18 January, 2021

A Hidden Agenda

Is Benazir Bhutto's offer for talks as well-meaning as it seems?

A Hidden Agenda
JUST days after the Deve Gowda Government assumed office, the Indian foreign office was taken completely by surprise by a Pakistani diplomatic initiative. After a lull of two-and-a-half years, Islamabad made an effusive offer of 'unconditional talks' with India to settle, as Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto put it, "the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir and other outstanding matters between our two countries".

The last serious Indo-Pak contact was in January 1994 when the then foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, J.N. Dixit and Shahryar Khan, respectively, met in Islamabad. The talks were followed up by the two countries exchanging non-papers. After that there has been absolutely no contact largely because Pakistan has insisted that unless India agrees to a 'meaningful' dialogue on Kashmir, there is no point in discussing other bilateral issues like the Tulbul barrage, Sir Creek and Siachen.

 Interestingly, the meeting between Dixit and Khan had followed a message of felicitation sent by the then Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to Bhutto on her...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Sunil Narula

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section