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Musharraf's visit to India: The dictator has flown
Musharraf, who arrived in India on Saturday, watched some of the action from the India-Pakistan one-dayer at New Delhi yesterday along with Manmohan Singh and then the two got down to work in a two hour meeting. After their meeting, obviously the bureaucrats took over to frame the statement which was read out today by Dr. Singh and Musharraf.
Yesterday, he met the various Hurriyat leaders, who said the same old things. Who gave the Hurriyat the status of being the sole representative of the people of J & K is beyond me. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, one of the saner voices in the APHC, is appreciative of the statement, although he wanted a specific timeline to be mentioned on the issue of resolving the Kashmir dispute.
One of the other offshoots of the Musharraf-Manmohan meeting on Sunday is that Pakistani students could be admitted into various Indian educational institutions. I sincerely hope no quota is set apart from them, since Indian governments use that as the first option. They must compete with whoever else wants to enter the institutions.
Today, in an interaction with the cream of India's publishing & electronic media, he asked for more magnanimity from India, the larger country. Apparently the larger country must relax and watch itself being bled to death by its smaller neighbour.
On the issue of the the Baglihar dispute, he said the sky was the limit. I assume this means India can build a very tall dam.
He is for soft borders but cannot accept the LoC as a border. He wants an out of the box solution without brushing issues under the carpet. I hope terrorism is also one of them. I'm fairly sure Pakistani carpets are more popular than Indian ones. So its safe to assume they hide more issues & secrets than Indian ones do.
Overall, I think he was far more successful than 2001 in conveying his sincerity. Prannoy Roy, who was at that meeting Musharraf had with the Indian media, felt that part of the reason was Musharraf's own realization about the extent to which terrorism had affected Pakistan, reflected in the recent assassination attempts on him.
Of course, he does continue to keep carping on "the core issue" of Kashmir, err ... Jammu & Kashmir. Interesting. Didnt the core issue use to be "Kashmir"? It has now become "Jammu & Kashmir"! So the Pakistanis are laying claim to Jammu as well! Nice!
An editorial in the Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Times, talks about how India is nicely obfuscating the core issues and instead talking about MFN, trade, bus & train services, etc. K Subrahmanyam points out in the Indian Express that it is upto Musharraf to come up with the out of the box solutions, since India is fairly comfortable with the status quo situation with the hope that things will unravel with time while Pakistan is the one itching with a revisionist attitude. Scott Baldauf writes in the Christian Science monitor about how Indian proposals on the LoC being converted into the international border and several other CBMs are putting pressure on Musharraf.
In my opinion, the two positives from this trip as far as India is concerned are that he is not as Kashmir focussed as he used to be. Secondly, I think he has realized that it is not possible for a rapid, one day turn-around time to resolve the disputes. So he has been amenable to India's proposals on increasing trade, cultural, sporting and other people-to-people contacts. Maybe thats because all that is happening anyway through trade in narcotics & fake currency, infiltration into J & K and other parts of India etc.
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