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India and Pakistan to Resume Talks

India and Pakistan have moved closer to restoring bilateral talks aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute over Kashmir.  However, as Pakistan has accepted India’s offer to hold Foreign-Minister level talks on “all outstanding issues affecting peace and security,” it remains unclear what the two sides expect to accomplish from renewed talks.

Tensions between the two nuclear-powers have been particularly high since the “26/11” terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008.  India continues to maintain that the attacks were orchestrated from within Pakistan, and holds the Pakistani government responsible for many of the terrorist attacks which continue inside India.

The decision to resume dialogue comes just a month after Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor’s reference to a new Indian military strategy focused on countering both Pakistani and Chinese security threats.  Pakistan was quick to denounce the new strategy as a sign of India’s increasingly hegemonic intentions in the region, restirring tensions between the two nations.  China remained mute on Kapoor’s comments.

The international community will follow the developments of talks closely, as the two nuclear-armed nations attempt to resolve deep-seated distrust in an over-tense South Asia.  Though the two have managed to stave off major confrontation for years, India’s still unclear ‘Cold Start’ doctrine has many worried that Pakistan-based terrorism may impel India to confront Pakistan, with Pakistan’s reaction still very uncertain.  The United States is particularly interested in the prospect of new talks, still concerned that tensions could affect the security situation in Afghanistan.  The agreement to resume talks is the strongest recent indication that India and Pakistan may be able to resolve security issues diplomatically.


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