The solution is bizarre
One of the things Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and General Musharraf agreed upon, at least in principle, was how to get the international bus service get off the ground in Kashmir.
The problem that has dogged the issue of bus and train links also seems to have been resolved. India insisted on passports for Pakistanis crossing the LoC. Pakistan retorted that to do so would be to treat the LoC as an international border, something it is committed to denying.
The agreement reached by National Security Adviser Mani Dixit and his Pakistani counterpart is that both sides will check the passports of its own citizens. That is to say, Pakistan will check Pakistani passports on its own side of the border and we will then allow its citizens in without stamping their passports. And India will check Indian passports on our border, before our citizens go to the Pakistani side.
Such a scheme can only work in an atmosphere of trust and Singh and Musharraf agreed to try and create that climate. They agreed also to go ahead with various nuclear confidence-building measures to ease tensions in South Asia. [HT]
Surely the trust required to allow such semi passport-free travel does not come from nuclear confidence-building measures! The reason why Pakistan’s intentions are distrusted in Kashmir is because of its dispensation to inject virulent jihadis into Indian Kashmir and its refusal to dismantle the terrorist training camps and infrastructure on its side.
Insisting that Pakistan dismantle ‘forward’ jihadi camps in the portion of Kashmir it controls would have inspired greater confidence for this specific move than linking it to nuclear confidence building. Concievably, this linkage allows Pakistan to hold the nuclear confidence-building measures hostage to the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus.
Building an expensive high-tech fence to keep out infiltrators while relying on Pakistani immigation officers ‘check’ the passports of the bus passengers crossing over to India does sound bizarre.
â€œI am much misunderstood in India,â€ the General told the Prime Minister, rather plaintively.