Kashmir Conflict: Possible Solutions

Kashmir is an issue which has been long standing left from history for conclusion. In the 15 years since the beginning of the terrorist attacks on the part of Kashmir which comes under India from the year 1989, 45000 people have been killed. This issue has become more complex as it is no longer a political issue but a religious issue.

Today the talk of war is everywhere. Everybody fears that both India and Pakistan are on the verge of a battle. But it is evident too that if this happens it would mean a severe toll in human and material terms for both countries. On 4 January 1948, Mahatma Gandhi had said in his speech that, “Mistakes were made on both sides. Of this we have no doubt. But this does not mean that we should persist in those mistakes, for then in the end we shall only destroy ourselves in a war and the whole of the subcontinent will pass into the hands of some third power. That will be the worst imaginable fate for us. I shudder to think of it. Therefore the two Dominions should come together with God as witness and find a settlement.” (Gandhi para 1).

This forecast made by Mahatma Gandhi has come true that till date no resolution has been achieved and still both the nations are standing eyeball to eyeball to fight the fiercest battle ever.

Question, Hypothesis and Data Matrix

Is war one of the solutions?

  • Right Hypothesis: NO. “Any attack and its retaliation which results in huge devastation will make both the countries heavily dependent technologically and economically on the West and they will have to ultimately roll back their strategic programs. As boundaries cannot be altered by any conventional mean either, there is no military solution to the problem.” (Amit)
  • Wrong Hypothesis: MAYBE. Ever since the partition India and Pakistan have been in a proxy war. “The competition of control over Jammu and Kashmir led to the first war between India and Pakistan in 1947. Michael Brecher has considered India Pakistan relations to be in ‘a state of undeclared war.’” (Dhrubajyoti)
  • Data: “India’s relations with Pakistan have been greatly strained since the very beginning. The main cause for the strained relations between the two has been dispute over borders, distribution of properties, Kashmir etc. Though India was able to resolve the other issues by mutual negotiations, the Kashmir issue continues to be a permanent irritant.” (Dhrubajyoti)

Are the local Kashmiris of the area having a role to play?

  • Right Hypothesis: YES. “The people of Kashmir can vote for a peaceful, democratic and secular Special Administered Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be jointly administered by the governments of India and Pakistan. By this kind of voting, they would give up the right to seek independence from either India or Pakistan.” (Amit).
  • Wrong Hypothesis: NO. “There is a popular perception that the people of Kashmir are dissatisfied with the Indian rule and there is a popular support within for Pakistani rule. But, on October 2001 there was a devastating terrorist attack on the Kashmiri assembly in Srinagar in which 38 people were killed. After the attack, the Chief Minister of the India administered Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, called on the Indian government to launch a war against militant training camps across the border in Pakistan.” (Dhrubajyoti)
  • Data: Time and again India and Pakistan have decided upon having the Kashmir issue resolved but every time the terrorism which has been hampered upon India by the Pakistan based terrorists have ruined the efforts. Also, signals have been received from Pakistan against any viable option which would be suitable for India as well.

Is it important to get the issue intervened by a third party, namely the USA?

  • Right Hypothesis: NO. The conflict between India and Pakistan is a matter which is best resolved within the two nations. Any intervention by the USA would not be without it considering its personal agendas. Its support can be biased based on who supports it. “India watched with concern as Pakistan again emerged as a frontline state in the latest U.S. assault on Afghanistan as Pakistan now had a chance to improve its economy and rehabilitate itself in the Western world. (Dhrubajyoti)
  • Wrong Hypothesis: YES. “The issue requires urgent control and management by the West, particularly by the US. The US also needs to turn some of the zones of conflicts into the zones of reconciliation not only to get political support for developing and deploying NMD but also to make world multipolar shared regionalism.(Amit para 1).
  • Data: It is learnt that the Obama administration has asked the famous security analyst Stephan Cohen to study the Kashmir issue. In the past, India had raised objection on the US decision to appoint a former president, Bill Clinton, as point man on Kashmir and now it has been stated by the US that it does not wish to do any mediation on the Kashmir issue.

Is China a party to the Kashmir conflict?

Rarely stated though, this issue touches the bilateral relations of the nations relevant, one of them being China. Chen Yiwu, a Pakistan based correspondent of the People’s Daily had given an evaluation on the Kashmir issue for the advantage of the people of China. It is prominent for its significance as it provides an insight on the Chinese official stand. He has taken into consideration all the peace talks between India and Pakistan since November 29, 2004 and the historic events that have occurred surrounding the Kashmir issue.

Only recently China asked India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful and friendly consultations and asked if they need to play a role to resolve this bilateral issue.

China too has Aksi China Kashmiri territory under its control since the war of 1962 and later in 1963 was given 5000 square kilometers as gift from Pakistan. Thus, China has no role in resolving the Kashmir issue. Its role comes only when the Kashmir dispute is resolved.

Developments at the LOC

Since November 2003 India and China have maintained a ceasefire on the Line of Control (LOC) while maintaining their control on their respective parts of Kashmir. All this while long term solutions are being sought by Delhi and Islamabad with collective measures on the sole topic which has led both the countries to war thrice since 1947. At the functional level, this supposed ceasefire has given time to India to do its fencing to reduce the cross border terrorism and drug trafficking etc.

All the other developments, including the bus and train service from India to Pakistan and vise versa have harbingered a turnabout in the India Pakistan bilateral issue.

Kashmir issue is threat to world peace

Although the Kashmir dispute is a legacy of the India- Pakistan partition but the threat that it poses to world peace because of the subsequent changes it has brought on the international scenario and the forever uncertainty of the India Pakistan relations has brought up concerns regarding the security and the political situation of the other bordering countries of these two nations, making the issue yet more complex. As most people think that the issue requires a subtle dialogue between India and Pakistan, there are the people of Kashmir who demand their role in the process of policy making as it is the issue of the millions of people residing there. The world community led by the United States today has accepted that no issue can be resolved by bypassing the Kashmir issue. It is a necessity to maintain peace in the Indian subcontinent.

Conclusion: Dialogue key to resolve Kashmir issue

The world is well aware that the only solution to the problem concerning Kashmir between India and Pakistan can come only through dialogue. This had happened not just once but every time despite the time and efforts insinuated by both the nations, no positive solution has been achieved so far. It is no news that Pakistan had always played the role of a reluctant nation when it comes to resolving the Kashmir issue void the terrorism. Taking into vital consideration the internal pressure which surmounts both nations on the Kashmir issue over the years would further complicate and hinder a compromise. There are a few possible solutions to this problem, namely:

  1. Convert the Line of Control into the international border. OR
  2. Divide the state based on religion – the valley with the majority of Muslims to Pakistan and Hindu Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh to India. OR
  3. Declare Kashmir as a free nation.

Works Cited

Aggarwal, Ankur. Indo-Pak Relations and Taliban. E-Nagar. 2009. Web.

Amit Srivastava, Kashmir Affairs, Kashmir: From zone of conflict to zone of reconciliation 2008. Web.

Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharjee, India Pakistan Relations: A troubled history with a bright future? South Asia Politics, Vol. 6, No. 9, 2008. Web.

Baruah,Amit. Trust Evaporates Between Asian Giants. BBC News. 2009. Web.

Chanda. Trust evaporates between Asian Giants: Quotes. Silo Breaker. 2009. Web.

Gandhi, M.K. Kashmir Issue. Collected Works 90: 356-58. Web.

Kapila, Subhash. United States Obsession with the Kashmir Issue: An Analysis. South Asia Analysis Group. 2002. Web.

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