Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Amarjit Singh Dulat has warned New Delhi against pushing Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to the wall.
"Sayeed needs every support. He should not be pushed to the wall. He should not be cornered. Sayeed of 2002 has mellowed a great deal. I don't know how much can he accommodate," Dulat told Hindustan Times.
The former RAW chief said the 79-year-old Sayeed knows it's his last hurrah. "Some of the things he is doing to accommodate Delhi today, he would not have done in 2002. He refused to do those things in 2002," he said.
Sceptical about the BJP-PDP surviving all the six years of its tenure, Dulat said, "I hope this coalition lasts, it survives. It must. It's a good opportunity for Kashmir and Jammu to come closer. But if you push him beyond the point, much as the old man wants to serve for six years, he might throw in the towel and that would be unfortunate."
Warning against cornering Sayeed, Dulat said it remains a fact that he decided to release hardline Hurriyat leader Masrat Alam. "New Delhi may not know it but Pakistan and (Syed Ali) Geelani knows Alam was released by him...he realised that mistake and locked him up," he said, adding that Alam is "a canny and savvy politician".
Dulat, however, is not the buyer of the state government's decision to keep separatists out of the circulation. "It will prove counterproductive," warned Dulat.
He also suggested continuation of dialogue with both separatists and Pakistan. "Guftagu band na ho; Baat sey baat chaley (Talks should not stop, but should continue)," he said adding "(Former Pakistan president) Musharraf was far more provocative than any other Pakistani has been".