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Singh, Musharraf came close to striking Kashmir deal: WikiLeaks

04 September, 2011

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NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan had through "back channels" agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then President Pervez Musharraf, reveals a recent WikiLeaks cable.

According to the US embassy cable - dated April 21, 2009 - Singh confirmed this to a visiting US delegation, led by then House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman in April, 2009, saying that the solution included free trade and movement across LoC.

Singh told the US delegation that Delhi and Islamabad had made great progress prior to February 2007, when President Musharraf ran into trouble. "We had reached an understanding in back channels," he related, says the cable, in which Musharraf had agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir. Singh went on to add that India wanted a strong, stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan and makes no claim on "even an inch" of Pakistani territory.

Singh, however, does not make any direct reference to Musharraf's template in the WikiLeak cable. Musharraf had said, unlike in the case with PM Vajpayee, it was actually with Singh that Pakistan moved towards an agreement over the issue.

Reminding Berman and other US delegates that India had lost more than 150 of its citizens in the Mumbai attacks, Singh said it would be possible to resume dialogue only if Pakistan would "behave as a civilised country and bring the perpetrators to justice. Now, Pakistani leaders had to stick to commitments made to PM Vajpayee and repeated to PM Singh in 2005 that they would not permit attacks on India launched from Pakistani soil. If so, huge trade opportunities awaited, according to the PM, who added that a strong Indian constituency favoured normalised relations," the cable says.

Recalling the July 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Singh asserted that it had been carried out "with the active encouragement" of Pakistan's ISI and that he had raised the issue with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.

Also, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former National Security Advisor M K Narayanan held different opinions about talks with Pakistan, another cable released by WikiLeaks revealed.

The former advisor described Dr Singh as a "great believer" in talks and negotiations with Islamabad, while Narayanan himself was "not a great believer in Pakistan". He added that after the prime minister spoke about India's "shared destiny" with Pakistan, he told the PM "you have a shared destiny, we don't".

After a series of blunders, WikiLeaks on Friday dumped its entire archive of 251,287 unfiltered and unedited secret US diplomatic cables online, drawing an angry response from its media collaborators.

End.

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