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India Pakistan Relations: Citizen Victims of Terror

The cautious response of both India and Pakistan to the terrible tragedy that overtook the Delhi-Attari Samjhauta Express on the midnight of February 18 is evidence of a new maturity in diplomatic relations between the two countries. Barely two days after the terrorist attack, the Pakistan foreign minister, Kurshid Mehmood Kasuri, met with his Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee. Both sides have since then signed a pact seeking to reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear war in the region.

Two bogies of the Samjhauta Express caught fire shortly as it neared Panipat. That it was a terror attack was subsequently proven from the inflammable explosives packed in suitcases found at the site shortly after; three other explosivefilled suitcases failed to explode. Ever since Indo-Pakistan relations have entered their current cordial phase, with regular briefings and diplomatic exchanges between the two sides, the symbols representing the working relationship, especially the vehicles that now regularly ply across the border, have been earmarked as security risks. Yet for all the mandatory stringent checks and verification procedures, for the Samjhauta Express, as it turned out, these were all on paper. More telling is the fact that unlike the Delhi-Lahore bus or the air links between the two countries, the train was the preferred mode of transport for poorer, lesser well-to-do families.

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