Pakistan and India come a step closer as both countries agreed that terrorism is the dominant issue in the region, but still their future relations depends on the way they remove the trust deficit that exist between them for long, experts said Saturday.
The conference of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad issued a joint declaration on Saturday revealing that the member countries, especially Pakistan and India, agreed over cooperation against terrorism.
In the joint declaration the South Asian countries vowed that none of the member country’s soil should be used against other state.
A day earlier of this meeting Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik and his Indian counterpart held a one-on-one meeting. After the meeting Malik termed it as a positive beginning.
The visiting Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram also praised Pakistan’s steps against terrorism and lauded Malik’s efforts for peace.
After Thursday meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in Islamabad both sides seemed positive. In the meeting both sides agreed to insulate peace process of terrorism.
“After this engagement, I feel much more optimistic about a good outcome at the ministerial level and good prospects for the two countries in terms of our relationship,” Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told media.
However, it was not considered as important as purpose of the meeting was to set agenda for the forthcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers S.M. Krishna and Shah Mehmood Qureshi are scheduled to meet in Islamabad on July 15, the third major contact in six months between both countries that have fought three wars in 60 years.
Seasoned defence analyst Talat Masood told Xinhua that he saw a positive change in India’s role and posture. “India wants peace in the region for its economic development and a global status. That is not possible if it will have rivalries with Pakistan.”
Besides, now the whole world realizes Pakistan’s sincerity and sacrifices in war against terrorism, observers said.
However, analyst and expert on international relations Dr. Tahir Amin was not optimistic about the future relations between the two countries. He told Xinhua that India is not sincere in resolving the long standing issues with Pakistan. “It holds talks and issues positive statements just under international pressure,” he added.
Masood contradicts this saying power like India cannot be pressurized and there are other reasons for India preparedness for talks.
“It tried pressure tactics against Pakistan like increasing army on border with the country, it suspended dialogue with Pakistan after Mumbai attacks in 2008, and it fought wars with the later. But all these didn’t work. The two south Asian countries are armed with nukes, which is a dominant factor in shaping the relations. So now India concluded that dialogue is the only way forward,” he said.
Implementation of the decisions taken in the conference of 8- member SAARC depends on the decision of the foreign ministers of the two countries that are to meet in July, analysts said.
Some analysts link future relations between Pakistan and India to their ability of removing trust deficit between them as top officials of the two countries in May accepted that the deficit exists that needs to be removed.
Head of Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) Imtiaz Gul told Xinhua that time would tell that how much talks process between the two countries were successful. “The success depends on their ability to remove the mistrust that overshadows their relations for long,” he said.
For the last 61 years the two countries have been at odds with each other due to their long-standing issues including Kashmir and fought four wars in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999.
In the 21st century relations between the two countries witnessed several ups and downs and the composite dialogue was suspended after Mumbai attacks killing about 166 people in India. Analysts maintain that for India the most important issue is terrorism but for Pakistan water issue is also important along with terrorism.
“Resolving all the issues including water and Kashmir are possible, though not so early, if sincere steps are taken on both sides,” Masood said.