India-Pakistan Peace Talks

Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and Pakistani President Musharraf shake hands
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (L) and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf shake hands at a meeting on the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Islamabad, Jan. 5, 2004 (Photo: AFP-Getty Images).

Athens Ta Nea (liberal), Jan. 9: The peace process between India and a more important one than anything that has taken place in Afghanistan, Iraq, [or] Palestine....This is not only because 1.2 billion people live in these two countries and the conflict over Kashmir brings the world repeatedly close to nuclear war, but because the beginning of a reconciliation between these lifelong enemies is the start of tremendous economic and geopolitical developments, which may affect the future of the globe for the next decade, or even the next century.
—Anatole Kaletsky

Kathmandu Spotlight (independent weekly), Jan. 9-15: Pakistani President Musharraf’s master diplomacy has, once again, proved its superiority. Despite the initial obduracy of the Indian leadership not to enter into any kind of dialogue with their Pakistani counterparts, wisdom has prevailed....If it is a good augury for the two bigger nations, it must become a matter for great rejoicing for the smaller. But past experiences do not permit us to be carried away by any euphoria.

Beijing China Daily (state-run), Jan. 13: Ever since India’s Vajpayee and Pakistan’s Musharraf met on Jan. 5 in Islamabad, people are pinning hopes on both sides’ desire to put a half-century of enmity behind them and renew peace talks. But easier said than done. The hurdles loom high, and success may be years away.

Bucharest Nine O’Clock (English-language), Jan. 8: Of course, no one should expect any fast or spectacular developments. There will be a slow headway, possibly with dangerous setbacks. But the important fact is that a risky hot spot—perhaps the most dangerous on the globe, as it involves two nuclear powers with a long tradition of confrontation—will be replaced by a peace-reaching process in the near future.

Kolkata Ananda Bazar Patrika (independent, Bengali-language), Jan 8: Friendship and peaceful coexistence between the two countries are good for the two neighbors. The huge amount acquiring arms and military hardware could be conveniently utilized for the welfare of the people in both countries. It appears that the leaders have belatedly realized that.

Karachi Daily Jang (pro-government), Jan. 7: Now, the leadership of both Pakistan and India will have to realize that peace between the countries is imperative for the betterment of the people of this region, in general, and those of India and Pakistan in particular. They should realize the bitter fact that more than 1.2 billion people are living in pathetic conditions because of the tension between these two countries. Both countries will have to show flexibility in their approach for resolving the disputes between them and will have to part ways with the old rigid and emotional stands.

Tokyo The Asahi Shimbun (center-left), Jan. 9: The history of half a century of disputes between India and Pakistan shows that talks between the two parties alone do not guarantee progress in negotiations on territorial claims. India should accept mediation by the international community. And Pakistan must carry out its promise made in the most recent joint statement not to allow terrorist activities on its soil.