Saturday, February 24, 2007
I noticed the headlines last week about the Friendship Express rail bombing in northern India, and I vaguely registered the Indian and Pakistani governments' reaction to it. But it wasn't until this morning that it occured to me what a remarkable story this really is.
Both India and Pakistan recognized that the bombing targeted the peace process between the two nations as much as the civilian victims of the attack. They responded by not only jointly condemning the violence, but by announcing an agreement that limits the risk of accidental nuclear war between them. They also called for renewed cooperation in rooting out the extremist gorups responsible for the violence.
It's important to hold governments accountable for their efforts, or lack thereof, to control terrorists operating from within their borders. And India didn't shy away from complaining, albeit delicately, about Pakistan's lackluster performance. But when negotiations are conditioned on the total eradication of terrorist attacks, it allows extremists of all stripes to exert a disproportionate influence on the peace process.
India and Pakistan didn't allow that to happen. Hopefully other countries whose efforts towards peace have been derailed by the violence of a relative few will take notice.