If one puts together a couple of news reports, it seems that mediation, perhaps with Russian President Putin as lead mediator, may come to play a prominent role in the resolution of the standoff between Pakistan and India. It also seems that Putin acting as mediator has President Bush’s blessing. All seem to recognize that the effort against terrorism will be directly impacted if the impasse over Kashmir and other issues is not resolved.
The Pakistanis have, in an article published by UNI, indicated an interest in mediation. In the May 23, 2002 article entitled “Pakistan Calls for International Mediation to Ease Tension,” Iftihar Murshed, Pakistan’s envoy to Russia, states: “Islamabad believes that active mediation of the international community is required to reduce the strained situation on the Indo-Pak border.”
In another article by the AP on May 25, 2002, entitled “Putin Asserts Russian Leadership,” Russian President Putin said he would invite the leaders of India and Pakistan to Kazakhstan to hold talks in early June to try to prevent their conflict from escalating. “I hope that they come, so that here we can discuss together how to prevent the conflict from further development,” said Putin, who was showing President Bush around his hometown St. Petersburg after a key summit in the Russian capital Friday. Presumably, Putin is acting with President Bush’s blessing.
Putin said he would invite Pakistani President Musharraf Pervez and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the Conference on Cooperation and Confidence Measures in Asia to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on June 3-5, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The Soviet Union acted as a mediator between India and Pakistan after the 1965 war.
It was also reported in the UNI report that Britain’s foreign minister and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would visit Islamabad next week.
We may be entering a period where the value of mediation is more recognized internationally and perhaps also in the homeland itself.