Talking about Talks?

Talking about Talks?
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Rajnath Singh has said that the Government of India(GoI) is ready to talk with the Hurriyat (and even Pakistan). The larger and overall context to Singh’s statement is the sustained pressure and squeeze on the Hurriyat , its affiliates and its associates over a period of time which has , in turn, meant putting a dampener on its space(political). This political maneuver was complemented by “Operation All Out” what meant and entailed killing even rump form of militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Now, since the Ramadan ceasefire, there has been a pause to militant killings and the GoI has also come up with the mantra of talks. On the face of it all, nothing is wrong with this and , in fact, talks and a meaningful dialogue are only welcome. But, the question and the actual issue is talk about what? Here, Rajnath is silent. If it is merely talking about talks, then the potential exercise will naturally not amount to much. If, it is about peace within and within, then axiomatically, it is welcome, but what would be the terms of reference for these talks? All in all questions galore arise over the nature of the offer of talks. In the final and ultimate analysis, it is only meaningful talks underpinned by sincerity and that involves all stakeholders that will resolve the conflict in and over Kashmir in all its forms and dimensions. But, essential to this exercise would be a non zero sum game and paradigm, in which one sides loss is not seen and viewed as other side’s gain. Once this paradigm is adopted and then reified , would begin the real game of give and take keeping in view the interests of all stakeholders and the aspirations of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir region. A holistic and a multi stakeholder approach with some degree of oversight to ensure transparency and that all parties remain committed to their pledges would be a useful follow up here. But, then all these are mere corollaries; the real and substantive issue is the will to talk and unshackling from the imprisoning paradigms of competing sovereigntisms and according primacy to humanitarian concerns. In essence then a larger perspective is needed for talks to be successful and longue duree, so to speak. Is Rajnath ready for this larger perspective? We shall see and time will tell.

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