Pakistan Moves to Mend Fences With India

Zadari extends olive branch, proposes economic union
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2008 12:28 PM CST
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along the India-Pakistan border in Makwal, 27 kilometers (17 miles) south of Jammu, India, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.    (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
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(Newser) – Pakistan has proposed an economic pact and a general détente with India, marking the country’s friendliest overture in decades, the Financial Times reports. Asif Ali Zardari promised not to use his nuclear first-strike capabilities, a departure from Pakistan’s official policy, and offered to join India in a nonproliferation agreement. “I can assure you that Pakistan will not be the first country to use” nuclear weapons against India, the new president said.

Trade between India and Pakistan is currently minimal, but Zardari said opening the borders to commerce could lift both nations’ economies. His olive branch could mark a major turning point in Indo-Pakistani relations. Said an analyst: “The big question is, can President Zardari take along Pakistan’s ruling establishment, especially the military?”