Delegation to brief Obama on Kashmir dispute

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New Delhi, Nov 8: If official sources are to be believed, an all-party Indian delegation, which was earlier meant to participate only in the meetings of a UN Committee in New York, has also been assigned the task of apprising US President-elect Barack Obama's key aides about the Kashmir dispute and confidence building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan.

The decision was taken after Obama's recent statement regarding the Kashmir dispute, whereby he linked the resolution of the Afghanistan conflict with the Kashmir crisis. Soon after his statement, India had described it as 'pre-election rhetoric that deserves to be ignored,' but lately it is being taken seriously. "After the election of Obama as US president, India is a bit worried about the future policy of the new US administration on Kashmir," said a report in the Daily Times.

The delegation includes Kashmir Committee Convener Ashok Bhan, Priya Dutt, Vijay Bahugna, Trichi Shiv, Anant Geetey, Prahalad Joshi, Sukhdev Paswan, Jaya Pradha and Jabir Hussain.

"Yes, we will interact with Obama's close aides and apprise them of the progress made in the peace process between India and Pakistan and also in Indian-held Kashmir," said a member of the delegation. He added the involvement of any third party in the Kashmir dispute would complicate the matter.

The Indian External Affairs Ministry organised a special briefing for the delegation on the issues to be raised at the UN and with the new US administration. The delegation was assigned to lobby for securing a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

The delegation was told to apprise Washington about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's vision for the economic resurgence and the empowerment of the Kashmiri people. The team will discuss bilateral relations with US officials in view of the recently signed Indo-US nuclear deal.

Experts in New Delhi believe that some advisers of Obama are determined to make US civil nuclear co-operation with India difficult by clamping restrictions on the reprocessing of the used nuclear fuel. US Democrats have been strong advocates of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).


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