Kashmir from geopolitical perspective
It's all about America's own strategic interests
HORIZONS BY RASHID RAINA/ ABHAY KUMAR
The arrest of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, executive Director of the Kashmir American Council, by FBI came as a no surprise. His subsequent release and house arrest though calmed down the intensity of the event to a great degree, but certain question remain to be answered. It was anticipated given the strained relations between Washington and Islamabad in the wake of the Navy Seal attacks in Abbotabad, Pakistan, early this May. The fluctuations in the relations of the two gained eminence particularly in the wake of the announcements by the US to cut down the aid to Pakistan by a certain quantity. The shift in the relations is an indication of the changing geopolitical priorities of the “super power” in South Asia and more so because of the coming close of India and the USA in the last decade or so. Long considered a strategic backwater from Washington’s perspective, South Asia suddenly emerged, in the 21st century as increasingly vital to the core U.S. foreign policy interests.
India, the region’s dominant actor with more than one billion citizens, is often characterized as a nascent great power and “indispensible partner” of the United States, one that many analysts view as a potential counterweight to China’s growing clout. Since 2004, Washington and New Delhi have been pursuing a “strategic partnership” based on “shared values” and apparently convergent geopolitical interests. Numerous economic, security, and global initiatives, including plans for civilian nuclear cooperation, is underway. This latter initiative, first launched in 2005, reversed three decades of nuclear apartheid as India puts it. Also in 2005, the United States and India signed a ten-year defense framework agreement to expand the bilateral security cooperation.
The two countries now engage in numerous and unprecedented combined military exercises, and major U.S. arms sales to India are underway. Pakistan’s exclusion under such circumstances seems to follow an indirect proportionate relationship vis a vis engagements with the United States. The changed relations or more accurately the changed interests of the US in the region have taken its toll on the obsession which the US was alleged to have towards finding a resolution to the long pending Kashmir dispute. The U.S. government recently announced of keeping distance from the Kashmir dispute and refraining from any mediation role therein. Former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, who has many times used the term “K-word” in discussing Kashmir, said in February 2010, “We are not going to negotiate or mediate on that issue and I’m going to try to keep my record and not even mention it by name.” This is really a disturbing trend. The growing influence of a large Indian-American community in alliance with the Israeli lobby, have a tremendous influence on the decision making in the US. This is only one aspect of it. Otherwise, how would it be possible for an intelligence agency of the caliber of the FBI, not to have taken a notice of the activities being carried out under its nose?
The other aspect is the changing global opinion based on certain geopolitical considerations. The United Nations removal of the Jammu and Kashmir from the list of unresolved disputes was a blow to the efforts at internationalizing the issue. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the UN will not intervene until requested by both parties. Though it was later clarified by the UN that it was not so, but the signals are visible, they have lost interest in the issue. This marked a great shift in the position of the United Nations on the issue. The Organisation of Islamic Conference which referred to Jammu and Kashmir as an "occupied" state recently is the only international alliance of the states that is supporting the cause, but as it has its own limitations. The failure on this front can be ascribed more to the lack of a proper strategy on the part of those currently at the helm in Kashmir. A commission from the Europe recently declined to meet the separatist leadership in the wake of the prayers offered by an eminent separatist leader on the death of Osama Bin Laden. That it was a religious obligation, there is no contention on that front, but one needs to keep his senses open to the global geopolitical repercussions of the actions as a representative of a nation that is oppressed. What is needed is a bifurcation between that what is global and that what is local, and one should be concerned about the latter more. In Kashmir the struggle is aimed at finding a political solution to the issue and the agenda as one gets it, should be demarcated; not as agenda to support militant movements which are global in scope. Kashmir is a small nation and the need of the hour is to maintain a focus that is narrow, at least in its fundamentals.
What is to be kept in the mind is that India, a party to the dispute is fast gaining a prominence in the geo-strategic calculations and politico-economic considerations of the nations and the states that carry weight in the international system. A growing influence of India in the world affairs in the coming future cannot be ruled out. Also the world opinion at this juncture is not as dismissive of the dispute as it can be anticipated to be in the near future as is evident from the emerging trends and patterns. Hence, the time is now, to press both India and Pakistan to find an amicable solution to the issue according to the aspirations and wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, with an external unbiased mediation. The time is running out and India should not be allowed to buy more of it, otherwise it will be too late.
(Rashid Raina and Abhay Kumar are PhD scholars, School of International Studies, JNU New Delhi)
Lastupdate on : Mon, 1 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 1 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 2 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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