So the meeting of the prime ministers of India and Pakistan did take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on 29 September 2013. Things were not favorable for the meet, especially on the Indian side following the recent killing of Indian soldiers at LoC to the recent fidayeen attack at Jammu.
Further, there was “cancel the meeting outcry” by India’s main opposition party BJP. But the two leaders went for the meet. For this they deserve appreciation. The summit meet made a bold
show of political will and acumen of the PMs. Reportedly, the meet is said to have taken place in a positive atmosphere. Both the leaders sought all their bilateral issues be solved through dialogue. The issue of Kashmir too came up in the meeting and the PMs agreed that the issue can be solved through dialogue.
The two premiers have also invited each other to their respective countries. This kind of approach by the two sides augers well not only for them but also for the entire south Asian region. But the worst part of the meeting is that it has evidenced huge mental distances, creating a vicious circle of problems at social, economic and political levels for the two neighbors that lie between them. This is mainly true in case of the core issue of Kashmir.
The gulf of the distances came to limelight from the two PMs’ speeches at the UN General Assembly. Both of them sought that the Kashmir issue needs to be solved among their other bilateral issues. The only difference was in the respective approaches they believe will clench the festering issue.
Pak Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sought that the issue needs to be solved on the basis of the UN resolutions. “To save the world from scourge of war, we have to continue to strive for a fair and just international order based on rule of law. Festering disputes must be solved. In this regard UN has to play a crucial role. UN must continue to remain attentive to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and full realization of the right to self-determination of its people”, Nawaz said. He also said that suffering of the people of J&K cannot be brushed under the carpet because of power politics.”International community should give an opportunity to Kashmiris to decide their future peacefully in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.”(RK Sep 29 2013)
On the other hand, India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India was committed to settle all the issues on the basis of the Simla agreement.”India is committed sincerely in resolving all issues with Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, through bilateral dialogue on the basis of Simla agreement,” he said. (RK Sep 29, 2013).further, Manmohan said that J&K was an integral part of India and for progress to be made to resolve all the bilateral
issues it is imperative the territory of Pakistan and the areas under its control are not utilized for aiding and abetting terrorism directed against India. It is equally important that the terrorist
machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down. There must be a clear understanding of the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that their can never, ever, be a compromise with the unity and territorial integrity of India,” he said.
From the speeches of the two PMs, it is crystal clear that the Kashmir issue has a vital place in their respective state policies. Both seek to clench the issue to pave way for peace in the region. But their different approaches, they talk to do so, is a huge blow to work out a solution to the burning Kashmir issue. One PM sees the solution in UN resolution while the other in the Simla agreement.
Such a situation has the seeds of a storm which may overtake the two countries anytime. The fuse may blow any time to vent the simmering anger which will meet a safe outlet if the issue is solved peacefully for good. The PMs should have walked an extra mile and come up with ome thing novel to infuse new life into resolving the Kashmir issue. But both simply put forth their respective policies, concerning Kashmir, on the world’s highest forum. Their speeches should have build bridges but they literally widened the gaps between the two
nuclear armed countries.
The kind of approaches, they talk for Kashmir solution, point to status quo pursued by the two countries. The policy will continue to do more harm than good. The vested interest should be on loud nine because the status quo brightens their chances to reap the crop while the peace lovers continue to suffer in every way. Both the countries need to cut across their state policies, uild consensus and bridge the gulf of distances between them. That will help the two countries to reach to some understanding on Kashmir.
The author can be mailed at Sheikhshabir518@gmail.com