India’s former external minister, at a book release, has stated that “alienating Kashmiris by not solving their issues would only lead to Pakistan exploiting the situation”. Sinha added that “the road to Islamabad is via Srinagar and not the other way round”. Underscoring his personal involvement with Kashmir, Sinha further stated that “I have been involved in the Kashmir issue for the last few months and I have come to this conclusion that the issues of our people (Kashmiris) should be settled first in order to tackle the disputes with Pakistan”. From a certain perspective, Sinha’s assertions can be held to be revelatory but then it would be a slanted and even a trite one. The reasons pertain to the nature of the conflict in and Kashmir and the prism with which Sinha appears to be viewing it. To get a handle on it, it might be prudent to decode what Sinha is saying and what he is leaving unsaid. This is not a matter of nitpicking but an attempt at clarity. First, Sinha is not speaking from the vantage point of a neutral interlocutor; he is speaking as an Indian nationalist. All his suggestions flow from this perch and the implications that flow from this are clear: Sinha appears to view the conflict in and over Kashmir as one between India and Pakistan where Kashmiris are at best, it would appear, an “aggrieved” people whose “issues” need to be resolved. And, once these “issues” are resolved, then it would be easier to talk to Pakistan. While Sinha leaves unstated and unspoken what these “issues” are, the obvious inference that can be drawn here is that he sees Kashmir in terms of the politics of linkage. That is, Kashmir, once the issues are resolved, and once Kashmiris are pocketed, so to speak, then India holds the ace card in talking to Pakistan. Of course, this conclusion is inferential but given the absence of counter factual, it may be an accurate one. But, while Sinha’s suggestions, from where he comes from, might or might not hold, but these betray a lack of understanding of the conflict in and over Kashmir. The conflict’s various dimensions flow from a convoluted history wherein the aspirations of the people stand buried under the detritus of multiple layers. These layers obscure the nature of the conflict which then is merely presented as an interstate issue. But this is a reductive portrayal in which the peoples’ aspirations are reduced to issues. Interlocutors come and go but the conflict in and over Kashmir remains. This is the fundamental reality of Kashmir. It is the resolution of the conflict that should exercise the minds and energies of powers that be with the people of Kashmir to any attempt or paradigm of conflict resolution. Anything else is mere distraction.