Summit must succeed

Sir, - The coming peace summit between the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee and Gen. Pervez Musharraf embodies the long- cherished dream of the people of India and Pakistan, sick and wounded as we are with the contrived air of profitless hostility spread over five decades. The quintessence of our cultures is hospitality, not hostility.

Let us welcome Gen. Musharraf as a pilgrim of peace. A pilgrim is one who undertakes a journey of truth. Truth sets people and nations free.

The truth is that, as neighbours, our countries share a common destiny and our people are knit together by shared aspirations, cultural kinship and deep memories that transcend the scars of self-inflicted wounds.

The prolonged and avoidable sufferings of our people must be kept at the centre of this peace-process. The senseless antagonism between India and Pakistan has helped only the international military-industrial combine.

It has consigned the poor people on the subcontinent to destitution and untold suffering. Peace is a pre-requisite for development and quality of life.

Let us pray that the two eminent statesmen will approach Kashmir and all other bilateral issues that hurt peace in an attitude of mature realism and responsibility, willing to make the compromises that a genuine commitment to peace calls for.

Both leaders deserve our admiration for this bold initiative

for peace. It is a historical necessity that the Agra agenda succeeds.

Swami Agnivesh

New Delhi