Nuclear Stability in South Asia: Hand of Friendship

For five years the threat of nuclear war has hung over South Asia. Just ahead of the anniversary of the first nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, there were hopeful signs of reconciliation and possibly the elimination of weapons few can see a use for.

The World Today
3 minute READ

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury

Senior Fellow for South Asia, IISS

When Indian prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee extended the hand of friendship to Pakistan on April 18, he perhaps did not expect it to be shaken so vigorously by his Pakistani counterpart, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali. At a public rally in Srinagar, Vajpayee courageously began normalising diplomatic relations by making a conditional offer of talks on the Kashmir dispute.

Ten days later, Jamali responded by phoning Vajpayee and inviting him to Pakistan. On May 2, Vajpayee announced the resumption of full diplomatic representation, with the appointment of an Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad, and the reciprocal restoration of civil aviation links.

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