South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) welcomes the decision taken by the Foreign Secretary of India Ms. Nirupama Rao and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Mr. Salman Bashir to resume talks at the foreign secretary level between India and Pakistan. The talks which will resume after fourteen months on the 25th of February provide a much needed opportunity to bridge the differences between the two countries and take positive steps towards peace and cooperation in South Asia.
SAHR hopes that resuming the dialogue on all issues of concern will break the tensions between the two countries and prepare the ground for more positive and meaningful outcomes.
It is imperative that countries of South Asia overcome their hostility and sustain a dialogue to address the contentious issues and misunderstandings that have threatened peace and cooperation in South Asia. SAHR hopes that through these talks there will be a reaffirmation by both sides of their intention to promote regional cooperation which can establish better relations between the two countries and that will have a positive impact in South Asia.
Bracketing action against terrorism with the peace process however, will play into the hands of the militants and hardliners. Joint and collective mechanisms against terrorism are the need of the hour and these can be made possible only through mutual understanding. SAHR is of the view that both countries must engage in a fruitful process of confidence building so that serious issues facing them as well as the rest of South Asia can be resolved.
SAHR expects that the meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will lead to a resumption of the composite dialogue that can put the peace process back on the rails and thus make peace a reality for the peoples of South Asia.
On behalf of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Hameeda Hossain
February 25th, 2010