All this was expected from the time Jamali called up Vajpayee on April 28. In the course of a 10-minute conversation, the two prime ministers got down to determining how best to shape a re-engagement between the two countries, estranged from the time Indian Parliament was attacked on December 13, 2001. Jamali welcomed Vajpayee’s peace overture and said Pakistan was prepared to talk to India at any level, hoping that such a dialogue would cover all issues, including Kashmir.
But Vajpayee’s lack of confidence in Pakistan was palpable in the incremental and tentative manner in which he charted out the roadmap to peace. First, Vajpayee pressed for an early implementation of the decisions on trade and economic cooperation taken at the saarc summit in Kathmandu last year. As he saw it, progress on economic cooperation, civil aviation links, cultural and people-to-people contacts would help create an atmosphere conducive to addressing the more contentious issues. Vajpayee also pointed out that cross-border terrorism and infiltration must end to ensure the atmosphere wasn’t vitiated and fresh attempts at re-engagement not derailed. If, and only if, all this was done, a window of opportunity could open for both India and Pakistan to look at the future. All these aspects the prime minister reiterated in his speech to Parliament.