Manmohan and Asif Do Lunch

The Singh-Zardari luncheon was more productive than many expected.  But the bonhomie will eventually run into stark political realities.

Although the timing was coincidental and neither man professes the Christian faith, it was appropriately symbolic that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari broke bread in New Delhi on Easter Sunday.  After all, both are responsible for the resurrection of bilateral affairs from the deep chill that followed the 2008 terrorist strikes in Mumbai.  As a New York Times editorial today notes, “both deserve credit for their sensible, workmanlike effort over the past year to improve relations between the two nuclear rivals.”

Their luncheon, billed as an informal get-together but which had all the trappings of a mini-summit, was the first trip to India by a Pakistani head of state in seven years.  It not only gave further momentum to the peace dialogue the two countries launched a year ago, which has already resulted in growing trade links.  But it also imparted new optimism that the talks could move on to such contentious matters like the perennially-inflamed dispute over the Kashmir region. Continue reading