Once again all eyes are set on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit held in Astana. The summit which will see India and Pakistan being inducted as full time members of the SCO, according to observers is believed to break the lock jam between the two neighbors’.
Though much did not happen on the inaugural day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged pleasantries with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at a reception organised in honour of the visiting leaders on Thursday night.
Since it was the first occasion when the two leaders came across each other after Sharif’s heart surgery, Modi enquired about his health. Modi also enquired about Sharif’s mother and family and the Pakistan premier also, according to reports enquired about the well being of the Indian Prime Minister.
Even though the official position on both the sides has not changed over the past six months as both the countries have said that there is no proposal from either side to break the deadlock on peace talks between the two nations.
Ironically, ties between India and Pakistan have nosedived over a range of issues including alleged beheading of two soldiers by the Pakistan military along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and the death sentence handed down to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan on charges of spying and the rising tensions over the situation in Kashmir.
Efforts to forge peace between India and Pakistan have always been a tricky question. Any attempts to initiate peace talks between the two rivals is disrupted by troubling developments.
However, this time around people affected by the long freeze in the relationship between India and Pakistan are hopeful of some achievement. The hope has been generated by the fact that the various rights bodies, the United Nations and of course various countries including the United States of America have expressed their concerns over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the simmering faceoff along the Line of Control in the region.
Though this year alone peace talks met their nemesis on April 26 and again on January 2nd this year, the Astana Summit can create history if both the visiting leaders take a cue from the peoples aspirations and help forge peace in the subcontinent by engaging in talks to iron out all the differences including Kashmir.