With consistent ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control holding of talks between India and Pakistan looks irrelevant. India has been demanding complete stoppage of support to terrorism in Kashmir as a precondition for holding talks. The positivity created over the Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif talks at Ufa in Russia seems to have vanished and the fate of future talks too looks very dim. Though Pakistan has a democratically elected government but it is at the mercy of Pakistan Army and ISI- combine. India’s change in tactics and giving proportionate response to Pakistan’s misadventure has been able to bring down the firing from across the border. Even the security forces are also apprehensive about Pakistan ‘s intention to take concrete steps to ensure the sanctity of the ceasefire as well as dismantle the terror infrastructure operating from that country. Offering to talk with Pakistan and separatist leaders is a fine idea when Atal Bihari Vajpayee made it the basis of his approach to the Kashmir problem while he was Prime Minister. He stuck steadfastly to this approach despite a series of rejections, betrayals and false starts. It would have been an even idea if Modi had come into office with this agenda. With a strong majority, the RSS’ backing, and the BJP firmly under his thumb, Modi was in a much stronger position to accomplish this than Vajpayee had been. The BJP’s alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP, has already done remarkable groundwork to bring the most recalcitrant “separatists” around. Over the past few days, Geelani and two other leading separatist leaders have issued statements calling for an end to all bloodshed. But the extraordinary murkiness of the situation should make all those who are charting a way forward very cautiously leaving an unanswered question –with whom India should talk and why on Kashmir?
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