The mistake we are making is not talking to people: Dulat on Kashmir

Srinagar

Pakistan is not viewed as a key player within the Kashmir issue despite the “mess” India may have created in the region in the last 15 months, a former spy chief of India has said, a news gathering agency reported.

Amarjit Singh Dulat, who served as head of RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) in 1999- 2000, said the whole world knew that Kashmir was a “very integral part of India” and the problems in the region could be resolved with a more “civilised” approach by talks with all groups involved. “If there is alienation in Kashmir against India or anger… there is no love lost for Pakistan. Pakistan has long gone out of the Kashmir equation and Kashmiris realise there is nothing more to be gained from Pakistan,” he said.

Dulat was addressing an event titled “Spymasters Speak: Can intelligence agencies do good?” at the London School of Economics on Friday evening. “But for the last 15 months, Kashmir was never mentioned by Pakistan or in Pakistan…. Now it has been raised again because of the mess we have created in Kashmir in the last 15 months, so Pakistan is back in business,” he said.

Describing the killings of youth and security personnel in the violence that has erupted in the region as “unfortunate”, Dulat stressed that “heavy-handedness” was not the answer. “One message which comes out of Kashmir is that a lot can be achieved with love and compassion but never by force. And, I think that is the mistake we have made in the last 15 months,” he said.

The former intelligence chief was of the view that talks with separatist groups should not be ruled out as all matters “need to be discussed upfront” between Delhi and Srinagar.

“Democracy works. Apart from the mess we have created, the mistake we are making is not talking to people. It is high time we started talking…even to the Hurriyat. The idea of talking to them is to mainstream them and get them into the democratic process,” he said.

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