Norway is the latest country, following Turkey, willing to mediate between India and Pakistan to solve the ‘Kashmir issue’. The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg offered the olive branch to both nations, over Kashmir, provided they are ready for it. Solberg said the Kashmir issue in no way can be solved through a military standpoint. She said popular support is important. In regards to playing a role of mediator, Solberg said “If there is an interest from the partners, we will try to use the mechanisms that we know. We have been working quite a lot in different countries but we always have this one basic thinking. The partners need to want to sit down by the table and discuss. Then of course, if there is a need for a mediator, a need for a facilitator to fix, even though these are two very big countries that should manage to sort out things between themselves.”
In November 2018, a former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik visited Kashmir, and had been briefed by the Hurriyat leaders, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, about the valley’s ‘fragile’ political situation and the dire need for a resolution. Political observers, the world over, have commended Norway’s engagement in a number of peace and reconciliation processors as facilitator. According to Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, many of the global security threats are symptoms of unresolved political issues. “The result is violence and states losing control over their territory and borders. The challenge lies in not merely relieving the symptoms, but in helping to address some of the underlying causes. Through peace and reconciliation work, we support local, regional and international efforts to bring about lasting political solutions,” official in Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Norway also sees active participation of women as essential to resolving conflicts and creating lasting peace. Its foreign ministry states that women should be represented at the negotiating table and in the broader peace process, to ensure that the entire population has the ability to influence the process and feels a sense of ownership of the politically negotiated solutions. The ball is now in India’s court. New Delhi has to give ‘Kashmir Peace’ some thought. It cannot leave the state bloodied and let the armed forces go on a killing spree. It needs to actively draw in all the stakeholders including the Hurriyat for a ‘much needed two-way dialogue’.