Leading opinion makers from India and Pakistan met at Bangkok for the 5th round of the Chaophraya Dialogue from 28-30 August 2010. They began their deliberations by observing a minute of silence to commiserate with the victims of the recent floods in Pakistan that have caused a grave humanitarian crisis in the country. The Indian participants collectively voiced their support for and solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this challenging time. The Pakistani participants welcomed the offer of Indian humanitarian aid. All the participants hoped that this crisis will lead to greater cooperation between the two countries.
India Pakistan Dialogue
- The participants emphasized the need for continued bilateral engagement especially at official and functional levels. They hoped that the dialogue can be sustained until there is a satisfactory resolution of all outstanding issues.
- They welcomed the forthcoming meeting of the foreign ministers and expressed the hope that this would take the dialogue process forward.
- The participants felt that the two sides need to agree upon the form and structure of the dialogue.
- They noted that decisions already taken in earlier rounds of talks needed to be implemented fully. Other issues on which there is convergence must be brought to an early conclusion.
- To facilitate people-to-people exchanges, the participants felt that there was a need to relax visa restrictions particularly for artistes, media, academics, business persons, students and civil society organizations.
- To build trust and confidence, they recommended exchanges of visits by military delegations especially at the level of service chiefs, and similar exchanges between intelligence agencies.
- The two governments should urgently take up the humanitarian issue of fishermen and other prisoners languishing in each others’ jails and find workable compassionate solutions.
Jammu And Kashmir
- The participants strongly supported a comprehensive process to build sustained peace and reconciliation between India and Pakistan.
- They believed that a sustained dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad, including on Jammu and Kashmir, was required to ensure lasting peace.
- They recommended that New Delhi and Islamabad should facilitate a dialogue between representatives from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir, reflecting all shades of political opinion.
- The participants suggested that to complement the bilateral dialogue, inter and intra-Jammu and Kashmir dialogue, New Delhi and Islamabad should consider activating the back-channel on Jammu and Kashmir.
- They called upon New Delhi and Islamabad to implement, in letter and spirit, the series of existing CBMs, particularly those relating to easing travel and trade between the two sides of the Line of Control.
- They also appealed to New Delhi and Islamabad to urgently initiate measures to build trust and confidence amongst the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The participants believed that progress made on various tracks of the dialogue must be shared with the principal stakeholders within India and Pakistan, including the major political parties.
- The participants recognized that instability in Afghanistan would have serious implications for both Pakistan and India. Hence it was important for both countries to support reconciliation in Afghanistan which was essential for stability in the country and the region.
- They agreed that the future of Afghanistan should be the exclusive domain of the people of Afghanistan. It was recommended that all other countries refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
- It was agreed that the only solution to the Afghan problem is a political one. There can be no military solution.
- The participants felt that the aspirations of the Afghan people for stability and sovereignty should be fulfilled as early as possible within an Afghan-owned multi-ethnic and broad-based framework.
- It was also agreed that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan has the potential of leading to greater cooperation between India and Pakistan. The absence of cooperation between the two countries carries the danger of aggravating bilateral tensions.
- The participants further suggested that India and Pakistan should look for specific avenues of cooperation. It was noted that cooperation among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan has great potential. All three countries are members of SAARC, and should, therefore, be encouraged to consult one another on issues of mutual concern and economic development. The three countries should explore potential areas of cooperation which could include joint investment, energy cooperation, infrastructure development and trade, among others.
- Participants agreed that terrorism was a common enemy and the comprehensive defeat of terrorism should guide the policies of the governments of India and Pakistan. Pakistan, today, faces, an existential threat from terrorist organizations, while the memory of various terrorist attacks still affects public opinion in India.
- They recognized that terrorism was a common threat to both countries and must be dealt with vigorously in all its aspects.
- They felt there was a need for institutionalized and regular interaction between the heads of the intelligence agencies outside public glare.
- They recommended that those involved in prosecution of terrorist cases common to both countries should meet often to expedite disposal of cases.
- Both sides must actively collaborate to facilitate the prosecution of terrorists being tried for acts of terrorism.
- It was suggested that civil society organizations should build public awareness of their respective national commitments to combat terrorism under the relevant United Nations conventions and binding resolutions.
- The participants also proposed that both countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and refrain from interference in each other’s internal affairs.
Participants from India
- Amitabh Mattoo (Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University), Lalit Mansingh (former Foreign Secretary),
- Raja Menon (Rear Admiral, Chairman, Net Assessment and Simulation, National Security Council),
- Happymon Jacob (Assistant Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University),
- G Parthasarathy (former High Commissioner to Pakistan),
- Dipankar Banerjee (Maj. Gen., Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies),
- Siddharth Varadarajan (Strategic Affairs Editor, The Hindu),
- Praveen Swami (Associate Editor, The Hindu),
- AS Dulat (former Director, Research and Analysis Wing),
- Barkha Dutt (Group Editor, NDTV),
- Indrani Bagchi (Senior Editor, The Times of India),
- Mallika Joseph (Deputy Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies)
Participants from Pakistan
- Sherry Rehman (President, Jinnah Institute, member of the National Security Committee of the National Assembly of Pakistan),
- Ejaz Haider (contributing editor, Friday Times, and former executive editor, Daily Times), Aziz Ahmad Khan (former High Commissioner to India),
- Najmuddin Shaikh (former Foreign Secretary),
- Ahmer Bilal Soofi (President, Research Society of International Law),
- Talat Masood (Lt Gen, former Secretary, Ministry of Defence),
- Humayun Khan (former Foreign Secretary),
- Syed Rifaat Hussain (Professor and Chair, Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University),
- Shahzad Chaudhry (former DG, Air Force Strategic Command),
- Nasim Zehra (Director, Current Affairs, Dunya Television),
- Sehar Tariq (Program Manager, Jinnah Institute)