During my vacation (that is the reason I have not been keeping up with the blog recently)I did have a chance to read Mansoor Ijaz's December 30th Financial Times article entitled"A perfect Moment to Secure Peace in Kashmir". I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the reasons for the recent progress in India/Pakistani relations described here.
Most interesting is the deal Musharraf made with the elected Islamist members of the legislature. They agreed to legitimize his presidentcy and he agreed to ceed some of his power. Why the compromize? Because they all wish to get reelected. Democracy works. It also forces electe officials to pay attention to their people.
Peace and stability are essential to economic progress. So, Musharraf with the the apparent agreement of elected Islamists (and the horor of the unelected ones) announced that he may drop Pakistan's over half century demand for a referendum in Kashmir. American pressure is important but so was China's cooperation.
Let's not forget that Vajpayee took a page from Nixon's playbook and began his moves to improve his relations with Pakistan by cutting a deal with Beijing, Pakistan's other big brother.
Vajpayee is also building a fence along Kashmir's line of control. He is lucky to have plenty of land so he can build the fence five kilometers within's India's line. Size does matter.
This development is good for everybody except Islamist who oppose giving up any inch of territory once ruled by Moslems.