India asks Pakistan not to set deadline on Kashmir dispute
NEW DELHI: India on Thursday urged Pakistan not to impose a deadline for a resolution over their protracted Kashmir dispute, days before President General Pervez Musharraf is due here for talks on the issue.
“It would not be prudent to impose a time frame or deadline for resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue, an issue which has defied solution for so long, and which, by all accounts, is complicated,” Foreign Minister Natwar Singh told news magazine Outlook. Natwar said discussions with Pakistan on Kashmir must be focused “first and foremost” on India’s claims Islamabad was sponsoring an Islamic insurgency against its rule in the Himalayan state. “There is no question of letting Pakistan off the hook on the issue of cross-border infiltration and terrorism in the (Kashmir) valley,” he said. Natwar Singh said Pakistan had not yet given India any formal or informal options on possible resolutions of the Kashmir issue.
Iftikhar Gilani adds: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s top aide and National Security Adviser MK Narayanan said President Pervez Musharraf had not explained what he wanted on held Kashmir. He hinted that the withdrawal of troops from Kashmir was possible if “the level of violence and infiltration goes down”. “Expect neither a dramatic breakthrough nor a breakdown,” Narayanan said in an interview to The Hindu newspaper. “On the table, Pakistan has produced very few proposals on Kashmir. We remain unsure what General Sahib wants,” he said.
Narayanan, who has emerged in the recent past as a key foreign policy voice of India reflecting the prime minister’s views, also wondered what Musharraf meant by repeatedly stressing fulfilling the wishes of Kashmiris. “He keeps talking in broad terms of the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Does he know what the people of Jammu and Kashmir want?” Narayanan asked.
“We are not afraid of discussions, though the prime minister has already laid down the parameters: No change of boundaries,” Narayanan said. On the possibility of a dialogue between the prime minister and leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Narayanan said: “If they (Kashmiri leaders) want to meet the prime minister, it will be possible. If they are willing, we are available.” Narayanan said the only possibility of addressing Pakistan’s “professed concerns” was the size of security presence in Kashmir. “If the level of violence comes down and if the infiltration remains low, the level of Indian forces can come down,” he said.