Centre Looks To Engage More Stakeholders In Kashmir Peace Talks

Though the government is looking to engage in peace talks in the valley, it has decided there will be no let up in military operations against terrorists

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Centre Looks To Engage More Stakeholders In Kashmir Peace Talks

Since January this year, 310 terror incidents have been reported in Kashmir valley (File)


New Delhi:  The government is planning a range of initiatives, spread over the next five months, to push for peace in Kashmir valley, as decided during a high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, an official with knowledge of the matter said.

The government in October appointed former Intelligence Bureau Director, Dineshwar Sharma, as special representative for Kashmir to speak with all stakeholders in Kashmir valley. Mr Sharma has said he could speak with people who are interested in "permanent peace".

"This is the time when things calm down and this is the time period we need to work on and push various initiates so that peace can be restored in the valley," said the official who asked not to be named.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attended the meeting that lasted over 90 minutes, the official said. Dineshwar Sharma was also at the meeting.

The ministers agreed that Mr Sharma, who has long experience in the intelligence service, should use this period carefully and try to engage the maximum number of people for peace talks. Mr Sharma, during his first visit to the valley earlier this month, met with various delegations including some political parties.

"If we manage to reach out to various factions and political parties during this time then summer of 2018 would be peaceful," the official said.

National Investigation Agency chief YC Modi and Enforcement Directorate Director Karnail Singh also attended the meeting. People familiar with the matter said the intelligence officials gave details about the crackdown on some separatists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Though the government is looking to engage in peace talks in the valley, the Union ministers and the officers agreed that there will be no let up in military operations against terrorists, the official said.

Since January this year, 310 terror incidents have been reported in the valley; 180 terrorists have been killed. In 2016, some 322 terror incidents were reported and 150 terrorists were killed.
 


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