Editorial A chance for peace Friday, April 01, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=39293&Cat=8

The encounter in Mohali between the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams may yet bring results far more significant than the number of runs scored, the wickets taken or even the catches dropped. The indications are that the meeting during the match, between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who were able to turn their gaze away from the cricket long enough to hold a 90-minute conversation, may set the two countries back on the road to cooperation. In a brief statement, the Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has welcomed the friendly spirit in which the talks were held, Mr Singh has called for ‘ancient animosities’ to be forgotten, and Mr Gilani has said much could be gained through cooperation. The hawks in both nations must be fluttering around their roosts in agitation.

There is a great deal still to be done. The talks however set the tone for what we hope will be a less acrimonious future. They come as agreements on a range of issues were reached at secretary-level talks in New Delhi, held just a day before the two leaders met. Pakistan Interior Secretary Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and Indian Home Secretry G K Pilai agreed to set up a hotline on terrorism to exchange time information to combat the threat and for an Indian Commission to visit Pakistan to look into the Mumbai attacks investigations. Details will be worked out in time. The two sides also agreed to step up cooperation in other areas, including human smuggling and narcotics. The recognition that exchanges need to happen at various levels seems to have been reached at Mohali, with talk of delegations at various levels regularly crossing the border. The Indian prime minister has also accepted his Pakistani counterpart’s invitation to Pakistan. Solid agreements and the tackling of the many contentious issues between the two countries may lie ahead. There is still a great deal of work to be done. But the momentum gained at Mohali may make it possible for far bigger achievements to come in the future and for the animosity that has persisted since November 2008 to finally subside as efforts begin in earnest to build a future based on the goodwill that the region urgently needs, for a future within which people on both sides of the border can prosper.

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