India carefully vetting Musharraf’s Kashmir proposal
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – India remains guarded following an announcement by the president of Pakistan that Pakistan might give up its claim to Indian Kashmir if New Delhi accepted a four-point compromise plan. Indian authorities have not yet responded to the offer made by General Pervez Musharraf in an interview with a leading Television Channel NDTV last Monday. In India reactions to the proposal are mixed with some people welcoming it as something to take into consideration whilst others reject it out of hand as a joke.
Under Musharaff’s plan, the border along the 1947 line of control which divides Kashmir would not change, but would be open to the free movement of people from both sides, Indian and Pakistani troops would pull back, and a joint supervision mechanism would be set up involving Pakistani, Indian and Kashmiri representatives under a loose joint administration.
Reacting to the Pakistani President’s proposal, People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone—until recently considered a moderate—described the autonomy and self-rule proposals as “a fraud”.
Others warned that the fate of the proposals rested on Pakistan's ability to deliver on its pledge to end terror acts against India.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said that Musharraf's four-point Kashmir plan can be considered but that the Kashmir issue should be viewed in its totality with the stress on its people. Kashmir should not be seen as just a “piece of land”.
“India's stand on the issue is clear,” said Anand Sharma, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs. “We want normalcy, peace, and as far as boundaries are concerned they should be porous, people's movement should not be hindered. But as far as India' is concerned, the borders are fixed," said
Pakistan and India fought three wars since achieving independence on August 14 and 15, 1947 from the United Kingdom, two over Kashmir. Both claim the entire territory and control part of it.
The Kashmir issue remains the main stumbling block in the current peace process, which began in 2004. It suffered a serious blow though as a result of bomb attacks in Mumbai last July.