August 10, 2020
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'We Have To Be Very Careful'

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'We Have To Be Very Careful'

The hon. Prime Minister was perfectly right in inviting General Musharraf by initiating this peace process. It is because a bilateral process between two nuclear power neighbours is vital. India showed to the whole world that we were interested in solving all our outstanding problems at the negotiating table and through discussions.

The hon. Prime Minister did consult all the political parties before the Summit talks. The kind of reservations that I now hear from some of my friends, I did not hear them then on that day. Everybody was very enthusiastic and they welcomed the Prime Minister's initiative.

When we have renewed an inter-Governmental high level talks we must see to it that we cannot focus it on the sole issue of Kashmir. There are so many other issues that are much more amenable to successful negotiation. The Prime Minister was absolutely right in not putting his signature to whatever draft that was doing the rounds.

India could have been much smarter in its handling of the media. We failed miserably there. I should like the MEA to take note of it for future. The centrality that we accord to Kashmir by saying this again and again may be misused or exploited by Pakistan who always has this obsession, this single point obsession, with Kashmir.

The Prime Minister has accepted the invitation of the return visit. That was very statesmanlike of him because this process of re-engagement cannot be stopped. It has to go on. At the same time, we have to be very careful.

Our heart bleeds for the people of Kashmir. We had all hoped for a break through, certainly not a solution but a break through, in this Summit, and the gain should have been Kashmir's. But it looks like that the people of Kashmir will still have to suffer.

We can try to bring all the groups of Jammu and Kashmir, and try to evolve some formula for workable political accommodation between these groups. We can try to give, if possible, some acceptable forms of democratic rights and representation to those segments of Kashmiri people who are alienated and who think that they are not getting justice from our end.

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