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Sunday, July 3, 2011

SOUTH ASIA: Afghanistan is the real Indo-Pak issue!

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Manvendra Singh Last Updated: 03 Jul 2011 09:45:16 AM IST / http://expressbuzz.com.

The recently concluded foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan were marked by a civility and decorum that was as unexpected as it was pleasant. The ‘K’ word was used without restraint, and nobody exploded in apoplectic fits. And preceding the talks there was the juvenile incident involving INS Godavari and PNS Babur. It was truly juvenile in that there was no military or security reason for the two ships to even come close to each other. Much like a road rage incident, the Pakistanis were the first to register an FIR when the Indian High Commission was called in and a protest lodged. Despite the run-up being inauspicious, the talks were not affected. Obviously, as they say, a lot of water has flowed down Abbottabad. It was a miracle indeed.
For it will require a miracle to keep the perpetually wrangling neighbours from making a hash of things. Even as the joint statement issued by the two foreign ministries conveyed a message of positivity, its silence on the next big thing was ominous. While the ‘K’ word has ceased to arouse furies any more, what is worrisome is that the ‘A’ word remained absent from any discussion. If Kashmir is a thing of the past, then Afghanistan is the issue of the future. And any silence at this stage of the dialogue is deceptive, just as it is delaying the inevitable. There is a looming crisis that threatens to overshadow the current calm, and that calamity appears in the form of differing visions over the Hindu Kush.

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