The president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 as a result of a coup d’etat, acted as a peacemaker again. The world community has already got used to the new, civilized image of the general that he has been demonstrating during the recent months. The comments pertaining to the new Pakistani leader would have been rather sceptical two years ago. However, everything changed after the events of September 11. Mr. Musharraf expressed his support of the USA and its allies in their efforts to struggle with terrorism, particularly with the Taliban movement and Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani president did not concentrate his attention on the fact that the Taliban could find all kinds of help on the territory of his country.
He also did not pay attention to the issue about his country's support of the Kashmir separatists, who widely used terrorist methods against India. India and Pakistan found themselves on the edge of another war with an absolutely unpredictable outcome after the events of December 13, 2001 (when dozens of people died as a result of a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament). Certain changes became noticeable in the political course of Islamabad. Of course, the Pakistani administration at first exercised the traditional determination to fight with India till final victory. However, President Musharraf remembered that any kind of terrorist activity is not fashionable, and he started expressing one peaceful offer after another. This is a very heroic step, taking account of Islamabad’s hostility to Delhi.
The British Guardian newspaper reported that Pervez Musharraf condemned terrorism during his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Pakistani president offered something different during that meeting that has never been present in the relations between Pakistan and India. Islamabad set out its readiness to consider the Kashmir problem as well as India’s requirement to deliver 20 terrorists, which Delhi suspects of organizing acts of terrorism. This compliance will surely give more advantages to Pakistan in its opposition with India.
However, there is a question coming up: how far can the Pakistani administration go with its initiatives and their realization. So far, there have not been any efficient measures taken to restrain the Kashmir separatists. It seems like Delhi does not believe the Pakistani offers. India does not believe them even to the detriment of its international position. This distrust has large grounds: the army actions in Kashmir are still going on.
We have to mention another detail here. Delhi is intendeding to exercise the right to solve the problem of terrorism the way they want, despite Washington’s or Beijing's opinions (the USA and China have a considerable influence on Islamabad). Time will show to what extent this position is productive. India has been keeping its course in effect so far. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who is currently on a visit to India expressed his total support of India’s efforts in its struggle with terrorism. Of course, Mr. Peres hopes that the parties will manage to avoid a war. However, at the same time, the foreign minister of Israel said that India had to be sure of the absence of terrorists on the territory of Pakistan.
However, the leading powers of the world hardly have to have any preferences towards this or that party, like Peres does. The pressure of the world community on India and Pakistan must be efficient to the maximum. In the long run, both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons, so if a war breaks out, then there will be other countries involved in it.
The active cooperation between China, Russia, the USA, and Great Britain (the countries that have a considerable influence in the region) can greatly assist in the peaceful regulation of the Pakistani-Indian relations. So far, the conflict between India and Pakistan continues, but, fortunately, on the diplomatic level only. It is not likely that the conflict between Islamabad and Delhi will grow and take the form of a war. The possession of the nuclear weapons is a strong constraining factor. The efforts of the international community are also fruitful. It would not be bad to accelerate the process of regulation of the Pakistani and Indian conflict, for the idea of another war breaking out is very bad.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov