Notwithstanding his desire for developing friendly ties with India, one wonders if Sharif had realised the difficulties in the way of bridging the gap between the positions of the two countries when he talked to Narendra Modi after the latter’s inauguration. Sharif was keen on initiating some sort of composite dialogue to resolve all disputes with the development of economic ties as a first step towards the goal. Modi however made it clear that peaceful relations with Pakistan could not proceed unless terror was brought to an end.
Again, one wonders if Sharif had taken all stakeholders on board on the initiative he had taken and the give and take that it involved. Despite the goodwill shown by both sides, there was a recurrence of border incidents soon after. In July Indian High Commissioner Raghavan complained of ‘unprovoked and unfortunate incidents from Pakistan side’ claiming that Islamabad was not honouring bilateral agreements. India subsequently cancelled the secretary level talks following criticism of Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with a Hurriyet leader. Sharif meanwhile has been sufficiently weakened on account of domestic agitation and differences with the army. His speech at the UN General Assembly showed greater emphasis on the Kashmir dispute than seen during the last six years. As things stand bridging the gap between the positions of the two sides has become difficult, with one almost exclusively focusing on terrorism and the other on the prior resolution of the Kashmir issue.
It is however in the interest of both India and Pakistan to control the border incidents which are spreading fast over the LoC and the working boundary. What is more, there is a disturbing increase in their frequency and the number of casualties . There are a number of politicians and sections of media that are pouring oil over fire on both sides. Unless reason prevails, there is a likelihood of the two countries returning to pre 2003 ceasefire era when heavy guns boomed on both sides on a daily basis .