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Any dialogue on Kashmir?

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13.08.2020

During his visit, the president-elect of the United Nations’ General Assembly said `India-Pakistan should resolve Kashmir mutually, will assist only if asked’. Earlier, the International Crisis Group, and United State’s Institute of Peace (USIP) stressed need for a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Despite India’s cartographic annexation of Jammu and Kashmir, the state remains a disputed territory, a veritable nuclear flashpoint. The Kashmir dispute as also Siachin Glacier and Sir Creek remained unresolved owing to India’s obduracy. The USIP recommended Parvez Musharraf’s formula to break ice. This formula should have been palatable to India, being a plagiarism of former Indian foreign-secretary Jagat S. Mehta’s formula. Maybe, But, India rejected it.

History tells when negotiations stall, war results. After the war, most warriors realise that it was avoidable. India could learn this bitter reality from Europe that has been in throes of war or at daggers drawn for so long. India is reluctant to talk to Pakistan eyeball-to-eyeball. Nor is it amenable to third-party mediation. What do India’s own foreign secretaries call for?

Read More: Is Pakistan’s political map of disputed Jammu and Kashmir really an “absurdity”?

Foreign secretary Jagat S. Mehta

Mehta understood India’s abhorrence to word ‘plebiscite’. So he presented some proposals to serve as requirements for evolving a solution after a period of ten years.

His proposals are contained in his article “Resolving Kashmir in the International Context of the 1990s” Some points of his quasi-solution are: (a) Pacification of the valley until a political solution is reached. (b) Conversion of the Loc into “a soft border permitting free movement and facilitating free exchanges…” (c) Immediate demilitarization of the Loc to a depth of five to ten miles with agreed methods of verifying compliance. (d) Final settlement of the dispute between India and Pakistan can be suspended (kept in a “cold freeze”) for an agreed period.

Voracious readers may refer for detail to Robert G Wirsing, India, Pakistan and the Kashmir Dispute (1994, St Martin’s Press, New York pp. 225-228).

Read More: India’s claims on Kashmir rest on a dubious legal instrument

Shyam Saran

India’s former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, in his........

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