South Asia Monitor: India-Pakistan: Breaking the Deadlock - February 1, 2004
February 1, 2004
The leaders of India and Pakistan delighted their regional colleagues and their home audiences when they announced in January that the two countries would resume their dialogue on all contentious bilateral issues, including Kashmir, marking the first concrete initiative since peace talks collapsed in Agra in July 2001. There is much expectation attached to the "composite dialogue" due to start in February 2004, between senior officials of each side. The joint statement released by the two governments indicates a desire and willingness to look beyond previously held positions on Kashmir and other issues, which have prevented meaningful dialogue in the past. Although significant, bitter legacies, mutual distrust, and a troubled history of talks between the two countries means that unless the incipient dialogue is linked to a sustained peace process, ideally backed by honest international brokers, prospects of peace in the region are likely to remain fragile.