Srinagar: After the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) said that Delhi should come clear on the nature of talks, the government has decided to first open up back channel dialogue with the leadership before extending formal invitations to them, official sources said.
Sources said that the talks will be supervised by Delhi’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma, and all others connected with the resistance leadership will be roped in.
“The government is beginning to set in motion a process of opening talks with the separatists through back channels,” sources said.
“For that, the government will utilize the services of all, including civil society members, to reach any conclusions.”
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They said that after initiating the groundwork for a peace process, the government intends to implement some confidence building measures that will help in cooling down tempers.
“After the template for talks is devised, Dineshwar Sharma will extend the invitations,” sources said, adding, “For starters the Special Representative has been entrusted to take the lead on making the ground fertile for the talks.”
Sources said Delhi will also be looking at engaging with Islamabad, but not before October until after elections in Pakistan have been concluded.
“The ceasefire agreement between the armies of India and Pakistan testifies to the fact,” sources said.
“Till elections are completed, the government can’t proceed with talks. The government will first take into consideration which party will come to power there.”
Sources claim that Delhi was looking forward to engage with Islamabad since it was finding it too difficult to handle the escalation of violence on the borders and also the internal conflict in Kashmir.
“Since parliamentary elections are taking place in India next year, the federal government wants to be able to focus on the elections,” they said.
“It was difficult to handle the Kashmir situation on two fronts. It could be costly for the ruling BJP during the upcoming elections.”
Earlier, The Kashmir Press had reported that it was intense international pressure, escalating border tensions, the worsening situation within Kashmir, and a realisation that New Delhi’s muscular Kashmir policy was not working to pacify the rebellious Kashmiri population, that compelled India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh to announce a halt in operations.
On Saturday, speaking at an event organised in Delhi by the Hindi television channel Aaj Tak on the completion of four years of the Modi-led government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that India was ready to have a dialogue with the Hurriyat.
Before, Singh had held talks with top officers, including those from the bureaucracy, the intelligence grid, and the army, all of whom have reportedly batted for dialogue with Pakistan and the Hurriyat “to bring peace in Kashmir.”
Following the offer, the JRL said they were ready to engage in dialogue provided that Delhi first came clear on its ambiguous talk related to the dialogue offer.
Similarly, the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also made the right noises by hinting at the possibility of extending the cessation of anti-militancy operations in Kashmir even after Eid-ul-Fitr.
Sources said that the government was planning to extend the halting of security operations for one more month or until the Amarnath pilgrimage concluded.
“But, the army is currently deliberating this option. It will become clear in coming days whether it will support an extension of ceasefire or not,” they said.