Who is going to reconcile India and Pakistan?

The conflict between India and Pakistan is gathering pace. The officials statements that are released from Delhi and Islamabad are becoming more and more militant. However, both India and Pakistan continue to claim that neither one will start a war first and that military actions will be possible only in the case of aggression by the other side. There are not many people who believe these statements, taking into consideration the fact that both Pakistan and India are obviously getting ready for a war, concentrating their troops on the border and testing their missiles. Pakistan even withdrew its peacemaking contingent from Sierra-Leone, so it looks like this: “if you want peace, get ready for war.”

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is expected to visit Delhi and Islamabad this week together with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It is not hard to guess the subject of the talks: the politicians will talk about the cessation of the conflict. Noone can guarantee that this mission will be successful. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee claimed that Delhi was not going to listen to the opinion of the international community and exercise restraint with Pakistan. This statement is like a cross on the visit of the British premier and UN Secretary-General.

Currently, India is taking rather a tough position as far as the conflict is concerned. Delhi believes that this is the only way to cause Pakistan to stop supporting Kashmir separatists. It is worth mentioning that India is in a better situation that Pakistan. The reputation of a country that supports terrorism is not good for Pakistan. Delhi realizes this advantage, and it is trying to use it as much as possible. This is where the harsh tone of Indian statements comes from.

For example, Indian Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani stated today that a war with Pakistan is already taking place. The minister believes that Pakistan and its terrorists have declared war on India several years ago. He estimated the current situation in the region as “challenging” for India, which needs to find other ways to solve its conflict with Pakistan. He claimed that there has been a common war between the two countries during the last couple of weeks, but the phantom war (terrorism) has lasted for two decades. Advani added that India’s losses from the phantom war have been much greater than in the armed conflict.

The fact that the ruling party of India is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not optimistic either. This party is well-known for its radicalism and irreconcilability. A lot of observers believe that the recent Indo-Muslim massacre in Gujarat was provoked by BJP’s policy. The Indian premier is considered to be a moderate politician, and Advani is conspicuous for his radicalism. It is hard to say whose influence is bigger in the government.

It seems that Delhi is more and more inclined to solve the issue of terrorism very quickly, as the Indian government is ready to start amilitary conflict with Pakistan if there is a necessity. The consequences of this would be very lamentable, since neither Delhi, nor Pakistan will stop when it comes to nuclear weapons. Negotiations may put an end to the conflict, but there is not much hope for this.

Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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