Process of talks not insulated from terror

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Islamabad, Jun 25 (ANI): Can the peace process between India and Pakistan ever be insulated from the spectre of a terror attack? When the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries were asked this pointed question at the press interaction yesterday afternoon, they were hesitant to answer in absolute terms.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao preferred instead to say that "That will be the subject of ongoing discussion. Strengthening our dialogue through such talks. Our Home Minister will talk to his counterpart. So that will be another opportunity."

But according to an Indian government source there is no way that any Indian administration can ever delink talks from terror. In fact neither can the Pakistani government. The process of talks is not insulated from terror said the source. Explaining that if a Mumbai type attack was to ever occur again, the 'space' and the carefully cultivated public opinion that the Indian administration has today to bridge the trust deficit between India and Pakistan will most certainly wither away. The fragile bridges over the wide chasm in India Pakistan relations could disintegrate.

The source said that in a democratic nation such as India, public perception was very important. So far Indians haven't yet got their closure on the Mumbai terror strikes because the perpetrators are still at large, but there is also a growing sense that giving peace a chance is an option to be tried, yet again. At least the political masters in New Delhi think so.

The source said that non-engagement with each other had created leverages for terror groups to wreck further havoc. It would serve their purpose to keep Indian and Pakistani administrations from cooperating and moving forward constructively towards peace and prosperity. The two sides had over the past year and half realized that dialogue is the best option available to the two sides. This would, think foreign office mandarins, to a large extent erodes the single minded cultivated edifice of terror created by groups like the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

The source said that India-Pakistan peace process will be a protracted one and warned that being overly ambitious and expecting quick fix solutions to vexed issues will not help. The relationship between the two sides had graduated to at least wanting to eliminate the trust deficit through constructive exchange of ideas. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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