//India holds talks with separatists

India holds talks with separatists

NEW DELHI, Jan. 25 (UPI) — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held secret talks with key Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The Hindu newspaper said Wednesday Singh and national security advisor M.K. Narayanan held secret talks with prominent Kashmiri separatist leaders involved in the Kashmir conflict, including Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik.

"Malik had met Singh and Narayanan before leaving for the United States in November last. The meeting explored what could be done to facilitate an open dialogue between Singh and various separatist groups," said a source in the Prime Minister’s Office.

He said Narayanan last week held a separate meeting with Farooq Kathwari, a well-connected ethnic Kashmiri businessman who heads the U.S.-based Kashmir Study Group.

His group has plans for an ethnic religious separation of Jammu and Kashmir. Kathwari also supports the various proposals suggested by Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf for the resolution of Kashmir dispute.

Kathwari visited the Prime Minister’s Office twice during his 10-day stay in New Delhi, but was unable to meet with Singh.

"Narayanan told Kathwari that Pakistan’s proposals for the demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir cold only be implemented if President Musharraf delivered on his promises to end terrorism," said an official.

Singh also held a meeting with Vijay Sazawal Jan. 11 to discuss the involvement of the minority pundit community in the current peace process. Sazawal is a U.S. national who played a vital role in debates in the United States on issues relating to the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.