Not engaging in dialogue with Pak will backfire: RAW ex-chief

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have learnt the art of politics from his party senior A B Vajpayee, especially, while dealing with the complex issue of Jammu and Kashmir, according to former RAW chief Amarjit Singh Dulat.

Stirring up a debate on the qualities of Modi as a politician vis-à-vis Vajpayee, the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau said it was a “pity that Modi failed to learn it from Vajpayee.”

In an interview with Times of India on the sidelines of a public discourse on his book, ‘Kashmir, The Vajpayee Years’ organised by Manthan, Dulat said it was Vajpayee, who best understood the contentious issue of Jammu and Kashmir after the first PM Jawaharlal Nehru.

He also felt that Modi’s policy of ‘not engaging’ in a dialogue with Pakistan was incorrect and asserted that continuous dialogue was essential, as was done during Vajpayee’s tenure.

“Vajpayee was a leader and a politician and Modi should learn politics and it is the differentiating issue between the two. Modi in my humble opinion has to learn politics and it is pity he did not learn it from Vajpayee who is the greatest Indian politician,” Dulat said in the brief interview.

The Modi versus Vajpayee debate has been in the limelight for quite some time with leaders often comparing the skills of the two seasoned politicians.

In April this year, Uma Bharati stirred the hornet’s nest when she said Modi was not a good orator like Vajpayee.

The former Rajasthan cadre IPS officer rose to become an advisor on Kashmir in the Prime Minister’s Office and served there from January 2001 to May 2004. She went a step further saying that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was also better than Modi, since Singh made every effort when it came to the issue of Kashmir and Pakistan.

Dulat felt Modi should attend the upcoming SAARC meeting in Islamabad scheduled for early 2016.

Interestingly, the former RAW chief endorsed the recent controversial statement by National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, who stirred a major controversy with his statements when he said that the entire Indian army could not defend Kashmiris against terrorists and militants, and the only way left to resolve the crisis was dialogue with Pakistan. The National Conference leader also said that Kashmir belongs to India and AJK to Pakistan.

“I agree with Farooq Abdullah, since the solution lies there. It is also a realistic solution,” Daulat said.

Earlier, during a talk on his book and issues surrounding it, Daulat said that he shared the views of former home minister P Chidambaram and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should be repealed in Srinagar and Budgam districts.

“Delhi is responsible for a lot of mess in Kashmir, more than anyone else,” he said.

“Kashmiris harbour a sense of alienation, frustration and anger. And one should not misread the waving of Pakistan and ISIS flags during protests,” he said.

“Kashmiris are desperately seeking peace,” he concluded.