India’s move to hold talks with Kashmiris not sincere: Foreign Office

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The Foreign Office on Tuesday disapproved the Indian government’s initiative to hold talks with ‘all groups and individuals’ in India-held Kashmir, including the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, and said that New Delhi “does not appear to be sincere”.

A day earlier, going back on its three-year-old pledge to never talk to the Hurriyat, India appointed ex-intelligence chief Dineshwar Sharma as the new interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir with “complete freedom” to talk to “all groups and individuals”, including the Hurriyat — the group New Delhi sees as an agent of Pakistan.

“As a representative of the government of India, Dineshwar Sharma will initiate a sustained interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of people in Jammu and Kashmir,” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said of the move, which has been seen as a clear indication that the right-wing Hindu revivalist government is willing to reboot its Kashmir policy.

However, in a statement issued on Tuesday, Islamabad said that India’s new measure does not seem “sincere and realistic”. Rather, the Foreign Office said, the move indicates that India has recognised the “futility of the use of force and the indispensability of dialogue”.

“Meaningful and result-oriented dialogue” between India and leadership in Jammu and Kashmir must include Pakistan, the Foreign Office maintained.

“Without the participation of the Hurriyat leadership, no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight or meaning,” read the statement.

India’s new interlocutor had been appointed to understand the aspirations of the people of Kashmir, it added.

However, the statement said, the aspirations of the Kashmiris had already been known for 70 years ─ the realisation of their right to self-determination.

The statement highlighted the need to bring an end to Indian state-sponsored terrorism in IHK and to hold dialogue to peacefully resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“This [is]imperative for ensuring durable and sustainable peace and stability in South Asia,” the statement concluded. “Pakistan [hopes]that the international community would play its rightful role in facilitating such an outcome.”

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