Farooq Abdullah for talks with Pak

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah today said the Kashmir problem will not die “unless we talk to our neighbour” and find a real solution to the issue that has been festering for decades.

He also said India will not be able to progress and be strong “unless we are one”.

The 85-year-old politician was speaking during a book release event. The book, “A Life in the Shadows A Memoir”, has been written by former RAW chief A S Dulat who retired from service in 2000.

“India is a unique country and it is that because we all think together…We have to return to Gandhi’s India…The division has to end if the nation has to progress,” Abdullah said.

“The country will never be strong unless we are one,” he said.

The “problem of Kashmir will not die…And I am sorry to say, terrorism will stay unless we talk to our neighbour and find a true solution,” Abdullah said without taking the name of Pakistan.

He said he had given the same message of both the countries being “united and of building bridges”, when former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had sought his opinion before he travelled to Pakistan in 1999.

The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) of today has “said openly that war is not a solution for anything”, he said, adding the Russia-Ukraine war was a case in point.

The former CM of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir expressed unhappiness at some of the current developments taking place in the country.

Look at the institutions, Governors, look at the Lt Governor…How they are playing with the Constitution…I could never think of this,” he said.

Dulat, a retired IPS officer of the 1965 batch, reiterated the same feelings during the event as he said that “terrorism (in J&K) will not go away unless we engage with Pakistan.”

This (terrorism in J&K) will go on and on and on, the former head of the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency, said.

He, however, added that he would “concede” that the level of militancy has come down due to the “muscular policy” adopted by the current dispensation.

But there is a difference, militancy is local while terrorism comes from across the border, Dulat said.

When asked what ails the relation between New Delhi and Kashmir, Dulat said the “disconnect with the people has always been there and there has been a lack of trust”