Worst in store for Kashmir: Gujural
19 July 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujaral on Thursday observed that the future of Indo-Pak relations crucially hinges on the state of militancy in the troubled Kashmir valley even while apprehending an escalation in violence there in the backdrop of deadlock at the Agra summit. If post summit developments in Jammu and Kashmir and across the border are any indication then it can be well interpreted that militancy will be on the rise marring prospects of future dialogue, Mr Gujaral said in an interview here. Mr Gujaral cited Pakistan-based militant group leaders giving direction to their rank and file to increase their operations in the valley following the failure of the Vajpayee-Musharaff talks and the spurt on militancy in Kashmir as justification for his presumption. The former Prime Minister, the author of the Gujaral doctrine, came down heavily on the Indian government’s “unfortunate approach” in agreeing to invite Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf without a structured agenda and requisite preparations needed for an open summit of this nature in an era of knowledge revolution. He said it was sad that the Vajpayee government did not insist on sending officers before the summit which would have prepared the basis for a composite dialogue. He regretted that the government did not grasp the complete implications of holding talks without a structured agenda, which helped the general to focus on Kashmir as the core issue. In reply to a question whether the Indian government got trapped in Gen. Musharraf’s designs not to allow official-level talks proceeding the summit, he said: “We should have followed the classical model of diplomacy” and not permitted Gen. Musharraf to hold talks without an agreed agenda.