New Delhi: In a major policy shift towards Jammu and Kashmir, the Narendra Modi-led government has reportedly termed leaders representing All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) just like any other Indian citizen who can meet any leader worldwide.
According to a report published in KASHMIRLife on Sunday, the minister of state for external affairs General VK Singh on April 28, 2016, answered a query, which had been received in the past, about the meeting between Shah and Basit. This time, the question was framed in the context of their presence at the Pakistan Day (2016) celebrations.
As per the report, Singh's written reply claimed, "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."
The deputy foreign Minister further said, "However, India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration," the report added.
Along with the People's Democratic Party, Bharatiya Janata Party recently came to power in the Valley.
Mehbooba Mufti recently took oath as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after Bharatiya Janata Party informed the governor that it was ready to support the PDP chief as the first woman CM of India's only Muslim-majority state.
The PDP at present has 27 elected members in the 87-member Kashmir assembly. The BJP has 25 and it also enjoys the support of the Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference's two MLAs and an independent from Udhampur.