Since their independence in 1947, India and Pakistan have been at odds. Much of the discord between the two countries stems from a long-standing fight over Kashmir. Situated north of India and northeast of Pakistan, Kashmir has been a source of conflict in the two countries for years. Currently, Kashmir is divided in half with one part of it under Indian control and the other Pakistani control. Despite attempts at peace, problems persist between the two countries. Leaders of both India and Pakistan hope for peace, and continue to press forward in their pursuit of it.
Pakistan’s current President, Pervez Musharraf, was born in 1943 in Delhi and later immigrated to Pakistan. He joined the Pakistani military in the early 1960’s and later went on to become an army General. Musharraf fought in the second war over Kashmir in 1965 and fought again in 1971. Following a bloodless coup d’etat in October of 1999, Pervez Musharraf gained control of the Pakistani government. He officially took the office of President in 2001.
After becoming President, Musharraf joined the United States in denouncing the Taliban post September 11th. U.S. President George W. Bush needed Pakistan’s support in condemning the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Musharraf complied. President Musharraf has also made many public statements in which he denounces Islamic extremism in his own country. Musharraf has stated that does not condone any terrorist activity towards India in his country. Overall, Musharraf is considered a fairly moderate leader.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was born in 1932 and is a member of the Indian National Congress Party. In 1991, Singh was elected as finance minister under Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. After being appointed finance minister, Singh revitalized the Indian economy and is now widely credited with transforming it into a prosperous economy with a future. In 2004 he became Prime Minister. Singh is the first Sikh to hold the office of Prime Minister.
Singh is known to be a reserved man. His administration has focused largely on economic issues, but also wishes to ease tensions between different religions within India. Prime Minister Singh also hopes to move forward in creating peace with Pakistan.
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