The Kashmir issue

Kashmir protest

The American President’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said that the USA has decided on a roadmap to solving the Kashmir dispute between the two South Asian neighbours, and this will be presented to the two countries soon. Ambassador Holbrooke, in an interview to a US magazine, also disclosed that he would visit both countries soon in order to get the stalled composite dialogue process started once again. Ambassador Holbrooke was also quick to say that the USA recognised that both countries did not want outside interference, but since they were both nuclear-armed, the USA was working behind the scenes to make sure they resolved their disputes peaceably.

While there must be significance attached to Ambassador Holbrooke’s desire to assuage Indian sensibilities, he is merely reflecting President Barack Obama’s campaign rhetoric, which did not see peace coming to the subcontinent until the Kashmir issue, which is the core bilateral dispute, was resolved. However, the USA does not have a track record of successful resolutions of disputes, especially if they involve Muslims, Palestine being a case in point. The USA needs a resolution to avoid nuclear war for the country it hopes will be a counterweight to China in future, and the one it needs to carry on its ill-fated War on Terror. For the time, because of its goals in the region, it will try to work for a solution that suits India.

However, the USA and the rest of the international community should recognize that India only holds on to a part of Kashmir through a forced occupation that involves a million troops, and that the only just and lasting solution is the holding of a plebiscite to determine the will of the Kashmiri people, as laid down in the UN resolutions on the subject. Ambassador Holbrooke has merely shown himself as willing to serve the Indian agenda, not just in Afghanistan, but also Kashmir.– The Nation

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