Saturday 11 July 2015

Thawing of India-Pakistan Relations | Detailed Ufa Analysis

Why in news?
The two PMs met or nearly an hour in Ufa in Russia on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit to discuss an entire gamut of issues between the two countries — has kicked off a new season of engagement between India and Pakistan

What was the outcome of the meeting?

Source: The Hindu
The sixth point is that all actions would lead up to Mr. Modi’s visit to Pakistan, to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad in 2016.

Point-wise Analysis:
  1. NSA Meets: 
    1. is crucial to hammer out any peace deal, away from the limitations of bureaucracies, militaries and the constant glare of the media. 
    2. even within their establishments, both men are seen as “hawks”. 
      1. Therefore, if they do come to an agreement, it will take into account the most extreme views on either side.
    3. not the first time that such an engagement has been proposed, however. 
      1. In 2006, a Joint Terror Mechanism was announced between NSAs in Havana by Manmohan Singh and Musharraf. But that came a cropper over inherent distrust between both sides. 
    4. NSA India, Doval is himself a figure viewed with deep suspicion in Pakistan, not the least because of past statements he has made on Balochistan and covert operations, which are aired on Pakistani TV channels quite regularly. 
      1. However, given his years posted in Islamabad, and decades in the intelligence bureau, he will bring in a unique perspective to the talks.
  2. DGMO Meets:
    1. The meetings between military commanders at the LoC are already a part of an ongoing process, and even before the Prime Ministers met in Ufa
      1. one such meeting had been scheduled for September 2015 between the DGs of the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers. 
      2. There is an annual mechanism for high-level talks between the Pakistani Rangers and BSF chiefs that last took place in March 2015 at the Wagah-Attari border. 
      3. So, it remains to be seen what structure the newly announced DGMO talks will take.
  3. Release of fishermen:
    1. It's a regular feature of such talks
    2. The tragedy is that the navies of both countries detain these fishermen who stray over the sea boundaries quicker than they can be released, and at any given point, each country holds 300-400 fishermen.
  4. Religious tourism:
    1. The mechanism for “religious tourism” will be welcomed in all parts, as each year, Indian and Pakistani officials wrangle over the visas issued to: 
      1. Indians for Gurpurab celebrations at Nankana Sahib and to the Hinglaj Mata temple, and to 
      2. Pakistani pilgrims for the Ajmer Sharif and Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi.
  5. Expediting Mumbai trial:
    1. Finally, there is the very significant reference to the provision of “voice samples” and expediting Mumbai Trials. 
      1. But not for the “first” time, both assurances were given by Pakistan in May 2010 after the Thimphu SAARC summit meeting. 
      2. A month later, when Home Minister P. Chidambaram travelled to Islamabad armed with the Indian “dossiers”, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Mallik had declared that Pakistan would provide India all support in probing the 26/11 attacks, including 
        1. expediting the trial with “day-to-day” hearings in a special court; 
        2. giving India the voice-samples of terror element Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, alleged to be the operational mastermind in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the other accused in Adiala jail, and of 
        3. hunting down the “masterminds” of the attack including 
        4. reinvestigating the case of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed
      3. But nothing materialised.
    2. Rather some backtracking by Pakistan:
      1. Lakhvi is out on bail, and was recently exempted from court appearances in the 26/11 trial, which will make it extremely difficult to track him down for the process. 
    3. Why voice samples are critical?
      1. they could be matched with telephone recordings that India already has of Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders in the so-called “Karachi control room” coldbloodedly guiding gunman Ajmal Kasab and his colleagues to kill innocents at the Taj hotel and Chabad House in Mumbai. 
Points that remain unanswered:
  1. Where India will take its quest at the UN to make Pakistan accountable for the Mumbai attacks.
    1. For the past few months, India has stepped up efforts to have Pakistan named or criticised by the UN, the 1267 Taliban sanctions committee and the Financial Action Task Force. Now that the Indian and Pakistani governments are discussing the matter, will India cease these efforts, or at least suspend them?
  2. Non-inclusion of a reference to Jammu and Kashmir at Ufa.
Given the past history of summits between India and Pakistan, and the constant and creative search for new solutions by their leaders to a nearly 70-year-old dispute that has cost both countries dear, it would be a mistake to claim that any new venture in the relationship is in fact “a first” that has never been done before. What it is however, is a new reason for hope.

[Source: The Hindu]


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