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India and Pakistan Improving Ties
India and Pakistan Improving Ties
India and Pakistan are "quietly" making remarkable progress in improving ties and this pace should be kept on, former US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer has said.
"I believe one of the best stories of the world today, one of the quietest stories of the world today and may be it should be kept so is this historic progress in these negotiations and talks between India and Pakistan," Roemer said in response to a question in a round table with Indian media ahead of the next week's India-US Strategic dialogue. "United States recognizes that the relationship between India and Pakistan are bilateral and they would proceed at a pace that India and Pakistan would want them to go. Knowing that the United States quietly and diplomatically supports these talks."
The former US ambassador said that it all started with talks on terrorism issues then there was some confidence building measures and they proceeded on some commerce issues and trade issue, infrastructure, border issues and pipeline issue.
The most difficult problem in relations between India and Pakistan since partition in August 1947 has been their dispute over Kashmir. Pakistan's leaders did not accept the legality of the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir to India, and undeclared war broke out in October 1947 was the first of three conflicts between the two countries. By the mid-1990s, little had occurred to improve bilateral relations as unrest in Jammu and Kashmir accelerated and domestic politics in both nations were unsettled.
Stability, economic co-operation, progress, would really benefit both countries, he said adding that with 6% or 7% growth rate India really benefits with improvement in relationship with Pakistan. With the improvement in India-Pak relationship the trade between the two countries could increase to $10billion-$15 billion in the next couple of years from the existing $2billion-$3 billion.
Referring to the recent tough decisions taken by the US against Pakistan, Roemer said that the US "would not tolerate" any attack coming from Pakistan. "Game changes and all bets are off if something happens at Times Square or someplace else in our country," he said adding that the US is now having "historic" co-operation with India to prevent another Mumbai attack.
Roemer said is good possibility that India and Pakistan can move forward to talk about Sir Creek. Sir Creek is a 96-km-long disputed territory between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands, which opens up into the Arabian Sea. The Sir Creek divides the Kutch region of Gujrat state in India and the Sindh province of Pakistan.
Claiming the entire creek lies in its territory, Pakistan's demand has been that the "green line" lying on the eastern bank of the creek, depicted on a 1914 map, should be transposed on the ground. New Delhi, however, asserts the boundary is mid-channel in consonance with internationally-accepted norms. "The two sides are now engaged in discussing the survey and the possibility of going in for some new mechanism to sort out the matter," said an official.
"This is really a positive story between people of India and Pakistan. The United States would continue to be in the background, continue to quietly and diplomatically support these efforts and its progress and is one of most important areas of progress in the world," Roemer said.