India's bottom line
The Washington Post, USA
By Selig S. Harrison
While the world's attention is riveted on Kashmir as the flashpoint of a possible India-Pakistan war, 120,000 Indian Muslims remain in Gujarat refugee camps -- afraid to return to their villages, where they fear a resurgence of the Hindu mob attacks that left 1,200 dead in March.
This festering challenge to
New Delhi is prepared to risk war not for the sake of retaining Kashmir
as such but to ensure against the destabilizing impact of a change in
the status quo on
Conversely, the growing Hindu right wing would point to the secession of Kashmir as conclusive evidence that all of the 130 million Muslims in India are potential traitors and should either bow to Hindu domination or go to Pakistan.
Definitive action by the
It is not enough to insist on a cessation of Pakistani sponsorship of infiltration by Islamic militants across the 450-mile "Line of Control," the U.N. cease-fire line imposed when the first Kashmir war ended in 1949 and ratified in the 1972 Indo-Pakistan Simla Agreement. Even if Gen. Pervez Musharraf stops infiltration for the moment, he will be under unremitting domestic pressure to start it up again as soon as the current crisis subsides.
What is required is an unambiguous declaration by the
Pakistani policy rests on the hope that the major powers can be induced
to internationalize the dispute and, ultimately, support accession of
the Indian-controlled Kashmir Valley to
If Musharraf is, in fact, ready to negotiate
a realistic Kashmir solution, American support for a settlement based
on the cease-fire line would help him convince his fellow generals that
there is no point in perpetuating the Kashmir insurgency. At the same
time, it would strengthen moderates in
In return for Pakistani acceptance of the Line of Control as a permanent
An added inducement would be
To show that it is serious about stabilizing the Line of Control, the United States should provide India with state-of-the-art ground-based and airborne surveillance equipment to enable New Delhi to detect infiltration and stop it. At a minimum, the United States could give India the latest ground-based monitoring equipment developed for use along the Mexican border and for enforcement of the 1973 Sinai Desert cease-fire agreement.
To have a decisive impact, U.S. surveillance help would also have to
include sophisticated airborne radar scanners and night-vision video
cameras, such as the Lynx and Skyball systems
developed for the Predator unmanned monitoring aircraft that have proved
so effective in Afghanistan. This would require a waiver of
By providing surveillance equipment and declaring its support for a partition that would give India the lion's share of Kashmir, the United States would be in a stronger position to put effective pressure on India for a more flexible posture toward negotiations with the Kashmiri insurgent groups and with Pakistan that would, one hopes, lead to wide-ranging autonomy for the Kashmiris under both Indian and Pakistani jurisdiction.
For different reasons, neither
American interests would be best served by promoting an autonomous
Kashmir within the Indian security framework, reflecting a broader recognition
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