Former intelligence chief given unrestricted mandate, indicating that even separatist leaders will be consulted

The Indian government has announced it will commence talks in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir with all parties, including separatists who are calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan.

The move was seen as particularly significant coming from a government led by a staunch Hindu nationalist, Narendra Modi, who has previously taken a tough line on the 30-year-old conflict in India’s only Muslim-majority state.

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