New York Lauding the Indian leadership’s willingness to engage Pakistan despite its failure to bring perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks to justice, a leading US daily has said that the Pakistani Army’s use of militants to counter Indian influence in Kashmir is “self-destructive.”
In the editorial titled ‘India and Pakistan, Talking: Even modest progress is to be celebrated and urged forward,’ the New York Times said that homegrown extremism and not India is the real threat to Pakistan’s survival.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India deserves huge credit for staying engaged despite Pakistan’s failure to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 horrors. And he deserves credit for not shooting first and asking questions later after the recent attacks. We wish we could say the same of Pakistan’s leaders,” the editorial said.
Pakistani army’s focus on countering India’s influence in Kashmir and Afghanistan is self-destructive for the country, it said.
“Before there can be a true reconciliation, and stability in the region, Pakistan’s Army must realise that using militants to try to counter Indian influence in Kashmir and Afghanistan is self-destructive – and that homegrown extremism, not India, is the real threat to Pakistan’s survival.”
Describing the relationship between the two neighbours as “combustible”, the editorial said “it is progress just to get the two sides in a room,” in a reference to the recently concluded talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
“Last week’s meeting was better. Their foreign ministers announced modest, but very welcome, agreements concerning… Kashmir.”
Small steps like increasing cross-border trade and expediting travel permits for those wanting to cross the border could help chip away at the “visceral mistrust” between the two countries that have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, it said.
“India and Pakistan have more to talk about, including cooperation on water, expanded trade and their joint stake in a stable Afghanistan. President Obama’s drawdown of American troops will go easier if India and Pakistan are part of the solution, not fighting over the spoils,” the Times said.
“New Delhi insists that it will accept no outside mediation. Washington needs to keep pressing the two to work together.”
The United States and its allies are planning a conference in Bonn in December where they hope to rally international support for a broad regional strategy that includes a peace deal for Afghanistan, trade agreements and ambitious energy projects.
“India and Pakistan need to be full participants. The payoff could be huge if their leaders muster the courage to resolve their differences,” it added.