Saturday, October 08, 2005

Can a big quake bring peace to South Asia?

Saturday morning, local time, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the Kashmir province, disputed between Pakistan and India. Although the epicenter was on the Pakistani side of the "line of control," damage was extensive on both sides. Recovery from the earthquake is impossible as long as the current state of hostility persists. Sri Lanka is not doing terribly well at resolving its persistent conflict in the wake (literally) of the Boxing Day Tsunami. Will India and Pakistan take this tragedy as an opportunity to work together and ultimately resolve the border dispute?

There are only two ways to end the border dispute. Either one side sends the remains of its army marching through the rubble to drive out the remains of the army on the other side, hoping that nobody fires off a "battlefield nuke," or they sit down and talk it out.