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Will the US intervention resolve Kashmir issue?

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 4, 2009

The Third Side

www.risingkashmir.com/?option=com_content&task=view&id=12894 – 30k –


Will the US intervention resolve Kashmir issue?
Ubaid Mushtaq

This refers to the recent statement made by Robert Blackwill in an interview on NDTV 24/7. Robert Blackwill (former US ambassador to India) in a statement said that India might face the pressure from Obama administration over resolving the Kashmir issue. But will the US involvement in this long pending issue make any difference now. The political status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been a bone of contention between Pakistan and India since the two countries emerged from the event of partition.

Years and years of animosity between these two nations have made the one billion plus people of this subcontinent think in terms of peace. Despite the fact that Kashmir has a peculiar history and the promise of a plebiscite was made to them in the United Nations Security Council, both Pakistan and India claim this state to be their part in entirety.
Pakistan’s contestation is rooted in the logic of partition and two-nation theory which granted the Muslims of India a separate homeland. On the other hand India contends that giving up on Kashmir signifies an inability of India to exist as a secular state. While both countries continue to blame each other for continued tensions over the dispute, Kashmir issue remains like apple of discard.
But now after the swiftly changing situations in this region, as well as from a humanitarian point of view, resolving the conflict in Kashmir is becoming critical to restoring global peace and stability. Past bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan failed to yield any kind of solution to Kashmir issue. But it is logical that the bilateral negotiations between parties that are unequal often breakdown unless the stronger side can prevail on its hardliners and put forward solutions that take the sensibilities of the weaker side into consideration. Thus a sustainable solution to the Kashmir dispute is only likely if a third party that wields much influence over both sides gets involved in its resolution. And for this US has played an important role in initiating and sustaining India-Pakistan composite dialogue over past many years. But in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, things slightly went under a change. The attention got diverted on to fighting so called war on terrorism in this region.
The dynamics of Kashmir conflict have undergone a drastic change since 9/11 due to dramatic changes wrought by US war on terrorism in the region. The US now focus on fighting terrorism, extremism and Islamic fundamentalism, most of the times all linked together has put tremendous pressure on Pakistan’s role in Kashmir policy and on Kashmir itself. Since 9/11, terrorism has emerged as the most sensitive issue in the international relations and the Americans are particularly sensitive on the topic. Singing along with the Americans, the Indians have all along diverted the attention of world from the Kashmir issue and also blended it with US war on terrorism.
However in light of recent statement by US president Barak Hussein Obama that he would appoint a special envoy for resolving the Kashmir dispute; and the statement by Robert Blackwill that India might face pressure to resolve this issue, a new hope for the resolution of this conflict is once again in air. But before deliberating on this it is important to review the complex evolution of India and Pakistan’s Kashmir strategy on this issue and the drastic changes in these nations over these few Years, since 9/11. And now will the US involvement in the issue really make any difference?
In the aftermath of 9/11, India found the best possible opportunity to advance its agenda on Kashmir issue throughout the world. India placed the war on terrorism and Kashmir on the same plane. India have largely succeeded in bringing the pressure on Pakistan for its Kashmir policy (supporting militant groups). This is despite the fact that the Indian authorities have themselves failed to manage the Indian part of Kashmir adequately throughout its history and, particularly during recent uprising over Amarnath land row. Since 9/11 the India’s position on Kashmir issue has hardened and it finds the best possible opportunity to advance its agenda on Kashmir and draw maximum benefit from the changed international opinion in favour of fighting terrorism. India sees itself now as a big power and no longer as a defender of the weak and the underdeveloped world. India’s economic interests are closely tied with the US after the much controversial Indo-US nuclear deal.
The hallmark of Indian government over the few years is to make deals with nations like Israel, USA and Russia primarily because to suppress its Muslim neighbouring countries and to play the same role as America is playing throughout world. It sees itself as the main partner of the US in the region. Apart from its closeness to the US, India has also developed a special relationship with America’s strong ally, Israel particularly in the sphere of defense. It is one of the biggest customers for Israeli weapons and Israeli defense chiefs have visited India in recent years to propose training in counterinsurgency for Indian troops in occupied Kashmir, based on Israeli experience in occupied Palestine. So with these affairs India finds itself as the powerful nation and in the driving seat in this region.
On the other hand Pakistan’s rationale for covert war in Kashmir to bleed India into a state of abject weakness, after which it would presumably quit Kashmir, also failed to meet up any conclusion. Indian forces, both regular and paramilitary, did sustain high losses in Kashmir. But no evidence suggests any real weakening of Indian strength. On the opposite, as particularly evidenced during the Kargil war, an unprecedented show of national unity emerged in India.
The rise of virulent Hindutva forces can be traced directly to anti-Pakistan feelings and the Kashmir situation. And after actively taking part in America’s so called war on terror Pakistan itself finds caught in internal conflicts as is witnessed these days and is on the brink of great crisis, that can even leas to its collapse. The home grown radicals and other issues within the country have consequently impacted the Pakistan’s role in the Kashmir issue.
The quickly changing approaches in this region and particularly in India and Pakistan demand an immediate need for resolution of Kashmir issue. Obama administration has the main role to play in this whole scenario. The best course for New Delhi is to give due consideration to Pakistan’s top leaderships for resolving the Kashmir dispute. The stress should be on the opinion of general Kashmiri people. There is nothing unacceptable in this suggestion because it’s just a democratic principle acknowledged throughout the civilised world. The US can play a very important and pivotal role by constructively engaging India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris to initiate a structured and sustained dialogue on Kashmir issue. And to find a solution that is in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmir people.

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