On a day civil society activists from India and Pakistan concluded two days of deliberations here by calling on the two governments to speed up the peace process, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid played down remarks by the Pakistan High Commissioner who reportedly told a TV channel that the beheading of an Indian soldier was India’s domestic issue.
“I would just simply say that we should not necessarily react to every statement. I do not think that every statement made in the domestic context should necessarily be treated as the last word,” Mr. Khurshid replied when asked to comment on Pakistan High Commissioner Salman Bashir’s observations.
‘Situation a lot better’
The Minister wanted a little time to go by so that the dust settles, and “then in a sensible and calibrated manner, one can move forward. For the present, I believe the situation looks a lot better than it did a few days ago.”
About 30 activists who held two days of deliberations here also concurred with Mr. Khurshid. They felt 2012 was a year of progress in India-Pakistan relations, during which the robustness of bilateral dialogue was tested. Despite challenges to the process, considerable headway was made on issues of trade and visa liberalisation. But they regretted that the political question of Jammu and Kashmir remained unresolved and urged both governments to use the four-point formula devised in 2006-7 as the basis for further dialogue.
Siachen, Sir Creek
Held under the aegis of the Jinnah Institute, Islamabad, a joint resolution wanted the immediate acceptance of previously agreed proposals to resolve longstanding issues such as Siachen and Sir Creek so that both countries could move forward towards focusing on the core issues between the two countries.
On the Line of Control, which has emerged as the latest issue of discord, they underlined the need to reinforce the 2003 ceasefire agreement and wanted the introduction of new mechanisms such as increased demilitarised zones and reducing eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the two armies.