When Manmohan Singh comes to Islamabad

Pervez Hoodbhoy in The Express Tribune:

ScreenHunter_04 Apr. 22 20.26…what should the two sides talk about? Surely, there are many issues but here are the top five on which progress is both necessary and, more importantly, possible.

First, let both countries agree to immediately vacate the killing ice fields of Siachen. This insane war at 22,000 feet has claimed hundreds of lives on both sides; 138 Pakistani soldiers and civilian contractors are still being searched for after a mountain of snow crashed on them last week. Maintaining control over a system of Himalayan glaciers has come at a dreadful cost to human lives and resources, and has also irreversibly polluted a pristinely pure environment. But to what end? There are no minerals in Siachen; not even a blade of grass can grow there. This is just a stupid battle between two monster-sized national egos.

Second, let them talk about water — seriously. But please have the Pakistani side well-prepared for solid technical discussions. This means having real experts with facts at their fingertips. They must know about spillway design, sediment control, DSLs, drawdowns, sluicing, etc. I have seen too many duffers represent our side at Pakistan-India meetings where water inevitably comes up. Their lack of knowledge becomes painfully apparent and the Indians start smirking.

More here.

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