A dialogue with Pakistan is as necessary as the dialogue with people of Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the Kashmir issue which is a "bilateral dispute", Centre-appointed interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar said on Sunday.
"We have been engaged with Pakistan, every successive government in India is engaged with Pakistan on this issue and it is not the question of internationalisation, it is a bilateral dispute which has been going on since 1947-48," Padgaonkar, who heads the three-member panel to initiate peace process in Jammu and Kashmir, said. He, however, added that he had said nothing new. "What I have said with regard to Pakistan is the obvious. I have not said anything that has not been said before," Padgaonkar said, adding "a dialogue with Pakistan is as necessary as the dialogue with people in the state".
He pointed to Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement that there are no red lines or boundaries. "We know what we are doing," Pandgaonkar said, but maintained that the panel had not received any brief. Padgaonkar said the usage of words to describe the problem
The veteran journalist said the interlocutors wanted to listen to every shade of opinion in the state, particularly the youth as they are not necessarily influenced by the stands of various parties. "The perception of solution differs from region to region and even within the region," he added.
About the role of neighbouring country in Kashmir issue, Padgaonkar said, "Pakistan has been involved in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947 when it send raiders into the state, creating conditions of first confrontation between the newly independent nations." He said since then India and Pakistan have issued large number of joint statements in which Jammu and Kashmirhas been mentioned. "The Home Minister recently said 'we are ready to walk more than half the mile and talk to Pakistan on all issues including Jammu and Kashmir'," he added.