17.04.2018

Indian News papers have commented widely on Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa backs dialogue with India to resolve disputes. Dailies have also commented the U.K. government faces a tough Brexit week with a crucial vote in Parliament. That a joint strike by US and its allies won’t help end the civil war in Syria is discussed by another daily.

THE TRIBUNE in an editorial PAK’s PEACE OVERTURES writes, the Pakistan army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s speech on Sunday at Kakul Military Academy’s passing out ceremony received a much wider audience due to a surprising olive branch towards India. Gen Bajwa’s supposed quest for a “comprehensive and meaningful” dialogue echoed the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s formulation a couple of months back. South Block will be studiously reading the tea leaves to determine if the Pakistan state’s civilian and military wings are at last on the same page. Gen Bajwa has been more substantive and realistic; Indo-Pak talks, he said, would be the precursor to peace. In other words, the process of talks may not be a guarantee of return of instant civility between the two countries but promises to be the harbinger of a meaningful breakthrough. Both sides have been tentative in testing the waters for reopening dialogue on “core” issues by opting to break bread on less waspish issues such as exchanging prisoners on humanitarian grounds. The approach is in tune with the push towards a web of energy and transportation links which necessitates close coordination among all participants. Sooner or later, the Pakistan army must accommodate India in one of biggest energy projects in the region — the four-nation TAPI gas pipeline. General elections are just three months away and the promise of TAPI gas will shore up the army’s stock which has already succeeded in marginalising Nawaz Sharif.

THE HINDU in an editorial IN THE LORDs’ HANDs says Theresa May’s government faces another bracing week in its Brexit calendar. With the House of Lords expected to vote in favour of continuing in the common customs union, this may set the tone for Parliament’s final vote later this year on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. This week’s vote on an amendment to the exit bill is likely to be a replay of the scenario that played out in the House of Lords last year, when peers across party lines handed a bruising defeat to Prime Minister May on the rights of millions of EU citizens in post-Brexit Britain. The controversy over the future status of London in Europe’s customs union has taken centrestage in recent months, deepening divisions among the ruling Conservatives over a hard or soft exit. Fuelling the rift was a leaked Whitehall secret analysis in January of the economic fallout of leaving the EU. It forecast a meagre 0.2-0.4% rise in GDP from a U.K. trade deal with countries outside the bloc, including the U.S. and China. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition Labour leader, has signalled a shift in his party’s stance and called for remaining in the customs union as the only realistic guarantee of duty-free access to the EU after Brexit.

THE HINDUSTAN TIMES in an editorial NO STRATEGY HAS WORKED IN SYRIA opines the strike by the US Britain and France on facilities in Syria that produce chemical weapons, which used more than 100 Cruise missiles, will do little to alter the situation in the West Asian country, which has been mired in a civil war that has claimed more than half a million lives over the past seven years. The strike was a one-off aimed at deterring President Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons against his own people. If followed the death of 40 people in Douma. Clearly, such a strategy hasn’t worked in the past. The red lines established by the US and its allies haven’t really deterred the Assad regime. More important the Western powers, especially the Us appear to have no real strategy to cope with the complex situation in Syria.

Script: Padam Singh, Air: News Analyst