Islamabad: So far there seems to be “much rhetoric and little substance” following the talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, said a Pakistani daily on Wednesday.
An editorial in the News International “A taste of old wine” said that the need is to “plan strategy carefully and with genuine commitment if there is to be any real success in building the harmony that the region needs”.
“So far there seems to be much rhetoric and little substance,” it added.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz has given a briefing on the interaction between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Ufa, Russia.
“There was nothing said that we have not heard before,” said the daily.
Aziz stressed that Track-II diplomatic contact between the two sides would be stepped up, with a host of issues to be discussed.
“Though he did not say so in so many words, it seems Kashmir may also be an issue taken up initially at least at Track II level,” the editorial said.
It added: “Much has been made about the face-to-face meeting between PM Nawaz Sharif and PM Narendra Modi in Russia. It is hard to say if anything solid will emerge from it.”
The daily went on to say that Track-II diplomacy has been tried many times before.
“In fact it has figured during the tenure of nearly every government over the past many years. The process generally involves a discussion on a range of issues between retired diplomats or others who are not directly in government as a means to build confidence and trust.”
Aziz mentioned that the Track-II process would include discussion on border tensions and also other issues that had come up over the past months. He said Pakistan had asked “India for more evidence regarding the charges it had made over the November 2008 siege of Mumbai”.
The editorial noted that there has been continued “expression of anxiety in New Delhi over what it sees as lack of movement in Pakistan in this matter and it has alleged that the key figures have not been detained or brought to trial”.
“The fact is that Track-II efforts almost never do any harm. They can indeed help lead towards some desirable objectives such as enhancing contacts between people.”