ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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JAMMU AND KASHMIR-Long Haul amidst Log-Jam

JAMMU AND KASHMIR Long Haul amidst Log-Jam Gautam Navlakha WHEN the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan agreed to set up eight Joint Working Groups (JWG) including one on Jammu and Kashmir, it appeared as a step towards defusing tensions, even though the likelihood of the resolution of all outstanding problems that have bedevilled relations in the past five decades appears distant. However, the decision to hold dialogue through the mechanism of eight 'inter-linked' JWGs is in itself important in contrast to the two governments' propensity to engage in war-hysteria and encourage hate- mongering. Indeed it was the first time since the Simla Pact 1972 that the two countries arc discussing J and K. Prior to that it was in 1953 (following the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah) and 1962-63 (as a result of Sino- Indian war) that J and K figured in discussions. In other words it is external factors that pushed India to agree to hold the short-lived dialogue. Nevertheless even these short-lived dialogues bring out that between India's insistence that J and K is an 'integral part' of India and Pakistan's claim that it is an unresolved issue following the partition, the point of convergence is that there is neither a third party, namely, people of J and K divided by the Line of Control, nor is there a third option of independence. In other words the two agree that the dispute has territorial dimension divorced from the aspirations of the people of divided J and K.

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