Tags: India | Pakistan | talks | hopes

Pakistan-India Talks Bring Modest Hopes

Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010 10:44 AM

BHANUCHAK, PAKISTAN -- Before creation of the India-Pakistan border split their villages in half in 1947, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh families here lived and farmed together. But today they can't even see one another through a fortified border covered with razor wire and guarded by soldiers in sandbagged bunkers. They also can't see how this week's U.S.-backed peace talks between India and Pakistan will do any good.

"The Americans want India and Pakistan to be friends," said Badudrin, a 74-year-old Pakistani farmer, standing near a golden field of mustard flowers. "There are too many issues. It's not meant to be. It's not our history. It's not our future."

Reducing those entrenched tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals is a centerpiece of the Obama administration's foreign policy amid an expanding war in neighboring Afghanistan. On Thursday, India and Pakistan are scheduled to hold their most extensive high-level talks since 10 Pakistan-based gunmen killed 165 people in Mumbai in late 2008.

The Obama administration, which has gently but firmly pushed the two toward talks, is less interested in the substance of their discussion than the fact that it is happening at all, according to senior administration officials. "For us, the bar is pretty low," one official said. "We're looking just to get a dialogue restarted."

The administration believes that each nation's fixation on the other distracts from key U.S. foreign policy interests. The United States wants Pakistan to concentrate less on its problems with its giant neighbor to the east and more on eliminating the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups that are based in Pakistan's mountainous border region with Afghanistan.

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BHANUCHAK, PAKISTAN -- Before creation of the India-Pakistan border split their villages in half in 1947, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh families here lived and farmed together. But today they can't even see one another through a fortified border covered with razor wire and guarded by soldiers in sandbag
India,Pakistan,talks,hopes
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2010-44-24
Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010 10:44 AM
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