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India-Pakistan dialogue must avoid seduction by daydreams

By moneycontrol

Ensconced in his midtown Manhattan hotel suite, President Asif Ali Zardari imagined a summer where India-Pakistan peace was in full flower and the Generals had lined up at the borders holding out posies to the enemy. “India has never been a threat to Pakistan,” Zardari emphatically told the Wall Street Journal.

He outlined his vision of “Pakistani cement factories being constructed to provide for India’s huge infrastructure needs, Pakistani textile mills meeting Indian demand for blue jeans, Pakistani ports being used to relieve the congestion at Indian ones”.

As daydreams go, it wasn’t a bad one.

In a Lashkar-e-Taiba safehouse in Karachi, though, Muhammad Ajmal Kasab and nine other Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were making their preparations for 26/11. The bombs and bullets claimed the lives of at least 174 people in 2008—and destroyed years of secret negotiations between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and General Pervez Musharraf over Kashmir.

Ever since February, when India and Pakistan reinstated the 2003 Line of Control ceasefire agreement, speculation has mounted on what the next-steps in the peace process might be: Visas, cricket, Siachen, even, who knows, open borders in Kashmir?

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