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India - Pakistan: Officials Must Keep Talking | Editorial, The Express Tribune

19 January 2014

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Working for peace - Editorial

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2014

Given the bitter wars of words we have had over the past few months between senior Indian and Pakistani military officials over skirmishes on the border dividing the two nations, and along the Line of Control (LoC) between the two segments of Kashmir, the brigadier-level meeting that took place January 17 on the Rawlakot-Poonch sector of the LoC comes as very good news. An Inter-Services Public Relations press release says that both sides agreed during it to do more to build peace, taking forward the process begun in December last year, when the Director Generals Military Operations of both countries met, as is laid down in the protocol to handle such situations, to discuss the incidents of cross-border firing which resulted in several deaths. The precise number is disputed as is the nature of the incidents themselves.

However, it is quite clear that the volleys of allegations and counter-allegations exchanged build tensions and are picked up by hawks in either country to add to their stance against any meaningful peace process. This, of course, is highly harmful. To avoid it, we need to develop mechanisms, which can allow us to keep calm along the boundaries of our two nations and tackle the episodes which may periodically occur in a calm and rational fashion. The flag meeting is a good step in this direction as were the talks between the Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force officials held a few weeks ago. It is important such dialogues continue.

Face-to-face interactions can help sort out all kinds of issues and also develop the understanding needed to resolve them before the involvement of the media and other groups adds to complications. Peace between India and Pakistan is, of course, vital to our future. It can be built only if meetings at all levels continue and the process continues so that we can move towards the cooperation essential to the people of our countries and also to a region, which would fare far better if it were less stricken by tension and hostility. It is important to build the peace we urgently need as quickly as we can.


The above editorial from The Express Tribune is reproduced here for educational and non commercial use