Rising Chinese pressure is the new factor

Nice compilation of places and people who reflect revived interest in Kashmir dispute and resolution. Your postulation of the three points of explanation is partly right, but only partly. In fact, the rise of the Taliban (whether Afghan or Pakistani) has not been the main trigger, though a connection exists. Rather, it has been driven more by the nuclearization of India and Pakistan. Today, the third factor, China’s activities in Gilgit-Baltistan and Karakorum links may increase some American and British attention, but that has been a slow fuse issue coming for a long time too. The US “official” interest in cultivating a channel of strategic dialogue with India (which has trade as well as possible balance against China as motivations) is one reason this issue ebbs and flows. Official US policy with India approaches this matter gingerly (deferentially), for fear it will (as it has in the past) prejudice India’s responsiveness to the US and the trade issue (i.e., opening of India’s economy to trade and investment). Being able to do much about the issue on its merits, from a Washington standpoint, has always depended on the degree to which Pakistan and India are seriously ready to negotiate with each other, and since 1971-72 there has been very little evidence of that on India’s part. Pakistan’s interest is “live” but acquisitive (calls for change in status quo), and India abhors making concessions that would give anything like “territory” to Pakistan (or independence to Muslim Kashmiris) and in that regards India is adamant about preserving the status quo. The Taliban have no meaningful impact on that. China might, because it is a direct party to the territorial disputes that affect Pakistan and India on the margins of Kashmir proper. India has succeeded in maintaining the status quo but not in legitimizing it. So rising Chinese pressure specifically in that area (GB) is the new factor that may suggest India should have looked for a more meaningful solution much earlier.

Rodney W. Jones, PhD
Policy Architects International
11632 Sourwood Lane
Reston, VA  20191
TEL: 703-620-1324
Email: polarch@verizon.net
Web: http://www.policyarchitects.org

Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST

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