Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh today said that talks are the only way to find a solution to the decades-old Kashmir issue, but stressed that the conditions need to be favourable for holding a dialogue.
Participating in a panel debate on India TV’s ‘Samvaad’ conclave, Singh said that the BJP-led NDA government was committed to hold dialogue but conditions are not favourable because of Pakistan.
“Government is committed to Shimla Agreement. Issues can be resolved only through talks,” he said, adding that there was first a need for an atmosphere to have a dialogue.
Referring to the situation in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said that the government and security forces were firmly dealing with the situation.
Congress leader Manish Tewari, another panellist, termed the PDP-BJP alliance in the border state as an ‘incompatible government’.
Singh, however, said that the government was committed to restore peace in the Valley and was taking effective measures in this regard.
“PDP-BJP alliance not an ideological alliance, not a political alliance. It is a governance alliance,” the deputy CM said.
“Mehbooba Mufti has said that only PM Modi can address the Kashmir crisis,” he was quick to add.
When asked about government’s Pakistan policy, Singh said, “Modiji’s visit to Pakistan was a message, inviting SAARC countries for oath taking ceremony was a strong message that we want peace.”
“But we will never compromise on the matters related to national security. The Army conducted surgical strikes. Indian forces are retaliating in same manner,” he said.
Questioning the government, Tewari said, “Hurriyat and Pakistan can’t be separated. Why giving funds to separatists? Why give Z plus security?”
“The PDP-BJP alliance ideologically is incompatible, you are paying the price and the nation as well,” the Congress leader added.
Singh further said that ‘there was an assumption that if the BJP forms government, it will fire bullets across the border’.
“Separatists refuse to hold talks with the all-party delegation. For holding talks, we need favourable condition,” the BJP leader said.
Countering Singh, Tewari asked, “What was the reason they (separatists) refused to hold talks with all-party delegation and when Yashwant Sinha-led civil society delegation visited Kashmir, they agreed for talks. I ask you advise the Prime Minister to send Yashwant Sinha to Kashmir.”
The third member on the panel, Shabnam Lone, an advocate by profession, too said that the Kashmiri people are upset with CM Mehbooba Mufti.
“Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP had promised that it will not forge an alliance with BJP to form government. When people are questioning, they are killed,” she said.
When asked about her stand on the Kashmir issue, she replied: “I will not go with Pakistan. But until you stop killing our innocent kids through your Army, we will not join hands with India.”