Indo-Pak moot urges meaningful dialogue on Kashmir


ISLAMABAD – Parliamentarians, intellectuals and opinion makers in Pakistan and India on Sunday urged the two countries to launch a meaningful dialogue on Kashmir and all other issues without further delay, cautioning that the absence of sustained engagement on conflicting matters would prove counterproductive and dangerous.
“The absence of a formal and sustained engagement on the full range of issues confronting India and Pakistan is unhealthy, counterproductive and dangerous. We welcome the forthcoming meeting of foreign secretaries in Thimphu and hope that the two sides will be able to prepare the ground for the resumption of a comprehensive and sustained dialogue. We resolve that a dialogue between the two countries should include discussions on Jammu and Kashmir.
The formal bilateral dialogue should be complemented by back-channel contacts and Kashmiris should also be appropriately consulted in the process,” said a declaration issued after the track-II dialogue held in Bangkok. The talks were held between retired ambassadors, foreign secretaries, intelligence chiefs, army chiefs, academics, political leaders and journalists from India and Pakistan.
“We hope that this will lead to a productive summit. We agree with the broad vision of India and Pakistan relations in which borders cannot change, but can indeed be made irrelevant,” the declaration said. The participants also stressed on the need for regular dialogue between intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan.
“We reiterate the need to initiate institutionalised and regular dialogue between the intelligence agencies of the two countries,” the declaration said. It said South Asia was facing serious challenges posed by extremism, which undermined democratic and pluralistic societies, so there was a special need to ensure that state institutions were not eroded and undermined by extremism.
“Terrorism is of deep concern to both India and Pakistan. Indian concerns about the Mumbai attacks in 2008 have seriously affected the dialogue process. The perpetrators of the attack should be brought to justice at the earliest. Pakistan has deep concerns about the tragic loss of lives in the Samjhota Express attack. India has to expeditiously prosecute those involved and keep Pakistan informed,” the declaration said.
It also stressed the need of continuous exchange of information on incidents of terrorism. Expressing concern on arms build-up in the region, the participants in the track-II dialogue also stressed the need of arms reduction. The group also hoped that India and Pakistan could work together to identify avenues of cooperation in the emerging nuclear and security architecture on the basis of non-discrimination.
The group also emphasised the need for a discussion between China, India and Pakistan to promote strategic stability with a focus on the logic of sufficiency of arsenals. The participants also emphasised the need to prioritise the implementation of previously agreed upon confidence building measures, particularly, on trade and travel.