New Delhi:India has created a “mess” in Kashmir in the past 15 months, India’s former Intelligence chief said during a debate with a former Pakistani head of Intelligence in London on Friday night, urging the need for “imagination” and dialogue going forward.
“It’s high time we started talking,” said Amarjit Singh Dulat, former Research and Analysis Wing head, who spoke at a packed event held by the London School of Economics’ South Asia Forum, on the ability of intelligence agencies to do good — seen as a rare occasion when top figures from both services had come together at a public venue.
“Heavy-handedness has never worked in Kashmir …actually it doesn’t work anywhere as we’ve seen recently in Spain,” Mr. Dulat said at the start of the debate.
“I think if there is one message that comes out of Kashmir, not today, not yesterday or the day before but as far back as one can remember…you can achieve a lot through love and compassion but you can never achieve it by force. That is the mistake we have created in the last 15 months,” Mr. Dulat said. “Kashmir is part of India, an integral part of India and it’s not going anywhere but we need to deal with Kashmir in a more civilised manner.”
Opening the debate, Ehsan-ul-Haq, the former director general of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, said the situation in Kashmir, which had remained the oldest unresolved international dispute and the core issue in India-Pakistan relation, had taken a ”turn for the worse” since last July.He said security forces had tackled protests with singular “ruthlessness” and flagged the “shocking and indiscriminate” use of pellet guns.