Danger: momentum dissipating

The most significant peace process in Southasia has hit a stalemate. After remarkable progress, the India-Pakistan rapprochement appears to have slipped down in the policymakers' priorities. The fact that a six-decade-long embittered relationship has gradually transformed into one of relative peace over the past three years is an achievement. But this should make no one complacent. Fundamental issues remain unresolved; the momentum is dissipating; and in the absence of progress, extremists of all stripes and categories will gain strength.

To be fair, critical domestic political issues have come to the fore on both sides, taking attention away from the peace process, and limiting the appetite for political risk on both sides. General Pervez Musharraf is facing the most severe crisis of his tenure, his troubles mounting with the latest Supreme Court ruling allowing his arch rival former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to return to the country after seven years in exile. Meanwhile, the Indian political class is trying to save its own government. Before this, it was busy with important elections in Uttar Pradesh (where the ruling party fared miserably) and then in choosing a president.

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Himal Southasian
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