India May Restart 'secret Diplomacy' To Resolve Kashmir Issue

27 May 2009
The Nation


Islamabad: India may restart ‘secret diplomacy’ with its nuclear archrival Pakistan after months’ long lull to resolve Kashmir and other bilateral issues despite new Indian government’s refusal to recommence the formal talks. Pakistan has been strongly desiring to initiate once again the Indo-Pak peace process that slowed down after the eruption of judicial crisis in Pakistan in 2007 and came to complete halt in the wake of horrendous Mumbai attacks last year. Pakistani foreign policy makers wasted no time in conveying their desire, through diplomatic channels, to the new Indian government immediately after its formation a few days ago. However, the Indian authorities ruled out any possibility of talks as External Affairs Minister of India, SM Krishna, said that Pakistan would have to take “credible” action against the terror infrastructure if it wanted to restart the stalled dialogue with India. Notwithstanding the public refusal of Indian government to restart the formal talks with Pakistan, an official seeking anonymity said, the ‘secret Indo-Pak diplomacy’ could get underway in near future once again as the clandestine talks with Islamabad would not have any political fallout for the incumbent Indian rulers. The initiation of secret or informal talks between Pakistan and India would be a major development as it was the dialogue through this same channel that led to important breakthroughs on the front of confidence-building measures such as Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and ceasefire on LoC in Kashmir etc. The official said that none else revealed it but former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri that Islamabad and New Delhi had been able to get closer to the mutually acceptable solution to Kashmir issue and his claim was later endorsed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. According to the official, the near agreement on Kashmir between the two nuclear neighbours was also the result of years’ long secret talks between the two sides. Had there not been secret Indo-Pak talks, the progress made on Kashmir would not have been possible, but unfortunately things went wrong in Islamabad after the judicial crisis as India decided to back out realising that former President Pervez Musharraf no longer enjoyed absolute power.