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Insaniyat, Jamhuriyat, Kashmiriyat: Understanding Vajpayee’s Kashmir doctrine


New Delhi, Aug 16: In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi while speaking on the Kashmir policy said that the government would take Atal Bihari Vajpayee's approach to resolve the dispute.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

On the Kashmir issue, Vajpayee as Prime Minister of India invoked the doctrine, 'Insaniyat, (humanity), Jamhuriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat ( identity of the Kashmir people). This largely came to be known as the Vajpayee doctrine.

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The doctrine was acclaimed by various sections within India and the world over as well. The main point of the doctrine was to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including that of Jammu and Kashmir in a peaceful manner. This needed to be done through bi-lateral dialogue and not with any third party intervention he felt.

On February 19 1999, he carried India's message of peace to Pakistan during a bus journey to Lahore. At the Governor's House in Lahore, he delivered a passionate speech. He also visited the Minar-e-Pakistan where he re-affirmed India's commitment to the existence of Pakistan.

The hand of friendship:

While extending his hand of friendship, he called for a collective fight against terror, drug-trafficking and poverty. Vajpayee also signed the Lahore Declaration with then prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. Both sides decided to resolve all bi-lateral issues including that of Jammu and Kashmir in a peaceful manner.

His speech in Pakistan was not just passionate, but very emotional as well. This had even prompted Sharif to say, ' Vajpayee saheb, you can win an election in Pakistan as well."

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The Delhi Lahore bus service called the Soda-e-Sarhad was launched in an attempt to promote peace. Even when General Pervez Musharaff launched the Kargil attack, the bus service was not terminated by Vajpayee. However following the Parliament attack on December 13 2001, the bus service had to be temporarily suspended. It was however restored in 2003 after Pakistan assured India that it would not allow its territory to be used for terror activities.

Vajpayee had shown immense restraint to ensure that the peace process did not derail despite several attempts by Pakistan to derail the process. Pakistan made several attempts to provoke which included the Khandahar hijack and Parliament attack as well.

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