Playing Cricket in South Asia

War-like tensions between India and Pakistan haven't helped the United States to rid that part of the world of terrorists. But this week's overtures by India to both Pakistan and separatist groups in contested Kashmir may be a sign that US pleas for peace are paying off.

India offered to resume bus service and cricket matches with Pakistan, among other things. The move comes two years after an alleged Pakistan-backed suicide attack on India's parliament, and after the two nations nearly went to war last year.

Pakistan reacted coolly to India's move, since it wants direct talks on Kashmir and may think India's just pleasing the US.

Still, the most intriguing offer is for high-level talks with the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, the umbrella group of Kashmiri separatists who have waged an anti-Indian insurgency since 1989. This offer may be just a way to bolster moderates in that group, but it would still be a first in the long conflict over the divided Himalayan region. Resolving the Kashmir issue remains central to not only India-Pakistan ties, but ridding Pakistan of its many militant radicals.

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