India, Pakistan Resume Talks

The resumption of India-Pakistan confidence-building talks following six months of tit-for-tat cruise missile launches is good news in and of itself. But this passage from a Hindustan Times article on the latest round of the discussions caught my eye:

New Delhi is looking for concrete action by Pakistan for ending cross-border terrorism and infiltration, which have witnessed a spurt recently.

India believes terrorism is a “common concern” for both the countries and that it is in the interest of Pakistan itself to clamp down on the scourge as it has lost former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to it.

New Delhi, however, is clear that terror incidents like in Jaipur should not derail the dialogue with Islamabad.

This strikes me as the proper posture, since it recognizes the problem without giving it disproportionate influence on the outcome of the broader framework of conciliation. Pre-conditioning discussions on a potentially impossible-to-meet demand of ending all terrorist attacks, on the other hand, gives the terrorists a much greater voice at the table (otherwise known as veto power) than they’d have were they to be actually invited to the negotiations.