London: Jammu and Kashmir’ former chief minister Farooq Abdullah has suggested an open border for Kashmir as in UK governed Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic’ adjacent territory.
“Like Ireland, the only roadmap forward is two Kashmirs with an easy border and autonomy,” he said, at a discussion hosted by South Asia Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London on Wednesaday.
“Kashmir can be solved if both these nations, now nuclear powers, realise that whatever solution has to emerge, everybody will not accept it. But at least 70-80% people of India, Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh should accept it,” he added.
The solution he referred to was of “A Common Travel Area shared between the UK and neighbouring Ireland, dating back to the 1920s. Under the arrangement, citizens of either country require minimal identity documents to travel through each other’s territories”.
At the launch of ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ in UK, co-authored by former RAW chief AS Dulat and former ISI chief Lt Gen (retd.) Asad Durrani, the Kashmiri leader reiterated that “hard methods” will not win over the hearts of the people in the region.
He further said, “Let’s stop fooling each other. Neither side is going to give up any ground. The only way forward talks,” adding that leaders on both sides must work to counter the “vested interests” for whom the region is a “money-spinner” through the sale of guns and ammunition.
Describing Abdullah as “the best foreign minister India never had”, Dulat reflected on the book’s key tenets, that included working towards a Kashmir which is a “bridge between India and Pakistan”.
“Let’s hope Kashmir becomes an area of cooperation, rather than conflict,” he said.
The former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing and former Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau emphasized on having greater intelligence cooperation between the two neighbours as a way forward.