Wednesday, Dec 10, 2003
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By Our Diplomatic Correspondent
"An accord that stills the guns along the LoC would defuse the most likely flashpoint for future India-Pakistan conflict and make it easier for the two countries to take up other issues," the report entitled "New Priorities in South Asia: U.S. Policy Toward India, Pakistan and Afghanistan" had argued.
Addressing a press conference today, Nicholas Platt, a former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, said that the ceasefire had taken place due to the "good sense" shown by the Indian and Pakistani Governments. "Both sides are trying to outdo each other in moving the process forward," he said.
Mr. Platt and his other colleagues, Frank Wisner, and Dennis Kux, who have just visited Pakistan and Afghanistan, were of the view that the people they met in Pakistan felt that the time was ripe for a detente in South Asia.
According to Mr. Platt, the Pakistani Government, including the military, were supporting the peace moves with India. Unlike in the past, the Pakistani business community, too, felt confident to compete with their Indian counterparts.
He was of the opinion that the rapprochement process was moving too fast. "We have seen this before," Mr. Platt said, warning that the two countries should not rush pell-mell into a wall. Suggesting the need to develop an approach that allowed India and Pakistan to deal with all issues, including Kashmir, simultaneously, Mr. Platt said all problems had to be on the "front burner" none could be put on the back burner.
Asked what was the response to the proposed Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, Mr. Wisner said he did not get the impression that the attempt was to secure recognition for the LoC as a de jure border. "We did not find any opposition to it [the bus service proposal]."
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