Tariq Osman Hyder Relations between Pakistan and India have been beset by mistrust. The engagement of the 2004-2008 composite dialogue peace process was suspended following the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist incident. A restart was attempted when the Prime Ministers met in Sharm El-Sheikh in July 2009 but the Indian PM was unable to sustain that initiative. This April, at the SAARC Summit in Bhutan, two leaders agreed to their Foreign Ministers meeting on July 15 to chart the way forward. In end June, the Indian Foreign Secretary will accompany her Home Minister to a SAARC meeting in Islamabad to discuss with her counterpart the agenda for the Foreign Ministers. The optics of this conjoined visit is unfortunate for Pakistan. Flexibility was shown on both sides. Pakistan dropped its precondition that the eight-agenda item composite dialogue be accepted, whilst emphasising that this was the final objective. India, insistent that Pakistan do more against those under trial in Pakistan for suspected terrorist involvement in Mumbai, and against terrorism in general prior to any talks, seemed ready to resume contact. As the two countries now enter the stage of talks about talks, it is worth analysing what led to this; what are their objectives; what may result; and what strategy should be pursued to benefit their poverty-stricken peoples, who would benefit enormously if dispute settlement and cooperation replaced tension and conflict in South Asia. The major reason for resumption was pressure from the USA-led international community, anxious for stabili-sation between the two nuclear neighbours and for Pakistan to devote more military and economic resources to countert-errorism on the Afghanistan border as the US/NATO/ISAF exit strategy is under severe strain. For Pakistan, the integrated dialogue centred on dispute resolution for the core issue of Kashmir plus the Siachin glacier and the Sir Creek sea boundary, and improving life for the Kashmiris in IHK. For India, counterterrorism, trade promotion and expansion of popular and cultural contacts were important. At Indian insistence a Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism was also established following a dialogue breakdown in 2006. While substantive progress on dispute resolution was lacking, a number of nuclear, conventional and inter-Kashmiri confidence building measures were affected. Trade increased manifold. On Kashmir, Musha-rrafs opaque negotiating process offered an out of the box menu including maximum autonomy for both parts of Kashmir, demilitarisation and some type of joint mechanism. While the few Pakistani officials and politicians involved would have termed any result a temporary measure, India would have called it permanent, thus sealing the territorial status quo. As India claims to have internalised the part of Kashmir it occupies, while Pakistan treats its part as an autonomous entity pending self-determination sanctioned by the UN Security Council Resolutions, the Musharraf formula would be to Pakistans disadvantage. This would be accentuated by any joint mechanism for water issues which would undermine the Indus Waters Treaty, kept out of the composite dialogue and already under strain given Indias plans to construct a series of dams upriver capable of blocking vital water to Pakistan during key sowing seasons. Additionally, India, through a joint mechanism process, would endeavour to erode Pakistans links with Azad Kashmir through the deployment of projects and financial assistance. They had offered such assistance after the October 2005 earthquake disaster. Indian objectives commencing with the Foreign Secretary/Home Ministers visit are likely to be twofold. First of all, to make terrorism and what Pakistan must do to remove the related trust deficit, the central point of resumed high-level talks and any other further talks. Secondly, to explore restarting negotiations, possibly assisted by the back channel, on resolving the Kashmir dispute where they were left off in 2007 when General Musharrafs internal troubles forced the discontinuation of his compromised solution for Kashmir. In Pakistan, there is widespread scepticism that talks will produce significant results; and a reluctance to attempt, from a currently weaker position, a resolution of the Kashmir issue. Without going for a final resolution, efforts to enhance inter-Kashmiri CBMs can continue. The political struggle of the Kashmiri leaders in IHK should be fully supported. These leaders must be encouraged to reunify. In a change of tactics they should fight the local/provincial elections with the aim of coming to power to enable them to press for devolution and eventual independence from India, as has and is being done in South Sudan and elsewhere, including in Scotland, through political process rather than insurgency. The Kashmiri alienation will continue due to Indias track record. Pakistan will go into the talks largely to show its good faith and unless India responds by widening the dialogue on the previous pattern, taking into account the interests of both countries, the process will not be internally sustainable indefinitely. The saddest part of the South Asian situation is that the people of both countries deserve better and that their leaders should rise above short-term interest. Pakistan for its part has to consolidate its democratic polity, improve governance and combat terrorism, extremism and sectarianism throughout its territory without exception. The latest terrorist attacks in Lahore on May 28, 2010, emphasise that the sources of internal terrorism are not limited to FATA or Southern Punjab. Of course, the challenge of combating and controlling terrorism is compounded by the external dimension particularly funding, training and arms through Afghanistan in which Indian involvement has been declared by the government and alleged sectarian funding from other sources in the region. This challenge must be met: by improving our inter-intelligence agency cooperation; more aggressive fiscal monitoring; adequately arming the civil armed forces including the Frontier Corps; and upgrading the quality, remuneration and training of the police forces. The government also needs to strengthen its prosecution team to match the top flight lawyers deployed by the defendants charged as accomplices in the Mumbai attack and by providing stand alone evidence not dependent on the Mumbai trial. India and the international community have to realise that as long as Kashmiris in IHK are occupied and subject to state terrorism, extremism in Pakistan is further fuelled. India should also tackle its own brand of religious extremism which has strong political linkages. Most important India as the larger country must change its security construct. Rather than trying through military and economic muscle and linkages with major powers abroad to dominate South Asia it should learn from China that more can be gained through cultivating better relations with its neighbours. This is often proclaimed by Indian leaders but has to be put into practice. The writer is a former ambassador and headed Pakistans delegations to the Nuclear and Conventional CBM Talks and the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mech-anism with India from 2004-2007.