India-Pakistan: For the record. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif met in New York on the 29th. Shivshankar Menon, Indian national security affairs adviser, said that the talks were useful and constructive and that both sides agreed on the need to promote the realization of a complete ceasefire in Kashmir and accepted invitations to visit each other’s country.
Comment: Although meetings at the UN General Assembly session are mostly symbolic, they become substantive when they do not take place. The reciprocal invitations stake out a way ahead for more substantive exchanges.
The fundamental obstacle to a durable peace is Kashmir. Pakistani governments must at least pay lip service to Kashmiri independence in some form in order to mollify powerful security and political interests. India cannot alter the status of Jammu and Kashmir State without amending its constitution, wherein the state is listed as one of the constituent Indian states.
There is little room for compromise except to agree to combat terrorism, maintain trade and a ceasefire along the Line of Control and the borders and not permit provocations to escalate. Yet there are hotheads on both sides that do and will violently oppose peace.
Phi Beta Iota: Kashmir is about water. 2014 is a HUGE opportunity for India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan. What the REGION needs is regional hybrid public governance centered on water, telecommunications, and high speed rail traonsport. Somewhere in there the Pakistani intelligence people need to reconnect with integrity and start serving their nation instead of themselves. Fix water, stop screwing Afghanistan (and bribing the old — start empowering the young and get out of their way), and pre-empt the collapse of Uzbekistan and the infections across the other Stans and some great good could come from 2014.