India-Pak impasse: Both nations should strive to reduce trust deficit - The Tribune India

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India-Pak impasse

Both nations should strive to reduce trust deficit

India-Pak impasse

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



SHORTLY after assuming charge as Foreign Minister for a second term, S Jaishankar said with reference to Pakistan that India would want to find a solution to the years-old cross-border terrorism. ‘That cannot be the policy of a good neighbour,’ he added. His statement comes on the heels of the messages posted on X by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, congratulating PM Narendra Modi on his re-election. While Shehbaz confined himself to a terse sentence, Nawaz expansively appealed for replacing hate with hope and seizing the opportunity to shape the destiny of the two billion people of South Asia. Modi was equally terse in thanking Shehbaz and no less eloquent in reminding Nawaz that the people of India had always stood for peace, security and progressive ideas.

The exchange of messages is significant as India-Pakistan ties have been in deep freeze since the Pulwama terror attack and the retaliatory Balakot airstrikes of February 2019. The situation worsened after India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir in August that year, even as the hopes raised by the opening of the Kartarpur corridor were snuffed out soon. However, some positive signs have been visible of late. Alluding to the 25-year-old Kargil War, Nawaz admitted last month that Pakistan had violated the Lahore Declaration in 1999. Interestingly, during their Lok Sabha election campaign, some BJP candidates promised the resumption of India-Pakistan trade via the Attari-Wagah crossing.

Amid backdoor diplomatic efforts, India has been asserting that terrorism and talks cannot go together. But as last week’s Reasi attack has shown, it’s an onerous task for Pakistan’s military-controlled political leadership to turn off the terror tap overnight. Both New Delhi and Islamabad need to take a step forward, even if it’s tentative to start with. This will help in reducing the trust deficit and bringing the two neighbours to the talks table.

#Pakistan #S Jaishankar


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