Obama-Nawaz Sharif talks: Not much to shout about

Firstly, there were no talks as New Delhi feared (after the Washington Post sent up a hot air balloon) on a civilian nuclear deal, similar to the India-US one.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian | Updated: October 24, 2015 9:16 pm
Pakistan, Pakistan nuclear deal, Pakistan Nuclear deal with US, Nawaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif Obama, Sharif Obama, Barack Obama, Nawaz Sharif Nuclear deal, Pakistan nukes, Pakistan nuke deal, pakistan news, world news US President Barack Obama meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (AP Photo)

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington and his meeting with US President Barack Obama produced at best modest outcomes for Islamabad, notwithstanding the howls of protest in Delhi.

Firstly, there were no talks as New Delhi feared (after the Washington Post sent up a hot air balloon) on a civilian nuclear deal, similar to the India-US one. Though this has been a demand by Pakistan since the days of Musharraf, the US simply does not trust Islamabad or its generals or its civilian rulers enough to conclude a deal with it involving nuclear energy, even for civilian purposes.

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An announcement that the US proposes to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan is not all that it seems to be, as the proposal still has to go through the US Congress, where it could well be shot down. The Obama Administration is yet to notify the Congress on the proposed sale.

India has railed at the mention of Kashmir in the joint statement issued after the Obama-Sharif talks. To quote the joint statement: “The two leaders expressed concern over violence along the Line of Control, and noted their support for confidence-building measures and effective mechanisms that are acceptable to both parties. The leaders emphasized the importance of a sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbors aimed at resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means and working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism.”

But what the statement actually underlines is the bilateral nature of the issue by urging a dialogue process between the two parties concerned. Sharif had wanted UN monitoring of the ceasefire. He also shared dossiers with allegations of an Indian hand in terrorism in Pakistan, seeking to involve the US as a referee. While the joint statement notes “mutual concerns of terrorism”, it says both sides should work out ways of addressing these and all other outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through bilateral dialogue.

The US preoccupation at the moment is with a dignified closure to its role in Afghanistan, for which it needs Pakistan’s help.It needs Islamabad to rein in its proxies, and bring the Taliban’s new leadership to the table for talks with the Afghan government. The joint statement issued after the talks flags U.S concerns about Pakistan’s proxies in Afghanistan and the wider region – these are also India’s enemies – naming both the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

From India’s point of view, this is possibly the first time that the LeT has been named in a US-Pakistan joint statement, specifically committing a Pakistani Prime Minister to “Pakistan’s resolve to take effective action against United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates, as per its international commitments and obligations under UN Security Council resolutions and the Financial Action Task Force”.

India has objected to the US support for Pakistan’s fund raising efforts for the Diamer Bhasha dam in Gilgit Baltistan saying it opposes any infrastructure building activity in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

The objection only underlines the importance of holding talks with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. If talks have not taken place on Kashmir since 2008, it is because India wants to first discuss terrorism with Pakistan.

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  1. I
    Immam
    Oct 25, 2015 at 5:38 am
    Look at Shariff's body languge, pathetic and Obama must be telling get out of my country ASAP. India should not worrry about Pak or giving importance as it will divert from what India wants to do in the international platform. Pak, Bagladesh, Srilanka, Afghanistan are cancer to South Asia
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    1. G
      George Cruz
      Oct 25, 2015 at 5:35 am
      stan is a failed state with many barbaric terror groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT, etc supported by the rogue stan ISI/military and Mullahs. Both US and China use stan like prosute and throw stan under the bus when they are done.
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      1. K
        kulaputra kulaputra
        Oct 25, 2015 at 5:06 am
        Stop this obsession with stan.
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        1. K
          K P
          Oct 24, 2015 at 7:47 pm
          It is true that stan is a cluster of senseless leadership that has always survived on anti India sentiments. But what I don't understand is are we too joining the race by talking too tough on stan ? India's strength comes from its wisdom, tolerance and spirituality. While being battle ready, we must talk and make sense of our longing for peace and prosperity. If not the day is very near that we will be answerable to the future generations .
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          1. M
            Mahesh Chandra
            Oct 24, 2015 at 7:19 pm
            A single scoop ice cream cone is far more enjoyable than the Pak-centric sloppy joe. Let Pak obsess about India alone.
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            1. M
              Mahesh Chandra
              Oct 24, 2015 at 7:36 pm
              WTG !
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              1. N
                Nia
                Oct 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm
                I concur
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                1. S
                  Sunitha
                  Oct 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm
                  I can see Pak obsessing about India to obtain a feeling of going toe to toe with India, the bigger neighbor. But there's no justification, as far as I can tell, for Indians to pay too much attention to Pak unless we too believe we have to maintain some sort of parity with the smaller neighbor. I think it's time for us to fix our site on our own goals and objectives in keeping with our size and potential. Mrs Sunitha Kumar, USA
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                  1. R
                    Ramesh Nittoor
                    Oct 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm
                    If the problem has to be resolved in an intra-subcontinental manner, the underlying issues which led to the parion have to be understood and resolved. This inward search for causal factors emerges mostly from literary and historical works. It is clearly understood by the establishment now that the nature of Islamic terror threat emanating from stan requires consolidation of idea of India, in a cultural sense Bhartiyata. It not only generates internal unity for truth to prevail, also receives fuller cooperation from developed nations. The earlier fears abour Rightist revival, which made NY Times and The Economist to exhort Indians to vote against Modi led BJP, have been alla. US response to stan, which concurs with Indian policy, has firmed up this track. It is now bit more likely that stan will be able to evolve consensus within their polity to cease low intensity war against India and set a road map to dialogue.
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