Quiet Talks In January, Solution In 3 Months

29 December 2009
Greater Kashmir
Rashid Shaheed

Srinagar: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is busy preparing ground - in Delhi and Srinagar - to formally set in motion the much-hyped process of quiet dialogue in Kashmir “to workout a solution of the problem.” According to highly placed sources privy to the JK-related developments in the North Block, Chidambaram is pursuing the Kashmir initiative with all earnestness and is eager to take it to the logical conclusion. “If everything goes as per the plan, the Home Minister would formally begin talks with various shades of the political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir by January 2010,” sources told Greater Kashmir. According to the sources, while the focus of Chidambaram’s quiet diplomacy would be the pro-freedom groups, he would at the same time keep the State’s two mainstream regional political forces – the National Conference and the PDP – on board to evolve broader consensus on any resolution formula. “Even the local leadership of the Congress would be consulted frequently to get their views on any resolution package,” sources said. Chidambaram had, at a press conference here on October 14 this year, announced that the Government of India is working on holding “quiet” talks with “every section of opinion” to find a “unique” solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir. “The talks will be held silently, away from the media glare,” Chidambaram had said and added the Centre recognizes that there are different shades of opinion in the state, and therefore the need to hold consultations with all sections. Every voice would be heard, he said. Jammu and Kashmir, Chidambaram had said, “has a unique geographical location and a unique history. We have to find a solution that may turn out to be unique. The whole effort would be quiet until the contours of a political solution to the problem are found. This is essential to take the process forward.” “Once the broad contours of a political solution are arrived at, it will be made public at an appropriate time. We must find a solution that is honourable, equitable and acceptable to the vast majority, overwhelming majority, of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. According to sources, Chidambaram has already started consultations with a selected group of mainstream political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir to elicit their views on how to go ahead with his ambitious Kashmir plan. A senior leader of a mainstream political party, who is a part of these consultations, told Greater Kashmir that the Home Minister has even set a time-frame to fructify his Kashmir resolution agenda. “What I could gather from my discussions with the Home Minister, he is keen to put into operation his Kashmir plan of action in the next three months starting January 2010,” the political leader said and added that it sounds incredible. “But let’s wait and see how it goes,” he said. According to sources, the UPA government is keen to reach some internal settlement on Kashmir issue so that it can sell it as an achievement during the next elections. But, according to sources, the Home Ministry’s pushy Kashmir plan has many grey areas and the mandarins in the North Block are keeping their fingers crossed over its success. “Disagreement among the separatist groups over the proposed Delhi-Srinagar dialogue and Pakistan’s consent for any such talks are two crucial impeding factors that the North Block is worried about,” sources said. During his visit to Jammu in November this year, Chidambaram said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had given him the task to find a solution to Jammu and Kashmir problem. “The Prime Minister has given me the task of finding a solution to J&K problem and in that context we have started a dialogue with all shades of political opinion,” he had said. “Chidambaram is treading a spiky path and only time will tell how he makes his way out of it with something in hand,” a political observer said.