past were planned, controlled and executed by these groups. This was clearly proved by the telephone intercepts during the recent Mumbai attacks. If your government does not want to take this as evidence, thats your problem.

    Every time something of this nature happens, the Pakistan government under international pressure makes some cosmetic changes, freezing funds etc but then these groups rename themselves and the leaders are let out from “house arrest” because of ” lack of evidence”.

    So do something concrete and if you cannot control these “rogue groups”, allow us to help you and we will gladly do it for you. Then we can discuss other bilateral issues once the confidence is restored.

  17. Silajit says:

    India and Pakistan may agree to disagree about a whole host of things.

    People may not know this but there are boundary disputes between the US and Canada.
    However there are hordes of Canadians in the US – many of them even living illegally.

    What kills friendship is the existence of organizations that want to kill your citizens across the border and the lack of seriousness on part of that country to tackle them.

    Today it is Lashkar e Toiba or Jamaat ud Dawa. Tomorrow it will be something else.

    It would be foolish on India’s part to treat Pakistani travellers (business or pleasure) like any others while such a phenomenon is allowed to thrive on Pakistani soil.

  18. Taatya Singh says:

    If India and Pakistan are to behave as “normal” neighbors, people have to be able to travel back and forth easily. This much is basic.

    The state that has people or organizations that want to kill people on the other side or commit other crimes has to be able, willing and effective in shutting them down.
    LeT/JuD is a case in point where this has not happened – to the extent that it has often been discussed that they have state sponsorship. Over time there may be other organizations.

    Whether there is state sponsorship or not, an inability or unwillingness to kill such organizations by the state where they live is critical to ANY meaningful relationship.

  19. J Hayer says:

    There is more at play in India – Pakistan ties than just action against LeT and JuD. The fundamental question is whether the two countries will ever be able to develop a level of trust that can move the peace talks forward and help establish normal relationships. As the talks continue consider –

    What the Indian leaders will be thinking:
    As US puts more pressure on it to do more or face consequences, is the softer language/behaviour of Pakistani leaders towards India opportunistic rather than a long term committment to friendly ties. Secondly, is there any political party or group that has the will and the ability to take on the menace of extremism and hatered towards India that has deep roots and developed over last 65 years. And don’t forget that China will keep using Pakistan as a lever to gain strategic advantage against India.

    Pakistani leaders will consider:
    Even if they take a hard line against LeT and JuD, what will India do if there is another attack like the one on its parliament or the Mumbai carnage? Is Pakistan as a nation willing to move on from the events of 1972 and reset the relationship with India? How long do they have before another military coup, and is the military ready to give up its influence on civil matters (read politics).

  20. Masood Haider says:

    Both countries will benefit enormously by lowering of tensions, establishment of friendly relations and increase in trade. Kashmir remains a disputed issue but it should not be allowed to stifle all progress towards improvement in relations and its settlement should not be a condition for talks on other issues.

  21. Expat says:

    Same story again,we are jused to see
    shortcomings of our political leaders.

  22. Piyush says:

    India-pak relation is a bumpy road and will continue to be so forever. At one time they are two lovers and at other they are sworn enemies. This, unfortunately, is the fate of both the countries.


    Unless Pakistan can control its in house terrorists attacking India, the whole thing is an exercise in futility. No democratically elected government can make peace with a country that schizophrenic in its words and actions.

  24. Nasah says:

    Pakistan needs to resolve the issues with only THREE of its neighbors — India, Afghanistan and Iran — and all its problems will be solved domestically and overseas. Unfortunately with all three neighbors the common bones of contention are the Pakistani militant groups that cross borders at will — whether Pakistan can control them or they are beyond its control will determine the degree of trust and the extent of friendship between the neighbors and Pakistan and between Pakistan and the NATO countries.

  25. Girish says:

    There is a view in India that Pakistan does not want to act against the militants, based in Pakistan, who attack Indians in the motherland. Thus without some visible and sincere action taken against the militants the talks will be non starter irrespective of what Manmohan Singh says. Moreover Manmohan Singh has lost the political capital in India and for him to move on the Pakistan front, he needs to show something to the people of India, else it is all talk and no walk. on Facebook on Facebook