He hoped the gains made by India of stemming efforts to internationalise the Kashmir problem were not squandered.
He said the prime minister revealed for the first time that secret envoys from India and Pakistan had almost arrived at a meeting to resolve the conflict on Kashmir.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said Pakistan had been advocating an interim resolution on Kashmir comprising “unacceptable measures”, including maintenance of territorial status quo, demilitarisation, dilution of the Line of Control (LoC) and a tripartite joint mechanism to take decisions for a specified period pending a final solution.
He said some Pakistani observers and Kashmiri groups also spoke about the currency of the two countries to be a valid tender in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I do not know if any or all of these were a subject matter of the ‘almost arrived at’ resolution. I hope the truth is otherwise and I do not have to wait for the memoirs of the prime minister to know the truth,” Jaitley said.
He took a dig at the prime minister over his remarks that “history will judge” him differently from contemporary accounts.
“… It is eminently desirable the prime minister takes the nation into confidence of what the specifics he had in mind about the failed solution,” he said.
Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said he always believed the Nehruvian vision of giving a separate status to Jammu and Kashmir was flawed and the journey of the past 67 years has been from separate status towards separatism.
“The Congress stands for separate status, the National Conference advocates pre-1953 status, the PDP talks of self-rule, the separatists talk of ‘Azadi’. Each one of these is intended to dilute India’s sovereignty. Their intention is to weaken the constitutional and political link between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country. It is in this context one needs to know the details of what this ‘almost arrived at’ agreed resolution between Manmohan Singh’s government and Pakistan was,” Jaitley said.
He said “breakthrough” points like LoC dilution and a tripartite arrangement would be a de facto acceptance of Jammu and Kashmir being a disputed territory.
“It is with great difficulty that Indian diplomacy has achieved a non-internationalisation of the Kashmir issue and an internationalisation of cross-border terrorism. By even suggesting such a resolution, we could squander all gains. De-militarisation of the valley without dismantling the terror infrastructure by Pakistan would be disastrous. I hope the government was not working in this direction,” he said.
He said Pakistan has not reconciled to Kashmir being integral to India’s sovereignty and used warfare and terrorism to achieve its ends.
“India firmly believes the age and era of re-drawing boundaries is over. India’s negotiating space on territory in the context of Kashmir resolution is negligible,” Jaitley said.