Pakistan has given up on Kashmir, stakeholders want peace and dialogue with India, says former spymaster AS Dulat

Srinagar:Former Indian spymaster AS Dulat has claimed that Pakistan has given up on Kashmir and the message coming out from Kashmir is that the stakeholders want peace and a dialogue with New Delhi, Tribune India reported.

Stating that the Kashmir problem cannot be solved by force because it is not an military issue but a political one, Dulat said the only way forward is to engage and talk with the stakeholders.

“Today we have a situation where a former Norwegian Prime Minister goes to Kashmir and speaks to the Hurriyat, but the Hurriyat cannot speak to the Pakistani High Commissioner or to New Delhi’s special representative in Kashmir. However, the message from the Hurriyat is clear that they want peace and dialogue,” he said at a session on “Kashmir Quandary: Diagnosis and Remedy” at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.

“While we continue to exaggerate the role of Pakistan in the Kashmir issue, today the Kashmiri has no interest in Pakistan. It was only till about 1994-95 that Pakistan was a real player and was behind virtually everything that happened,” Dulat, who headed India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing, in 1999-2000, remarked.

“Today things are in control, but the political process has to start. The question, however, being raised in several quarters is how to start the political process as they don’t have any political workers on the ground level,”

Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee (retd), former Chief of Staff, Central Command, said.

Things in Kashmir were fine till about 1989 and thereafter, the military created a situation four or five times where the political or ideological process could have been started, but it was never done and the situations were abandoned for the armed forces to handle, he added.

He also said the Kashmiris know that they can never get separated from India but they act in a rebellious manner because it has become a culture due to a societal breakdown. A social and political transformation process has to be initiated.

Stating that the situation in Kashmir is more dangerous today than it was earlier, Lt Gen MC Bhandari (retd) said Kashmir is not a security problem but an amalgamation of historical, political, ideological issues and a clash of egos on both sides. The military can only be a part of the solution, he added.

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