Thursday, April 7, 2011


Washington, April 7 (Only Kashmir): While welcoming the recent resumption of talks between Pakistani and Indian political leadership, a prominent American expert has urged Washington to make a diplomatic push towards resolution of longstanding Kashmir dispute, saying it would help stave off a nuclear arms race in South Asia.“After a hiatus of two years, the resumption of talks between Pakistan and India announced in February is good news,” Bruce Riedel, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in an opinion piece following March 30th meeting between prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh on the occasion of World Cricket Cup semi-final between the two regional powers.
In the writing, put online by The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Riedel, a former CIA officer, who chaired President Obama’s strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009, warns that “despite these diplomatic efforts, however, a huge challenge to peace is brewing: a nuclear arms race in South Asia.” Riedel claims in the piece titled “South Asia’s Looming Arms Race”
that Islamabad is adding fast to its nuclear stockpile. He feels that the renewed bilateral diplomacy between Pakistan and India is not likely to succeed in the face of years of hostility and mistrust between the two nuclear neighbors.
“That makes it urgent for the world community, especially the U.S., to address the budding arms race.”
He criticizes the U.S. policy toward Pakistan and its nuclear program in the last 30 years and calls for a consistent and constant approach. At the same time, the expert notes that former president “Bush’s civilian nuclear deal with India in 2005 left many Pakistanis angry at what they see as a double standard that gives India access to technology denied to them.”
Washington, Riedel says, “needs to help Mr. Singh and Mr. Gilani address the root issues dividing the two nations.”
“President Obama should encourage small steps at first like increased trade and communications, but press quietly behind the scenes to address Kashmir and other tough problems. The alternative, a full-blown South Asian arms race, will seriously threaten global security.”


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