Former Special Envoy's Book Reveals PM Modi's Initiative To Restart Back Channel With Pakistan In 2017

Swarajya Staff

Apr 10, 2023, 08:05 PM | Updated 08:05 PM IST

Indian PM Narendra Modi with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif 
Indian PM Narendra Modi with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif (NIRANJAN SHRESTHA/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Indian special envoy Satinder Lambah's book reveals that despite the Pathankot attack and the trial against former Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadav, among other setbacks to the peace process, the Narendra Modi government sent an emissary to restart the back channel between India and Pakistan in April 2017.

The Prime Minister's Office had conducted a review of a previous back-channel process led by Lambah for over a decade. This was the process that had nearly led to an agreement on the Line of Control in Kashmir between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

The review concluded that taking the back-channel process forward between Prime Minister Modi and then Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif would require no major changes.

The new, posthumously published book, titled In Pursuit of Peace: India-Pakistan Relations Under Six Prime Ministers, will be launched in Delhi this week, and, interestingly, it contains a first-person account of Lambah's work on India-Pakistan talks for over two decades.

However, a two-page note on events that took place just a few years ago has captured people's attention the most.

Lambah passed away in June 2022, but the book was completed before his death. The foreword was written by former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, while National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has expressed his praise for the work.

The publication sheds light on diplomatic efforts to strengthen the troubled relationship between India and Pakistan, and serves as an essential contribution to the topic.

In his book, Lambah states that he had two meetings with PM Modi in 2014 to discuss back-channel talks.

Lambah also divulges the key elements of the draft agreement between India and Pakistan, confirming its contours and listing, for the first time, 14 guidelines which informed its preparation.

The former Indian diplomat's book is significant in that it is the first time that an Indian official with firsthand knowledge has written about the 2006-07 draft agreement.

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