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'India-Pakistan held 36 meetings between 2003-14, about to sign 'peace deal' but...': Ex-Pak diplomat

Former ambassador to Pakistan, Satinder Lambah, claimed that the two nations had held multiple meetings and were on the brink of signing a "peace treaty" but everything changed after the UPA-II government lost General elections in 2014.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: March 05, 2023 17:34 IST
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, and his
Image Source : AP Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, and his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Wagah border near Lahore, Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have been sharing "deadly" borders ever since both nations bifurcated in 1947. There were instances when the situation seems out of control-- amid the fact both had engaged in several wars.

However, a book published by former ambassador to Pakistan, Satinder Lambah, claimed that the two nations had held multiple meetings and were on the brink of signing a "peace treaty" but everything changed after the UPA-II government lost General elections in 2014. 

Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh held multiple meetings

Quoting the excerpts from his book-- "Pursuit of Peace", Indian journalist Karan Thapar published a book review in Hindustan Times, where he said that former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had held multiple meetings with their Pakistani counterparts in order to reach a "peace treaty".

“By the end of the second term of the UPA government and of Dr Manmohan Singh’s ten-year term, the draft agreement had been approved and was ready for signature," Lambah wrote in his book which was published posthumously. 

At least 36 backchannel meetings were held

According to the diplomat, 36 backchannel meetings were held between May 2003 to March 2014. From the Pakistani side, General Pervez Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif supported the backchannel, while from the Indian side, the diplomat claimed Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh pressed on.

As per the book, most of the agreement was concluded during General Musharraf’s time, however, it remained in cold conditions after he lost power.

Later, the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif “injected new momentum and urgency into the process” but the process did not move further after the Bhartiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

"Everything changed after 2014"

However, the diplomat claimed that the process was again initiated but was again hung in the air. “There appeared to be an intent to continue the backchannel process. The file on the subject had been reviewed. I was even once told that no major change was required. A distinguished diplomat was being considered to be appointed as special envoy by Prime Minister Modi. I was asked to meet him," claimed the diplomat in his book. Unfortunately, that envoy was never appointed, he lamented.

Also Read: Pakistan economic crisis: Islamabad receives $700 mn from China bank, eyes $1,300 mn more

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