Breakdown of Talks a Fiasco: Dulat

Dulat Bats For Hurriyat As Players

SRINAGAR: Describing the recent failure of NSA level talks between India and Pakistan as a fiasco that should not have happened, former RAW chief A S Dulat Wednesday said that there will be a fresh beginning between the two countries. 

‘I don’t think either side has been very smart about whatever has happened. Six months later you will again have to begin afresh’ , Dulat said in an interview with Mumbai based daily the DNA.  

Dulat , however, qualified his statement by stating that  ‘whenever a breakthrough occurs in the case of India and Pakistan, it will be only at the highest level. It always requires a summit, there is no other way’. The ex RAW and Kashmir affairs advisor to the former PM A B Vajpayee, further suggested that talks should have been held in a neutral venue away from the media glare’. 

‘Had the two NSAs met quietly in a third country, we might have had productive talks and may not have had this fiasco. They should have met quietly like Brajesh Mishra and Tariq Aziz did before SAARC Summit in 2004. But when such talks come out in the open domain, then politics, jingoism, media bashing everything comes in and it becomes difficult, ‘Dulat said.

Underscoring the importance of the success of the NSA level talks, Dulat drew a link with India’s aspiration for a UN Security Council seat. Dulat said that, ‘ the reason why powers that be shied away from supporting India’s bid was India’s perceived inability to manage the neighborhood’. ‘Here the question arises is that if you cannot manage your own neighborhood, if you cannot manage SAARC, then how could you aspire for UNSC seat?’, Dulat stated.

On being asked if Sushma Swaraj’s statement has put the Hurriyat on a higher pedestal Dulat replied in the affirmative. 

“Yes, it has, definitely. I don’t think that the Hurriyat was such a big issue. But it has been made an issue now. It has not been an issue all these years. But if in Delhi’s eyes the Hurriyat has become bigger villains or more unacceptable than ever before, then, I think, that message should be conveyed to Pakistan. Earlier when Nawaz Sharif’ came for Modiji’s swearing in, the same message was conveyed and it was respected”.

Dulat added that these developments can have an impact on Kashmir in the sense you might be inviting Pakistan back into Kashmir. “If you say separatists are a no-no then all you have is one Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and one Farooq Abdullah, both of whom are ageing. What happens afterwards?”

Referring to the international context, Dulat said, that Pakistan has limitations despite ‘how big the military thinks it is’. He referred to September 11 attacks and the United States’ warning to Pakistan post attacks as an instance of the limitations of Pakistan.

In terms of Pakistan’s continued interest in Kashmir, Dulat stated that, ‘Pakistan has no interest in Kashmir except to maintain a certain level of irritation for us, so whenever it wants it can up the ante. As long as the relationship between India and Pakistan remains tense, Pakistan will not want an agreement or an understanding on Kashmir that should have happened between Musharraf (Parvez Musharraf) and Dr Manmohan Singh when the former suggested a four-point formula. That should buy us peace for 15-20 years.

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