December 2005 News

India says proposal under discussion : Self-governance in Kashmir

24 December 2005
The Dawn
Jawed Naqvi

New Delhi: Indian and Pakistani diplomats are discussing the idea of self-governance for divided Kashmir as proposed by President Gen Pervez Musharraf, a top Indian official disclosed on Saturday. Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan told a private TV channel that the discussions were being held in the back channels by senior Indian diplomats and their Pakistani counterparts. Once the ideas on the delicate issue were refined thoroughly these could become part of the composite dialogue process for a more formal discussion and a possible decision, he indicated. “We have a back channel. We have experienced diplomats as part of it and if they (Pakistan) come forward and give specifics about self-governance, then we can probably look at it,” Mr Narayanan said. In the interview to NDTV, Mr Narayanan ruled out any imminent move to demilitarise the Kashmir region, claiming that violence and infiltration remained a major concern there. “Troop reduction can be looked at if there is a reduction in violence, but the worrying factor is the increase in infiltration,” he said. He also dismissed growing international worries about India’s military-oriented nuclear facilities that were being apparently designated as civilian use units. He, however, said that India will be in a position to have an in-principle agreement with the United States on the separation of the nuclear facilities from the military ones. India is hoping to resolve many of the contentious issues on the nuclear deal before US President George W Bush’s visit to India in early March next year. New Delhi is also expecting Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, who this week held talks with his American interlocutors in Washington, to bring along a draft legislation that would be presented to the US Congress for its approval of the July 18 understanding reached between Dr Singh and President Bush.


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