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“Terrorism Will Stay Unless…”: Farooq Abdullah On Kashmir

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Farooq Abdullah, former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, today said terrorism will continue in Jammu and Kashmir until India initiates dialogue with its “neighbour”. “I am sorry to say, terrorism will stay unless we talk to our neighbour and find a solution,” Mr Abdullah said without naming Pakistan. His remark came hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s “we have learnt our lesson” comment.  

In an interview with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV earlier today, Mr Sharif had called for “serious and sincere talks” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on “burning points like Kashmir”.

“We have had three wars with India, and they have only brought more misery, poverty, and unemployment to the people… We have learnt our lesson, and we want to live in peace with India, provided we are able to resolve our genuine problems,” Shehbaz Sharif said. “My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Modi is that let’s sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning points like Kashmir,” he had added.

Mr Abdullah said India needs to find a solution to the issue and he had given the same message of both countries being “united and of building bridges”, when former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee sought his opinion before travelling to Pakistan in 1999.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “said openly that war is not a solution for anything,” Mr Abdullah said, remarking that Russia-Ukraine war was a case in point.

“India is a unique country and it is that because we all think together…we have to return to Gandhi’s India… the division has to end if the nation has to progress,” Mr Abdullah said. “The country will never be strong unless we are one,” he added.

Mr Abdullah also expressed unhappiness at some of the current developments in the country. “Look at the institutions, Governors, look at the Lt Governor… how they are playing with the Constitution… I could never think of this,” he said at a book release event.  

The book, “A Life in the Shadows A Memoir”, has been written by former RAW chief AS Dulat, who retired from service in 2000. Mr Dulat also said “terrorism (in J&K) will not go away unless we engage with Pakistan”.  

He, however, added that he would “concede” that the level of militancy has come down due to the “muscular policy” adopted by the current dispensation.  Militancy is local while terrorism comes from across the border, Mr Dulat said.

Asked about the relation between New Delhi and Kashmir, Mr Dulat said the “disconnect with the people has always been there and there has been a lack of trust”.

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