Chandigarh: Kashmiri Muslims are extremely moderate and, therefore, it is unlikely that the ISIS could get into Kashmir, according to former RAW chief A.S. Dulat.
Speaking at a session on Taliban and ISIS’ influence in Kashmir at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh Friday, Dulat said: “Although there was increased radicalisation in Kashmir, it is unlikely that ISIS will take roots in Kashmir.”
But, talking to ThePrint after the session was over, Dulat said there could be isolated cases of Kashmiri locals getting influenced by the ISIS ideology. “It needs to be etched very carefully what method the government adopts to contain such a possibility,” he said.
Highlighting that the Kashmir issue can’t be solved militarily, Dulat said, “It is a political issue. It is an emotive issue.”
The three-day annual festival was organised by the Punjab government. Governor V.P. Singh Badnore inaugurated the festival Friday.
‘High time for India to engage with the Taliban’
Speaking at a session on ‘The ISI, Taliban and Afghanistan’, former diplomat and author Vivek Katju said it was high time that India gives up its inhibition and engage with the Taliban as part of its Afghanistan policy.
“A radicalised Afghanistan will be a big challenge. Taliban is a medieval force and we might not agree with their ideology. We don’t have to like them. But we can talk to them and let’s see how a new dynamic can emerge,” he said.
“When Kabul itself is in talks with them, why should we not do it? They are desperate to talk to us but we suffer from the adage — muddai sust aur gavah chust (the complainant is lazy, but the witness is enthusiastic). Don’t know why we resist talking to the Taliban. We should take a realistic view of the situation,” he added.
Echoing similar sentiments, Major General (retired) B.N. Sharma said India should talk to the Taliban — but covertly. “Surreptitious channels can be opened and there are many in the Taliban who want to talk to India,” he said.
Pakistan-Afghanistan expert Christine Fair, however, said she doesn’t want to tell any country what it should do but the fact is everyone is engaging with the Taliban.
“The Chinese are doing it. The Taliban is going to be back in some form and the writing is on the wall,” she added.
At the session on the Taliban and ISIS influence in Kashmir, Lieutenant General (retired) Ata Hasnain said the main focus of the Taliban in the months to come will be Afghanistan. “It will not get into Khilafat at this stage. They will be busy fighting the local government,” he said.