Foremer RAW Chief's dialogue offer to Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute

Foremer RAW Chief's dialogue offer to Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute

NEW DELHI – Former Indian spymaster AS Dulat has said that India and Pakistan should resume talks to resolve matters including the Kashmir dispute.

He expressed these views at a literature festival in Jaipur on Sunday. The former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief said there was no need to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, saying there was nothing left in it and it was only a “fig leaf”.

Dulat was also of the view that “militancy” will continue to come down, but “terrorism will stay unless we sort it out with Pakistan” and batted for dialogue with Islamabad.

He was in conversation with senior journalist Mandira Nayar about his latest book A Life in the Shadows: A Memoir, published by HarperCollins India.

“Pakistan has been an inherent part of Kashmir. Since 1947, what the government of India has been trying to do is to mainstream Kashmir and get Pakistan out of the Kashmiri minds. And I think we’ve succeeded to a very large extent.

“I had argued that we didn’t have to do away with Article 370 because there was nothing left in it. It was only a fig leaf which had provided a Kashmiri a little bit of dignity.”

The Modi government abrogated Article 370 on Aug 5, 2019. It was, however, unfortunate that Delhi had always viewed the region in “black and white” and ignored its “greys”.

Mr Dulat, who is the only RAW chief to have visited Pakistan, said he had been to Pakistan four times, between 2010 and 2012.

“I have been to Lahore twice and also visited Islamabad and Karachi. It was a great experience,” he added.

He said he got to know Pakistan better through Track 2 or backchannel diplomacy. In his latest book, he also talks about Ajit Doval, the current National Security Adviser of India.

At one point, there was a conversation about bringing Mr Doval across to Pakistan, a chance, Mr Dulat said, the neighbours lost.

Dulat, who retired from service in 2000, said efforts were also made to start a military-to-military dialogue.