Pakistan, India Can't Take Away Kashmir From Each Other: Kasuri

6 October 2015
The Daily Times

New Delhi: Calling Pakistan and India's recent spat at the United Nations a tit for tat, former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said both the sides would inevitably return to talks, The Hindu newspaper reported. Speaking to the Indian paper, Kasuri said that the recent attempts at the UN General Assembly by Pakistan and India to discuss and raise the Jammu Kashmir issue were irrelevant, and the final settlement of the decades-old issue would mirror the current ground position. 'You can't take away from us what we have [of Kashmir], we can't take away from you what you have [of Kashmir],' he told the paper ahead of the release of his memoirs - Neither a hawk nor a dove - in India. Kasuri, who has recounted Pak-India negotiations between 2004 and 2007, said that they led to a near-breakthrough on Kashmir. 'We have had nine wars or near-war situations between us that I have recounted in the book. Mere statements don't change ground reality. The situation will only change when we talk to each other,' he said. He said that one of the near-war situations came just after the Mumbai attacks, when he was told by senior US officials including Richard Holbrooke and Senator John McCain that India was planning an airstrike inside Pakistan. 'With no hesitation, I told them the Pakistan Army would give a measured but equal response if India launches an airstrike,' Kasuri said. He said that he was sure Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would answer the call of destiny and restart talks with Pakistan in order to create history. In his book, Kasuri shared details of the eight-points agreed between the two sides on Kashmir and said they were to have paved the way for a peace, security and friendship treaty. The agreements include the Kashmir four-step, proposed by President Pervez Musharraf to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of a ceasefire at the LoC, demilitarisation of Kashmiri cities, conduct of elections and self-governance, and building joint mechanisms between the two sides of the divided state of Jammu Kashmir. In addition, Kasuri said there would be agreements on sharing water and promoting development, while foreign affairs ministers of both the countries would meet annually and the agreement would be reviewed after 15 years. However, none of it came to fruition because of the missed opportunities between Musharraf and Manmohan at the time, he writes in his book.