October 2003 News

Peace boat says no 'quick fix' to Kashmir problem

8 October 2003
The Daily Times

NEW DELHI: Leading peace activists from India and Pakistan recently sat on high seas to find a solution to the Kashmir problem and 'gauge the hearts and minds of people there.' Aboard 195 metre-long TSS-The Topaz, the group found that a 'quick fix' to the problem was indeed difficult.The peace ship began its voyage from Singapore on October 2 and docked at the Southern Chennai port on Tuesday. India's former chief of naval staff admiral R. Ramadas, Kashmir Times Group Chairman Ved Bhasin, Karachi University professor Jaffar Ahmed, activist and lawyer from Kashmir Muhammad Altaf Khan, journalist Kathy Aryin Sokol, and others were on board.Discussing Kashmir on the rough and shoddy waters of Indian Ocean, the peace activists found that a quick solution to the issue was not possible but they concluded that efforts to bring peace should continue.Admiral Ramdas called for immediate ceasefire in the Valley and demanded India and Pakistan first convert the Line of Control (Loc) into the Line of Peace and then start the peace dialogue. 'We will put together our experiences and take the process forward,' the former Indian naval chief said.The peace boat will now embark upon a three-day voyage to Colombo. The all-white ship first sailed in 1983 to protest against the Japanese government's revision of history textbooks, which attempted to play down the country's military aggression in Asia before and during the World Wat II.The boat organizes global voyages every year, each taking three months and carrying an average of 600 people to more than 15 countries to discuss solutions to various vexing problems. - Iftikhar Gilani


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