SINGAPORE CITY: The City-State of Singapore recently played host to a conference on Kashmir, where experts from Pakistan and India, besides politicians, academics, journalists and retired diplomats and military officials, exchanged views on issues affecting not only India and Pakistan, but also the world at large. The moot on Kashmir was organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German think tank headquartered in Berlin.
The three-day seminar was titled, India-Pakistan: A Peace Process. It brought together eight Indians and an equal number of Pakistanis, all known in their circles and beyond. Among them were retired army generals and diplomats, scholars, politicians and senior journalists.
This, in fact, was fifth in a series of annual seminars held by the FES at different locations. The venue of these seminars are deliberately kept outside India and Pakistan to provide a neutral place and setting for an uninhibited track-II dialogue. At the Singapore seminar, the focus as usual was on the Kashmir issue. Indian participants talked about the likelihood of a Kashmir solution in due course of time. According to them, the deal on Kashmir has been written in the form of non-papers and would be honoured even if there were a regime change in India and Pakistan.
In the words of one Indian participant, the deal has been insulated against any change in government in the two countries. He said the agreement has also taken care of Pakistan’s Northern Areas, which could become a bone of contention due to its lack of a constitutional status.-SANA