Top politicians, spymasters call talks with Pak, Kashmir Muscular policy on Kashmir a brainless one

Strongly pitching for resuming talks with Islamabad and Kashmir, noted politicians and former spymasters New Delhi for its Kashmir and Pakistan policy.
Speaking at the book launch of ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ jointly authored by former RAW chief Amarjit Singh Dulat and former ISI chief Mohammad AsadDurrani besides journalist and author, AdityaSinha, they said late Wednesday evening that the BJP-led government was mishandling its Kashmir and Pakistan policy for “domestic political purpose”.
The event was attended by former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and former Vice President, Hamid Ansari.
Speaking in the panel discussion after the book release, former external affairs and finance minister and senior BJP leader, YashwantSinha derided the Modi government’s attitude toward Kashmir.
Sinha said a “muscular policy” on Kashmir was a “brainless one” as muscles do not have a brain.
Suggesting that a tough security-based policy was not effective in Jammu Kashmir, the veteran BJP leader said, “The Modi government’s attitude toward Kashmir will not solve any issue but only aggravate the problem.”
He strongly recommended New Delhi to resume dialogue with Islamabad to resolve Kashmir issue.
“There are voices coming from the deep state which are quite friendly and they create a hope,” Sinha said. “Now we should respond to those overtures from the deep state of Pakistan in a positive manner.
He said if a way out could be found through minefield, there was a need to discover that way.
The senior BJP leader said dialogue should begin at two levels although not at the summit level.
“The problem is we rush into the summit and summit raises euphoria and when that euphoria is not met there is a disappointment which is regarded as a failure,” Sinha said. “There are a lot of levels including that of spymasters.”
Referring to the Indian media reports that Pakistani Rangers were pleading for mercy, the former minister said such reporting was aggravating the situation.
“The next day, Rangers started bombarding and shelling resulting in so much damage to that entire area,” he said. “What is this befitting reply.”
Sinha in the mainland India were not bother about the problems and sufferings of Kashmiris as they were “morally dead”.
Reiterating that “status quo” was the solution to the Kashmir issue, Member of Parliament and three-time Jammu Kashmir chief minister, Farooq Abdullah pronounced that he would “never die a Pakistani national”.
Pleading for Kashmir resolution, National Conference President said people in Kashmir had been suffering for the past 70 years while India and Pakistan were still carrying the “baggage of partition” and should now accept the Line of Control (LoC) as a boundary.
“I always maintain that Pakistan keeps its part of Kashmir and India its part,” Farooq said. “Personally, I will never join Pakistan and prefer to die an Indian.”
Quoting former Prime Minister, AtalBihari Vajpayee’s statement in Kashmir, ‘Countries can choose friends not neighbours,’ he said it was time to forget the past bitterness of 70 years,
“On one side they are killing us and on the other side, you are killing us,” Farooq said.
He made a passionate appeal to the government and people of India to forget the past and move forward.
Dismissing suggestions that religious fundamentalism was taking root in Kashmir, he said Kashmiri people respect all other religions and faiths.
Citing an example of a thaw in North and South Korea and US President Donald Trump’s willingness to talk to North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un, the former RAW chief and co-author of the book, Amarjit Singh Dulat said Pakistan should be invited for talks.
Pointing at the double standards in dealing with Pakistan, former National Security Adviser (NSA), Shivshankar Menon said one of the problems was there was a “double standard” when it comes to talks with Pakistan.
“Talks with other countries like China continued despite transgressions that took place in September 2014 while there have been no talks with Pakistan since Pathankot and Uri attacks,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and former union minister, KapilSibal said the militancy in Jammu Kashmir could not be solely blamed on instigation from Pakistan.
He accused the government of allowing the present situation where 30 youth have joined militancy in three months.
Taking a dig at the Modi government, Sibal said the current establishment was utilizing conflict with Pakistan for electoral gains.
His observations were shared by other speakers who suggested delinking foreign policy and Kashmir policy from domestic politics.
Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief K M Singh said demand for ‘Azadi’ in Kashmir does not mean ‘Azadi’ from India and very few people wanted independence from India.
However, Rising Kashmir Editor-in-Chief Shujaat Bukhari intervened, saying, “We must not live in delusion as the new generation in Kashmir is hate-India.”
He said the generation born after 1989 only saw barrel of guns and the incidents like the speed tracking of execution of Muhammad Afzal Guru that only fueled militancy in the State.
He said New Delhi’s Kashmir policy since the beginning had not been based on justice and fairness while the Modi government had pushed them to the wall.
Moderating the discussion, journalist Barkha Dutt also spoke about the past attempts at India-Pakistan dialogue and the reasons for their failure.
The book, which has been styled as a conversation between two spy chiefs, covers a wide range of subjects including NSA Ajit Doval’s way of functioning, Kashmir issue, and several thorny issues between India and Pakistan including Kulbhushan Jadhav, Baluchistan and “surgical strikes”.
It is a treasure trove of anecdotes and insight on India and Pakistan’s fraught history and the way forward.
The book is published by Harper Collins.