India and Pakistan to discuss relations at NAM meeting in Egypt

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt- The prime ministers of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit (NAM) in Egypt this week inviting hopes of a resumption of peace talks between the two nuclear armed neighbors.

The NAM consists of 118 member countries of developing countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and make up almost 60% of the world population.  NAM countries consider themselves not formally aligned with or against any major country or power bloc such as NATO.

The importance of this meeting between the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani is that this is only the second high level meeting between the Indian and Pakistani leaders since the Mumbai attacks of November 2008.  At least 173 people were killed and more than 300 wounded by terrorist attacks blamed on Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Since the attacks, the relations between India and Pakistan worsened dramatically as India demanded Pakistan take action against the responsible parties. This week Pakistan announced that it will “probably” put the five accused attackers in its custody on trial next week. This is welcome news for the Indian government which has predictably  tied any improvement in relations with Pakistan on the prosecution of the accused for the attacks as well as curbing of violence on Indian soil from the Pakistan based militants.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has its hands full on its own soil when it comes to stopping the militants let alone preventing violence from groups inside its terroritory from carrying out attacks in India. But a willingness to fully prosecute any individuals or groups apprehended as well as dismantling the infrastructure of these organizations will go a long way in showing good faith to India in resuming a comprehensive peace agreement with its fellow nuclear armed neighbor.  Similarly India must be willing to consider Pakistan’s disputes with India over Kashmir from all sides and be able to negotiate a lasting and long term peace deal that is so desperately needed in the most dangerous neighborhood of the world and one that has been elusive for over 60 years.

 

Reported by Manzer Munir for http://www.PakistanisforPeace.com

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