Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Tuesday, 26 April 2005 12:26 UK

How secure is the peace process?

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (right) and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have said that peace between the two nuclear rivals is "irreversible".

The two leaders signed a joint statement on Sunday following peace talks in the Indian capital, Delhi. They also agreed to increase trade and transport links between Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir in an attempt to end the long-running dispute.

India and Pakistan embarked on a peace process in January last year. The two countries have gone to war twice over Kashmir, a territory which both sides claim.

How secure is the peace process between India and Pakistan? Will both sides finally resolve the dispute or will militant attacks impede the process? Do you live in Indian- or Pakistani-administered Kashmir? Send us your thoughts and experiences.


This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Syed A Mateen, Pakistan
India - Pakistan relations. What could be a possible solution to the Kashmir issue?

It makes sense to make friends with your neighbours - just look at America and Canada. Their friendship is the basis for their incredibly strong trade relation. I'm glad India and its neighbours have finally realized this.
Chatterjee, Toronto, Canada

Both countries should be ashamed of the misery they have caused the people of Kashmir. How much disappointment can one generation take?
Bilal Sultan, New York, USA

I think both countries are working in the right direction for the settlement of the dispute. In order to reach an amicable solution both countries might need to soften their respective stands.
Ajeet, Bangalore, India

Here in Srinagar the mood is optimistic but the people are not out celebrating peace between India and Pakistan. What they want to see is an autonomous Kashmir with open borders to India and Pakistan.
Malcolm McEwen, Srinagar, Kashmir

The peace process will improve only if Pakistan stops encouraging the "Kashmir Independence"
Kumaran, Tamil Nadu
The peace process will improve only if Pakistan stops encouraging the "Kashmir Independence" and stop training the militants. As long as they encourage it, the peace process will come back to square one.
Kumaran, Tamil Nadu

These two countries (especially Pakistan) must understand that supporting terrorism doesn't bring any good. If they could improve trade relationship as well as the economic ties (particularly in Kashmir), any terrorism will then be seen as a negative impact to both of them and things will become more stable.
S Chakraborty, Leeds, UK

The recent progress is a good sign, but let's see how long it lasts. Its good to see Pakistan make a compromise and accept a "soft border" and India facilitate this. Pakistan has hopefully realised that there is no military solution against a stronger India, and India has realized that its hardline approach also must be toned down. Now let's hope that Islamic terrorists don't uproot what has been achieved thus far. Peace and prosperity to citizens of both India and Pakistan is hopefully what's in store for them!
A. Rastogi, Louisville USA

India, Pakistan and China should aim to convert the South Asian region to something like the EU
Sunit Patil, Middlesbrough, UK
These talks are definitely a step ahead. Economic development and soft borders are the key words. India, Pakistan and China should aim to convert the South Asian region to something like the EU. Kashmir would be the bridge to Pakistan rather than the wall separating the two. It is not possible at this date to hold a referendum in Kashmir because of militancy. How can we hold a referendum when militants even oppose a bus link between the two neighbours?
Sunit Patil, Middlesbrough, UK

The state government of Jammu and Kashmir in India is democratically elected in free and fair elections. The way Kashmiri citizens voted in election shows their acceptance of Indian system of governance. Only a few preach violence and they learnt their lesson through the peace process.
Vivek Kulkarni, Cleveland, Ohio

The peace process is a first step towards economic ties between the countries. But, will they look beyond the religious barriers and realize that the same history, culture and traditions bind us? Let us also not forget that Kashmiris will have to endure the consequences, be it peace or war.
Sundaram, India

There can be no peace between nations with nuclear weapons pointed directly at each other. How much money is spent on weaponry each year in India and Pakistan that could be used to fund healthcare or education? This meeting was just one step along a very long path, but at least it's a step forward.
Rajinder Singh, Toronto, Canada

Opening up travel and trade is a great start but to secure and sustain peace both countries should fight terror jointly.
Sriram Ranganathan, Charlotte, US

It is heartening to see the new-found maturity of both the leaders - they also seem genuinely sanguine in developing and keeping the peace.
Jyanendra Pandit, Los Angeles, USA

Whatever the situation on the domestic front, India is playing its cards very well on the international level. Pakistan seems to be operating with useful candour also.
DJ, Kingston, Canada

In all cases, it is better to make efforts for a stronger foundation towards peace via dialogue and both countries should be admired for that.
EC, USA

One hopes that with this renewed dialogue there will be peace, and the source to sustained peace will be the just solution to the Kashmiri issue. What the solution is cannot be defined now, as this will require much more dialogue between India, Pakistan, and Kashmir itself. However, we must not give in to the demands of an immediate separate state at this moment in time, as this is the heart speaking and not the head. Give this a chance.
Hussain, London

President Musharraf is right. The world has changed after 9/11. I'm glad that India and Pakistan are adopting the new world order. This is a great day for everyone.
Kaveh, NY - USA

Both countries have used diversionary tactics to turn attention of their masses away from the problems of poverty, poor education and unemployment. If both countries prosper economically, many of the conflicts will be resolved automatically. It is in the interest of all countries in South Asia that these rivals prosper and the fruits of their prosperity flow to their neighbours.
Aspi Pajnigara, Mumbai

It is funny, few months back they were on the verge of nuclear war and today they make peace. One thing is very clear that peace is needed more then before and both Indian and Pakistani politicians should come to their senses and get mature. Kashmir is a paradise and Kashmiris have the right to live in paradise and decide for themselves.
Qudrat Nasraty, California, USA

In today's world neither India nor Pakistan can afford to keep on dragging this territorial dispute. It is time to move on, divert financial and all other resources on development rather then arms and military.
Rajiv, Bothell, WA

The willingness of India to talk about Kashmir is hope enough that the peace process will move forward.
Mahmood Rana, Minneapolis, USA

If India is not able to provide economic growth to Kashmir, then it has no right to retain the territory
Aashish Chourey, Oak ridge, TN, USA
Both the countries should work in economic interests. People should realise that it does not matter which country you live in (India or Pakistan), it is the economic growth that matters. If India is not able to provide economic growth to Kashmir, then it has no right to retain the territory. It is in our interest to maintain peace and goodwill. A prosperous Pakistan will realise the importance of peaceful neighbours, like China did. Religious terrorism should have no place on this planet.
Aashish Chourey, Oak ridge, TN, USA

The question is not whether Kashmiris will be happier if they join Pakistan or become independent, the real question is why this separatism is there. Culturally, religiously and linguistically, the people are the same.
MK, Bedford, UK

This temporary peace will last for several years, but one day the people of Jammu and Kashmir will rise up again. The only difference will be that then they will use democratic and peaceful means.
Mansur Ahmad, Islamabad, Pakistan

As someone who was born in Azad Kashmir, I will never accept India as my country. I support the UN resolution passed forty years ago. If India does not abide, then an arms struggle is justified, irrespective of whether Pakistan supports us or not.
Qadeer Ahmed, Bucks, England

I think it is a step in the right direction. After the failed Agra summit the peace process had taken a back seat. What is of foremost importance is dialogue and interaction. We would love to see the day when we will call Pakistan a bosom friend instead of an arch enemy.
Nawal Thorat, Aurangabad, India

India and Pakistan must ensure the economic development of Kashmir
Shailendra Saxena, Salt Lake City, USA
The only way the peace process becomes irreversible is the opening of trade and commerce between the two countries. Once the economies are interacting openly, any threat of conflict would be mitigated by people's interest in trade. India and Pakistan must ensure the economic development of Kashmir for it to become a non-issue between them.
Shailendra Saxena, Salt Lake City, USA

There is no point in secular and democratic India trying to achieve a peaceful border with a country formed purely on the basis of religious fundamentalism and currently controlled by a dictator and tribal warlords. I don't believe there will be peace as long as Pakistan rules its citizens by making them afraid of their problems and blaming India for them.
Cameron, NY , USA

Involving the Kashmiri-separatist leader for the peace talk is quite remarkable. An amicable solution can be reached if all the concerned parties get active. Let's hope the resumed peace process leads to the best solution for both India and Pakistan.
Indu, California, US

I think the peace process itself may be a political side show
Michael, Calif, USA
I think the peace process itself may be a political side show. But I hope the two governments, which have been acting so irresponsibly, will finally do what is best for the Kashmiri people no matter what that is. They deserve better.
Michael, Calif, USA

Peace is required yes, but India and Pakistan cannot be friends. We are poles apart and there is nothing wrong with that - you cannot befriend everyone. But we can focus on economic development. A trusted enemy is better than a betraying friend.
Sandeep, CA, USA

First China, now Pakistan. The events of the past month reflect a victory for Indian foreign diplomacy. It's only been a year since Manmohan Singh assumed office and his performance so far has been incredible.
Siddhartha Talya, Toronto, Canada.

It is pathetic to see these leaders playing with the emotions of the Kashmiris
Summaiya Malik, Indian side of Kashmir
It is pathetic to see these leaders playing, yet again, with the emotions of the worn out and wretched Kashmiris. Being a Kashmiri it melts my heart more to see all these people meeting after years of separation. But I also have witnessed the brutal warfare that Kashmir has been through all these years.
Summaiya Malik, Indian side of Kashmir

Peace is what is required but President Musharraf should not be interfering in matters related to Kashmir or give separatists any support. India does not initiate any war and has never tried to interfere in Pakistan's business and neither should Pakistan if long term peace is required. Look at China, they are willing to give up taken land for economic reasons, Pakistan should learn from that.
Anon, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The words of the diplomatic communiques are hopeful and increased trade and communication between the two countries will make war less likely but the best indicator of India and Pakistan's desire for peace will be when they agree to let the people of Kashmir decide their own fate in UN supervised elections.
Anonymous

It is heartening to see the two premiers meeting to discuss the issues. We seriously hope the new peace process holds and will not be a gimmick as it was the past!
Vivek Prasannan, Cochin, India

Whatever happened to providing justice to the people of Kashmir?
Behjat Syed, Connecticut, USA
I fail to comprehend why everyone just wants peace. Whatever happened to providing justice to the people of Kashmir? Clearly there can be peace temporarily without rendering justice. But for how long? If you want security for peace, you must first provide justice to the people of Kashmir by enabling them to express their wishes as envisioned by the UN almost 60 years ago.
Behjat Syed, Connecticut, USA

This is very good. Indians and Pakistanis should realize that they are the same people, just different religions. We have lived together like brothers for centuries. What was done by the British was pathetic but its time to move on. We should forget everything that has happened in the past and move ahead. If there is peace and prosperity flourishing between the two countries there will be no conflict.
Akshay, Montreal

Having wooed the Americans and the Chinese, and demonstrating the benefits to them of an India at peace, it was only a matter of time before the pressure on Pakistan to accept peace became untenable. Well done to all concerned.
Suresh, London UK

There are multiple countries which want to sell weapons to this region. If there is a peace between these countries, many countries will be losing their military hardware business and jobs for their citizens. I hope and wish commonsense prevails amongst the leaders of these two countries and work towards a long lasting peace and lift the living standards of the poorest of the poor in the world.
Jagdish Reddy, Atlanta USA

For now I see no sign of any resolution of the Kashmir issue
Ather, Toronto, Canada
The peace process largely depends upon India's willingness to resolve the Kashmir dispute, which over the years has been a burning flashpoint between Indo-Pak relations. For now I see no sign of any resolution of the Kashmir issue, but let's be optimistic that that day is not far when India will take some initiative of resolving the dispute. I live in Canada, and I have had many discussions about the future of Kashmir with my Indian brothers. They also want to see and end to the unnecessary bloodshed that has been taken place in the region for a long time.
Ather, Toronto, Canada

This is the right path of globalisation for these two nations. Nations cannot claim to have gone global in economy and development when they cannot smile at their next door neighbour nations. It is good that India and Pakistan can look forward to arriving at peace. Let's hope it will be sustained.
Chigbu Uchendu, Uturu, Nigeria

Today's India is focused on using economic development to further its own regional and global interests. In such a pursuit, there is no space for border bickerings with another nuclear armed neighbour which can cause concern globally. It is reassuring both countries realise that the road to economic and social recovery is through co-operation. No country has survived in isolation and India is clearly giving Pakistan the right kind of opportunity to resolve long standing issues which affect economic and social recovery.
Robin Bhowmik, Reading, UK

I wish them the best. We should live in peace with India and so with the whole world. But the real problem between Pakistan and India is Kashmir. Both leaders should not avoid it. With meaningful discussion and dialogue they can address this issue. It is in the best interests of both countries.
Shabnam Gul, San Francisco, USA

The recent moves towards resolving the major issues between the two parties, especially the conflict of Kashmir, seem positive. They must hold on to the initiative and continue the momentum. Now or never. The extremists on both the sides should accept the inevitability of a compromise. If wisdom prevails and they find an acceptable solution to all the parties, including the Kashmiris, it will be the dawn of a new era of peace, friendship and prosperity for the whole of South Asia and beyond.
Anon

Military confrontations over Kashmir will be replaced by negotiations and rapprochement between old archrivals because President Bush wills it, and everybody knows by now that the man is not joking.
Meerkat, Alexandria, VA, USA

Although the issue of Kashmir is the most important one in relations between India and Pakistan, the leaders of the two countries are moving towards a welcome irreversible peace because increasing numbers of people on either side of the border from all walks of life are beginning to understand the benefits of good lasting relationship with each other. On the other hand with deadly weapons on either side of the border there is simply no hope of solving anything through conflict.
Aslam Parviz, NY, USA

The peace process will further strengthen if there is more people to people contact
Percy Lazarous, Arlington, VA, USA
The peace process will further strengthen if there is more people to people contact and an open border between India and Pakistan. Right now trade between India and Pakistan is less than half a billion dollars. But I think if trade between India and Pakistan increases to more than 10 billion dollars a year within the next few years, the peace process will become truly "irreversible".
Percy Lazarous, Arlington, VA, USA

It is another good show for 2005. However, a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue is the reunification of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in line with what happened in Germany. It is a very difficult suggestion to digest but not an impossible one. Anything less than this, though initially it may look successful, will not last for long.
Sebastian Thomas, New Delhi, India

As with many other conflicts, such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, good atmospherics, handshaking and soothing and promising words will lead to false hope. This inevitably must become apparent when the real contentious issues such as who controls the land must be resolved. At that point, all of the old grievances will re-emerge. You can only ignore the fact that the two sides have irreconcilable demands for so long. That is what makes the problem so intractable and why it hasn't been settled for over 50 years.
Mark, USA

The peace process is based on the conclusion that three wars have not produced any gains for either country and that co-operation is mutually beneficial. As long as this logic is not reversed the peace will last. There is so much to gain.
Robert Arisz, Amsterdam, Holland

It seems highly unlikely that a solution could be found to this issue. Kashmir is not the only issue, the whole concept of a religious state should be questioned. Perhaps Kashmir can be given more autonomy and India and Pakistan could collapse into an EU sort of federation. This land belongs to me as much as any other Kashmiri.
Mani Iyer, USA/India

Musharraf is not a representative of people and a usurper of power. He is simply following his Western masters and thereby perpetuating his rule. This "peace" process is nothing but a sham and I feel that Musharraf is lying to his people about the Kashmir dispute.
Ahmad Farooq, Islamabad, Pakistan

I think that India and Pakistan are going in the right direction towards peace. Most important for both the leaders is to control the hardliners both in India and Pakistan to avoid any back gear in future. I will suggest that it is a golden time for India to solve the problem during Musharraf's rule as being a powerful man he can take decision boldly. I hope and pray for the better relationship of both the countries in the future resulting in the betterment of people in both countries.
Rana Zafar Ali, Lahore, Pakistan

The peace process cannot, unfortunately, be irreversible as long as all the power in Pakistan is in the hands on one person, in this case President Musharraf. The next coup will bring the peace process right back to square one. Historically, every time a Pakistani leader showed an inclination towards a peaceful relationship with India, he was "replaced", to put it politely. The only way to ensure "irreversibility" is to make Pakistan fully democratic. Hopefully President Musharraf can survive long enough to make that happen.
Shankar, Sweden

I welcome the progress that is being made to resolve this bitter dispute through negotiations. One solution could be that the area of Kashmir is completely demilitarised and given special status by both India and Pakistan. This will take some courage from both Indian and Pak leadership to accomplish. In this age of globalisation, borders are becoming irrelevant so why do people place so much importance on them? What is important is the development and prosperity of the people of Kashmir. Militancy will then cease in the region and create better relations between the two main players in the subcontinent.
Ali A, London, UK

Unfortunately, all it takes is an irresponsible act by one person to undo all of the progress that has been made. The extremists will not stop until Kashmir is an Islamic state or part of Pakistan.
Rob G, Kansas City, USA

Indians and Pakistanis now want more cricket and more peace. They want to meet their brethren on the other side of the border. This time the peace shall be a lasting one since peace rather than warmongering is the politically beneficial factor on both sides of the border.
Sasikanth, Delhi, India

Trade and improved economies will render fruitless the question of the Line of Control.
Arman Latif, West Chester, PA, USA



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