Obama's tryst with Kashmir
No need to read too much in the US President's recent statement
ABDUL MAJID ZARGAR
There appears nothing in US President Obama’s recent Statement that Kashmir issue should be settled by India & Pakistan bilaterally which should make mainstream politicians in Kashmir rejoice or cause separatist camp a disappointment. What needs to be noted is that the statement is accompanied with an advice for Government of India to pursue more reforms in its economy and particularly to open its retail sector to American players?
America’s intervention in Kashmir climaxed in 1963 when its president Jhon F. Kennedy played a major role in a long, intense US- British sponsored initiative to promote negotiations between India & Pakistan at a time when India’s defeat in the Sino-Indian war seemed to have given Kennedy some leverage for a settlement. During that war, America had instructed Pakistan not to open its own front against India against an implied understanding of Solution of Kashmir Problem to Pakistan’s advantage. It also wanted India to be protected against Chinese designs. and when the chances of renewed Chinese aggression against India diminished, the leverage available with America diminished too in direct proportion. Pakistan was left ruing for getting nothing even though it dutifully complied with US instructions.
The failure of 1963 negotiations (Bhuttoo-Swaran Singh Talks) made America cynical and skeptical about the value of these two countries in pursuit of its broader foreign policy goals. So during the quarter century period 1964-89, it adopted an almost “Plague on both your Houses “attitude. Even during 1965 war it adopted an almost “Hands-off” policy and encouraged Moscow to bring closer the two countries though that approach sounded astonishing in light of primacy the US had long given to limiting communist influence in South Asia.
In 1971 War between India & Pakistan, though US seemingly appeared to favor Pakistan but its interest proved a short lived affair. With the two countries deciding to solve the matter bilaterally at Shimla, American interest started waning considerably. The outbreak of Armed struggle in 1990 returned Kashmir To America’s attention. Washington now added “Keeping in mind the wishes of Kashmiri people” to its position on Kashmir settlement. Post 1990 India initiated reforms in its economic policies and America suddenly noticed a huge market unfolding before itself. India grabbed the chance and started viewing America as a potential asset rather than a threat to its interests in Kashmir. Since then US has retained a cunning balancing leverage between India and Pakistan and uses the pressure points aptly to make the two countries do its bidding. Recently Ms Clinton played another pressure card by projecting India as the leading power in Asia. This effort was launched to coax it into a proxy role to counterbalance China. She called upon India to become a “more assertive” leader in Asia, in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Rim, Central Asia and Pacific Ocean. This was promptly dismissed by Pakistan by saying that it does not want any “Chowdhary” in the region.
Prior to being elected president, Obama stated, "we should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis. “It won’t be easy, but it is important,” he told Joe Klein of Time magazine. This statement was met with much fear and resentment by India. As recently as on On January 4, 2012 when the State Department spokesperson Ms. Victoria Nuland was asked by an Indian journalist what the dotted lines in the map between India and Pakistan meant, she replied, It reflects Kashmir’s unresolved status and it also reflects that this is in dispute. Another Indian journalist asked: if you say that Kashmir is in dispute, that is not going to please the Indians at all. Well, again, it is consistent with longstanding U.S. policy, she replied.
The purpose of quoting the above statement by Obama & clarification by Ms. Nuland is to drive home the point that we must understand that now America is in the driving seat of Pak-India interactions and the talks are likely to follow the pattern of ‘sound good but solve nothing’. After all, America has a long experience of sponsoring a futile dialogue process between arch rivals - Palestine and Israel. So, it remains for India and Pakistan not to get locked into a zero sum game. Both the countries need to strengthen their bilateral institutions to absorb sporadic crises and move on towards a final settlement of the issue. After all a plebiscite, mandated by UN long ago, can be held under a bilateral arrangement as well. In fact such an arrangement was first proposed by Jinnah himself to Lord Mountbatten in November 1947 but India insisted on taking the matter to UN.
(The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words; Propagandists Will Eat
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, July 19: Without naming any particular political party, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday said that people “are the best judges to judge the performance of the government and those who More
- Srinagar City
Voices Against Upcoming Bridge Go Shriller
GK NEW NETWORK
Srinagar, July 19: Public resentment against the upcoming skewed bridge across Jhelum is going shriller with more and more voices emerging to “fight the disastrous development tooth-and-nail”. The More
DISPUTE OVER PAYMENT OF DOCUMENT VERIFICATION FEE
Jammu, July 19: The fate of around 1800 teachers selected by Services Selection Board (SSRB) around one year back is hanging in balance due to impasse between SSRB and Jammu and Kashmir Board of School More