Has India quietly dumped its most controversial "red line" on Hurriat leaders meeting with Pakistan?
A report in ‘The Times of India’ says so.
Almost two years after imposing a policy whereby Pakistani officials meeting Hurriyat leaders was a strictly "no-no", India has officially shifted from this position,
as it has become increasingly indefensible.
In a written answer to Parliament last week, Minister Of State For External Affairs VK Singh had stated, "Since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri 'leaders' are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India."
However, he clarified that there could be no role for any third party in Indo-Pakistan dialogue process.
"India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. India's displeasure at Pakistan's attempts to interfere in India's internal affairs has been repeatedly conveyed to Pakistan," he added.
In August 2014, NDA Government imposed a new pre-condition to talks with Pakistan, abandoning foreign secretary talks pointing out that that the Pakistani high commissioner had met Hurriyat leaders before the official talks.
Since the Agra summit in 2001, Pakistani leaders and top officials have been meeting Hurriyat leaders on regular basis without the government throwing a fit. Even though, nobody liked it in the government, but they left it at that.
In August 2015, when India and Pakistan were discussing terms of reference for a meeting between NSAs after the Ufa understanding, it was once again threat of a meeting with the Hurriyat that led to cancellation of talks at the last minute.
Pakistan Day celebrations this year saw several Hurriyat leaders in attendance, while High Commissioner Abdul Basit has also met Asiya Andrabi of Duktaran-e-Millat in April, without drawing criticism from the government.