India-Pak Disputes Easiest to Resolve: Aiyar

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LAHORE: Problems between Pakistan and India are among the easiest in the world to remedy; however, one needs to possess a will to do so.  The two countries have so many commonalities, former diplomat and veteran Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Tuesday.

He was the keynote speaker at the launch of former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove.

“The only reason that we could not solve Pakistan-India disputes in 70 years is that we haven’t given each other the appropriate chance,” Aiyar said, Express News reported. 

He said whenever the two states engaged in negotiations casualties along the LoC had gone down and increased whenever they had disengaged.

Aiyar said uninterrupted and uninterruptible composite dialogue between India and Pakistan should recommence. “Both countries should bring all their concerns to the table and have a conversation,” he added. Aiyar said peace building efforts had been sabotaged after terrorist attacks, adding that both states should not let the peace process become hostage to those who were least interested in maintaining pacific relations between them. “Pakistan should accept that its soil is being used for terrorism while India should realise that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. This is evident to Pakistanis but not to Indians,” he added.

The erstwhile Indian minister who read at Cambridge at the same time as Kasuri said PPP leader Aitezaz Ahsan had once suggested that the Kashmir dispute could only be solved if Aiyar and Kasuri were locked in a room till they had found a solution to this. “I said that after finding the solution both he and I will be locked in separate rooms forever,” Aiyar remarked leaving the audience in peals of laughter. He said he had arrived in the city two months before Kasuri did, referring to the difference between their ages. “This makes me a little bit more Lahori than him,” he said.

Later, talking to reporters, he said he didn’t think Pakistan and India would ever go to war on the water issue. “The issue has been put to rest with the conclusion of the Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan and India haven’t gone to war in 40 years and I don’t think they will ever again,” he observed.

Aiyar said Kasuri’s narrative was intricately balanced, with the author providing both personal and political anecdotes alongside his observations on serious issues. “On foreign policy matters, he deals objectively with those on the other side of the political divide,” he added.

During a panel discussion with Najam Sethi, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Arif Nizami and Rashid Rehman, Kasuri emphasized the point that whenever two statesmen happened to be at the helm of affairs in India and Pakistan, they would have to revert to the framework formulated during his tenure as foreign minister to improve ties.

A large number of retired military men, diplomats, writers and academics were also present on the occasion.

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