The Pakistan-India relationship is drifting again since there is next to nothing to show on the “fiendishly difficult” fronts like Kashmir, Siachen and terrorism, a leading Pakistani daily said Tuesday, hoping Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Islamabad soon.
Salman Bashir, Pakistan’s new high commissioner to India, has said that “the atmospherics have witnessed a sea change” in the relationship between the two countries.
Dawn (local newspaper in Pakistan) said in an editorial that “Bashir may well be right and in a relationship as fraught and contentious as the one between the two South Asian neighbours ‘atmospherics’ are nothing to be scoffed at”.
“However, there is a sense that rather than Bashir’s upbeat assessment, the relationship is drifting again. Trade negotiations have been bogged down in minutiae, a more liberal visa regime has seemingly been stalled and there’s next to nothing to show on the fiendishly more difficult fronts: Kashmir, Siachen and terrorism,” it said.
The daily said that perhaps what can “reinvigorate the push for normalisation of ties between India and Pakistan is the much talked about but never quite near enough visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan”.
“Intransigence and stubbornness of the security and foreign-policy establishments on both sides is almost a given, so it comes down to finding someone who can rise about the calcified and ossified positions of old and drag ties forward.
“Throughout his tenure as prime minister, Singh has appeared to be the man who could possibly make it happen - but time is running out. Weakened domestically and unable to find a partner in Pakistan who is willing to meet him half way, the space for Singh to manoeuvre on Pakistan has certainly diminished a great deal,” it said.
The editorial went on to say that from the Indian side, the shadow of the Mumbai attacks still lingers and “a significant gesture from Pakistan - expediting the trial of the suspects here perhaps - is yet to come”.
“The weight of history means that both sides have a thousand and one reasons to not genuinely seek a full peace with one another. So officials like Singh, so obviously and so genuinely interested in peace with Pakistan, do not come about often, it said, adding: “He (Singh) should follow his instinct. Roll the dice: visit Pakistan. Of such gestures is history sometimes made.”