As India and Pakistan restored peace talks over pending issues including Kashmir, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday slammed the country's first political family of late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru whose 'lack of courage' led to the Kashmir issue remaining unresolved.
In the latest entry on his blog, http://blog.lkadvani.in, the BJP leader also slammed late chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah whose ambition to be the leader of independent Kashmir also contributed to the issue.
Advani said neither the government of Nehru in New Delhi nor the government of Abdullah in Srinagar believed that Jammu and Kashmir needed to be fully integrated into the Indian union.
'In the case of Abdullah, the problem was his ambition to become the unquestioned leader of a virtually independent Kashmir. In the case of Nehruji, it was a matter of lack of courage, firmness and foresight,' Advani said.
He said that Article 370, which gives a special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian constitution, had 'emboldened' secessionist forces in the state to carry out their 'poisonous propaganda that (Kashmir's) accession to India is not final and that Kashmir, in particular, is not a part of India.'
Advani wrote that India had lost two opportunities to settle the issue once and for all with Pakistan -- one in the 1947 war when Nehru ruled the country and the other in the 1971 Bangladesh war when Nerhu's daughter Indira Gandhi was at the helm.
'Our countrymen should know that the Kashmir problem is Nehru family's special 'gift' to the nation,' he wrote in a sarcastic vein.
'Nehruji's blunder was totally avoidable. The consequences of this 'gift' are Pakistan's export of cross-border terrorism and religious extremism, thousands of lives of our security personnel and civilians and tens of thousands of crores of rupees spent on military and paramilitary defence.'
The BJP leader's comments come days after India and Pakistani in foreign secretary level talks in Islamabad discussed a range of issues relating to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir and the promotion of trade.
Advani also warned against giving any autonomy to the state because 'the implications must be understood'.