NEW DELHI, India - Hopes of a potential nuclear conflict dimmed this weekend, after the leaders of India and Pakistan confirmed that the peace process between their two nations was "irreversible". "It seems as if both sides have just lost the will to fight," said one UN observer, "They both have plentiful natural resources, there are many disagreements between the two cultures, and a rich history of animosity. But it looks as if all that is not enough."
Millennial religious groups around the world have met the news with disappointment. "Naturally, we'd hoped this was getting us closer to Armageddon," said a representative of Jehovah's Witnesses, "It had all the elements we normally look for -- nuclear conflict, large nations, lots of alliances with the U.S., and having the United Nations in the mix just upped the ante." Bob Gentry of the Worldwide Church of the Coming of the Lord expressed similar feelings, "We aren't giving up hope, of course, Armageddon is right around the corner, just as it has been for the past 150 years. But when it starts to look so good, we hate to see it go south like this."
Others have greeted the developments with reserved optimism. "Peace is a hard enough thing to work for. If it turns out to simply be all that's left on the table, then that's good enough for us," said Sanjip Meer, of the Indian Conference for Peace. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf standing with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi on Monday the two would soon reach a "final settlement, one that will allow us to get back to our respective countries and stay out of each other's lives."
The personal tension between Musharraf and Singh is widely known in the political arena. "They can't stand each other, it doesn't surprise me they want to get it over with," said Mark Holden, working with the staff of the U.S. Ambassador to India, "They'll agree on the basics of an issue, but they'll squabble over which chair to sit in, or how many aides they can each have in the room. If they ever did see war, it would be over table settings, not borders." Highlighting such tension, Musharraf and Singh attended a cricket game between Pakistan and India before their meeting, which resulted in an argument between the two that nearly came to blows before aides stepped in and separated the two leaders.
While issues remain, all parties agree that hopes of a conflict have faded.