PM: No Third Party Role In Kashmir
14 November 2004
The Asian Age
Hyderabad: Ruling out third-party intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan was making progress and efforts were on to achieve 'credible and mutually-acceptable solutions' to all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. Defending his decision to cut troops deployment in Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Singh described it as an 'experiment' and said, 'We have taken some risks, but they are not unacceptable risks.' 'There is no scope for third-party intervention on Jammu and Kashmir. India and Pakistan are quite capable of dealing with the issues bilaterally on the basis of composite dialogue,' he told reporters here when asked about Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's recent formulation on Kashmir. Gen. Musharraf had, in an iftar dinner on October 25, suggested identification of seven regions on both sides of Kashmir, demilitarise them and change their status through either independence, or joint control or under United Nations mandate. Dr Singh said the composite dialogue was making progress, and asserted that 'we are working towards achieving credible and mutually-acceptable solutions to all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.' Justifying his decision to cut deployment of the Army in the border state, Dr Singh said the 'major reason' behind this was the reduction in infiltration levels. 'This (troop reduction) is the experiment we are trying. We have taken some risks, but they are not unacceptable risks. We will make a constant review of this,' he said and noted that there was 'substantial improvement (in the situation) on security front.' On what he hoped to achieve during his coming visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Singh said, 'We want to reach out to the minds and hearts of Kashmiri people. They have seen a lot of violence and suffered a great deal. We want to see a new chapter of hope and put the chapter of violence behind us.' Stating that time had come for putting 'our minds' together to find durable peace in J&K, the Prime Minister said, 'We want to open a new chapter of hope, trust and confidence.' Seeking to insulate the Central government from the political fallout of the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, he said, 'Let me make it very clear that the Centre had no role in the arrest. The allegation that we had a role in the matter is not correct. It is not our concern.' Asked whether the Centre would take any initiative to start a dialogue with Maoists at the national level in the backdrop of merger of People's War and Maoist Communist Centre, he said the Union government was 'coordinating' with the states.