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Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Pakistan and India ponder Armitage visit
A New Delhi vendor arranges his papers
Armitage's visit features on front pages
The press in Pakistan and India look at various angles of the visit by the US deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Karachi's The News welcomes Mr Armitage's assessment that tension over Kashmir has been reduced, but wonders just what he said to both sides to achieve the slight relief.

"It will be unfortunate if his low level diplomacy involved making commitments that might not seem acceptable or workable in the light of day."


What is required to ensure permanent peace in South Asia is .. a sustained proactive role in the region by the Bush administration

The Nation

The sense of unfinished business is also reflected in Lahore's The Nation. Unless "the core issue" is resolved, the paper says, anything achieved will be "no more than a temporary and highly fragile peace".

It calls for more US involvement. "What is required to ensure permanent peace in South Asia is .. a sustained proactive role in the region by the Bush administration."

US dreams

Islamabad's Pakistan Observer is sceptical of the US role. "It is quite obvious that in the current stand-off, the Americans are more sympathetic to the Indian position."

It goes on to suspect the real reasons for Washington's interest.

The Pakistani rulers must understand that an imposed peace never lasts

Nawa-i-Islam
"The Americans have long been dreaming of their military presence in this strategically important area in fulfilment of their avowed objective to contain China."

The Urdu-language Shia web site Nawa-i-Islam echoes this theme. It accuses the US of trying to "impose peace" on Islamabad.

"The Pakistani rulers must understand that an imposed peace never lasts."

Rumsfeld is next

Some papers look forward to the scheduled visit by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld next week.

Lahore's Daily Times reports that Rumsfeld will be accompanied by a "US expert on nuclear weapons".

"The visit is aimed at seeking a pledge from both sides not to even think of moving their nuclear assets."

The Nation also praises the move as it "indicates that President Bush is really serious about reducing the tension."

Indian viewpoints

In contrast, Indian papers reflect the political desire to keep the Kashmir issue on a bilateral level.

Seven-year-old refugee
Waiting to return home

New Delhi's The Pioneer suspects US diplomacy wants to "control events that have a direct bearing on US geo-political interests in the subcontinent".

"Nothing would suit the lone-ranger superpower better than to force these bickering neighbours to sit across a table and talk peace. Uncle Sam will of course sit at the head of the table."

The Hindustan Times prints a reader's letter along similar lines. "Vajpayee is so dependent on the US that he wants President Bush to wave the green signal before India can hit at Pakistan. Did Israel wait for Bush's order to blast the Palestinians or to keep Arafat under house arrest for weeks?"

Verification is key

Some papers delve into the nuts-and-bolts of the issue. Delhi's Indian Express says complete verification of a halt to militant infiltration is crucial.

"Pakistan's kite flying of an international helicopter force for monitoring infiltration is laughable... The US can play a constructive role in making available quickly remote sensing and other surveillance systems."

A Hindustan Times editorial argues that President Musharraf "may not be too pleased" with any reduction in tension "for his dream of snatching Kashmir will be frustrated. Besides, the out-of-work jihadis inside Pakistan will make life difficult for him."

The Times of India believes the crisis shows India must overhaul its intelligence services, but is sceptical of the outcome.


The clear and present danger is the unconcern in the ruling classes of India and Pakistan towards their nuclear capabilities

The Hindu

"Like princely overlords, our ministers are zealous about guarding their turf. Which is a pity because good intelligence is the best counter not only to terrorism, but to war."

And The Hindu, based in Madras, slams what it calls the "strategic chatterati".

"The clear and present danger is the unconcern in the ruling classes of India and Pakistan towards their nuclear capabilities that could overwhelm each other's population and economy", it concludes.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Links to more Media reports stories are at the foot of the page.


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