Ahead of Dineshwar Sharma’s talks in Kashmir, Mudda takes stock of obstacles lying ahead of him, says agenda should be fixed when it comes to parleys with separatists

Saturday’s edition of Mudda discussed obstacles lying ahead for Dineshwar Sharma, the interlocutor appointed by the government for Kashmir.

Despite Sharma declaring at the time of his appointment that he will talk to all stakeholders for restoring peace in the Valley, the path ahead for him is not going to be a smooth one, since Kashmiri separatists have already refused to talk to him. But Sharma, who on Monday will visit the Valley, is planning to talk to the youth there, as well as student organisations and others who can be included in this process.

The talk show was anchored by Akshay Gaur. The panellists were defence expert Wing Commander (Retd) Praful Bakshi, Congress spokesperson Ajay Verma, expert on international affairs SK Dutta, BJP spokesperson Sudesh Verma, defence expert Col (retired) Shivdaan Singh and APN consulting editor Govind Pant Raju.

Bakshi made the first comments. He said nobody should be labelled the culprit but also advised the Indian Army that it must be ready to reply to force with force and not wait for someone to make their move first. He said that India must learn from the combat policies of Israel. “Our Home minister said that we will not attack first. What does that mean? That you will attack only when two or five of your soldiers die? Your policy should be of attacking first,” Bakshi said.

Singh shed light on what China’s role is in the entire matter. He told the audience that China has invested in Pakistan and, therefore, cannot afford not to support it. “China has its financial interest in Pakistan and has invested heavily in the CPEC project. Pakistan has been receiving funds from China and that has also been proved by NIA,” Singh said.

Dutta said India must make it a priority to get back Pak-occupied Kashmir and the Gilgit region of Pakistan. According to him, the Congress couldn’t negotiate when required. Dutta felt that talks with Pakistan should be done only on the condition of getting PoK back. He also wanted to know what topics the government of India wishes to discuss with Hurriyat. However, Verma reminded Dutt that the Hurriyat is also Indian.

Raju painted an optimistic picture of Kashmir. He said that not every youth of Kashmir is willing to take up arms against the country and wishes to live a dignified life. “Not every youth of Kashmir wants to take up arms. It is clear with the recent recruitment process of the Army where the youth of Kashmir participated in large numbers. However, it is also a fact that if you are seen as pro-Indian, it can land you in trouble in the Valley and can cost you your life. This is the reason why the youth is under pressure and do not speak up,” said Raju.

Compiled by Lilly Paul