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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

October 31, 2003

October 31, 2003





**  Indian analysts praise Vajpayee's proposals, but don't foresee "major" progress.


**  Pakistani outlets charge that the "cosmetic" moves fail adequately to address Kashmir.


**  Pakistani writers laud Islamabad's "acceptance"; Indian outlets dub it a "churlish" response.


**  Ending of cross-border terrorism is no longer a pre-requisite for bilateral engagement.




CBMs a 'smart move,' but Indian writers disagree on long-term impact--  Indian commentators displayed varying degrees of optimism about PM Vajpayee's 12 CBMs.  Hindi and pro-government papers judged that the PM's "magnanimous" offers would provide a "boost" to goodwill in the region.  The right-of-center Pioneer trumpeted Vajpayee as India's "tallest leader since...Indira Ghandi."  Other papers called the proposals a "welcome change" from the timidity that has "marred the Vajpayee government," but doubted the measures would "usher in any major changes" in bilateral relations. 


Proposals only address 'superficial issues'; are aimed at 'fooling' the world community--  Pakistani observers strongly criticized India's peace proposals as "old wine in new bottles" and "showpiece measures" designed to put the corrosive impasse over Kashmir on the "back burner."  Many writers saw the CBMs as an attempt by New Delhi to "mislead the world community" about India's belligerent intentions and hide the "dagger...under its arm."  Dissenting voices urged Islamabad not to "miss the bus" to peace and advised that India's "small steps can lead to major breakthroughs."


Pakistan responds to India's 'tricks' with a 'counter-ploy'--  Pakistani writers hailed Islamabad's "sincere" acceptance of India's peace proposals, with the rightist Pakistan Observer billing it a step "towards the revival of normal ties between the two nuclear rivals."  Indian editorialists, however, castigated Pakistan's "cheeky" response as a ploy to provoke New Delhi that could ratchet up tension on the subcontinent.  On both sides of the LoC, advocates of bilateral dialogue criticized the parties' "gamesmanship." 


Will the CBMs 'pave the way' for resolution of the Kashmir dispute?--  Tensions over Kashmir loomed large in analyses of Vajpayee's 12 proposals.  Most Indian editorialists doubted that New Delhi's offer would end cross-border terror, but stressed that the issue should not preclude dialogue over Kashmir.  Pakistani analysts roundly criticized the "frivolous" CBMs for overlooking Kashmir, the "flashpoint" in South Asian relations.  Outlets asserted that bilateral relations will not improve as long as India continues playing "diplomatic games" and insisted that only "substantive" dialogue "can provide sustainable peace." 


EDITOR: Andrew Borda


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 74 reports from 3 countries, October 24-31, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.





GERMANY:  "Signals"


Peter Sturm argued in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/24):  "The latest Indian initiative…is a positive signal which should not be overburdened with excessive expectations.  Not only will extremists on all sides try to prevent lasting peace between both sides, once the situation gets really 'serious.'  But even moderate politicians act in a 'nationalistically-minded' way when relations with the neighbor are involved.  From its own viewpoint, India is showing courage by making it easier for people in both parts of Kashmir to establish contacts.  We are eager to learn whether the government in Delhi is able to stay the course once the newly-established openness is being misused by violent criminals.  But, on the other hand, the Indian initiative is also a smart move.  If something is happening, it will be easy to blame Pakistan for it.  The Indian accusation that Pakistan does not prevent the infiltration of terrorists into the Indian part of Kashmir has never been withdrawn."




INDIA:  "Pakistani Ping-Pong"


The centrist Times of India held (10/31):  "New Delhi 's latest package of restoring travel and other links between the two countries has been volleyed back by Islamabad like a table tennis ball.  While persisting with its position that Kashmir remains a core issue, Pakistan has hedged on a number of confidence building measures, including the restoration of overflight facilities, while adding some deliberately provocative 'riders' to others, notably the offer of conducting the proposed cross-border services under the supervision of the UN.... It has also offered scholarships to Kashmiri students and succor to those "widows and victims" who have allegedly suffered 'atrocities' at the hands of Indian security forces....  More than just stalling tactics, these cheeky proposals are designed to get New Delhi 's goat and call forth an intemperate response from the Indian side.  All the more reason why South Block should not fall prey to this impudent strategy.  Instead, right from now to the forthcoming SAARC meeting in January next year, it should come up with a whole range of measures to normalize relations....  These and should be made with clock-work regularity by New Delhi to expose Islamabad's gamesmanship of trying to divert domestic and international attention from the bankruptcy of its internal agenda, based solely on Kashmir.  India must show that it has a multi-faceted agenda going much beyond Kashmir, which, in any case, is a purely internal matter that will be handled through the dynamics of our own democracy.  In one word, New Delhi must demonstrate that it can bring much more to the diplomatic table than can Pakistan, by constantly enlarging the terms of bilateral engagement."


"How Cynical Is This"


The centrist Indian Express noted (10/31):  "Pakistan's ruling elite has just demonstrated its lack of sensitivity and good taste in the official counter-proposals it has profferred in response to India's initiatives for furthering peace in the region....  If Pakistan wants to treat Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute, then it must start by accepting that the dispute really is about Pakistan's continuing presence and prosecution of jihadi violence inside the state that legally and constitutionally acceded to India 56 years ago....  Any objective reading of the Indian proposals would show that, if accepted by both sides and implemented sincerely, they would help the people of both countries.  This could open doors for further forward movement.  But by creating roadblocks on the path to the acceptance of these proposals, Islamabad is doing itself and the region a great disservice.  What is needed is for both countries to adopt a more responsible relationship with each other.  India can either choose to be deterred by such cynicism, or carry on with its agenda to change the security scenario of the region.  We would urge the latter approach."


"Churlish Diplomacy"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (10/31):  "Pakistan's response to India's peace package reveals an exceptionally cussed attitude, typical of a vitiated mind unwilling to approach a problem with the intention of solving it.  Instead, Islamabad is seemingly intent on exacerbating the tension, presumably to please the jihadi elements which the military junta has pampered all these years.  Nothing shows its vicious mentality more graphically than Islamabad's proposal to treat disabled Kashmiris and women raped by the Indian security forces....  There is no sign in this outrageous suggestion that Pakistan intends to take the mutual relationship to a more friendly level....  India, like any country keen on improving relations, made what is undoubtedly a generous offer only to be rebuffed in such a crude manner. Pakistan's obsession with Kashmir is also evident in its proposal to involve the UN in the matter of opening bus services between the two halves of Kashmir.  Apart from revealing its blinkered vision, these responses also underline Pakistan's uneasiness in restoring an element of normality in mutual relations through the establishment of people-to-people contacts, which is India's objective.  Pakistan evidently suspects that such an approach will swamp the 'core' issue of Kashmir under an avalanche of good will that exists between the ordinary people of the two countries....  Hence, Islamabad's mean-minded caveats to the Indian proposals."


"Rogue's Response"


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer charged (10/31):  "There is only one way to describe Pakistan's response to India's 12-point peace package Prime Minister Vajpayee unveiled on October 22: Breathtaking.  Many in India would prefer to call it condemnable and preposterous.  But, in retrospect, that would be to betray hope for civilized reciprocal virtues in Islamabad where none, evidently, exists....  India, out of its traditional large-heartedness, has chosen to give its sabre-rattling neighbor a long rope, despite being time and again repaid with loathsome chicanery and back-stabbing deceit. But the latest manifestation of Pakistan's puerile belligerence does, as they say, take the cake. For, it has representatives of the universally recognized epicenter of global terrorism dress themselves up in the ill-fitting finery of human rights champions....  Pakistan may have reduced itself to a pitiable joke with its Kashmir itch.  But its incorrigibility is no excuse for its attempt to reduce India's well-meant peace initiative to mockery.  The nature of its 'response' to Vajpayee's proposals betrays that it is trying to open a propagandist channel of communication with Kashmiris, bypassing the Indian Government....  If anything, neither India nor the world needs further proof Pakistan will do everything in its power to obstruct Kashmir's return to normalcy--since it refuses to accept that Kashmiris, defying terrorist depredations, have already chosen peace....  New Delhi has preferred rapprochement to conflict, the gainer is the very party brandishing the gun, spared as it is a forcible disarming.  But since Pakistan uses this grace to persist in its aggression, it may be asked how long the peace momentum can be sustained.  There is no denying its utterly cynical response to India's hand of friendship warrants a befitting reply. General Pervez Musharraf and his minions have taken magnanimity for granted.  There is no better occasion than now for them to be rudely disabused."


"Beacause The People Want It"


Saeed Naqvi wrote in the centrist Indian Express (10/31):  "Given the adversarial edge in Indo-Pak diplomacy, one would have expected sides to score points as in a college debate....  But remember, the purpose of the exercise is to win hearts and minds, soften the atmosphere.  Only then can discussions, even negotiations, begin on Kashmir....  It is speculated that the Americans have exerted pressure to extract the 12 suggestions from India.  The Diwali initiative has taken all diplomats completely by surprise....  Pakistani diplomats are a trifle hurt that New Delhi bypassed them and announced the proposals to the media....  There is a view in New Delhi that at this stage of the Indo-Pak script there is no alternative to public diplomacy--to reach out to the establishment in full view of the people who have demonstrated overwhelming support for increased interaction at all levels.  This is true of people in both countries."


"Proxy Diplomacy"


The centrist Telegraph asserted (10/31):  "One-upmanship is an ageold, and perhaps, therefore, an accepted game in politics.  But it appears to have become the all-important feature of Indo-Pak relations....  The government, it could be said, was appropriating the success and the agenda of what has come to be known as track two diplomacy.  After a week of anxious waiting, Pakistan's response to the proposals are now at hand.  They can at best be described as lukewarm....  To say that the proposals were tactical is merely to overstate the obvious.  All moves in foreign policy are made to gain tactical advantage.  This is the essence of realpolitik, the mantra of foreign policymaking.  But to say this openly when a thaw is being sought to be created is to bestow on the proposals an air of insincerity, which only succeeds in arousing the suspicion of the other party....  The attempt made by India to engage Pakistan's civil society, genuine or tactical or a bit of both, will succeed in increasing that warmth.  But whether the proposals will bring about a thaw between the two governments is another matter altogether.  There exist enough grounds for skepticism about a stable peace between India and Pakistan.  Gestures may create goodwill but not peace."


"Struggle For Peace"


Independent Bengali Anandabazar Patrika remarked (10/31):  "It is still unclear how India would tackle Pakistan's counter-ploy.  However, one thing is evident that this peace initiative is unlikely to usher in major positive changes....  One realization must have dawned upon Delhi's BJP leadership by now that there is no alternative to bestowing official recognition on the LoC.  Also, Islamabad must understand that if it does not stop continual export of arms and terrorism to Kashmir and come forward with a solution it would be causing infinite harm to itself along with India.  Succinctly, if neither Delhi nor Islamabad is able to look at Kashmir without an infatuation then all CBM would get constricted to mere cosmetic gaits."


"Art Of One-Upmanship"


Bharat Bhushan opined in the centrist Telegraph (10/30):  "If, to say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy, then...Yashwant Sinha, perhaps needs to go back to school.  He seems to have let the cat out of the bag....  Now we know what the Indian proposals were all about--they were not a Diwali gift and they were not something to ruminate over during the holy month of Ramadan.  They were just another example of one-upmanship.  The Pakistani response, a week later, has only confirmed this.  What Sinha is supposed to have told his partymen makes sense.  The Indian offer, coming as it did quickly on the heals of the shouting match at the United Nations...surprised the Pakistanis.  Pakistan knew that rejecting the proposals could mean kissing goodbye to hosting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit at Islamabad....  As expected, Islamabad was forced to pick and choose measures on which it was willing to move forward.  Pakistan was also forced to announce some positive-sounding but rather meaningless proposals of its own....  There is no indication though that India’s Pakistan policy is charting a clear course ahead--beyond short-term fancy footwork.  This is also evident in the offer of a dialogue with the All Party Hurriyat Conference....  Yashwant Sinha is wrong if he said that the dialogue with the Hurriyat is meant to divide it....  There is...still hope if good sense prevails and the Indian political leadership does not get entangled in one-upmanship."


"Pakistan Wants Summit Between Vajpayee and Musharraf"


Independent Akhbar-e-Marshriq held (10/29):  “India has been continuously taking confidence-building steps for establishing normal relations with Pakistan....  It is common perception in the circle of political experts that it is the best period for creating good friendly relationship between the two neighbors.  Because in Islamabad an army General is in power and on the other side the fundamentalist party B.J.P. rules over Delhi....  On both sides the opposition have been made inactive.  The rulers of both sides, with a view to strengthening their positions are raising the issue of Kashmir....  The international community, even the common Pakistanis, have reacted about the peace proposals offered by India, in such a positive way that the Parvez Musharraf administration is very much under-pressure.  Pakistan never wants to welcome any measure taken by India in the process of making good relationship.  It is because if the India-factor is solved, the rulers of Pakistan will have no issue.  Anti-Indianism has been the part and parcel of Pakistan politics.  Without this issue no ruler can be on the power in Islamabad....  This time too they are reluctant to greet the Indian proposals.  So the Pakistani establishment is now asking for summit between Vajpayee and Musharraf.  They are saying that only this kind of summit can solve the real problems."


"Pakistan Caught In Its Own Web"


Pro-Congress, Hindi daily Dainik Hindustan asserted (10/29):  "It will not be very easy for Pakistan to spurn India's peace offer this time.  If it does so, it will be seen as an obstinate nation in the eyes of the international community.  The Pakistani response seems to be caught in this dilemma.  Pakistani strategists are viewing the Indian proposals as a trap....  Musharraf's government is vexed by the fact that the Indian proposals have created tremendous enthusiasm among the people of Pakistan.  India has, once again, demonstrated its magnanimity to the world by coming out with the bold proposals." 


"The Thirteenth Step"


Mani Shankar Aiyar commented in the centrist Indian Express (10/28):  “Vajpayee’s...latest package to all good...and some [offers]--such as the proposed Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, the Karachi-Mumbai ferry, and the Munabao-Khokrapar link--are innovative, imaginative.  But several others...are merely an attempt at reviving what we had so foolishly cancelled ourselves.  Does, then, the offer add up to a bold new direction---or is it as bogus as Vajpayee’s ‘hand of friendship’ speech at Srinagar on April 18?...  The Srinagar speech was not a peace offering so much as a political Alzheimer’s.  Vajpayee just forgot to mention the two preconditions he had till then insisted on as the indispensable precursor to dialogue--stopping cross-border terrorism and dismantling the infrastructure of terror....  The NDA, in Kashmir, like the Americans in the world at large, look upon terrorism as aberrant violence to be snuffed out by state violence.  They do not understand, as their chums the Americans do not understand, that terrorism is not gratuitous violence; it has causes....  As for the external front, the NDA’s inability to comprehend the connection between the persistence of cross-border terrorism and the failure to get the India-Pakistan dialogue going is once again underlined by Vajpayee’s failure to announce the Thirteenth Step--which must be dialogue....  Unless we address the eight broad issues agreed upon at Murree, Vajpayee’s 12 steps will be no more than a transitory propaganda coup. The billion and a quarter people of India and Pakistan deserve more than media spin.”


"The Greatest Push For Peace"


Rajya Sabha and Balbir K. Punj wrote in the centrist Asian Age (10/28): "Virtually, the PM has left no leg for the Pakistan President to stand on.  In this initiative, the Pakistani people are the most important target.  This point would not have been lost on their President....  The message also says that India is not afraid of people-to-people contact between the two parts of Kashmir....  The offer of high-level talks with the separatist group in J&K has put it in an embarrassing position.  With the peace barometer rising among Kashmir’s people, the Hurriyat would be hard put to reject this offer.  To accept it would jeopardize the game it is playing, abetted by its backers in Islamabad....  The Pakistani establishment would also not fail to read the powerful message New Delhi is sending to it by proposing the restarting of negotiations with it on the one hand and energizing the ongoing healing touch program in Kashmir on the other, along with the freely elected local government in the state....  New Delhi is strengthening its position in Kashmir with these initiatives that started with the conduct of the first free and independent election in that state.  The entire political discourse in Kashmir is no longer on whether that state should secede, but how it could restructure its relations with New Delhi within the larger Indian state.  With the opening of dialogue with even separatist elements...and seeking to open up a window to the Kashmiris across the LoC...New Delhi is clearly on an upswing in Jammu and Kashmir.”


"Pakistan's Cold Response"


Nationalist Urdu-language Rashtriya Sahara editorialized (10/28):  “The response of the political leadership in Pakistan to India’s recent 12-point peace initiative is not very encouraging and, contrary to the initial optimism, no drastic change of situation in the current Indo-Pak equation seems to be coming.  Such a cold response from Pakistan is in keeping with its past record.  However, Pakistan should take a realistic view of India’s proposals which would serve the interests of the two countries equally by bringing the people on the two sides of the subcontinent closer and promoting bilateral relations.”


"Self-Contradictory Offer"


Pro-BJP Pratrap observed (10/28): “As usual, Islamabad has refused to be excited by the Indian offer saying that the proposals do not include a dialogue that Pakistan has been insisting upon.  Pakistanis should not lose heart.  They should remain optimistic of the self-contradictory tendency of our leaders, who may ultimately announce their willingness to hold unconditional talks with Pakistan as well....  As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is in a dilemma how to respond to India’s peace proposals.  India’s initiative has been lauded internationally as a bold step forward to facilitate peace in the region.  Although the proposals have been widely welcomed by its own people, Pakistan finds it politically and diplomatically more advantageous to make noise over holding talks than to work on solid ground preparation for lasting peace.”


"Roadmap For Peace"


Independent Urdu-language Siasat judged (10/27):  “India’s new peace offer has sent everyone wondering what actually made the BJP-led government change its rigid position which was actually threatening to reverse whatever progress had been made toward normalization of relations since Vajpayee's speech in Srinagar.  Regardless of what made the BJP-led government change its position, the need is to work upon the proposals and allow progress in the peace process.  As far as talks are concerned, they can be held as soon as Pakistan’s positive response and cooperation raises the level of mutual confidence.  To facilitate this, people to people links should be widened as strengthened through the involvement of intellectuals and peace activists of the two countries.”


"Ups And Down In Indo-Pak Relations"


Independent, Urdu-langugage biweekly Dawat contended (10/27):  "Be it the problem of terrorism or any other issue of concern, both India and Pakistan have a tendency to court U.S. favor for their positions.  Currently, both India and Pakistan are indulged in winning U.S. support of their campaign of blaming each other for the sabotaging peace and stability in the South Asian region....  Because of this attitude of courting others, the bilateral issues between India and Pakistan have become a subject of interference by major global powers, which explains why several attempts by the two countries to smooth their relationship have always met with failure.  The leadership of the two countries will have to get rid of the psychological complication that chronically ill of suspicion and distrust.  Only then any meaningful progress is possible."


"India's Positive Unilateralism"


C. Raja Mohan noted in the centrist Hindu (10/27):  “After making a big impression with its offer of a package of confidence-building measures last week to Pakistan, the Government must now be prepared to sustain this initiative irrespective of the nature of Islamabad's reaction.  If Pakistan does respond positively to some of the proposals it should be relatively easy to build on the momentum.  But if Pakistan's reaction is essentially negative, India must be in a position to unveil another series of moves.  If India's emerging strategy towards Pakistan might be called ‘positive unilateralism’, the core assumption underlying it must be that New Delhi will not take 'no' for an answer....  The first priority for India is to find ways to unilateraly implement some of the proposals it had unveiled last week.  For example, India could unilaterally let senior citizens cross the border on foot.  Economic cooperation is particularly amenable to unilateral action.  Instead of continuing to negotiate tariff reductions in a multilateral or bilateral format, India could unilaterally announce greater market access to a range of exportable goods in Pakistan....  If India and Pakistan want to be treated as serious nuclear weapons powers, they need to have a mechanism for continuous consultations on issues relating to military stability.  Why should this important issue be tied up to the so-called composite dialogue?  If the Government begins to think creatively, the strategy of positive unilateralism offers a huge number of diplomatic options to retain the political initiative vis-ŕ-vis Pakistan and begin the process of chipping away at the compulsive hostility that dominates the military establishment in Pakistan.”


"Yes, Prime Minister"


The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer asserted (10/27):  “PM Vajpayee continues to confound his critics by displaying political skills when least expected.  His latest double peace initiative with Pakistan as well as separatist groups in the Kashmir Valley came at a time when a widespread public perception existed that the Government had thrown up its hands on both fronts....  In fact, regardless of success or failure, these initiatives are bound to further strengthen the image of the Prime Minister as a man of peace determined to defuse confrontation regardless of the odds.  The new peace initiative, for instance, is a classic example of Vajpayee's growing diplomatic finesse.  Clearly, the most publicized component of the latest Indian proposals to Islamabad is the offer to resume cricketing ties--an obsession in the subcontinent....  Indeed, it will be interesting to see Islamabad's response to the proposal of expanding communications between India and Pakistan.  So far, the Musharraf regime has been pointedly dragging its feet on the resumption of air links, particularly over-flights, on the flimsiest grounds....  The peace initiative with the Hurriyat in Kashmir is complimentary to the series of confidence-building measures suggested to Islamabad.  There is little doubt that the move is geared to counter Pakistani claims that the latest set of Indian proposals was a ruse to brush the core issue of Kashmir under the carpet.  With a democratically elected Government in place and on-going negotiations with the most credible umbrella of separatist groups in the Valley, Vajpayee can, with considerable justification, scoff at talks emanating from Islamabad about his Government neglecting the aspirations of the Kashmiri people....  Judging from the wide welcome that the new set of peace initiatives by the Prime Minister has received at home and abroad, his gamble seems to be paying off....  Vajpayee seems to have once again proved why he has emerged as the country's tallest leader since the demise of Indira Gandhi.”


"Enemies Of Peace"


The nationalist Hindustand Times judged (10/25):  “The intemperate reactions of the Hindutva hawks to the latest Indian peace overtures to Pakistan show that it isn’t only the jihadis across the border who are unhappy about any prospect of peace.  There are elements on this side, too, who will not be pleased if there is a breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations....  It is because of the resistance which the Vajpayee government will face from among its own supporters that it is sometimes said that the best chance of a peace between India and Pakistan is when the BJP is in power in New Delhi and a military man in Islamabad....  The sense of moderation which a stint in power induces in a government--and possibly Vajpayee’s own pacifist intentions--have now persuaded the BJP to distance itself from the hard liners.  However, the ability of the hawks to throw a spanner in the works...should not be discounted.”


"A Sparkling Season"


The centrist Indian Express asserted (10/25):  “Prime Minister Vajpayee’s pre-Diwali and pre-Ramzan peace initiative in Jammu and Kashmir has added to the general optimism in the economy.  His initiative was the lead story in the Asian Wall Street Journal....  Whatever Pakistan’s response, the market at home and abroad has internalized the fact that India is intent on giving peace a chance.  This ought to further bolster investor sentiment and encourage more tourists to travel to the subcontinent....  What the region should appreciate is that peace in South Asia is not divisible.  Regional peace and stability and an end to crossborder terrorism can not only help sustain the feel good feeling across the region but help accelerate growth....  However, to sustain this process and step up growth so that the scourge of mass poverty is eradicated and employment opportunities are made available to many more, it is necessary to persist with economic reform and with investment in infrastructure....  In its enthusiasm to be pro-active on liberalization, the government should not take questionable steps that may be counter-productive if they invite a political backlash on grounds of cronyism and corruption.”


"Kashmir And Advani's Initiative"


Independent Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrika noted (10/25):  “What is remarkable is that militants in either side are advancing with opposition to the Vajpayee Government’s peace initiatives.  Staunch Hindu organizations like the VHP or the Shiv Sena have strongly criticized the soft stance of the Vajpayee government towards Pakistan...and they want war.”


"A Bold Initiative"


The centrist Hindu held (10/24):  "This is very much part of the Vajpayee Government's policy of engaging actively with Pakistan and promoting bilateral contacts and interactions in several areas notwithstanding the bitter differences that exist between the two countries....  With these concrete proposals, New Delhi has given an incentive to the people of Pakistan to challenge their leadership's view that the core issues need to be resolved first, as a precondition for full normalization....  If Islamabad has been taken by surprise by New Delhi's offer, it has responded positively enough.  The hope is that the engagement exercise this time will be both wide and sustained....  Pakistan might need to reappraise its views on the LoC now that India has proposed a practical way of popular interaction....  The best hope for an upturn and eventually a breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations is for ordinary people to realize that constructive engagement is the only sensible path and that a climate of trust and cordiality is needed to tackle and resolve hard issues."


"Will Musharraf Soften"


The nationalist Hindustan Times stated (10/24):  “India seems to have decided to break away from the unfriendly atmosphere created by the sharply-worded speeches of both Musharaf and Vajpayee before the UN general assembly.  The latest package underlines careful preparation which even an unwilling Pakistan will have to accept as a major step forward....  The Pakistani suspicions...may be all the greater this time because Islamabad has seen how the lowering of barriers enthuses the ordinary people on both sides of the border....  It goes without saying that the latest proposals will give a further boost to this sense of goodwill through the strengthening of air and road links, especially the bus service between the two halves of Kashmir, the ferry service between Mumbai and Karachi and last, but not the least, the resumption of cricketing ties ... The two countries will be able to step back from the brink towards which it has advanced far too often.  But will the jihadis in Pakistan, who include sections of the army and the ISI, accept such an improvement in ties?  This is the crucial test before General Musharraf and his administration.”


"A New Beginning"


The pro-economic-reform Economic Times contended (10/24):  “The prime minister’s latest peace initiatives are based almost entirely on building people-to-people relations.  Even in the limited area of improving people-to-people relations, it is important not to expect too much....  A section of the extremists in Pakistan are keen to mend fences with India in an effort to keep the U.S. out of the Kashmir dispute.  And however limited the improvement in the relations between the two peoples, it would help keep warmongers, on both sides, at bay.  The latest initiative may not have the dramatic potential of a bus ride to Lahore or a summit against the backdrop of the Taj, but it could represent a much more significant, if quiet, step forward.”


"Peace Offensive"


The Pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer held (10/24):  “That India has put Pakistan on the backfoot by proposing...a package of confidence-building measures to normalize relations between the two countries, is evident from the response of...Islamabad's Foreign Office spokesman....  Significantly, he said nothing that indicated that Pakistan would respond positively to the proposals but described the kind of proposals to which it would respond positively....  Khan's verbal jugglery suggested that at least its initial reaction is not to welcome them.  This is hardly surprising.  What Pakistan wants is not a carefully calibrated move towards an all-round improvement in its ties with India but a dialogue that will pave the way for its annexation of Jammu and Kashmir.  Wednesday's proposals will not help in this direction....  There is a strong demand in Pakistan for the resumption not only of sporting ties with this country, particularly in cricket, but also of the Samjhauta Express service which enabled people to travel to India relatively cheaply.  India's proposal to restart both and also increase the frequency of the Delhi-Lahore Sadbhavana bus service, is, therefore bound to be warmly welcomed there....  Clearly, the proposals have been well-thought out to promote peace through greater people-to-people contact while simultaneously furthering India's national interest.  But, as Pakistan's reaction shows, these are unlikely to end cross-border terrorism.  In fact, Pakistan, outflanked by the sudden move, may well respond by stepping up its incidence.  New Delhi must be prepared.”


"Two Steps Forward"


The centrist Times Of India commented (10/24):  “Just when we were on the verge of writing off the PM’s Srinagar peace initiative...Islamabad has been offered 12 specific proposals aimed at reducing tension and promoting official and people-to-people contact; and the Center has dropped its antipathy to any official level dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference....  Taken together the two steps still do not amount to a comprehensive policy shift.  The boldness of thinking that the latest initiatives embody is a welcome change from the timidity and half-heartedness that have marred the Vajpayee government’s earlier overtures.  As things stand, it is still far from clear how Pakistan will react to the 12 confidence building measures.  If Islamabad refuses to drop its insistence on securing a guarantee from India about the non-disruption of over-flight rights, then the process will be stillborn.  But if the two sides can move quickly to restart air and rail links...then it is possible the momentum for dialogue on more substantive issues may also pick up....  The very fact that the government is today keen to resume transport--and sporting--links with Pakistan despite cross-border infiltration is proof that ‘tough’ decisions of this kind only inconvenience ordinary citizens and not terrorists.  As for discussions with the Hurriyat, the aim should be rapidly to move towards a generalized ‘non-initiation of combat ‘operations’ in Jammu and Kashmir of the sort envisaged during the Hizbul Mujahideen’s short-lived 2000 cease-fire and the Center’s own ‘Ramzan’ response later that year....  The direct line to Hurriyat is hopefully a signal from the government that it intends to persevere regardless of what Islamabad does or doesn’t do.”


"Warming Relations?"


Pratap Bhanu Mehta observed in the centrist Hindu (10/24):  “The real challenge for India is not simply that we need to overcome doubts about Pakistani regime's commitment to a credible peace.  The challenge is that we have no substantial concession to give to a Pakistani leadership such that any settlement could be made politically credible inside Pakistan.  Faced with such a formidable quagmire we need radical rethinking.  We need a political culture in both India and Pakistan that understands that nationalism is the enemy of the national interest, a political culture that is prepared to pay a short run price for a new architecture for the subcontinent.  India should not think of its new proposals as a bargaining chip, to be withdrawn at the first venial slight, but as a step towards altering the entire discourse of international relations in South Asia....  India will have to take the initiative in this transformation.  While we ought to be vigilant about terrorism, India has nothing to lose by being as unilaterally generous as it can in as many areas as possible, to show that it is credibly committed to a new regional imagination.  Only then can we alter the incentives that constrain the prospects for peace.”


"India's Peace Proposals"


Nationalist Urdu-langauge  Rashtriya Sahara editorialized (10/24):  “India’s 12-point proposal for promoting people to people relations and enhance bilateral confidence came as a real surprise to everyone in view of its firm rejection of hold talks with Pakistan.  It is only natural that new proposals aimed at strengthening peace and stability in the region have been widely welcomed and lauded by the international community.  The people of the two countries, too, want the same.  It is a golden opportunity for Pakistan to take advantage of these proposals and wash the bad image it has earned because of its role in Afghanistan and Kashmir.  Also, it is time for Pakistan to review it thinking on Kashmir and its approach of resolving the dispute.” 


"Revolutionary Offer"


Independent Urdu-language Awam declared (10/24):  “India has really made a revolutionary offer to improve relations with Pakistan notwithstanding the fact that the latter has not been very cooperative in this regard.  Although India has refused to have official dialogue with Pakistan unless and until the latter stops terrorism from across the border, the new offer is historic in the current atmosphere.  It is now Pakistan’s responsibility to come up with a matching positive response to the offer so that the two countries could march together to peace, stability and mutual trust."


"Diwali In Pakistan"


Left-of-center Marathi daily Loksatta opined (10/24):  “India has once again extended its hand for friendship with Pakistan.  The earlier attempts to improve relations were obstructed, thanks to the contentious issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.  The recent 12-point package of proposals forwarded by India is also likely to face opposition, especially on one or two sensitive suggestions.  But at least the conciliatory process will be furthered in the meantime....  Therefore, the Indian government’s fresh package of proposals can be looked upon as a Diwali gift to Pakistan during the latter’s holy month of Ramzan....  The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road link will be a positive political development, as it will mean mutual recognition of the control of both the countries over the different parts of Kashmir, falling on either side of the Line of Actual Control."


"Sailing To Karachi"


The centrist Telegraph stated (10/24): “The new initiative launched by New Delhi to build confidence in its relations with Pakistan and to further the dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir must be welcomed....  The spirit behind the proposal seems to be to improve people-to-people contacts and target Pakistan’s civil society....  There is little, however, that India offered by way of official talks.  Indeed, even a proposed hotline between the coast guard of India and of Pakistan on the existing pattern of the directors-general of military operations and flag meetings at sea is aimed at non-arrest of fishermen by the two countries in a mutually agreed zone....  It can only be hoped that the latest initiatives are not mere tactics, but a well thought out long term-strategy by New Delhi to bring peace to South Asia."  

"Vajpayee's Twelve Points"


Independent Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrika commented (10/24):  “Maybe, the American administration will now realize that New Delhi is really serious about permanent peace in the subcontinent despite Islamabad’s provocations and exploitations and that it should not be allotted the same seat with warmonger Pakistan.  The Pakistani rulers will also examine the proposals.  That the bilateral steps of exchange require more urgent implementation pending the summits of the two heads of state must have to be followed.  It is cricket alone that can unravel huge possibilities of bringing the two adversaries of the subcontinent nearer....  Politicians often overlook the depths and dimensions of exchange of hearts by the people....  Now the diplomats, especially the bureaucrats and officials of the two embassies will have to take the initiative.  For, normalizing bilateral relations is an uninterrupted process.” 


PAKISTAN:  "Pakistan’s Constructive Response On 12 Indian Suggestions"


Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang judged (10/31):  "Although the recent steps taken by India and Pakistan are not being termed as an open progress towards negotiations but it is a fact that this proposal and counter-proposal situations has generated an atmosphere of 'dialogue' if not negotiations between the two countries."


"Indian Peace Proposals: Pakistan’s Positive Response"


Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan editorialized (10/31):  "By accepting many of the 12 proposals by India, and by adding three more from its side, Pakistan has demonstrated its sincerity towards peace in the region.  It remains to be seen how India responds to the Pakistani proposals.  Indian initiative in the name of peace proposals was actually a ploy to mislead world opinion and divert attention away from bilateral dialogue, which has failed.  Eventually, India will have to come to the negotiating table."


"Indian Peace Proposals: Pakistan’s Written Response


Independent Urdu-language Din observed (10/31):  "On the one hand, India is advertising the peace proposals it has made, yet on the other its Defense Minister is --per tradition and habit--threatening Pakistan with war.  However, the impression must be dispelled that Pakistan has responded positively to Indian proposals under some (external) pressure....  It is appalling that at the time that Pakistan was handing over a written response to the India High Commissioner, India, in its war frenzy, was testing its Russian-made Brahmos missile--inviting an arms race in the region."


"Pakistan’s Positive Response to Indian Proposals"


Populist Urdu-language Khabrain stated (10/31):  "The international community is a witness to the fact that Pakistan has offered a positive response to the Indian proposals, and has suggested three more that can help improve bilateral relations.  If India is earnest in improving ties with Pakistan, it must accept Pakistani proposals immediately and give up its intransigence.  It must adopt measures that can resolve the bigger issues also."


"Pakistan's Response"


The centrist national English-language News opined (10/31):  "One can only hope that now that Pakistan has accepted nearly all the proposals, the Indian leaders will be willing to hold talks to break the ice and resume normal relations....  There is, therefore, no real reason for not setting a date to start across the table negotiations except possibly a desire to maintain a facade of reluctance."


"The Right Response"


The center-left independent national English-language Dawn noted (10/31):  "The situation looks somewhat better than it did earlier.  It is important that rather than unilateral announcements at press conferences and briefings and the usual grandstanding, follow-up measures are quietly deliberated upon between senior officials."


"Pakistan's Initiative"


The center-right national English-language Nation asserted (10/31):  "Pakistan’s acceptance 'in principle' of the Confidence Building Measures India proposed some days back, putting forward certain ideas about their implementation and listing some fresh offers of its own, is a reasonable approach....  One can only hope that the Indian leadership sees the urgency of initiating a genuine process of peace in the Subcontinent, which is possible only by sitting across the table with its Pakistani counterpart and settling disputes amicably and peacefully."


"Need For Substantive Indo-Pak Talks"


The rightist English-language Pakistan Observer concluded (10/31):  "Pakistan’s response in fact, constitutes a step forward towards the revival of normal ties between the two nuclear rivals.  It’s a matter of record that Pakistan has always strived to maintain good neighborly relations with India.  It’s, however, unfortunate that India has invariably opted for confrontation with Pakistan to destabilize the Indo-Pak relations....  India must understand that peace in the region hinges on the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute....  It must, therefore, resume the stalled dialogue for its own sake as well as for the sake of peace in the subcontinent."


"Vajpayee's Vision of Peace"


M.J. Akbar wrote in the center-left independent national English-language Dawn (10/31):  "Indians and Pakistanis have become so wary of failure that they have stopped believing that anything sensible can happen.  President Musharraf has said that the sense of dismay in Pakistan at the failure of Agra was profound.  He too then heard the echo of a muted longing for peace and normality.  Here is a chance to reawaken that oft-defeated hope."


"So-called U.S. Efforts"


Sensationalist pro-Jihad Urdu Ummat stated (10/30):  "None of the succeeding U.S. administrations has taken any practical interest in the resolution of the Kashmir issue.  Rather, by declaring India as its natural ally, patronage has been provided to India by the U.S.  After 9/11, the U.S. has declared the freedom fighters in Kashmir as terrorists and has forced Pakistan to stop their training and patronage.  If the U.S. is really interested in reducing tensions in this region then it should force India to come to the negotiating table." 


"CBMs In South Asia Mean One-upmanship"


The liberal English-language Daily Times editorialized (10/30):  "Everybody knows that India has so far spurned Pakistan’s proposal for comprehensive bilateral talks and that the Indian CBMs were simply a diversionary tactic.  Yet, under the bleak circumstances of South Asia, the international community responded to them with praise.  Now India has got itself into a bind with the Pakistani response.  It is a foregone conclusion how it would react.  Both countries will be back to square one.  There is a lesson here for both sides, but especially India.  It won’t help to try and outsmart each other.  To be able to win support internationally, both will have to change the intentions behind this now sickeningly routine exercise.  Let’s put an end to the one-upmanship."


"Indian Proposals"


The center-right national English-language Nation held (10/30):  "When New Delhi proposed a number of CBMs last week one had expected the Foreign Office to promptly respond with well-crafted moves of its own.  It was not until Wednesday that it came through.  On Tuesday Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar was scheduled to brief the press on Islamabad's response.  The briefing was however suddenly deferred on account of 'further internal considerations' to make it 'constructive and all-inclusive' as a Foreign office spokesman put it....  One is constrained therefore to conclude that the delay is connected with the telephonic conversation between Secretary Powell, who had earlier welcomed India's CBMs, and Mr. Khurshid Kasuri on Tuesday....  CBMs can work only as a part of a composite agenda that accepts Kashmir's centrality.  In that respect, Islamabad's Wednesday response makes an effort, but the perception that it needed 'foreign clearance' is unfortunate and weakens the Pakistani negotiating position."


"The Need for Caution"


Independent Urdu-language Din judged (10/29):  "Pakistan has displayed a much-needed cautious attitude while responding to the Indian confidence-building measures announced recently....  India must realize that in the atmosphere in which these 12 proposals have been made, it is not possible for Pakistan to come up with an immediate acceptance.  Additionally most of these proposals are like old wine in new bottles....  However, Pakistan must not reject these proposals as some would have positive effects if implemented.  At the same time, it is important that India is not allowed to present these proposals as an alternative to a regular dialogue and political process (to improve bilateral relations)."   


"PM's Response"


The center-right national English-language Nation observed (10/29):  "It (India) should have realized by now that it cannot cow down Pakistan through the show of force and that the dogs of war by their very nature would be hard to restrain, once let slip.  And between two nuclear neighbors they could lead to extremely ferocious consequences."


"Time To Move Beyond Point-Scoring"


Shireen M. Mazari stated in the centrist national English-language News (10/29):  "India’s so-called proposals really try to once again sidestep the core issue of Kashmir and evade the need for a dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.  Pakistan has done the right thing by not responding in kind and succumbing to playing a game of one-upmanship.  Otherwise, there are many proposals, which could have been put forward--none of which would really resolve the strategic instability of the subcontinent....  However, while the world takes its time to see the real face of India, the Indian leadership should realize that it cannot move ahead simply playing diplomatic games while serious conflictual issues remain unresolved with its neighbors."


"The Indian Proposals"


Najmuddin A. Shaikh wrote in the center-left independent national English-language Dawn (10/29):  "It is against this backdrop that the Indian proposals have to be viewed.  Many in Pakistan would argue that responding positively to India's proposals or making counter-proposals when India has rejected a dialogue on the agreed agenda would mean 'a negation or at least erosion of Pakistan's principled stand.'  This would, to my mind, be a mistake....  The proposals must be examined to see how far they serve to achieve this objective"


"Next Stop: Srinagar"


Mahir Ali opined in the center-left independent national English-language Dawn (10/29):  "Let us not by any means forget Kashmir.  But let us also not forget that warmth on other fronts could prove conducive to fruitful discussions on that subject.  A resolution of the imbroglio requires bold new ideas from both sides, as well as a recognition that the interests of Kashmiris should be considered paramount....  Let us keep moving in the right direction.  To miss the bus as it begins its picturesque journey through the riven valley would be irresponsible.  And unforgivable."


"India-Pakistan Seesaw"


An op-ed by Inayatullah in the centrist national English-language News declared (10/28):  "India should not think of its new proposals as a bargaining chip but as a step towards altering the entire discourse of international relations in South Asia with an emphasis on trade, open borders, and a consensus on human rights.  While we ought to be vigilant about terrorism, India has nothing to lose by being as unilaterally generous as it can in as many areas as possible.  These ideas provide a lot of food for thought for Pakistanis."


"Myth and Reality of Peace Moves,"


An op-ed by Dr. Moonis Ahmar in the centrist national English-language News (10/28):  "Why the policy-makers of India and Pakistan take only cosmetic measures is not difficult to gauge.  The mafias in the two countries tend to be so strong that they make sure not to take practical steps, which could result in a change in the status quo and the loss of their power and privileges, which they have accumulated as a result of decades of confrontation.  Such mafias are not only in state structures of the two countries but are also quite entrenched at the non-governmental level.  Hard line political groups and parties of the two countries have a holy alliance with the hawks holding power.  It means, till the time an ordinary person of India and Pakistan is conscious enough to understand the 'dirty game' which these mafias are playing in the name of religion, patriotism and national security, it will be difficult to believe in such peace initiatives and proposals."


"Musharraf’s Elusive 'No-Win' Scenario,"


An op-ed by Ahmad Faruqui in the Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily Times (10/28):  "President Musharraf wants to create a 'no-win' scenario with India based on what he terms minimum credible deterrence.  Addressing a gathering of troops at Pano Aquil, he said it was critical for Pakistan to maintain a deployment of forces that would deny victory to India....  Any analyst would be hard pressed to say that Pakistan is in a position to deny victory to India.  One would expect this imbalance to worsen over time, given India’s plans to spend $95 billion on weapons procurement over the next 15 years.  Given the discrepancies in population and GDP between the two countries, and the faster growth rate of the IT-driven Indian economy, Pakistan is no position to match India militarily."


"Negotiations Cannot Be Held At Gunpoint; Will Give A Befitting Response If War Imposed"


Mass circulation Urdu-language Jang insisted (10/28):  "Prime Minister Zafrullah Jamali has said that Pakistan wanted a meaningful dialogue with India but India should not escape from important issues.  He said that negotiations could not be held at gunpoint and if war were imposed on Pakistan a befitting reply would be given." 


"Peace Cannot Be Brokered With Gun: Foreign Office" 


The rightist nationalist Pakistan Observer (10/28):  "Pakistan intends to give a well-considered, robust and constructive response to the twelve Indian proposals about dialogue on confidence-building measures but remains extremely apprehensive about the sincerity of the CBMs as some reports suggest that New Delhi is terming these proposals as tactical move to deflect world opinion.  Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan during the weekly news briefing also expressed Pakistan’s disappointment over the fact that Indians have sidelined important elements of the composite dialogue on Kashmir, Siachen and peace and security while announcing the 12 CBMs, half of which in fact belonged to the CBMs proposed by Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali in May this year."


"Ridiculous Threat by Indian Foreign Minister"


Leading mass circulation Urdu-language Jang held (10/27):  "The threat by India that either Pakistan start dialogue on its twelve proposals or get ready for war exposed Indian intentions.  In fact war is not the solution but it creates problems.  Pakistan has always insisted on dialogue with India.  Only dialogue is the solution and can provide sustainable peace."


"Another Indian Threat"


Karachi's right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat declared (10/27):  "The recent threat by the Indian Foreign Minister has broken all previous records of threats by India.  This is all due to the mistakes and irresponsible attitude of our rulers. We have been writing that India is working on the issue of a united India and want to use Pakistan as an additional market for them.  Americans are also teaching us that we are not at par with India.  If the situation remains the same we will surrender without war.  Musharraf has no other experience except surrendering."


"Tone Of Indian Defense Minister"


The sensationalist Urdu language Ummat held (10/27):  "Indian Foreign Minister Fernandes threatened Pakistan to either come to the dialogue table or get ready for war.  He also clarified that this is the last offer.  The new proposals by India are not new and it has been in practice in the past.  The most important issue is missing in its offer, and that is Kashmir.  In a way India threatened to start dialogue on every issue except Kashmir or get ready for war since they have accumulated enough weapons from Israel and Russia.  In fact this is a message for war and not for peace because whatever India wants is not acceptable for Pakistan."


"Fernandes' Options"


The centrist national English daily News (10/27):  "Strangely enough Mr. Fernandes has got his knowledge of the government’s policy towards Pakistan all mixed up as it is Islamabad that is desirous of holding talks at the earliest and it is Delhi which is setting unending conditions for talks.  The option to sit across the table will be infinitely acceptable only if the Indian Minister can now convince his Prime Minister to end the hedging game and go for talks.  War is a non-option as the public statements of both sides make it abundantly clear that they want peace."


 "Showpiece Indian Proposals for Restoration of Ties"


Second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt editorialized (10/24):  "The Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said that the proposals were aimed at throwing the ball in Pakistan’s court prior to SAARC conference.  The dozen or so measures suggested by India are not new and some of them remained operative after independence.  So much so that apart from a temporary ban on travel during the 1965 and 1971 wars, the two peoples had the facility of travel between the two countries....  Present restrictions were imposed by India, which forced Pakistan to introduce counter measures....  Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s exercise of dialogue with the Hurriat Conference has failed before it began while the goodwill proposals are merely a showpiece and a stunt.  All this is aimed at diverting the international community’s attention from the actual dispute and creating misunderstandings between Kashmiris and Pakistan."


"Indian Offer"


Irfan Siddiqui wrote in second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt (10/24):  "Now the international shower of praise will wash all the blood spots, from Gujrat to Ayodhya and Srinagar to Jammu and India will emerge as a peace loving country.  No one will see the dagger India has under its arm."


"Need To Give Positive Response To Twelve Indian Suggestions"


Leading mass-circulation Urdu language Jang asserted (10/24):  "India has a track record of offering suggestions for the restoration of relations with Pakistan and subsequently backtracking from these.  Notwithstanding, a new ray of hope has emerged with this Indian step in the wake of the current global and regional situation.  Pakistan should consider these suggestions and give a positive response without any delay."


"India’s New Jugglery"


Sensationalist, pro-Jihad Urdu daily Ummat remarked (10/24):  "The recent suggestions put forth by India are reflective of its desire to put the Kashmir issue on the back burner and show the international community that both countries are heading towards rapprochement." 


"India’s Main Predicament: Refusal to Engage in Negotiations"


Right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu Jasarat commented (10/24):  "The main issue for the restoration of relations between India and Pakistan is that of Kashmir.  As long as this issue is not addressed, full relations cannot be resorted even if some supplementary steps are taken." 


"Indian Suggestions: Attempt To Divert Attention From Main Issue"


Pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu language Islam held (10/24):  "India is not ready to move an inch ahead towards the main [Kashmir] issue.  Pakistan should not show any leniency to India (on its recent suggestions)." 


"Duplicity of the Indian Rulers"


Pro-Taliban Peshawar-based Urdu language Mashriq noted (10/24):  "While announcing the confidence building measures, India’s External Affairs Minister said that his country would not hold dialogue with Pakistan.  The Indian stand is that no dialogue can take place unless cross-border terrorism stops.  It’s a duplicitous policy because on the one hand India is coming up with CBMs but on the other hand attaching conditions to initiate a dialogue process....  Indian rulers are 'unparalleled in deceitfulness' and by proposing to restore links between the two countries, they are trying to give the impression to the world that India is pro-peace."


"Fresh Proposals by India"


Center-right Urdu language Pakistan judged (10/24):  "The proposals India has given, are not new and some of them like restoration of sports links have already been proposed by Pakistan....  Responding to questions at the press conference Indian External Affairs Minister rejected the possibility of composite dialogue with Pakistan on the pretext of the oft-repeated infiltration accusation.  Out of 12 proposals, the one on Srinagar-Muzafferabad bus service is very important....  So far the India behaved contrary to this proposal by not giving visas for occupied Kashmir and not permitting Kashmiris (from Indian side) to visit Pakistan.  Srinagar-Muzafferabad bus service would enhance relations between the Kashmiris, which could give a better result in future....  By presenting the proposals and deciding to talk with Hurriat Conference, India has attempted to change the situation in its favor and tried a new way to avoid dialogue with Pakistan." 


"Indian Proposals for Resumption of Ties Are Not an Alternative for Talks"


Independent Urdu language Din stated (10/24):  "There is no doubt that these cosmetic proposals are aimed at fooling the international community, especially the U.S., rather than a real move towards peace....  As expected, the U.S. was the first to respond to these proposals, and welcome them.  However, it should be understood by all that these proposals do not lead to the real issue (between the two countries).  Despite this, Pakistan should react positively to these proposals rather than reject them outright.  After all, implementation of these proposals will pave the way for bilateral talks and not hinder them."    


"Indian Proposals for Resumption of Ties (With Pakistan) and the Ground Reality"


Populist Urdu language Khabrain asserted (10/24):  "A review of the Indian proposals shows that most of the issues are already being implemented or under consideration....  Why then, has the Indian government made these proposals?  A simple answer would be that the Indian leadership...has tried to fool the public on the two sides as well as the international community....  Instead of focusing on superficial matters (as India as done) the need is to concentrate on the major issues confronting South Asia.  The real issue between India and Pakistan is not the need for cricket matches or resumption of rail links, but the Kashmir dispute." 


"Indian CBMs"


The centrist national English-language News stated (10/24):  "The 12 confidence building measures (CBM) offered by India need careful consideration as there is much that appears meaningful in them and a lot that has trivial importance....  However, the CBMs do address some of the immediate problems the people of both sides face and the efforts to create normality in their relations, which will be effective and workable....  Pakistan's government has rightly assured that it will give the proposed package 'serious consideration', but it could not hide its disappointment that India while making the offer simultaneously reiterated its rejection of Pakistan’s offer to resume substantive and sustained dialogue to resolve all issues, notably the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.  This obviously indicates the wide gap between Islamabad’s interest in a dialogue to resolve all issues including that of Kashmir, and Delhi’s stand that the dialogue can only be held when relations are normalized, which can be translated to mean that Pakistan must 'end' violence in held Kashmir.  However, the CBMs can be seen as a hint that India was willing to at least start communicating which will be an improvement over its policy in which its leaders even refused to shake hands with Pakistani leaders."  


"Cart Before The Horse"


The center-right national English-language Nation editorialized (10/24):  "Instead of agreeing to hold a composite dialogue, New Delhi has made offers that come in the category of CBMs....  The offers are a well-crafted diplomatic move aimed at silencing international criticism of New Delhi’s refusal to hold parleys with Islamabad despite its repeated offers....  With the Indian army continuing repression in Held Kashmir it would be unrealistic to expect Islamabad to enter into talks on the CBMs offered by Mr. Yashwant Sinha.  Few would doubt that confidence-building measures can play an important role in decreasing tensions and settling disputes but these are to be of an altogether different type."


"Respond Positively To Indian CBMs"


The liberal English-language Daily Times concluded (10/24):  "No one should belittle the import of these measures.  But there are two awkward points in the Indian list.  One relates to over-flights; the other to the proposed Muzzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service....  Previous rounds of talks on restoring air links and over-flights have failed to produce a result.  India says a restoration of rail links is conditional on a restoration of over-flight rights and air links.  But Pakistan wants to bind India in a bilateral agreement to prevent it from banning over-flights again....  The point of the whole exercise should be to establish sincerity in building confidence and resolving disputes and not about making points and counter-points.  That is why India needs to agree to a dialogue with Pakistan if it wants the world to believe it is sincere about peace in the region."


"Welcome Proposals"


Center-left independent national English-language Dawn opined (10/24):  "The proposed package will have to be fleshed out by officials from the two countries.  But even if it is seen as consisting of tentative proposals, it needs to be warmly welcomed....  Pakistan's reaction has not been overly enthusiastic, and it is understandable that it should continue to feel miffed at India's refusal to hold substantive negotiations on all issues affecting bilateral relations....   Basically, anything that chips away at the wall of distrust created during half a century of animosity should be greeted without too much cavil.  Small steps can lead to major breakthroughs, and India is right, both as the bigger country and as one that had unilaterally frozen whatever few contacts existed, to take the initiative in moving forward."


"Insignificant And Frivolous CBMs"


The rightist English-language Pakistan Observer contended (10/24):  "India continues to play hide and seek tricks to mislead the world community about Indo-Pakistan relations with a view to deflating the international pressure for resumption of dialogue between the two nuclear rivals.  The new set of the so-called CBMs is as insignificant as frivolous, since it is devoid of any proposal for resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue....  There can’t be peace in South Asia without the just settlement of the Kashmir dispute, since it is South Asia’s nuclear flashpoint." 



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