It’s not out of character, the Obama administration’s appreciation of India and Pakistan’s efforts to lessen tensions amongst themselves. Not out of character for US foreign policy of any administration to encourage talks between the two South Asian traditional foes. After all, the Americans can scarcely do little else. The Indians don’t want any outside mediation on the Kashmir issue and Pakistan does not particularly want mediation on any issue other than Kashmir.
As much as it would hurt the hypernationalists in Pakistan, it was actually the nuclear tests of 1998 that firmly closed the prospect of mediation by the Americans or, for that matter, any other global player. They’ve got nukes, make a beeline out of this thing, would have been the mantra of do-gooders the world over.
Pakistan might huff and puff but we can and do still put up with being patronised, a little too much for our own good. The Indians, on the other hand, are at their most petulant when they are talked down to. They are so acerbic towards the idea, that even well-meaning statements by other nations can put them in a bad mood, leaving other diplomatic missions non-plussed. The Indians have got to be one of the most prickly assignments in diplomacy at the moment.
Indian pride notwithstanding, there are also huge misplaced notions of grandeur that the deep state on this side of the Radcliff has. A spirited insistence on pursuing a policy that would leave us a hermit state isn’t doing us any good. As the times get tough financially around the world, it is in both Pakistan’s interest and India’s that the two nations sit together and thrash out a way to settle for way more than mere peaceful co-existence. The synergies that could be worked up when the two countries calibrate their economies with each other would mean a whole lot of good for both of them. Not to speak of the savings as far as military spending is concerned.
We’re looking at some cricket diplomacy in the offing. And there has been some development on the prisoners’ front on both sides. Wars for peace are long ones. Here’s to hoping both the poor nations get over themselves and do their poor populations some good.