NEW DELHI: Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted peaceful solution to Jammu and Kashmir situation but it did not happen in spite of his best efforts. Had he been able to settle the issue, the opposition would have been on board, writes former bureaucrat Jarnail Singh in his book With Four Prime Ministers — My PMO Journey.
The Manipur cadre IAS officer worked as joint secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office for eight years and got a chance to work with four former PMs — HD Deve Gowda, I K Gujal, Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. His book will be released Saturday and here are excerpts from the book. “If PM Vajpayee was able to settle the issue of J&K with Pakistan, it would have been easy to also take on board other opposition parties about the settlement. Alas! It did not happen in spite of the best efforts of the PM. The resolution of Kashmir issues would require someone with political views and maturity of PM Vajpayee; without that it would be difficult,” he writes.
Singh denied commenting on the abrogation of Article 370 and the detention of opposition leaders in Kashmir. “Referring to the militants and the separatists, the PM said that the gun was no solution to any problem and reiterated the Centre’s resolve to hold talks with the people of J&K and assured complete support to state government. Without naming any separatist or militant group, he reiterated India’s promise to hold a dialogue on both internal and external problems,” Singh says.