IN THE EYE OF STORM York, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the then foreign minister of Pakistan, rang India's National Security Advisor JN Dixit who was also in New York for the September 2004 UNGA session. He had called to protest the Indian repre.
Abehind- the- scenes account of the diplomatic encounters between India and Pakistan STORM
STORM F ROM A hotel in New York, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the then foreign minister of Pakistan, rang India's National Security Advisor JN Dixit who was also in New York for the September 2004 UNGA session.
He had called to protest the Indian representative's opposition to Pakistan remaining in the Commonwealth at a meet-
ing of a select group of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, in light of the fact that President Pervez Musharraf had not yet given up his military uniform.
Dixit was surprised and assured Kasuri that this would not happen again. He regretted that the representative in question had not been STORM
change in Indian representation at the meeting. But as the conversation was about to end, Dixit said something which astonished Kasuri no end: He wanted President Musharraf not to shed his uniform.
UNIFORM ISSUE " I was so stunned by this statement that I was rendered speechless," says Kasuri in an interview with M AIL T ODAY , prior to the release of his latest book Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove. " Not only was this in complete variance with what we had been publicly told by the leaders of democratic nations, but it was also contrary to my own stand since I had been urging the president to shed his uniform. Musharraf had often told me that he could push through the Kashmir deal with the help of his uniform alone." The book, however, is more significant for providing the first official confirmation to a long- held view that India and Pakistan were close to a deal on Kashmir in 2006- 07. " We were extremely close to resolving the vexed issue of Kashmir after three years of sustained negotiations," confirms Kasuri. " I wish Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had not postponed his 2006 Pakistan visit due to elections in a few Indian states at that time, fearing a backlash against any deal in Islamabad. His visit would have sealed the agreement on to resolving other disputes. But as the fate would be, first PM Singh postponed the visit and later President Musharraf got caught in a series of unfortunate events following the removal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry." Kasuri calls it the most productive peace process between India and Pakistan, launched by Vajpayee and carried forward by Manmohan Singh. " We were very unhappy when the BJP lost the 2004 elections. We thought we had broken through with them and were not sure if the Congress government would own it.
That has been a problem in south Asia: Of parties saying one thing in power, and another thing while in opposition. Luckily, the Congress carried forward the peace process." The book details the framework the two sides were working on. " On Kashmir, India is a status quo power, while Pakistan aims to change status quo. Then you have Kashmiris. I NEITHER A HAWK, NOR A DOVE BY KHURSHID MAHMUD KASURI, PENGUIN; ` 999
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|Publication:||Mail Today (New Delhi, India)|
|Date:||Oct 11, 2015|
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