EUturn: All Parts Of Kashmir Are Disputed
25 June 2004
New Delhi: A visiting European Union Parliamentary delegation, which without bothering for Indian sensibilities has been implicitly suggesting Kashmir to be a tripartite issue to be resolved by talks amongst all three, said on Friday that 'all parts of Kashmir are disputed.' While stating this in a response to a querry, delegation leader John Cushnahan wanted the two countries to take 'creative and imaginative' steps to resolve the vexed issue. 'All parts of Kashmir are disputed' and involvement of people of the State in resolving the issue is a must for a 'lasting' solution, Mr Cushnahan told a Press conference here after a three-day visit to Srinagar, where it met Government functionaries and various sections of the society. Last week, EU Ambassador to India Francisco DA Camara Gomes had said in Srinagar that the EU treated 'Kashmir as any other part of India', a statement which attracted strong criticism from Hurriyat leaders and Pakistan. Mr Cushnahan insisted that Kashmir was a 'major factor' behind 'difficulties' between India and Pakistan and was responsible for 'political instability' in the region. The issue is at the 'core' of troubled relations between the two countries and the two had almost reached the point of nuclear conflict in 2002 over the dispute, he said. 'Past is an obstacle for solution in the future. Although past cannot be disregarded, all parties concerned should look into the future,' Mr Cushnahan, flanked by other five members of the delegation, remarked while winding up the visit. Suggesting involvement of Kashmiris in the Indo-Pak dialogue, Mr Cushnahan said a comprehensive dialogue is must to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem. 'It should be an inclusive dialogue among those seeking a solution to the Kashmir issue. Some dialogue is taking place, but it is not sufficient,' he said. Mr Cushnahan repeatedly emphasised the need to involve the people of Kashmir in finding a solution to the vexed issue, but did not specify who their representatives could be. The other members of the delegation are Bob Van Den Bos (The Netherlands), David Bowe and Glyn Ford (United Kingdom), Per Gahrton (Sweden) and Luisa Morgantini (Italy). The delegation was accompanied by officials from the foreign affairs committee secretariat and various political groups. In December, 2003, it had visited Islamabad and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). The members of the Parliament's committee visited Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir from June 20 to 25. Their report will go before the foreign affairs committee as a contribution to any future EU policy on India. The report is to be submitted by July 28 and then to be adopted by the European Parliament. Mr Cushnahan said that the delegation had been 'very supportive' of the India-Pakistan dialogue which includes discussion on the Kashmir issue. 'The failure to resolve this in the past has resulted in three wars between India and Pakistan, leading to instability in the region and, on one occasion, nearly resulted in nuclear confrontation,' he said.