This past week, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan flew to India to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the countries’ volatile relationship. Tension has accumulated over the past half century, starting with the military three conflicts since independence from British rule in 1947 and the ever-present nuclear threat from both sides. Zardari will be the first head of state to visit, as the Pakistani paper The News put it, the “arch-rival India.”.
Despite a tumultuous history, President Zardari and Prime Minister Singh had positive things to say about the meeting to the media. For example, the word “fruitful” has been used in nearly every official statement made regarding the meeting. The News however, took quite a pessimistic tack, quoting Brahma Chellaney, an analyst at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research, as saying “You can’t have substantive talks with someone who doesn’t run anything” (meaning, of course, Zadari, seen by some as a near-powerless chief executive). On the other hand, The Dawn, another leading newspaper in Pakistan, reported that the meeting had “great diplomatic significance.” It is reported that Zardari has invited Prime Minister Singh to Pakistan to meet again in the near future, but it has yet to be seen what will come of these arch-rival “play dates.”
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