EXPRESSING the view that the road to peace in the subcontinent lies through the resolution of Kashmir, former US Ambassador to Pakistan Ronald Spiers has called for bringing the issue off "the backburner" to the forefront and settling it. From the Pakistani end, High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik has bemoaned New Delhi's cold and escapist attitude towards the composite dialogue with Islamabad, whose resumption could help the two countries find common ground to peacefully resolve the various contentious matters between them. Mr Spiers, who made his observations in a letter to The New York Times that published an article by Mr Zardari, endorsed the President's view that there could be no lasting peace in the region without solving the Kashmir dispute. The US Ambassador was also right in his assessment on another issue; i.e. he had not seen any possible method of dissuading President Zia from manufacturing the atomic bomb as long as India was on the same path. Mr Malik, who was speaking to CNN-IBN, shied away from using the words, "India has backed out" of its commitments made at Sharm El-Sheikh when the interviewer wanted to put them in his mouth; instead, he chose to put it in a diplomatically more acceptable and subtle terminology, "not fulfilling", which any way carried the same connotations. One would wish the Indian leadership to dispassionately assess the implications of the High Commissioner's remarks that the present diplomatic vacuum (the absence of contact to resolve disputes) was strengthening the forces, which do not want the two countries to make progress. At the very least, India should listen to a third party, Ambassador Spiers, who has made more or less a similar statement when he predicated Kashmir's solution to peace. There is little doubt that peaceful conditions would provide a fillip to the development of the subcontinent. While the Pakistani High Commissioner quoted from the joint statement of Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh, issued at Sharm El-Sheikh, to prove that India had agreed to delink composite dialogue from terrorism, he did not hesitate to deal with the Indian allegations against Pakistani elements in the Mumbai tragedy. He made it clear that it was wrong to say that Islamabad was adopting delaying tactics in conducting a trial; in fact an FIR had been filed but the demands of justice had to be met rather than hurrying up the decision to meet the wishes of the party across the border. He pointed out what the Pakistani leadership has been repeatedly maintaining - that India was not furnishing "credible actionable evidence" to prove the guilt of the accused in a court of law. One would hope that New Delhi displays sincerity in viewing terrorism, which is a global menace, abides by its commitment to delink the stalled dialogue from terrorism and settles disputes in a peaceful manner.