The Kashmir issue cannot be placed on the back-burner since durable peace in the region can be achieved only by addressing it “upfront”, Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit said on Wednesday.
Addressing members of two think tanks in Bengaluru, Basit said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a vision for peace and development in South Asia that would be “achieved sooner rather than later through collective efforts”.
Basit said: “When it comes to Kashmir, there is no backburner. If history is any guide, the dispute must be addressed upfront for a lasting peace in the region.”
There are” countless opportunities” between India and Pakistan and the two countries must move from conflict management to conflict resolution, he said.
South Asia is the world’s least integrated region and this calls for serious reflection and course correction, he said.
Cities like Bengaluru can play an important role in creating synergies in multiple economic and social sectors, Basit said. He expressed the hope Bengaluru would reach out to Pakistani cities to create a win-win situation.
Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif recently managed to key in Kashmir on the US-Pakistan joint statement on his bilateral visit to America, a tour closely watched by India.
On longtime Pakistani efforts to involve the US in Kashmir, Sharif was told that won’t happen unless both India and Pakistan asked for it together.
India has all along resisted any third-party involvement over Kashmir. And the official insisted there is no change in US policy of letting the two countries resolve it bilaterally.