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Op-ed by Michael Krepon on Useful Steps to Dampen Confrontation in South Asia

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An Opening for Useful Steps to Dampen Confrontation on the Subcontinent?

Will India and Pakistan be able to take constructive steps away from periodic crises and confrontation? The smart money bets no, and cynics are usually right. Those who have tried to break the cycle of enduring enmity on the subcontinent have not been rewarded. A succession of Indian Prime Ministers including the incumbent have been burned by making gestures to improve relations with Pakistan. An act of violence has followed, making them look foolish for trying.

A succession of Pakistani leaders has tried to halt “the blame game,” but Pakistani diplomacy is hamstrung by fixed international perceptions of cause and effect. Ever since the Musharraf years, the usual suspects have been rounded up after Indian initiatives to improve ties was blown up in its tracks. And as in the movie “Casablanca,” those placed under polite detention have been free to go about their business after the legal process petered out.

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