Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have the opportunity to lower cross-border tensions this year, but it’s uncertain whether the Indian government can take meaningful steps to improve ties before elections later this spring and how far a cautious leadership in Islamabad is prepared to go. A meeting between high-ranking military leaders held Dec. 24 and follow-up meetings between flag officers across the Kashmir divide – including one held on Friday- could pave the way for new measures that strengthen stability in the region or at least affirm existing measures, but only if political leaders are determined to improve relations.
Pakistan and India once again exchanged lists of nuclear installations and facilities earlier this month in a confidence-building measure that has been repeated annually since 1992, pursuant to a 1988 agreement prohibiting attacks on nuclear installations. The exchange, while undoubtedly a positive act for India-Pakistan relations, did not expand the scope or significance of the non-attack agreement.
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This op-ed first appeared in the International Business Times on January 17, 2014.
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