Philips may advise India as well

BRITISH Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Tuesday said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir should not be a precondition for re
sumption of India-Pakistan dialogue and urged both countries not to provide space to non-state actors, militants and terrorists to derail the process of talks. Addressing joint news conference with Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Hammond emphasized the need for resumption of talks between the two countries and said an India-Pakistan dialogue is essential for long-term economic development, peace and security in the region.
No one would disagree that the advice for resumption of dialogue is saner one and is reflective of the desire of the United Kingdom to see peace and stability in the region. However, we would disagree with his contention that Kashmir should not be a pre-condition for resumption of Pakistan-India dialogue, which smacks of intriguing desire to keep the real issues aside in bilateral talks. Kashmir is the root cause of all problems between Pakistan and India and everyone knows that the two countries fought four wars on the dispute. There cannot be genuine peace and stability in the region without meaningfully addressing the core issue as per aspirations of the Kashmiri people. What and why the two countries would talk if the fundamental cause of the bedevilled relations is not to be taken up for discussion? By rendering this advice, the British Foreign Secretary has, in fact, pleaded the cause and interests of India, which has been running away from discussing the Kashmir issues substantially despite passage of 68 years. This is despite the fact that in its zest to please India, Pakistan deviated from its stand many times and offered out-of-box solutions to the problem. Various governments did that offending people of Pakistan whose overwhelming majority firmly believes that there should be progress in tandem on all issues between the two countries including the Kashmir dispute. Secondly, Philip is rendering advice to Pakistan for resumption of the dialogue despite the fact that the other side has spurned many goodwill gestures and initiatives by Pakistan for the purpose. Every time when the two countries agree for resumption of dialogue, some incident is engineered and India makes it a pretext to run away from talks. We hope that the United Kingdom, which has the fundamental role in creating the Kashmir issue, would also urge India to shun the policy of dictation and hold talks with Pakistan on the basis of sovereign equality and discuss all issues including Kashmir if it is genuinely interested in lasting peace in the region.

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