The fourth International Kashmir Peace Conference began in New York on Thursday.
Speaking at the conference, former US ambassador Dennis Kux and Pakistan Senator Mushahid Hussain hailed the recent Indo-Pak agreement to start a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad from April 7.
"The history of India and Pakistan relations has been littered with false hopes of bilateral dialogue and engagement. But, the bus service comes as something very concrete," said Kux, currently a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson center in Washington.
Hussain, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Pakistan, and Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council that organised the annual conference described the agreement very important.
Fai said the agreement between India and Pakistan on starting the bus service was a very important step towards paving the way for the ultimate resolution of the Kashmir issue.
The rocky road to Muzaffarabad
The blurring of the LoC
'Don't ask us to choose between India, Pakistan'
Not only the venue of the conference was shifted to the hotel, none of the high-profile speakers turned up because, according to the KAC, they were not given travel documents by the Indian government.
"The conference is taking place, after all," Fai told rediff.com. In case of Nayar, KAC said that the veteran journalist could not make it to the conference because of illness.
Dileep Padgoanker, consulting editor of the Times of India, however, addressed the conference as did Robert C McFarlane, former National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan. Pakistan Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram also addressed the gathering.
The participants were expected to exchange ideas on Friday as to how to go about finding ways to resolve the Kashmir issue during a free-flowing roundtable discussion.
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