Extending an invitation to attend the swearing-in by Narendra Modi and accepting it by Nawaz Sharif, coinciding with the release of Indian fishermen from Pakistani prisons, are modest diplomatic gestures. Even if they do not constitute a great leap for India-Pakistan relations as such, Modi-Sharif meeting will serve as an ice-breaker and thaw the bilateral relations. Both the leaders have shown adroit leadership in overcoming opposition from extremists in their respective countries and seizing the swearing-in as an opportunity to re-engage in the frustrating search for peace. Any move to move away from the rhetoric of the past and create conditions to restart the long-stalled peace process is welcome. Détente between the two nuclear-armed neighbours will bring substantial benefits to both of them. By dropping mutual demonisation and bringing about a rapprochement, New Delhi and Islamabad can take measures to bolster the ‘faltering’ trade, work out a joint social charter for poverty alleviation, address the status of Kashmir, the main controversy between the two countries, constructively and play their roles on the world stage commensurate with their population and political weight.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu