Hurriyat softens stand, ready for talks
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the talks between Hurriyat and New Delhi as a "meeting of minds".india Updated: May 04, 2006 13:21 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kashmir's main political separatists said on Wednesday they had agreed to establish a system to discuss solutions to the dispute over the Himalayan region.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella alliance of nearly two dozen political separatist groups, said after talks with Singh the two sides had agreed to work together to seek a lasting solution to the dispute over Kashmir.
"To carry this decision forward, we have undertaken to evolve very shortly a mechanism to carry out a continuous dialogue," Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters.
Singh described the talks as a "meeting of minds", his spokesman said. It was the second meeting between the two sides since Singh took power in 2004.
"This augurs well for the future of Jammu and Kashmir, for the people of India and our region," spokesman Sanjaya Baru quoted Singh as saying.
It was the first time the Hurriyat and New Delhi had agreed to seek sustained negotiations to try to resolve the dispute.
However any lasting solution would also have to involve Pakistan. Islamic militant groups who have fought a separatist revolt in Indian Kashmir since 1989 are opposed to any compromise with New Delhi.
The Hurriyat's ability to make progress would also require it to forge unity with other political separatist groups.