November 2004 News

JN Dixit Slams Hurriyat For 'high-horse Spirit' On Peace Talks

13 November 2004
The Hindustan Times

New Delhi: National Security Adviser JN Dixit on Saturday slammed the Hurriyat Conference for insisting on talking to Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi and not to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, saying, 'We can't have this high-horse spirit.' 'Let Pakistan talk to their own Kashmiris and we will do the same. Why should we respond to Pakistan's insistence that talks should be held in their territory and at their insistence,' he said in a hard-hitting interview to Tehelka weekly. Known for candid speaking, Dixit, a former High Commissioner to Pakistan, said Umer Farooq, acting Chairman of the Hurriyat, had met Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Amsterdam and 'the Pakistan High Commissioner is a permanent host to them.' 'He always has time for them. We can't have this high- horse spirit - that you can speak to the High Commissioner of Pakistan but not the Home Minister of India,' he said. He was asked why India was so scared of letting Hurriyat leaders travel to Pakistan. Having a formal delegation visit Pakistan was Islamabad's tactic of having tripartite talks, in which they only want those hardline representatives who talk of separation and secession, he contended.He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was clear on two points - that there can be no territorial delineation and that there can be no timeframe for such negotiations. Dixit also made it clear that the Hurriyat Conference was not the only organisation that represented the Kashmiris. 'I am talking about the Pandits (Kashmiri) and other mainstream political parties'. When reminded that the Hurriyat leaders were engaged in talks with the Centre during the NDA regime and occupied some political space in the Valley, he said the Home Minister had invited them for talks soon after taking office. 'Why this insistence on Pakistan ? And just because they wield the gun, they don't become the representatives of the Kashmiris. They are only part of the political nucleus of Jammu and Kashmir,' he said. Dixit described as a 'trial balloon' Musharraf's recent proposal that India and Pakistan should identify some 'regions' of Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control, demilitarise them and grant them independence or joint control, or the status of being under UN mandate. 'We are still waiting for a formal intimation of what these options are and then we will think of our own options. There is no point commenting on anything that hasn't come to us. What I can say is that after Kargil, we are clear that everything - all the issues - will be part of an integrated package,' he said. Dimissing a suggestion that India's nuclear button was in his hands, Dixit said, 'I am only a messenger. The button is in the hands of the nuclear command authority, of which the Prime Minister is the chief.' India, he said, did not visualise a kind of scenario in which it will have to reach for the button. Accordingly, 'we are actively engaged in negotiations on nuclear risk reduction'. He said talks on this with Pakistan were 'progressing as well as they can.' He said Pakistan's earlier stand of linking progress on the nuclear issue to progress on Kashmir had changed after the Kargil conflict. 'It's our analysis that they realised that all outstanding issues are equally important,' he said. Describing George W Bush's re-election as US President as 'good for India', he said, 'There will be continuity and a certain momentum in relations will be maintained. A new government would have re- examined the equation and that could have taken up to a year.'


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