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Important third RTC on Kashmir in New Delhi on April 24

The round table conference would discuss demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir with all the angles attached to it, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2007 20:59 IST
Arun Joshi

The third Round Table Conference on Kashmir scheduled to be held on April 24 would discuss demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir with all the angles attached to it and also the recommendations of the four out of the five working groups constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Srinagar last year.

It is after a gap of almost one year that the third round table conference on Kashmir will be held. The second round table conference was held in Srinagar on May 24-25 last year. The preliminary discussions were held between Prime Minister and Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in New Delhi on Thursday evening. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil was also part of the deliberations.

The most contentious issue of demilitarization would also figure in the conference, where all the political parties are expected to put across their point of view, regardless of the fact that the Centre has already announced formation of three panels to look into the "relocation and reconfiguration of troops" in the state.

The chief minister has been arguing all along that the best forum to discuss the issue of troop's reductrion or their relocation is the RTC or the working groups constituted by the Prime Minister.

Azad returned to Jammu on Friday and shared the details of the proposed agenda of the third RTC with his colleagues and told them that the reports of the four of the five working groups were ready and those would be placed at the RTC.

The reports of the four working groups- (a) confidence building measures; (b) strengthening of the relations on both sides of the Line of Control; (c) economic development and (d) good governance have submitted their reports. These reports would be debated at the RTC, while the report of the fifth working group, dealing with Centre-State relations would be taken up at a later date.

Chief Minister said that the third roundtable conference would discuss the recommendations of working groups and "provide yet another opportunity to representatives of political parties, ethnic groups and opinion leaders from all the three regions to deliberate upon all issues."

Maintaining that peace is imperative for the all round development and prosperity of the state, Azad said that "state and central governments have started a process of composite dialogue and roundtable conferences are part of this process."

"All of us have to discharge a historic role and contribute for cultivating peace in the state", he said.

The demand for the third RTC to be held in the near future was voiced by PDF and CPI (M) and also Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party.

However, All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has cautioned that the holding of the third RTC without India and Pakistan having reached any consensus on Kashmir solution would be a "time-wasting" exercise. He has sought a wait and watch approach.

The separatists have been boycotting the RTCs. First RTC was held in New Delhi on February 25, and second on May 24-25 last year.

First Published: Apr 13, 2007 20:52 IST