India is set to declare a state of “independence day” on April 18, as it pushes to reunify with its “partitionist” past.
A government statement on Tuesday said India was “ready to implement a complete and independent solution” to the long-running Kashmir dispute, including the “return” of Kashmiri Pandits.
The statement by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government would ensure that “the Kashmiri people and their demands are not ignored”.
The announcement came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a visit to the Himalayan country, called on the “people of Kashmir” to return to their ancestral lands, and promised that “justice will be done”.
The government has also promised to set up a “pact of peace” with the region’s majority Muslim majority.
The announcement was welcomed by Kashmiri separatists, who have called for an independent state to emerge in the region, where they claim most of the country’s land.
The government statement said “the people of Kashmir want a united and peaceful future for their homeland”, and added that “this is a crucial moment for all Kashmiris to return home and live as one people, free from any discrimination and oppression”.
The separatist movement, which is in the midst of a major campaign against the government, has been calling for the “freedom and dignity” of all Kashmiri Muslims, who they consider illegal migrants.