The ice has thawed, says Farooq
17 July 2000
New Delhi: J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said he had been able to ''break the ice'' with the Centre over autonomy after he met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee this evening. The discussions cleared the air between the Centre and the NC and boosted chances of better understanding in view of the Pakistani threat perception. Shortly after the one-to-one meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Abdullah said, ''I have presented my views before the Prime Minister. There is no cutoff mark''. He refrained from divulging his list of demands merely saying, ''We have decided to work unitedly to strengthen India and J&K''. Mr Abdullah''s emphasis on a cut-off mark also indicated a paradigm shift in his thinking. It was clear he was not in the confrontationist mode beyond a point. But at the same time he would like to pursue autonomy within possible parameters. On whether the National Conference would continue to be part of the National Democratic Alliance, Mr Abdullah retorted, ''Had I ever said that I was not in the NDA?'' The J&K Chief Minister said, ''I hope the talks which begin today will continue and we will be able to find some solution soon''. Koi ek meeting mein thodi pahad choo leta hain (You don''t resolve all the problems in one meeting).