December 2003 News

Indian pundits hail offer on Kashmir

18 December 2003
The Dawn

NEW DELHI: Pakistan's offer to set aside long- standing demands for a plebiscite in disputed Kashmir opens up a new window of opportunity which India must address, Indian diplomatic and political commentators said on Thursday. The Indian government offered no immediate reaction to President Gen Pervez Musharraf's suggestion in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that he was ready to be 'bold and flexible' in a bid for peace between the nuclear-armed neighbours. But former Indian foreign secretary J. N. Dixit said President Musharraf's offer on Kashmir, over which the neighbours have fought two wars, marked an 'important shift in policy' less than three weeks before the Saarc summit. 'He is signifying there will be flexibility in the Pakistani negotiating position. We should be able to respond with flexibility and see if we can find a middle ground.' Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will make a rare visit to Islamabad in early January for the summit. -Reuters


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