Govt to hold peace talks on Kashmir soon: Advani
1 April 2001
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Home Minister L K Advani has said Government proposed to hold peace talks 'soon" , possibly in May, with Kashmiri groups in India but ruled out a dialogue with Pakistan now. "We have already decided who will hold talks and how to proceed with it. But peace talks would be with groups in India, " he told Karan Thapar on BBC's Hardtalk programme to be telecast on Wednesday. Advani made it clear that "we do not propose at the moment to hold talks with Pakistan". Asked when would the talks start, the Home Minister said "I hope soon, may be in May" . On whether he would head the talks, Advani said "I would certainly be monitoring the course of the talks as being the Home Minister. But the actual talks may be conducted by others." . To a question if the Government is determined to proceed with the peace process in Jammu and Kashmir, he said "the Government will pursue the peace process in Kashmir. This has already been decided." Government had extended in February the ceasefire in J and K by three months till May end with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee expressing Centre's readiness to initiate talks with various militant groups which abjure violence. "We will not let this (peace) process be derailed, diluted or misused," Vajpayee had told the Lok Sabha on February 22 while announcing the third extension of the ceasefire.