Ready for a Marsh Mel­low?

There is a ris­ing din that the Sir Creek dis­pute is a low-hang­ing fruit ripe for pluck­ing. But the ground re­al­ity be­lies any such op­ti­mism, says

Tehelka - - SIR CREEK - ASHOK MA­LIK

EVER SINCE Pak­istan Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari trav­elled to New Delhi and Ajmer on Easter Sun­day and in­vited Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh to Islamabad, there has been spec­u­la­tion in New Delhi about the po­lit­i­cal con­tent of a pos­si­ble In­dian prime min­is­te­rial visit. Will agree­ments be signed? Will long-stand­ing is­sues be re­solved?

While much of the fo­cus has been on the Si­achen Glacier, there is a grow­ing per­cep­tion that the Sir Creek dis­pute is “doable”. The phrase was ap­par­ently used in the Zar­dari- Singh con­ver­sa­tion on 8 April. On 14 May, a Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion was sup­posed to ar­rive in Delhi and dis­cuss the Sir Creek dis­pute. At the 11th hour, it an­nounced a post­pone­ment to 22 June.

Iron­i­cally, this de­fer­ring of dates was seen as an in­di­ca­tor of Sir Creek’s “doa­bil­ity”. The Si­achen talks be­gin on 11 June. Pak­istan is keen on de­mil­i­tari­sa­tion, which would amount to In­dia con­ced­ing al­ti­tu­di­nal and strate­gic ad­van­tage. Islamabad, an­a­lysts sug­gest, is hold­ing the more “doable” Sir Creek agree­ment hostage till New Delhi agrees to a Si­achen agree­ment on its terms. The as­sump­tion is the In­dian side will be des­per­ate for some sort of set­tle­ment to show­case be­fore the prime min­is­ter crosses the Wa­gah bor­der.

There are two is­sues. First, do Man­mo­han Singh and the UPA gov­ern­ment have the do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal to push

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