Norway PM urges Pakistan, India to enter into dialogue

New Delhi: Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg has urged Pakistan and India to enter into dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute as there is no military solution to the issue. In an interview, she said there is need to have good trust between the partners in any region where there is a conflict. Referring to last year`s visit of former Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik to Jammu and Kashmir, Ms Solberg said we have learnt that on Kashmir issue popular support needs to be brought-in by getting women and youth into peace process and ensuring solid peace in the area. Replying to a question about mediation by Norwegian Government for resolution of Kashmir dispute, she said if Pakistan and India show interest then Norway can offer such mechanisms it has been offering in other regions for resolving such disputes.      She said both countries should decrease their military spending and work more to boost development in other sectors like health and education.   Last November, the former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik, made headlines when he visited Jammu and Kashmir and met pro-freedom leaders. He was on a private visit at the invitation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and then went on to meet leaders in Azad Kashmir. Norway has a long history of conflict resolution and Bondevik had played a key role in the resolution of the conflict with Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka a few years ago. When asked on Bondevik’s view that there can be no military solution to Kashmir, Ms Solberg said, “I don’t think there is a military solution to any situation like this. I think you have to have a popular support. You have to have good trust between the partners in any region where still there is a conflict but we don’t have a special meaning about whether it is a military solution in Kashmir or not. What we have learnt is that you have to bring in popular support and by getting women and youth into a peace process and that’s when you build a solid peace in an area where there have been a conflict.” Ms Solberg said the former PM’s visit to Kashmir was strictly a private one, which did not involve either government. “He was invited and he wanted to see if there were some possibilities of helping out but there was no official mission and he was not on a mission from the Norwegian government,” she said. She also said India and Pakistan should be talking more to each other and should decrease military expenditure “because we need more money for other areas to boost development – on health, education, but I think that means that you have to try to decrease tension between countries. After such a long time. It’s a long time since 1947.” Meanwhile, the Chairman of Hurriyat forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has welcomed the statement of Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, in which she stated that her country is willing to mediate on the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India. In a tweet he said, the offer of mediation by Norwegian Prime Minister will facilitate peace in the region.