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India should talk to Pakistan that is inherent part of Kashmir: AS Dulat

New Delhi, January 22 (KMS): India’s former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief A S Dulat has said that there was no need to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, admitting there was nothing left in it and it was only a ”fig leaf”.

Speaking at an event in Jaipur, Rajasthan, he said, ”I had argued that we didn’t have to do away with Article 370 because there was nothing left in it. It was only a fig leaf which had provided a Kashmiri a little bit of dignity…,”.

New Delhi abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019. It was, however, unfortunate that Delhi had always viewed the region in ”black and white” and ignored its ”greys”.

While referring to Prince Harry’s remark on his stint with the British military in Afghanistan, he said, ”I could say the same about Kashmir. We still love it, enjoy it, and go there… Unfortunately, Delhi has always been seen in it black and white. They don’t understand the greys.”

”If you go to Kashmir, not just for holiday to Gulmarg or Pahalgam. But go and interact with the people in Srinagar, you’ll find they are the kindest, gentlest and nicest people. The grey comes from deviousness. ”But I’ve spoken to a lot of Kashmiri leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is presently locked up. And he says ‘Yes, we tend to be a little devious, but that’s what you’ve taught us because you’ve never spoken the truth to us. So, we also lie to you,” he added. Dulat, who is the only RAW chief to have visited Pakistan, said he had been to the neighbouring country four times between 2010 and 2012.

Dulat was of the view that armed resistance will decrease but will continue to stay unless India sorts it out through dialogue with Pakistan. ”Pakistan has been an inherent part of Kashmir,” he added.

Dulat who headed RAW during 1999-2000 was in conversation with senior journalist Mandira Nayar about his latest book ”A Life in the Shadows: A Memoir”, published by HarperCollins India.

”I have been to Lahore twice and also visited Islamabad and Karachi. It was a great experience,” he added. Dulat said he got to know Pakistan better through Track 2 or backchannel diplomacy.

According to Dulat, a ”new murmur” has started in Srinagar ”that Sheikh [Abdullah] Sahab made a huge mistake in 1947. That Kashmir should have gone with Jinnah”. He, however, said that India’s current ”muscular policy” was paying dividends in curbing militancy in Kashmir. ‘It’s important to talk to Pakistan and also China,” said Dulat, who served in Kashmir when armed struggle was at its peak.

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