February 5, 2010

Part in the Clouds

Finally a positive development to conflict resolution - India has offered to sit at the table with Pakistan. The AFP reported that a senior government source in New Delhi said India is ready for foreign secretary-level talks.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, promptly responded, “There are now signals emanating from India that they are willing to talk bilaterally. We welcome this... if it leads to resumption of the Composite Dialogue.”

Initiated in 2004, the Composite Dialogue is a normalization process between India and Pakistan, with resolution over Kashmir as the center of gravity and terrorism as the satellite issue. Mumbai derailed the dialogue rounds and the two sides have been trying to put back the pieces ever since, which is why India’s offer sounds so promising.

“India will enter these discussions with an open mind,” the source said. “We will raise all relevant issues from our side. Counter-terrorism will be raised, as well as other issues that will contribute to creating an atmosphere of peace and stability between the two countries. Let us not pre-judge the outcome.”

But analyzing isn’t judging.

No suspicion is strong enough to prevent negotiations between India and Pakistan from occurring. Doubt is inevitable and must be ignored. A peaceful resolution is mandatory, especially over Kashmir, since this would serve the duel function of reducing terrorism. And the groundswell demands action.

Conversely, India hasn’t offered to talk just to cede the upper hand. It isn’t going to give anything away without full compliance on Mumbai. If Pakistan offers anything less then the Composite Dialogue is likely unrealistic. Islamabad has cornered itself after Prime Minister Gilani and President Zardari’s vocal call for peace talks over Kashmir.

India, then, is offering to negotiate Kashmir but only after terrorism, and if Pakistan wants to proceed in the reverse order New Delhi can pull out.

Serious leverage is occurring now, like two tectonic plates pressed against and trying to overlap each other. India has the upper hand because it possesses the status quo in Kashmir and holds the economic and military advantage. As US officials implore Pakistan to resolve its differences with India and redirect its military towards Afghanistan, it’s not the only one with problems.

India needs permanent peace with Pakistan because it must concentrate on China and internally with the Naxalites. Both sides have reason and pressure on them to cleanse the air, but they won’t let the other dictate the process. Negotiations might not get far if Pakistan doesn’t comply with India’s demands on Mumbai. Nevertheless, dialogue remains possible and should be explored to its limit, even if it dead ends.

We'll have to wait for now.

But we can still wonder about America’s invisible hand. While US officials praised India and implied that Pakistan must accept its offer, they also denied a private role. US special envoy Richard Holbrooke didn’t address the topic, instead speaking generally about Indian and Pakistani competition in Afghanistan and Asia.

“The Indians have a legitimate series of security interests in that region, as do a number of other countries including, of course, Pakistan, China, and all the other countries that neighbor on Afghanistan,” he said. “And any search for a resolution of the war in Afghanistan requires that the legitimate security interests of every country be understood and taken into account.”

And no doubt he is right, but Holbrooke follows with an oddly forceful statement. Asked to comment on Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen that India and Pakistan needed to resume back-channel diplomacy on the Kashmir issue, Mr Holbrooke replied the United States would “applaud and encourage” any step the two countries took to reduce tensions.

“But we are not going to act as intermediaries between Islamabad and New Delhi. That is not what we are here to do. On the specific you talked about, we are not going to negotiate or mediate on that issue and I’m going to try to keep my record and not even mention it by name,” Holbrooke said, referring to Kashmir.

He also made it clear that he spoke for the entire White House:“That is not what we are here to do. I’m not just talking about myself.”

Translation: America is somehow, in someway mediating Indian-Pakistani negotiations, Kashmir included. Regardless, the motions of this trilateral relationship provide a pristine specimen to observe during 2010.


  1. This is good news, at least it might be a beginning.
    Unfortunately I do not trust Holbrooke.
    I do believe China ia a main player in this. I would like to hear what Shillary has to say about this.
    Will this also make for an even bigger role for India in Afghanistan. And of course my pet peeve Baluchistan.
    I would appreciate it if you have the time to do an analysis on Baluchistan. I believe it is part of [TPTB] plan for Baluchistan to break away, and be controlled by the West.

  2. It's already in the works, just trying to find the end game. But if Baluchistan does split from Pakistan it will never be controlled by the West. Not that this would stop TPTP from trying, but they should keep dreaming if this is their plan.

  3. http://www.eurasianet.org/index.shtml

    Here are some interesting headlines.
    Most notable. U.S. Looking to china for re-supply route.

    The Kings, and Queens keep rearranging the pawns on the Grand Chess Board.

    The opening of every chess game should be focused on the four center squares. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, are the four center squares. At least for now.

  4. That does seem to be where all the forces converge, the dividing line between West and East. Now US-China supply route? We would find that hard to believe before their latest feud, now it's only good for a laugh. Or is their public war a cover for private dealings? Chinese analysis is already on deck.

  5. Put me in the "private dealings camp".
    I believe they are planning for a [regional world]. I do not believe they are going for a "one world". A new global Fiefdom, if you will. Energy is needed to continue their regional growth. The lands where that energy is, or the lands that are the routes for that energy are now up for grabs. They are the cogs for the super turbines.

    The other article that I found interesting was the one about Turkey calling for a Eurasia region. This is where I think that Russia will start playing a major role. Along with that will be most of the prior Soviet satellite Nations. The Eurozone [region] is becoming more dependent on the energy from the East.
    The main question I have is. Would China give up its interests in Iran, for Taiwan? My answer is Yes.

  6. I think Taiwan is less strategically advantageous than Iran, and that China would give up Taiwan if it had to. Most Taiwanese oppose reunification so this dream doesn't seem real anyway. Better to maintain regional hegemony instead of keeping one island, albeit an important one given its economy. The last thing China wants is another US intervention in Iran, so it has every reason to stall. This does not mean comply.

  7. By chance do you know where this picture in this thread was taken? That is so beautiful i would like to look it up more.

    Absolutely, there is no reason for China to comply to any thing right now. They will just allow U.S. to look like they are numero uno, and take all the heat. Even the idea about Pakistan, and Iran joining SCO is a major deal. If this becomes reality, it would change the whole region. I see new umbrellas opening. LOL.

  8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/35663537@N00/

    Looking at pictures of Kashmir impresses upon me why there is so much conflict over the land.

  9. WOW-WOW-Thanks. The picture is titled Kingdom of Beauty. I bookmarked the page.
    I noticed one thing that most of the pictures have in common.