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Saturday, 14 July, 2001, 03:12 GMT 04:12 UK
Indian press cautious on summit
Final preparations are under way for the Agra meeting
By BBC News Online's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi

Indian newspapers are looking ahead to the summit meeting between the leaders of India and Pakistan with cautious optimism.

All the major dailies carried front page editorials on possible outcomes as President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee hold their first ever face-to-face talks.


Good morning, to a possible day in history

Frontpage headline in Indian Express
Most of them urged the two leaders to set aside their differences and hostility and move forward.

"Good morning, to a possible day in history" The Indian Express runs the headline on the daily's front page.

Mr Musharraf and Mr Vajpayee "will hope to put together a 'dialogue architecture' that will move the relationship beyond its present tone of deep suspicion and hostility to, at least, one of basic understanding".

Nuclear fears

"Time to stop shadow-boxing and talk peace" says The Times of India in its front-page leader.

"The sound and fury witnessed in Delhi and Islamabad in the last three or four days could well be a thing of the past when the general arrives in the capital," it says, referring to an exchange of rhetoric from the two sides in newspaper interviews given by Mr Musharraf and Mr Vajpayee.


There could be an announcement on the long-awaited mutual commitment on no-first strike against each other's nuclear installations

The Asian Age
The Asian Age says the focus will be on Kashmir and other conflicts "which could turn this subcontinent into history's greatest nuclear mushroom".

"For President Musharraf, the key to every other door is Kashmir. Prime Minister Vajpayee appreciates that Pakistan's leader is under his own compulsions, and will find means and ways to accomodate his guest's core concern.

"The potential of a nuclear confrotation, and the means to prevent it, is the first item on Prime Minister Vajpayee's agenda.

"If agreement emerges by Monday afternoon... there could be an announcement on the long-awaited mutual commitment on no-first strike against each other's nuclear installations."

The world would see the development for what it is, The Age said, a major step forward in a dangerous relationship.

'Blind date'

The Hindu says it believes India has assessed its negotiating options and is prepared for all outcomes at Agra.


The outcome hangs on the kind of chemistry that will develop between Mr Vajpayee and General Musharraf

The Hindu
"Summit level meetings between leaders are usually well prepared and the results pre-cooked.

"But the meeting between General Musharraf and Mr Vajpayee is almost like a blind date with all its uncertainties. The outcome hangs on the kind of chemistry that will develop between Mr Vajpayee and General Musharraf - two leaders who come from such different backgrounds," The Hindu added.

But the Hindustan Times was less optimistic about the outcome of their meetings.

"The questions which naturally arise are: will peace be given a chance at Agra? Or will the Agra dialogue go down in history as just another blind alley? Their positions on Kashmir have cast doubts over a willingness to give and take."

See also:

09 Jul 01 | South Asia
India eases Pakistan travel
04 Jul 01 | South Asia
India frees jailed Pakistanis
05 Jul 01 | South Asia
Musharraf seeks Kashmir meeting
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