Editorial

Editorial: Talks on Kashmir

Hopes are high once again on Kashmir. New Delhi has rightly responded by declaring that a dialogue will be held with every shade of political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir to find a solution to the long-standing issue. Pakistan, Kashmiri Separatists, Jammu and Kashmir government and even the US – which has no stake in the issue — have favoured a dialogue for long. India, the original proponent of a dialogue, never wanted to keep it on hold. There have been hiccups on account of diverging approaches of parties involved; still talks at formal and preliminary parleys are on with Hurriyat since 2004. This recent response, however, bears significance, for it comes following a number of significant events last week.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq on last Tuesday called for a tripartite talks with India and Pakistan, and yesterday CM Omar Abdullah favoured a dialogue with people of all shades of political opinion. In that sense, Home Minister P Chidambaram’s statement is a response to their call. India didn’t adopt this approach when Pakistan insisted on resolution of the dispute while forwarding other bilateral matter and New Delhi chose to remain silent when the US, during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India in July, said that the issues should be resolved through dialogue. Does it mean that the solution of a long-standing issue is round the corner? Premature to say. But there are two quite opposite pictures that emerge as of now.

New Delhi’s response to hold a dialogue is not merely an answer to Hurriyat’s or Omar Abdullah’s call for doing so, it surprisingly co-incides with the US President Barack Obama getting Nobel Peace Prize.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq wants Kashmiri leadership to be the main party to the negotiated resolution of Kashmir and for that a consensus, he notes, should be created within Kashmir as to how to take that dialogue forward. Thus, there are two challenges: one, developing a consensus on the issue within Kashmir itself; two, Kashmiri leadership, which Mirwaiz claims reflects public opinion and which has to be a prominent player, too, should be convinced to adopt a line which India and Pakistan both governments approve off at present. Chidambaram’s remarks that parties like National Conference, PDP, Congress etc have a point of view on the issue and there’s lack of consensus within Kashmir, go on to show that it may not be easy, with people of every political opinion discussing the issue, to arrive at the silhouette of a political solution. Farooq Abdullah, Chidambaram’s colleague, recently cautioned the government against a dialogue with people of all political opinion unless there is a proper planning and a clear perspective. Does Central have a solid planning?

Chidambaram says that the dialogue will be held beyond media glare and probable contours of a political solution may be unique. Nothing more than a contradicting possibility of surprising the world with an unimaginable solution of the problem can be read out of this. New Delhi’s response to hold a dialogue is not merely an answer to Hurriyat’s or Omar Abdullah’s call for doing so, it surprisingly co-incides with the US President Barack Obama getting Nobel Peace Prize, for whom resolution of many disputes in the world, like Kashmir issue, has become a greater responsibility now.  The co-incidence is particularly noteworthy for Obama administration originally wants the resolution of the issue as per wishes of Kashmiri people and New Delhi hopes that a solution, arrived at after the dialogue it is going to convene, will be “honourable and acceptable” to vast majority of people in Jammu and Kashmir.

But dialogue is the best way, anyway.

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