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India not for status quo on Kashmir
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 18
As India and Pakistan brace themselves up for the crucial Foreign Secretary-level talks in Islamabad on December 27-28, there is a feeling in the diplomatic circles that New Delhi would be approaching these talks with an open mind and not with a hardened maximalist position.

There is, however, some concern here on certain agenda-driven reports and talks about India’s so-called over-willingness for formalising the “status quo position” on the Kashmir issue: meaning that let Pakistan have whatever it has of J&K and let India has whatever it has of J&K and let that be formalised.

Pakistan has, on so many occasions, rubbished this theory of solving the Kashmir tangle.

But New Delhi, too, is of the view that it is not for a status quo position on Kashmir and though its official position, a maximalist position, is that the entire Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, it is willing to discuss with Pakistan with an open mind the issue of J&K in its entirety.

Obviously, this includes the part of Kashmir which Pakistan illegally ceded to China in 1963.

An important thing is that New Delhi is willing to discuss Kashmir considering the ground realities of today.

New Delhi is not for a solution to the Kashmir issue which entails redrawing of boundaries. The considered opinion here is that New Delhi has never shied away from discussing the Kashmir issue with Pakistan and would never do such a thing in future as well.

It has never been India’s case that starting point of discussions on Kashmir should be from the Line of Control (LoC). To say that India is willing for accepting the LoC as international border is a mis-representation of the Government of India’s position.

But the minimum India expects from Pakistan is that it should not make haste on such a complex and sensitive issue and should not insist on deadlines and time-frames for resolving the issue.

New Delhi’s view is that the confidence-building measures (CBMs) are essential for carrying forward the Indo-Pak dialogue process and have their own significant contribution to make in this regard.

On another sensitive issue, Siachen, New Delhi’s viewpoint is that it is willing for talks on disengagement provided Islamabad is willing to first demarcate the existing position of the two sides.

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