NEW DELHI -- After a freeze on bilateral dialogue of more than a year, New Delhi's proposed talks with Islamabad at the foreign secretary level, now scheduled for Feb. 25, have invited diverse reactions. India's previous refusal to engage with its neighbor in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack of Nov. 26, 2008, was meant to pressure Islamabad to both prosecute the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage and offer unambiguous commitments to crack down on terrorism.
The scars from the Mumbai attack, which left 170 people dead, have not yet healed. Nor has Pakistan done anything substantive to assuage New Delhi's concerns about its resolve to act against terrorism. Furthermore, Pakistan has shown little, if any, interest in apprehending Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the militant Lashkar-e-Tayyeba outfit behind the Mumbai massacre, while many other prime suspects in the attack are still at large.
So why the thaw? And why now?