The attendance of India at the Moscow peace conference which includes the Taliban has led to a domestic political face-off in India.
While the Ministry of External Affairs has stated that there would be no talks with the Taliban at the Moscow dialogue and that India is participating in a non-official capacity, the Congress and the National Conference have added a Kashmir angle to the matter and questioned the government over separatists.
The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement where spokesperson Raveesh Kumar refuted claims of holding talks with the Taliban, saying, “Where did we say there were talks with the Taliban? We did not say it. We said we would be participating in a meeting on Afghanistan hosted by Russia. We had decided to participate it non-officially. No press release mentioned that there would be any talks with the Taliban.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah lashed out at the Modi government for its attendance at the multilateral meeting in the presence of Afghan Taliban in Moscow.
In response, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, they don’t have any right to question as far as Kashmir is concerned. They wake up every morning asking for ‘autonomy, autonomy, autonomy.’ They should not be asking questions but answering, even after running a government in Kashmir for three generations, if you still feel the Kashmir issue is complicated, so who takes responsibility for those complications?”
He added, “India’s Parliament has emphasized that Jammu and Kashmir are a significant part of the country. And BJP has continually believed that the land where (Shyama Prasad) Mukherjee sacrificed -- Kashmir -- belongs to India. BJP’s member Shyama Prasad Mukherjee has sacrificed his life to make Kashmir a vital part of the country. Every member of the BJP party would stand for Kashmir till their last breath. In this, the people talking about ‘autonomy’, go tell them that the Party only talks to those who believe in the Constitution and integrity of the country.”
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram was also asked about the matter, to which he said, “I don’t think we are here to discuss Jammu and Kashmir, but Congress party has always held a position that there should be talks of all stakeholders. This was the position taken by (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee. The sequence of talks has to be decided, but eventually, talks have to be held with all stakeholders.”
Agreeing with Omar Abdullah, former MP and Minister Saifuddin Soz said, “The government of India under Modi is indulging in duplicity, and they don’t try to understand the political nature of the crisis here. The government of India has committed a lot of mistakes in Kashmir. They feel comfortable that their forces are operating in Kashmir, they will pay a heavy price because they have to talk to the people of Kashmir and the broader conglomerate of Hurriyat because these are the people who are angry. You should always solve the dispute by talking to angry people.”
He further insisted that not only such talks should be held but they should settle the dispute and come.
The Moscow-held Peace talks are being attended by 12 countries including India, Pakistan, China and United States.