India-Pakistan talks may suffer under Narendra Modi: Omar Abdullah
J&K CM Omar Abdullah anticipates a rough transition of India-Pakistan dialogue process from the current UPA regime to a possible NDA govt under Modi.
The dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue may even end if Modi’s public statements become the government policy assuming NDA gets a majority, Abdullah told a select gathering where prime minister’s special envoy for Pakistan S K Lambah delivered a key speech.
“If his stated policy is going to be converted into official policy, then this dialogue process is going to die very swift and very un-lamented death in the corridors of power in Delhi, and the only ones who will lament it would be those of us who stand to get benefited from anything that this dialogue process produces,” he said.
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took a lot of criticism for not being pro-active on dialogues with Pakistan, Abdullah asserted that it was because there was more progress in talks with Pervez Musharraf administration in Pakistan than with President Asif Ali Zardari.
He said the Indo-Pak dialogue process had a smooth transition from Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Dr Singh. “But it was not as smooth between Musharraf and President Zardari.”
Abdullah said he lacked a ‘say’ in Delhi but if somebody listens, he would suggest continuation of Lambah. He said the two countries may have to evolve a sellable way out to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“You cannot give any solution which will be acceptable to each and every citizen of the state,” Abdullah said. “You have to work out a solution which will satisfy the aspirations of the majority of the people.”
Recalling his grandfather Sheikh Abdullah’s statement that India and Pakistan need to leave their rigid and stated positions and find out a solution which would be addressing the aspirations of the people of J&K “even if the two countries have to lose some of their stated positions in the process”, Abdullah said Musharraf was supportive of this idea.
He said India’s stated position was a departure from the mandate it had from parliament. While parliament wanted annexing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the stated position talks about converting the Line of Control (LoC) into border.
Reading out a paper on various aspects of the ongoing dialogue with Pakistan, Lambah termed the Kashmir issue as “a product of the circumstances”.
A seasoned diplomat who has worked with six prime ministers and mostly around Pakistan, Lambah said whatever progress was made so far in “this century” is without the involvement of any third party.
“The past six decades have clearly shown, the Kashmir issue cannot be settled by war, force or violence,” he said.
A solution will remain elusive “if we keep harping on positions that have failed to resolve the problem in the past”, Lambah said, adding practical, workable and acceptable ideas need to be looked at.
Offering his possible outline for a solution, Lambah said the LoC should be agreed as a border and people on either side of it “should be able to move freely from one side to the other”.
He said “hostility, violence and terrorism” must end and also suggested expediting removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers for specified locally produced goods in specified localities.
Military forces should be minimised on both sides of the LoC, particularly in populated areas, and self-governance for internal management of all areas on both sides of the LoC should be ensured.
“There has to be respect for human rights on both sides of the LoC and efforts need to be made to reintegrate into society those sections who have been involved in violent militant activities,” Lambah said.
Lambah referred to Singh’s statement envisioning a situation where “the two parts of J&K can, with the active encouragement of governments of India and Pakistan, work out cooperative, consultative mechanism so as to maximise the gains of cooperation in solving problems of social and economic development of the region”.