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Musharraf ready to consider Kashmir proposals if made formally

India is ready to consider Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s new proposals on disputed Kashmir if they are made formally through diplomatic channels, Foreign Minister Natwar Singh said. “A proposal made at Iftaar (a religious dinner party) cannot be accepted as a formal proposal. If such a formal proposal is made, we will certainly look at it,” Singh told reporters in comments broadcast on Indian television Saturday. At a reception of government officials, diplomats and media last month, Musharraf called for debate on ways to end the bitter feud over Kashmir that has triggered two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed rivals since their independence from Britain in 1947. His suggestions included independence or joint control of the Himalayan state, or demilitarising it and placing sections under United Nations mandate. New Delhi announced Thursday it would cut the number of troops stationed in Indian Kashmir, mainly Hindu India’s only Muslim-majority state, where a revolt against Indian rule has raged since 1989. Pakistan has said the troop reduction could aid peace in the Himalayan region divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both. Last week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India was willing to “look at all options” to resolve the dispute over the region. But India has refused to respond in detail to Musharraf’s proposals, saying it would not negotiate through the media.Full Story

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