INDIA- SPECIAL/ZARDARI VISITS INDIA
How US converted Zardari’s private visit
to India into an official one
Pakistan President Asif Zardari’s recent visit to India was facilitated by the United States, which is eager
to see the nuclear-armed South Asian
neighbors indulge in a meaningful dia-
logue for peace.
Amir Mir reports on the US administration’s hectic behind-the-scenes
efforts to make the visit a success
PRAKASH SINGH/REU TERS
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, right, with Pakistan President
Asif Ali Zardari in New Delhi, April 8
Pakistan Peoples Party President Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, second from left, visits the shrine of
Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer, Rajasthan, April 8, with his father, Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari (not in the picture)
step approach’ towards normalization.
Viewing the steps so far taken by the two sides since the
composite dialogue process began early 2004, one finds that
though some moves have been made that could fall under
the definition of ‘normalization,’ not even a relatively minor
dispute — let alone the core issue of Kashmir that is of
major concern to Pakistan — has inched any closer to solution.
Meetings after meetings between the foreign ministers
and the foreign secretaries of the two countries have produced dull statements of ‘constructive and fruitful dialogue’
having taken place.
However, a substantial point that emerged from last
week’s Zardari-Singh talks was their willingness to reinforce
the India-China model under which trade relations would
be strengthened while contentious issues like Jammu
and Kashmir would be resolved, using a step-by-step
The India-China model is already being followed, as
Pakistan has finally given India Most Favored Nation status
and is keen to enhance commercial ties with it.
Just like China and India strengthening their trade ties at
great speed while refusing to give an inch in the context of
their border and other disputes, it appears India and
Pakistan are prepared to take the same route.