India-Pakistan peace process
A conflict-ridden paradigm seems to be perpetuating in South Asia since the birth of the two countries. A cold war environment has over-shadowed all peace supportive measures and regional cooperation efforts, which were undertaken in the last fifty-three years. The conflict severity has fluctuated from a low intensity conflict to a full-fledged armed confrontation across the international borders. A culture of hatred and intolerance prevails between these two countries mainly supported by the radical fundamentalists and some political groups. Both the countries behave like staunch rivals and often even refuse to hold a dialogue for discussing issues that are causing the conflict between them. Perhaps the politico-cultural elite on both sides of the border has created a jingoistic political culture. Leadership of the two countries has failed to resolve the past hostilities and their policies continue to result in exploitation of the deprived and poverty stricken masses. Leadership of both the countries seems to be evading the real issues, and creating and over-projecting non-issues, to divert the attention of their masses, for achieving their vested political purposes.
In the past the hostile environment in South Asia was primarily of direct concern to the people of this region but now with India and Pakistan, both being nuclear capable states, it has become a cause of worry to the extra-regional countries also. The security and politico-military stability of the South Asian region has to be secured as now it is linked with global and humanitarian interests.Questions are being raised: Can India and Pakistan resolve their 'Leadership of both the countries seems to be evading the real issues, and creating and over-projecting non-issues, to divert the attention of their masses, for achieving their vested political purposes'
conflicts and live in an environment of peace with each other? How long will
the jingoistic mindsets continue to exist on both sides of the border? Will
the masses of the two countries continue to languish in their present state
of poverty and misery? Will the two countries with their
The following excerpts from the media will help us to understand the causes relating to the hostilities between the two countries and also the factors, which fuel these hostilities. Further, this may also explain as to why the peace process is not pursued with sincerity and why there is no political commitment by the political leadership of Pakistan and India.
A Face Saver or a Brave Face: Options Before India
"If the Simla formula stipulated bilateral resolution of Indo-Pak disputes (which forms the bed-rock of Indian policy), does it not also exclude the terrorist groups, consisting of a murderous and motley crowd of Afghan fundamentalist, and PoK militants and mercenaries and even of those from the Kashmir valley? In this context, the Hurriyat Conference leaders' proposal of simultaneous two track talks, one between the Hurriyat and Pakistan and the second between the Hurriyat and India appears even more dubious. Should the Hurriyat be allowed to become a sort of a mediator between the two-state actors? On the other hand, comprehensive negotiations between India and Hurriyat (with all its groups) is a better idea. It cannot be denied that India is yet to recover from the trauma of recent events. Should it wait for another face-saver (or bait?) from Pakistan (or the Hizb) offering a cease fire to resume negotiations or would it get prepared to confront increased terrorism with the possible escalation into another Kargil type war? To be sure, a brave face is what is being projected now by India. Even the contingent condition of a war is not excluded from this projection. Those are India's options as currently seen: a face-saver or showing a brave face."
- V.R. Chandrasekhara Rao, http://www.ipcs.org/issues/articles/414-ip-rao.html
Delhi Round of Indo-Pak Talks - I
"Siachen is a glacier 76-km in length with a width of 2 km to 8 km, between two ranges - Karakoram in the east and Saltora in the west. Starting from point NJ9842 in the south, the glacier runs in a north western direction flanking several towns in POK close to the Saltora range, and in a north eastern direction it extends up to the Karakoram Pass, thus forming more or less a triangular shape.
"The dispute started in April 1984, when the Indian troops launched Operation Meghdoot, which brought most of the area under the control of India. Pakistan made many unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the Indian troops from their posts. There have been six rounds of negotiations on Siachen prior to the current talks. Though, both the sides came close to solving the issue in 1989, they are yet to arrive at a solution to date.
"One of the major reasons for this failure has been the absence of a defined boundary between India and Pakistan demarcating the Siachen Glacier. The 1972 agreement specified the northern most point of the LoC as the one defined by the cease-fire line of 1949 Karachi Agreement -- NJ 9842. This resulted in differing interpretations by both the countries of its further demarcation northwards. India interprets the extension of the CFL from this point to the North upto another point Indira Col, whereas Pakistan interprets the line to run North East from NJ982 to the Karakoram Pass.
"In the current round of talks both India and Pakistan put forward their proposals which were rejected by each other.
"India's proposals: a) Comprehensive cease-fire in the Saltora range region; b) An immediate freeze of the ground positions from both the sides to defuse tension and atmosphere of confrontation in the area; c) Discussion on modalities under an agreed framework after the cease- fire; d) Establishment of bilateral monitoring mechanism such as flag meetings, meetings with formation 'India would never agree to have third party mediation on any bilateral issues between India and Pakistan'
commanders at periodic intervals and the establishment of a hotline between divisional commanders; e) Authentication of the existing ground position of troops in Saltora range beyond NJ9842. One significant aspect of the current proposals from the Indian side is India's emphasis on the term Saltora range instead of Siachen. All four proposals from the Indian side only mentioned Saltora. Pakistan rejected all these above Indian proposals.
"Pakistan's proposals: a) Implementation of 1989 'agreement' between India and Pakistan (according to which India and Pakistan are to redeploy their forces to mutually agreed positions held when the cease-fire was declared in 1971); and b) a Cease-fire only if it involves the monitoring of such a cease-fire by a third party like the United Nations Military Group in India. One significant aspect of Pakistan's stand during the current round of Siachen talks was the linking of the Siachen issue with the 'core problem' of Kashmir. India rejected both the stands of Pakistan.
"What are the motives behind each other's proposals? India's emphasis on the Saltora range arises from the ground reality that the Siachen glacier is totally under India's control. Thus it appears that India is delinking the Siachen glacier from the scope of the talks, since India considers Siachen to be a misnomer. The issue at stake is Pakistan's attempts to dislodge Indian troops from the Saltora range bordering Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Pakistan agreeing to this would mean accepting India's hold over Siachen. The other proposals of India are also based on similar lines that - we will have what we possess and you have what you possess. Let there not be any fresh attempts to alter the status quo. Pakistan will not agree to such proposals.
"For India Pakistan's proposals are not acceptable because of the following reasons. Firstly, India rejects Pakistan's position that there was an 'agreement' on Siachen between both the countries in 1989. During a prior round of talks on Siachen in 1992, India denied that there was any final agreement and stated that both sides had only agreed 'to carry forward the process of discussions, which had remained suspended since June 1989'. Secondly, India would never agree to have third party mediation on any bilateral issues between India and Pakistan."
- D. Suba Chandran, November 18, 1998,
Delhi Round of Indo-Pak Talks - II
"The Indus Water Treaty divided the six rivers of Punjab between India and Pakistan. India got unrestricted use of the three eastern rivers - Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, and Pakistan got the three western rivers- Chenab, Indus and Jhelum. However, Article III (1) provided that both countries have access to each other's rivers for four distinct purposes: domestic use, agricultural use, restricted use for generation of hydroelectric power through a 'run-of-the-river' plant, and non-consumptive use. Non-consumptive use included use of the waters for navigation and other purposes provided the water is returned to the river undiminished in quantity. India constructed the barrage to enhance navigation in terms of Article III (1).
"Pointing to the storage utility of the barrage, Pakistan has argued that India has violated Article I (11) of the Treaty which prohibits both parties from undertaking any 'man-made obstruction' that may cause 'change in the volume …of the daily flow of waters' unless it is of an insignificant amount. Further, Article III (4) specifically barred India, from 'store[ing] any water of, or construct any storage 'The question germane to the issue is whether the construction is designed for impounding the waters or controlling them'
works on, the Western Rivers'. Though the treaty permitted limited storage (not exceeding 10,000 acre ft.) for purposes of flood control, it prohibited storage of water 'for the purpose of impounding the waters of a stream'.
"The question germane to the issue is whether the construction is designed for 'impounding' the waters or 'controlling' them. India's right to utilize the waters for navigation becomes nugatory if it is unable to use the river during the lean period. Therefore, it has to control the waters, even if temporarily in a manner so as to enhance its navigability. This is in violation of the Treaty.
"Until now eight rounds of talks have been held. The two sides almost reached an agreement in October 1991, whereby India would keep 6.2 meters of the barrage ungated with a crest level at EL 1574.90m (5167 ft), and would forgo storage capacity of 300,000 acre feet out of the provision permitted to it on the Jhelum (excluding Jhelum main). In return, the water level in the barrage would be allowed to attain the full operational level of 5177.90 ft.
"However, in February 1992 Pakistan added another condition: India should not construct the Kishenganga (390 mw) hydro-power generating unit. While India had accepted all the earlier conditions, it has refused to accept this prohibition. According to Pakistan, the Kishenganga project on River Neelam affects its own Neelam-Jhelum power-generating project in its Punjab province.
"Talks on this issue were held in November 5-13, 1998. The Indian side was led by Water Resources Secretary Z. Hasan and the Pakistan side by Water and Power Secretary Syed Shahid Hussain. There was no forward movement as the two sides stuck to their earlier positions. Though initially Pakistan wanted to start the dialogue process afresh, India succeeded in persuading Pakistan to resume the dialogue from where they had stalled in August 1992. Pakistan
'Though initially Pakistan wanted to start the dialogue process afresh, India succeeded in persuading Pakistan to resume the dialogue from where they had stalled in August 1992' could not be convinced that the project was only for navigation, but that the increase in the flow during the lean season would actually benefit both sides. Further, it rejected the draft agreement reached in 1992 and insisted that it needed a fresh look. On its part, the Indian side rejected the assertion that the project was for storage reiterating that the Wular Lake was an existing lake and Indian action amounted to only 'regulating the flow' and not 'storing' the waters. Despite their differences, a joint statement
issued after the talks said the two sides would continue discussions during the next round of composite dialogue to find a solution consistent with the Indus Treaty. Solution?"
- Mallika Joseph A, November 21, 1998, http://www.ipcs.org/issues/articles/162-ip-mallika.htm
"The present problem between India and Pakistan arises from their differing interpretations of the boundary line dividing the Sir Creek. India maintains that this line should run through the middle of the Creek. India supports its case by referring to the Thalweg Doctrine in International Law, according to which the river boundaries between states are divided by the mid channel. Pakistan does not agree because it says the Thalweg Doctrine is only applicable to water bodies that are navigable. Since, the creek, according to Pakistan is not navigable, the Thalweg Doctrine is not applicable to this case. India maintains that, even if the Creek is navigable only during high tides, it is still navigable and in reality fishing boats are using the Sir Creek to go out to the sea.
"Pakistan's stand and Indian response: Pakistan maintains consequently that the boundary should run along the eastern bank of the Creek. Pakistan supports its position, with a map appendixed to a Bombay Government Resolution in 1914. According to Pakistan, the Green Line on the map, that lies on the eastern bank of the Creek, is the historical boundary line. India considers this line as a riband that could have been drawn on any convenient side of the creek before the demarcation stage, hence rejects this line as only a symbolic representation. 'The present problem between India and Pakistan arises from their differing interpretations of the boundary line dividing the Sir Creek'
"Proposals of India and Pakistan during the talks: India proposed a Seaward approach, viz, until the boundary is formalised in the Sir Creek, India and Pakistan could delimit the maritime boundary from the sea. This could commence from the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and proceed to a mutually acceptable limit as per the provisions of Technical Aspects of Law of Sea (TALOS). Pakistan rejected this proposal, on the ground that such a proposal could only be considered after the determination of the boundary in the Sir Creek. Besides, Pakistan emphasised that the two issues should not be delinked but should be discussed in one package. Instead, Pakistan proposed, if India is confident and its case was valid, then both India and Pakistan should go for an international arbitration. India rejected Pakistan's proposal for a third party arbitration in line with its general objection to outside mediation."
- D. Suba Chandran, November 21,1998,
Delhi Round of Indo-Pak Talks - V
"While rejecting India's accusations and proposals, Pakistan proposed third party observation of terrorism in the region, especially in Kashmir. Pakistan suggested the involvement of either the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) or any other neutral force to verify India's allegations. Pakistan also challenged India to choose either arbitration or mediation. India rejected Pakistan's proposal for a third party to observe the sponsorship of terrorism by Pakistan."
- D. Suba Chandran, November 21, 1998,
Indo-Pak Talks: The Insoluble Equation
"The Indo Pak talks in November 1998 have again demonstrated that their relations are doomed by an irresolvable equation. A genius will be required to resolve the complexities of India Pakistan relations. And the time factor will remain indeterminate. Unfortunately, these complexities are becoming worse. New factors are creeping in that make the task more difficult.
"The root of the problem is to be found in the very basis on which the two new nations India and Pakistan were carved from British India. India evolved into a democratic and secular state. Its concerns are largely related to development and social transformation .Its parliamentary mechanism and constitution; guarantees allow dissent. In Pakistan, on the other hand, some of the fundamentals of a national architecture are missing. Its own choice to remain a theocratic state imposes on it an awesome burden. 'The Indo Pak talks in November 1998 have again demonstrated that their relations are doomedby an irresolvable equation'
"Kashmir, therefore, becomes the issue over which Pakistan cannot compromise.
The fundamentalists in the country includes influential sections of the armed
forces; they will not let any government in Pakistan stay in power if it appeared
that a compromise on Kashmir was in the offing. The reactions in India over
such a possibility would be no less explosives. Any government in India, which
displays any responsiveness to the idea of a trade off, is likely to have
the entire opposition at its throat. Nevertheless responsible political and
military opinion in both the countries believes that concessions and adjustments
are unavoidable to progress the relations between the two countries."
India-Pakistan: Talking peace but far from détente
"The true significance of the Lahore Declaration by the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers lies in the fact that a strong political commitment has been made by them to normalise strained relations. They are committed to 'intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu & Kashmir', refrain from 'intervention and interference in each other's internal affairs', and take some confidence-building measures in the nuclear and conventional military fields. They also agreed to consult each other on 'WTO-related issues with a view to coordinating their respective positions' and to cooperate in information technology, especially the Y2K problem.
"The accords fall short of the hope that India and Pakistan would agree to a no-war or no-aggression pact and undertake specific measures of nuclear restraint, considered crucial after their explosions in May. However, the agreements reached recognise the importance of 'immediate steps' to reduce the risk of war, in particular 'accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons under their respective control'.
'The accords fall short of the hope that India and Pakistan would agree to
a no-war or no-aggression pact and undertake specific measures of nuclear
restraint, considered crucial' "The two sides further agreed 'to notify
each other immediately in the event of any accidental, unauthorised or unexplained
incident that could create the risk of a fallout with adverse consequences
for both sides, or an outbreak of a nuclear war...' India and Pakistan agreed
to engage in regular bilateral consultations on security, disarmament and
non-proliferation issues. They also agreed to provide each other advance notification
in respect of missile flight tests, and to conclude a
"It has not been disclosed if these were founded on an informal, unwritten, commitment by India and Pakistan not to deploy nuclear weapons. But diplomatic sources believe that there may have been such an undertaking, albeit for a limited period. This may well be a case of virtue being made out of necessity: neither India nor Pakistan is close to deploying nuclear weapons- carrying missiles yet, and may lack the capability to do so reliably. But such an agreement would be a great advance over the boastful claims about technological prowess and the crude display of nuclear bellicosity between the two states in the weeks following their nuclear tests last summer.
"Regrettably, they did not agree to convert their newly acquired nuclear status into a bargaining counter to demand rapid progress towards nuclear disarmament on the part of the five recognised nuclear states. Nor did they jointly make a commitment to abstain from nuclear testing or signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. From Pakistan's point of view, one of the most significant gains from the dialogue was the inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir in the list of 'issues' to be discussed and resolved. India has often resisted such a reference to Kashmir. From India's point of view, the reciprocal gain is that Kashmir will be effectively put on the backburner, to be negotiated slowly, even as substantial progress is registered on a range of other matters first.
"If the framework agreements reached in Lahore are sincerely pursued, and substantive measures are rapidly agreed and implemented, India and Pakistan could soon reach a historic detente. They are not there yet."
- Praful Bidwai, TNI Online archive, February 23, 1999
Atal Behari's Lahore Yatra: Limitations and Achievements
"One could say Pakistan started on the wrong foot. The two-nation theory was not an ideology nor did it justify the emergence of a new nation state under any historical precedent. Ever since its birth Pakistan has been groping for its identity, which is elusive. Islam was seized upon as an anchor, and became a tool of legitimacy and governance. Political leaders used Islam to stay in power and could not take a statesman-like view about what is in the best interests of Pakistan.
"Those who displayed a bolder attitude had to pay a very heavy price. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's journey to the gallows really started with the signing of the Simla Agreement. Zia-ul-Haq's untimely death in an air crash was suspiciously close to his path breaking decisions regarding Siachen and other problems between India and Pakistan. With this background will Nawaz Sharif muster the necessary courage to deviate from Pakistan's traditional approach on Kashmir?
"While this bleak scenario rules out any substantive progress on the Kashmir question, the two PMs have exhibited admirable prudence in trying to rule out a nuclear war between the two countries, now that India and Pakistan are both nuclear weapon states. Implicit in the Lahore Declaration is a desire to formalise a doctrine of mutual restraint. The MoU signed by the two Foreign Secretaries spells out the nuclear CBMs precisely. By undertaking to inform each other of unintentional, unauthorised or unexplained incidents each is seeking to reduce the risk of accidental war. Advance notification in regard to ballistic missiles carries the same message. No less significant is the commitment to engage in bilateral consultation on security concepts, nuclear doctrines, disarmament and nonproliferation issues. Achieving an identity of views in these important matters will contribute to increased receptiveness on both sides on other issues.
"The joint statement of the two PMs is an acknowledgement of their anxiety to impart an impetus to growth of relations between two countries by a further liberalization of the visa and travel regime, co-operation in information technology and consultations on WTO related issues. The areas chosen are such that their political motivation cannot be misconstrued. Thus each PM reserves his country's position on Kashmir but looks for ways and means to set in motion a cooperative spirit hoping that, in time, it will develop a momentum which will be difficult to thwart.
"Vajpayee's visit served two other purposes. His declaration at Minar-e-Pakistan, which represents Pakistan's statehood, that a strong and viable Pakistan was in India's interest, was a shrewd move to set the Pakistan establishment at ease over the irredentism of a BJP Government at Delhi. The other was to tell the world at large that the two nations were mature enough to take care of their nuclear concerns bilaterally. The no-test pledge signifies adherence to the spirit of CTBT without having to make a formal declaration on the Treaty."
- K. Verma, March 11, 1999,
Indo-Pak Relations: Bus Diplomacy
"The previous agreements between India and Pakistan-Tashkent and Shimla-did not lead to lasting peace between the two countries. Thus, the Lahore, Declaration is the third attempt to finally break the ice. Unlike Tashkent and Shimla, which were signed in the aftermath of the 1965 and 1971 Wars, the Lahore Declaration is the result of peacetime efforts to bring the two nations together. This time the pressures are different. 'Except for a few fundamentalist elements on both sides, the populations in the two countries are keen to end 50 years of hostility'
"Except for a few fundamentalist elements on both sides, the populations in the two countries are keen to end 50 years of hostility. One of the issues in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's election manifesto was a better tie with India. On the Indian side, successive Prime Ministers Deva Gowda, IK Gujral and now Vajpayee-have been keen on a substantive and realistic dialogue. Besides the Cold war is over; hence, there are no outside equalisers. The per capita income of India and Pakistan at $309 is lower than that of countries in Sub Saharan Africa-$550-therefore, the pressures of economic imperatives are considerable. Further, the younger generation, not overly haunted by the past, is keen on joint initiatives and ventures. The emergence of NGOs on both sides who looks to an improve atmosphere across their borders is also a positive sign. The SAARC community perceives Indo-Pak disharmony as retarding the hopes and aspirations of its people and the entire region. Furthermore, the acquisition of nuclear capability, with its inherent risks, has made a dialogue unavoidable. All these factors have contributed to a desire to break the impasse in Indo-Pak relations."
- Maj. Gen. Ashok Krishna (Retd.), March 12, 1999,
"The Lahore Declaration is similar to Simla Accord signed by the former Prime Minister Ms. Indra Gandhi and Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto. The agreement pledged both parties to settle all issues through bilateral talks.
"From the Pakistani perspective, the Congress or Third Alliance leadership is more acceptable to Pakistan compared to other forces in India. The working relationship between the two countries can improve if the Congress emerges as a majority party in mid term elections, or if it takes power in a minority government. 'The Pakistani Islamic militants/ forces want India to implement the UN resolution for self-determination in Kashmir'
"Since India presently is facing political uncertainly, the process
initiated by 'Bus Diplomacy' may be suspended for the time being till such
time a new government is sworn in as a result of mid-term elections. Pakistan's
position is quite clear. Mr Nawaz Sharif's government faces strong opposition
on the issue of normalization of relations with India. The Pakistani Islamic
militants/ forces want India to implement the UN resolution for self-determination
in Kashmir. They are not ready to compromise on this issue. Mr. Nawaz Sharif
has other pressures on relations with India. However, till such time Nawaz
Sharif is in power, Lahore will continue to enjoy the bilateral trade, cultural
& politician visits. The delegates or visitors from India or East Punjab
and West Punjab (which is now Province of Punjab in Pakistan) are embracing
each other with open arms. The streets are sounding with 'Balley Balley' (means
"There is no doubt that the Vajpayee - Nawaz Sharif meeting in Lahore heralded a new chapter and provided a fresh impetus to Indo-Pak relations, but there are still a number of things that need to be addressed before finding any solutions to the existing irritants. The need of the hour suggests that mutual trust and confidence is required more than anything else between the two countries. Mr. Vajpayee's symbolic gestures and his fresh initiatives, as well as his willingness to talk with Pakistan even on the Kashmir issue, shows a paradigm shift in Indian foreign policy. It is generally believed that this paradigm shift in India's foreign policy occurred due to the fact that both the nations have realized that peace, stability and normalcy are needed urgently in the region. Since both the nations now possess nuclear weapons, the question of using force anymore in the valley does not arise. The general public on both sides of the border are inclined to return to a normal and practical relationship.
"India may examine what unilateral signals and symbolic gestures for normalization can be sent to Pakistan without in any way affecting its own interests. One option is a unilateral declaration
'India may examine what unilateral signals and symbolic gestures for normalization can be sent to Pakistan without in any way affecting its own interests' liberalizing bilateral trade and economic and technological cooperation. The emerging feeling in Pakistan before the nuclear tests was that increased trade is needed to fight inflation, encourage competitiveness in industry, and maintain balance in external accounts. In fact, moderate sections would not oppose Indo-Pak trade even now. The Government of Pakistan as a whole needs to adopt a gradualist approach in trade with India.
"The visa liberalization agreements signed between India and Pakistan
since 1988-89 may be
- Arvind Kumar, March 22, 1999, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore,
The Resolution Dilemma in Kashmir
"On 15 October 1998, foreign-secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan resumed after almost a year-long stand-off. To make the talks possible, India in a major departure from past policy accepted the 'two plus six formula' that was proposed by Pakistan at the meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two states during the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 1998. As agreed to in the 'two plus six formula', the issues of 'peace and
security' and 'Kashmir', identified as part of a cluster of eight contentious issues between India and Pakistan, are being discussed in separate meetings during the foreign secretary level talks in October. The remaining six issues of Siachen, Tulbul Navigation Project, Sir Creek, terrorism and drug trafficking, economic and commercial cooperation, and promotion of friendly exchanges are being taken up when the foreign secretaries meet again in the first half of November. 'To Pakistan, the issues of peace and security and Kashmir had always been the core issues that needed to be resolved first before progress could be made on the other issue areas'
"The September 1998 agreement between India and Pakistan augurs well for the future. To Pakistan, the issues of peace and security and Kashmir had always been the core issues that needed to be resolved first before progress could be made on the other issue areas. India on the other hand had favoured the simultaneous discussion of all eight issues, a position that was reflected in the Dhaka Proposals that it presented to Pakistan in January 1998 and which was rejected by Pakistan in June 1998. The Indo-Pakistan bilateral dialogue had therefore remained stuck in modalities. But by accepting the 'two plus six formula' in September 1998, India accommodated Pakistan on its demand for a separate and substantive dialogue on the all-crucial issue of Kashmir and the bilateral dialogue has therefore moved from the realm of modalities to the realm of substance.
"While the discussion of substance is a positive development, it is too early to talk about a mutually acceptable solution to the Kashmir dispute. In this context, it is important to keep in mind that there are several disputes involving different actors in Kashmir which make dispute resolution a complicated matter. For instance, in Kashmir there is: a) a dispute between India and Pakistan regarding which state should rightfully possess Kashmir; b) a dispute between India and the people of Kashmir regarding Kashmir's future association with India; c) a dispute between Pakistan and the people of Kashmir regarding Kashmir's future association with Pakistan; d) a dispute between Kashmiri Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists regarding Kashmir's political future; and e) a dispute between Kashmiri insurgent groups regarding ideology, strategy and Kashmir's political future.
"Finding a settlement framework that would adequately address all these
disputes and satisfy the
1) India and Pakistan have to formally give up their zero-sum territorial claims over Kashmir and stop all military and para-military activities in Kashmir;
2) Kashmiri Muslims have to give up their claims for independence for Kashmir or for Kashmir's accession to Pakistan and stop all insurgency and terrorist activities; and
3) Hindus and Buddhists have to accept overall Muslim dominance and control in Kashmir in exchange for 'safeguards' of their group rights."
- Rajat Ganguly, India, Pakistan and the Kashmir Dispute,
Dealing with Pakistan
"There are different perspectives on what should be done regarding Indo-Pak relations. The first perspective is that, it is not possible to have good relations with Pakistan, at least for the next twenty years because of 'breach of trust'. The second perspective is that India should severe its relations with Pakistan and declare Pakistan as a terrorist state unilaterally. The Government perspective is to go ahead with talks but with following conditions: sanctity of the LoC must be restored; Pakistan should restore confidence by assuring that it will stop cross border terrorist activities and it should stop ISI activities inside India.
"Those who feel that there should be no talks with Pakistan place the following arguments: First, the elections in India. Secondly, even if India is willing to talk, the agenda of Pakistan would only be Kashmir.
"India's refusal to talks reveals its weakness, especially in terms of mobilising internal consensus. Secondly, at the international level, there has been a change in the way the mood of the nations and the erstwhile enemies are talking to each other. Thirdly, the longer India and Pakistan refuse to talk each other, the greater the fear of nuclear war."What should be done? At bilateral level, India should talk to 'The first perspective is that, it is not possible to have good relations with Pakistan, at least for the next twenty years because of breach of trust'
Pakistan, even if there are any internal pulls there.Pakistan is not a monolithic country and not everybody is conspiring against India. Besides, Pakistani society is in the process of change. India should contribute to this change and encourage those sections that would like to develop the relations between the two countries. India should keep the trans-border terrorism as the first issue in the agenda. Besides India can also unilaterally declare MFN status to Pakistan as it would not only benefit Pakistan but also India. At international level, India should make the whole world to understand that Kashmir is not the core issue between the two countries. At the domestic level, India should provide an autonomy package to Kashmir and make serious efforts to restrict the people of Kashmir from getting alienated from the rest of India."
- Muchkund Dubey, Report of the IPCS discussion, August 6 1999, http://www.ipcs.org/issues/articles/237-ip-suba.htm
To give peace a chance
"A change in such attitudes can only come about gradually. But the government must continue with its multi-pronged approach. This will involve some fancy footwork: talking 'autonomy' within the Constitution, and pursuing more open-ended strategies. This may not be a bad thing so long as New Delhi opens up the dialogue to all currents of Kashmiri opinion. What matters today is less the immediate product and more the process, which is likely to be prolonged and messy. However, one absolute precondition for the success of the process is that the government must not be seen as playing a divide-and-rule game, or to be trying to split Hizbul (which it is under pressure from some agencies to do).
"Those who stand for a peaceful and just solution to the Kashmir problem should, of course, continue to press for a bilateral dialogue between the two governments. But the situation is not yet conducive to tripartite talks on Kashmir without the first process being launched in good faith and allowed to play its role. "Good faith is absolutely indispensable today. New Delhi must demonstrate it in three ways. First, it must recognise that the roots 'It is morally and politically imperative for the Indian security forces to reduce their offensive operations and respect human rights which they brazenly and routinely violate'
of the sui generis Kashmir problem lie in a messy process of decolonisation and partition, enormously complicated over 53 years, not least by its repeated betrayal of its own constitutional and political promises. Pakistan has cynically exploited the resultant popular alienation. But the onus is on New Delhi too to reverse some of the damage. As part of its pluralist and secular-democratic agenda, India must accommodate a generous federalism. That is precisely why the State Autonomy Commission's report needs to be seriously debated.
"Second, it is morally and politically imperative for the Indian security forces to reduce their offensive operations and respect human rights which they brazenly and routinely violate. Today, about a quarter-million troops confront less than five million civilians in Kashmir. This is the principal root-cause of popular alienation today.
"And third, the government must acknowledge that the entire strategy of doing devious deals based on divide-and-rule and 'buying peace' a la Nagaland now stands discredited. It should not delude itself that lasting peace and reconciliation can be achieved through bribery and co-optation. It must stop toying with the idea of the State's trifurcation, which the Sangh Parivar favours. It would be disastrous if it plays its Kashmiri interlocutors against one another or conducts a dialogue only to appear reasonable without meaning to be so."
- Praful Bidwai, Frontline, Vol. 17, August 19 - September 1, 2000
"Shaukat Qadir in his presentation observed that at the time of their independence both, India and Pakistan claimed secularity. However, while in Pakistan religious parties struggled to establish their credibility, India has provided the space for religious parties to come to power. In 1979, when Russia invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan became the frontline state in the region and received US patronage to counter the Communist threat. The US needed a quick fix and jehad seemed to be the most effective way of achieving US interests in Afghanistan. Hence madrasas were set up in Afghanistan and became active in producing jehadis against the Communists. Most of these were Sunni madrasas. The Taliban was not always as powerful as it is today. Patronage to the Taliban by the US started in 1989 when the Russians started pulling out of Afghanistan. However after Taliban took over Afghanistan, the focus of jehad moved from Afghanistan to Kashmir.
"The fact that Pakistan is currently under military rule also contributes to some extent to the atmosphere of mistrust between India and Pakistan. The restoration of democracy is desired by all in Pakistan. However, while in power, the military can initiate a process of dialogue taking a more relaxed view of India. India, too, should respond by taking a more benevolent view of Pakistan. Keeping in mind the internal political dynamics in both countries, it 'Both India and Pakistan must become aware of the fact that it is in the interests of the international arms lobby to keep the Kashmir dispute alive'
is imperative that any solution regarding Kashmir does not project one side as the victor and the other as the loser. For any solution to be permanent both sides have to make sure that the other side does not lose face.
· India and Pakistan must shed the Cold War hangover that the international community will come to their aid in resolving bilateral disputes. South Asia as a region does not have strategic value to attract international attention in any meaningful way.
· To create a win-win situation in resolving the Kashmir dispute the status quo has to be accepted as was done during the Irish peace process. In Kashmir, the status quo has lasted since 1948. An engagement can only be constructed if the status quo is not destabilized.
· Both India and Pakistan must become aware of the fact that it is in the interests of the international arms lobby to keep the Kashmir dispute alive. In fact, intellectuals and organisations are hired by this lobby to further their interests. India and Pakistan must become wise and not spend money on arms that can well be spent on development.
· Both India and Pakistan have to convey to the world that they are not out to destroy each other and are responsible countries. The myth of Kashmir being a nuclear flashpoint must
'Both India and Pakistan have to convey to the world that they are not out to destroy each other and are responsible countries' be countered. Military to military contacts can go a long way towards risk reduction between the two countries. Further, we cannot wait for the Kashmir dispute to be solved before we initiate other diplomatic measures to de-escalate tensions. For any meaningful dialogue to take place violence in Kashmir must stop.
· Unless there is free movement of goods and services in the South Asian region, there will be very little regional economic development. India is in the process of building free trade areas with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Pakistan must realise it stands to only gain from this economic integration."
- Report of the IPCS Discussion held on August 25, 2000
Musharraf for mediation on Kashmir
"The Pakistani Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has said that
the Kashmir dispute cannot be resolved in a bilateral fashion and that he
would appeal to international leaders for the kind of mediation that ended
the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.
"'Unless there is mediation, strong mediation, justice cannot come about. Mediation is definitely required and East Timor provides an excellent example of how the situation can be solved if the world community shows the will,' Gen. Musharraf maintained. "In the interview, he also talked about issues such as the drive 'When they (India) talk of bilateralism, actually, that means they don't want to do anything. So that time is over'-Gen Musharraf
against corruption and his plans to restore democracy at the grassroots level.
The military ruler has pointed out that India has faulted Pakistan for other crises such as of fomenting anti-Christian violence, supporting rebels in Punjab, the Northeast and Kashmir. Gen. Musharraf said these charges are without evidence and blamed the international media for often accepting the charges at face value. The General also strongly denied that the Pakistani military was in danger of succumbing to fundamentalism. 'This is a total misperception... There is no question of differences within the Army.'"
- Sridhar Krishnaswami, The Hindu, September 7, 2000
"General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Pakistan, has indeed displayed visionary thinking in his address at the UN Millennium Summit by offering 'bold initiatives to change the status quo'. He said that he was prepared for a dialogue with India 'at any level, at any time and anywhere'. His commitment to the world forum expressing his desire for a no-war pact, mutual reduction of forces, and a nuclear weapons free South Asia, is indeed the best any leadership has offered so far in our history of over fifty years to the political leadership as well as the people of South Asia.
'The writings of Indian scholars on the post-Cold War security have over-emphasised the element of military power while discussing national security. This thinking is anachronistic, especially for poverty-stricken South Asia' "Perhaps not belonging to the traditional exploitative political breed, made it possible for Pervez Musharraf to rise above the petty and myopic pressures of realpolitik. It is an opportunity of the century that should be seized by the political leadership and people of South Asia as this can pave the way for a shift to a 'paradigm of peace'."The people of South Asia deserve it and should rise to demand it from their respective leadership so that it may be
enforced and made a ground reality. The human resource in South Asia despite excessively prolonged suffering even today possesses all potentialities to rise and compete globally, provided the national political leadership can create a facilitative environment.
"US President Bill Clinton has also called on the international community
on September 6 'to seize this chance for peace'. He further emphasised that
amongst others, the South Asian leaders are also facing a choice between confrontation
"While his statement fits squarely upon the political leadership in South Asia, the commitment given by Pervez Musharraf lays down the first step toward creating a shift to 'paradigm of peace'.
Now it is upto the Indian political leadership to join in and together collectively make a new start within the first year of the third millennium for ushering in an era of peace, progress, prosperity and regional economic cooperation in South Asia. All cooperation plans (e.g., Regional Cooperation Among Indian Ocean Countries 'IOR-ARC') to be successful must be based on an inclusive approach rather than an exclusive one. 'We must urgently, rather than gradually, move away from an arms race both in the nuclear and conventional fields'
"The writings of Indian scholars on the post-Cold War security have over-emphasised the element of military power while discussing national security. This thinking is anachronistic, especially for poverty-stricken South Asia. The comprehensive security hexagon in South Asia should comprise: peace; nuclear risk reduction and nuclear restraint; conflict resolution; alleviation of poverty; empowerment of people; and regional economic cooperation.
"We must urgently, rather than gradually, move away from an arms race
both in the nuclear and conventional fields. The solution to the South Asian
misery and problems lies in a shift to the 'comprehensive security paradigm'."
'The Indian position is that the bilateral discussions with Pakistan would be held within the parameters set out in the Simla and Lahore agreements' "The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has offered to extend the period of the ceasefire further, if Pakistan pledges not to encourage cross-border infiltration of militants. In fact, he claims that if Pakistan ensures a definite end to militancy in the valley, resumption of talks between the two countries on all disputes including Kashmir could take place. Although Pakistan is not in full control of all the insurgent groups, it can still tighten the vigilance on its side of the LoC, and possibly, the two countries can accomplish a joint monitoring of the situation.
"Track II diplomacy, in which the two players, R.K. Mishra and Niaz Naik, discussed several formulations, could not bring forth any suggestions that could be accepted by both countries. Nor has India acceded to the demands of the Hurriyat leaders, supported by Pakistan, that the talks India was willing to have with it should include Pakistan. Islamabad, meanwhile, has said that the Hurriyat can have bilateral talks with India and then that could be followed by similar talks with Islamabad.
"In fact, the Indian position is that the bilateral discussions with Pakistan would be held within the parameters set out in the Simla and Lahore agreements. The essential point is that in neither of the agreements do the people of Jammu and Kashmir find any mention. But people will certainly have to be taken into consideration; otherwise any settlement would be unstable. Moreover, while New Delhi has affirmed its willingness to listen to and discuss all forms of public opinion in the state, Islamabad has made no such offer.
"One option for both countries would be the holding of free and fair elections on either side of the LoC. Each could invite observers from the other country to reduce suspicions about rigging and
so on. However, during the track II discussions, Naik rejected this offer from Mishra, saying that it would be less than holding a plebiscite.Yet, since the Simla and Lahore agreements have not referred to plebiscite at all, it will only be appropriate that this proposition is given a thought. If this has to happen, the number of security forces members on either side of the LoC has to come down substantially. 'One option for both countries would be the holding of free and fair elections on either side of the LoC'
"After the elections, the armies could also be sent back to their barracks. The next logical step would then be to reduce the number of troops on both sides of the international border. These steps would be tremendous confidence-building measures. They would also serve in making peace a permanent condition between the two countries.
"This step by step approach might have greater chances of succeeding than the eventful and historic journey of the Indian Prime Minister to Lahore and the warm welcome accorded to him by his Pakistani counterpart. This would enable the identification of the real disputes in the region and a positive movement in finding solutions to them. But this can only happen if the leaders of the two countries are determined to pursue the process involving these peaceful steps.
"This will not be easy. Nor can one assume that those international players, which have a long-term strategic interest in keeping the South Asian cauldron boiling, will be kept quiet. The nexus of arms-dealers and drug traffickers, those who profit from intra-regional tensions, will try to thwart any effort at building bridges. It is up to the leaders of these countries to meet these challenges.
'The nexus of arms-dealers and drug traffickers, those who profit from intra-regional tensions, will try to thwart any effort at building bridges' "Groups like the Pakistan India People's Forum of Peace and Solidarity, the South Asian Fraternity, the Neemrana initiative and so on, which have organized dialogues between retired army leaders of the two countries, their media representatives, have arranged for exchange of women leaders and the visit of literary figures and industrialists, have an even more important role to play. They should act with renewed gusto.
"As far as the terms for a final settlement of the dispute are concerned, no one can even venture to extend any suggestions. Only a step by step process can be advocated under these circumstances. And the nature of this process has to evolve with the times."
- Surendra Mohan, The Telegraph, December 12, 2000
Are we really moving towards a solution to Kashmir problem?
"Track two diplomacy in which the two players R. K. Mishra and Niaz Naik discussed several formulations could not come up with any suggestion that could be accepted by both countries. Nor has India acceded to the demand of the Hurriyat leaders, supported by Pakistan, that the talks offered by New Delhi to it should include Pakistan as well. However, Pakistan has said that the
Hurriyat could go ahead with bilateral talks with New Delhi which could then be followed by similar talks with Islamabad. In fact, Indian position is that the bilateral discussions with Pakistan would be held within the parameters set out in the Simla and Lahore agreements. The point is that in neither agreement have the people of J&K found any mention. However, the latter would be a most interested party, and a settlement that does not consider their wishes 'It would be worthwhile if the two countries agree to hold free and fair elections on either side of the LOC'
would be obviously unstable. Moreover, while New Delhi has affirmed its willingness to hold discussions with all sections of public opinion in the state, Islamabad has made no such offer to discuss the matters with what it calls Azad Kashmir, where civil liberties and human rights are at utter discount.
"It would be worthwhile if the two countries agree to hold free and fair elections on either side of the LoC. Each could invite observers from the other country in order to reduce suspicions of falsification of the electoral verdict. However, during the track two discussions, Niaz Naik rejected this offer from Mishra, saying that it would be less than holding a plebiscite. Yet, the Simla and Lahore agreements have not referred to plebiscite at all. Hence, it is only be appropriate that this proposition is given another thought. If this proposition is to go through, then, obviously, the number of security forces on either side of the LoC has to come down substantially. After the elections, the armies could also be sent to barracks, as both countries would have been practicing cease-fire all along the LOC and the international border between them.
"The next logical step should then be to reduce the number of troops on both sides of the international border as well, and an agreement between them that the armed forces would be moved 20-30 kilometers away from it. These steps, following one another in a logical sequence would be necessarily gradual and could be considered at best as confidence building measures. However, they would also serve in making the peace as a permanent condition between the two countries and a near total freedom to the people in both areas of the erstwhile J&K State from oppression and intimidation. Possibly, in conditions of freedom from fear and insecurity, they will be able to ponder over their future calmly and without any psychological pressures. It is obvious that before adopting this step-by-step approach, the leaders of India and Pakistan would
'The next logical step should then be to reduce the number of troops on both sides of the international border as well, and an agreement between them that the armed forces would be moved 20-30 kilometers away from it' have to shed several prejudices and hangovers of the past. The argument reportedly advanced by Niaz Naik that two wars were fought or by some Kashmiri groups that countless sacrifices had been made would no longer be relevant. For, what is being suggested here is that there shall neither be future wars between India and Pakistan nor any need for sacrifice by the people for the achievement of their democratic rights. Nevertheless, it is true that the solution to the Kashmir dispute will still be elusive. For, the quest for
unification of the two parts or, for that matter, the aspirations for independence will still be far from fulfillment. On the other hand, a proper stage would be set in for peaceful negotiations. Moreover, fully responsible bodies reflecting the opinions of the people of J&K and Azad Kashmir shall come into existence. India will also have reconciled to the position that a real
dispute really does exist in J&K and that it has to be settled."
- Surendra Mohan, December 13, 2000, Free Press Journal, http://www.indiaworld.co.in/news/features/feature746.html
"Just as the international community appreciated Vajpayee's Ramazan offer, Pakistan's response of 'maximum restraint' has also been welcomed with somewhat similar enthusiasm. As a matter
of fact both moves are good and are certainly helpful in creating an atmosphere deemed to be conducive for peace processes. Reciprocating to Indian declaration of suspension of all offensive operations in occupied Kashmir during the month of Ramazan, Pakistan offered that its forces would observe maximum restraint along the LoC (Line of Control)."Reading in between the lines of official statements coming out of both countries, it does not seem too farfetched to 'Just as the international community appreciated Vajpayee's Ramazan offer, Pakistan's response of 'maximum restraint' has also been welcomed with somewhat similar enthusiasm'
assume that both countries are keen to work towards the much desired resolution of the Kashmir dispute but both are moving cautiously reflecting the intense hold of distrust that was accumulated and solidified over the years. Alternatively, it could also be interpreted that both are playing games and testing each other's nerves and skills. Loaded sentences with room for varied interpretations have been employed in order to retain at least one option with oneself. Nevertheless, the Indo-Pak peace process is certainly inching forward. Both are cautious, as both have to cater for their domestic constituencies as well as cope with external pressures. Since a pattern of positive responses have been experienced during the last few days though they were incremental in terms of productivity the international community needs to wake up and play a far more active role than what they have done so far. Admittedly some international actors have been exerting pressures quietly, they need to support all the logical and relatively more feasible elements in the two offers. For instance, the monitoring of the LoC at least for the time being by UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan) could be useful. For some years India has not allowed the UNMOGIP to monitor the LoC and they have been confined to Srinagar whereas they do monitor the LoC from Pakistani side, as Pakistan has not subjected them to any kind of restrictions. It is known fact that India does not like the presence of a third party but then UNMOGIP is already in Srinagar. Perhaps the most important aspect and indeed a logical step is the recognition of the fact that Kashmir is a dispute that cannot be resolved without the participation of all the important actors, which include India, Pakistan and
'India and Pakistan start a dialogue initially and at a later stage invite the Kashmiri representatives from both sides of the LoC' the Kashmiris. While the Indian Home Minister Advani has been dwelling on the 'Lahore II theme' during last week stressing that the Indian initiative is addressed as much to Pakistan as to the freedom fighters, he has rejected any possibilities of holding tripartite talks. Indeed both moves would be meaningless if a purposeful dialogue for resolving the Kashmir dispute does not follow these.
"Two approaches can be adopted for initiating the much-awaited dialogue. First, India and Pakistan start a dialogue initially and at a later stage invite the Kashmiri representatives from both sides of the LoC. Second approach could be via the good offices of APHC. The second approach implies that India has to undertake some essential steps. First, India should recognise the popularity and the representative character of the APHC. Indeed some Indians would question therepresentativeness of the APHC and would only acknowledge National Conference as true representatives of the Kashmiris. Such an argument would merely amount to creating hurdles as both insiders as well as the outsiders have repeatedly acknowledged the popularity of the APHC. The statement by a Hurriyat leader Prof Bhat that Vajpayee has to follow up his Ramazan initiative with much bigger steps so as to create an impression that past has been buried and the future is being built on firm solid base is indeed loaded. Not only it seems to points towards APHC's claim that it is the true representative of the people of Kashmir but also appears to refer to the conditional ties that have periodically been put forward by the leaders of APHC. These conditions include immediate reduction of tension, substantive withdrawal of Indian security forces, massive decrease in human rights violations, immediate release of Kashmiri detainees. Second, India should initiative a dialogue with the executive committee of the APHC. Third, after having extensive discussion or consultations with the APHC leaders, India should allow the APHC to visit Pakistan for further consultations and discussions with the Pakistani government. This procedure could also take a reverse form implying that APHC is first allowed to visit Pakistan for consultations and later it can hold discussion with the Indian government.
"While both India and Pakistan have repeatedly denied the existence of international pressures, it is a well-known fact that international community has been little more active since the nuclearisation of the region. International community has to play its part not just to stabilise the cease-fire along the LoC but has to constantly encourage and facilitate the parties involved to do more in order to resolve the dispute. Since both governments have demonstrated in somewhat guarded forms their desires to move forward on peace path, it is an opportune moment for the international community to do its part."
- Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, The News, December 14, 2000
"Having remained in a state of frigid hostility following their military clash over Kargil in summer 1999, relations between Islamabad and New Delhi are showing unmistakable signs of normalcy. For one, both sides have changed their verbal behaviour and are no longer engaged in diplomatic bashing of each other. The din of their daily saber-rattling has given way to softer
sounds of peace. Second, discarding its post-Kargil tough diplomatic posture of 'no unconditional talks', New Delhi has publicly stated its willingness to resume official dialogue with Islamabad. Third, both sides have taken a number of 'unilateral' steps to underscore their desire for peace. As a follow up to its aborted attempt to have armed truce with Hizbul Mujahideen last August, New Delhi announced a 'Both sides have changed their verbal behaviour and are no longer engaged in diplomatic bashing of each other'
month-long 'unilateral cease-fire' on November 19 which has now been extended till January 26. Despite its blanket rejection by two Mujahideen groups, Lashkar-i-Tayyaba and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee described his move to unilaterally cease combat operations against Kashmiri militant groups as 'irreversible.' His Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh has expressed the hope that this move will blossom into 'a caravan for peace' in Kashmir. Concomitantly, New Delhi initiated informal dialogue with the top leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an alliance of over two dozen different Kashmir organisations, to work out the modalities for future talks on Kashmir.
"For its part, Islamabad officially announced on December 3 that its armed forces will observe 'maximum restraint along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir,' it also urged New Delhi to allow the APHC leadership to conduct two-way talks with Islamabad and New Delhi and called for the initiation of tripartite dialogue on Kashmir. Two weeks later, Islamabad announced partial withdrawal of its force deployed along the Line of Control. This confidence-building move coincided with the announcement by the APHC that it will be sending a six-member delegation to Islamabad on January 15 to consult with officials and leaders in Pakistan. There are at least three factors which make these peace overtures more than a mere ritualistic India-Pakistan posturing for peace. The first factor relates to a belated but growing acceptance by Islamabad and New Delhi of the unpalatable truth that their conflict over Kashmir cannot be resolved through military means.
"The third and perhaps the most important new variable in the changing matrix of Indian and Pakistani perceptions on Kashmir is the role of the Kashmiri's themselves. No longer willing to be treated as hapless pawns in the chess game of power between India and Pakistan, the Kashmiris seem to have decided to speak for themselves. Often described as 'Kashmiriyat' this Kashmiri national self-assertion can easily be seen in the APHC's growing intolerance for the role of the non-Kashmiri 'guest' freedom fighters in the Indian-held Kashmir and the widespread popular sentiment and support for peace in the valley. It is thus no coincidence that the mainstream Kashmiri organisation, the APHC, has taken the centre stage in brokering peace between India and Pakistan.
"Is there a script to the current Indian peace overtures towards Pakistan? The opinion in Pakistan is sharply divided on this issue. The hard-liners which include the 'Jihadis' see this as tactical ploy by India to ward off growing external diplomatic pressure to resume dialogue with Pakistan. They dismiss New Delhi's ceasefire initiative and its willingness to let the APHC assume a more central role in intra-Kashmir dialogue as moves which are 'The most important new variable in the changing matrix of Indian and Pakistani perceptions on Kashmir is the role of the Kashmiri's themselves'
essentially meant to fragment and weaken the Kashmiri freedom movement by dividing it into 'doves' and 'hawks'. The 'Jihadis' also attribute New Delhi's willingness to come to the negotiating table as an acknowledgment of the success of the Kashmiri jihad and conversely the failure of New Delhi's anti-insurgency campaign to contain the freedom struggle. The realists view the softening of the Indian tone on Kashmir as revival of New Delhi's desire to get India-Pakistan ties out of the crisis mode by reverting back to the 'Lahore process'. The realists further believe that New Delhi and Islamabad can work out a peace deal on Kashmir provided both sides approach the issue from a give and take perspective in which the will of the Kashmiri people remains a critical factor. The pacifists view Indian gestures of reconciliation towards Pakistan as a great diplomatic opportunity for Islamabad to clinch a peace deal on Kashmir on the basis of the prevailing territorial status quo. The pacifists maintain that costs of confrontation for Pakistan over Kashmir are mounting while gains from peace with India are being squandered. To get out of this 'lose-lose' situation, Islamabad must resolve the Kashmir dispute by giving up its 'revisionist' agenda of uniting Kashmir with Pakistan as an unfinished of the partition.
"Islamabad is much better off treating New Delhi's 'Ramazan peace offensive'
as a form of 'offensive realism' which was clearly outlined by the Delhi Policy
Group in its March 1999 study entitled, Jammu and Kashmir: An Agenda for the
Future. This report made a number of recommendations to the Indian government
about how to bring about peace and tranquility in Jammu and Kashmir. Proceeding
on the twin assumptions that 'militancy had lost considerable ground' in Kashmir
and that 'it was down but not out', the study recommended that 'India should
pursue a strategy of cooperation with Pakistan while continuing to discuss
a final settlement of the dispute over Kashmir.'
Pakistan. On the critical issue of Kashmir the study recommended that 'India should take advantage of the geopolitical situation after the Cold War to build new relationships with third parties who could help bring Pakistan round to a programme of cooperation. Key third parties include the United States, China, and the Muslim countries.' While calling upon India and Pakistan to 'emancipate themselves from the moribund claims of Pakistan on Kashmir' it urged the Indian government to 'turn its attention to a larger and longer term strategy for bringing Pakistan round to the desirability of 'This proposed strategy of cooperation centers on pursuing military cooperation, settlement of smaller disputes, enhancement of economic cooperation and building of track II contacts with Pakistan'
the status quo.' It is this Indian long-term strategy of gaining Islamabad's
acceptance of the prevailing territorial status quo in Kashmir which lies
at the heart of the current Indian moves to normalise relations with Pakistan.
Reconciling this Indian objective with imperative of its own security compulsions
in Kashmir is the biggest diplomatic challenges that lies ahead for Pakistan."
"To blame Kargil entirely on Musharraf when the compulsions of an elected despot were the real culprit strains credulity and cannot serve as the basis for deciding whether or not to start a dialogue with Islamabad now. The question is not whether Vajpayee can trust Musharraf. The Pakistani Army, after all, is still the only institution which can make a just peace stick. The question is how to arrange a summit within the constraints imposed on the Pakistani regime by Islamic fanatics who now see Musharraf as a security threat and on an Indian government whose mandate to make peace could easily evaporate with a few more well-timed episodes like the Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on the Red Fort. Bomb blasts in three Pakistani cities last week show similar vulnerabilities to extremist agendas there. Vajpayee needs to talk to Pakistan and soon.
"The pressures within for Musharraf's ouster are growing and are in part a function of his attempt to moderate Pakistan's rigid stance on Kashmir. He has done much already to turn down the temperature in the Valley. To do more, or to do anything that betrays the public trust or Army's confidence is to invite trouble from the thousands of Islamic fanatics camped 100 miles away.
'The question is not whether Vajpayee can trust Musharraf. The Pakistani army, after all, is still the only institution which can make a just peace stick' "The Red Fort attack is ominous as it possibly represents the initial stages of a broader strategy to take the Kashmiri Jihad into the Indian heartland to sabotage any Musharraf-Vajpayee peace deal before it is made. Suicide attacks in Bangalore at an IT nerve centre would be a devastating blow to foreign investor confidence and to India's emerging economic engine.
"Finally, the Vajpayee government has to buttress the goodwill it has engendered with Hurriyat leaders through its unilateral ceasefire by permanently reducing the numbers of troops in the Valley. Freeing the Kashmiri mind of its torture chamber is the only way to begin earning the trust of the Kashmiri people back and crafting a just, durable peace.
"In the final analysis, taking Musharraf at his word that he is a willing partner for peace and showing the Kashmiris that India is prepared to effect permanent changes in the Valley's living dynamics are the only mechanisms that can ensure our collective efforts for reconciliation are not reversed. We may never have this chance again."
- Mansoor Ijaz, The Times of India, January 3, 2001
The World community was never as concerned about the hostilities between Pakistan and India as it is today. This concern has developed only after the two countries tested their nuclear devices in
May 1998. The intelligentsia around the world is concerned about the presence of nuclear weapons in the arsenal of the two neighbors who are unable to resolve their conflict through negotiation and dialogue and are trying to find a solution by imposing military prowess for resolving issues, which are basically political. The possibility of a nuclear holocaust through 'In South Asia the nuclear capability is being taken as a symbol of superiority, greatness, and invincibility'
escalation of a conventional armed conflict, miscalculation, misunderstanding and/or misinformation, can't be ruled out. Thinking people around the world are also concerned: What if religious extremists on both sides of the border either get hold of nuclear weapons or resort to its use subsequent to gaining political power?
Presently the global debate is progressing in the direction of gradual elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, in South Asia the nuclear capability is being taken as a symbol of "superiority, greatness, and invincibility". Certain ignorant elements in both countries have even been advocating use of nuclear weapons. Such advocates are even willing to accept their own country's annihilation, if the other country is also destroyed. An Indian newspaper, which is "a mouthpiece of the RSS, suggested dropping of nuclear bombs over Pakistan as a solution to the longstanding Pakistani hostility and belligerence against India." One wonders if such people who advocate the use of weapons of mass destruction have any understanding of its implications. Their morality and ethics is devoid of any compassion or value for human life. This psyche portrays lack of emphasis on "human security" and attempts to find a solution to all conflicts through the use of force, violence and military power.
'Radical religious groups in both the countries are major anti-peace and pro-nuclear forces. They resort to violence against those intellectuals who dare to speak or write against their views' According to some observers, the ruling elite of the two countries has exploited the conflict situation, right from the time of the partition of the sub-continent, to their political advantage at the cost of the socio-economic development of the masses and they continue to do so even today. That is why serious efforts for bringing permanent peace between the two countries always lacked the political will. The responsibility for keeping alive the pre-partition conflicts between Muslim, Hindu and
other communities squarely rests upon the political leadership of both the countries, which capitalized upon the consequent conflict paradigm. Religion has been extensively used and/or abused for promoting hatred and prejudices whereas all religions preach peace and human values. The masses are made to believe that the nuclear programme is very vital for the country's survival and security but the people of the subcontinent must realize that if such policies are continued, the country might survive but there will not be any people left to live on it.
Radical religious groups in both the countries are major anti-peace and pro-nuclear
There has been a non-stop process of expelling diplomatic staff after torturing and declaring them persona non grata on the charges of espionage by both the sides. Similarly both are involved in doing negative propaganda against their opponent through media and other means at national and international levels. Specific radio and TV channels and research institutes have been set up for this purpose.
Both sides have suffered heavily due to their half a century old enmity. But, fortunately, recent months have seen a change in the "verbal behavior" of the leadership of both sides. There was a unilateral ceasefire during Ramadan, which was announced by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on November 19, 2000, and later extended till January 26, 2001. Pakistan responding in a positive manner announced on December 3, 2000 that its armed forces would demonstrate maximum restraint along the Line of Control. Further, Pakistan also ordered partial withdrawal of its forces from the Line of Control. It appears that hopefully both sides are now realizing that they will never be able to solve the Kashmir dispute through military means.
There are some hard and painful facts, which cannot be denied by the two hostile neighbors. A major chunk of their budget is allocated for defence purposes. More than 40 per cent of Pakistanis are living below the poverty line and due to the high inflation rate life is becoming increasingly difficult even for the middle class. The conditions are equally bad in India. It has 370 million people living below the poverty line. There are 100 million homeless people while a population of 140 million has a daily income of rupees six only. 'Looking at such hopeless socio-economic conditions, one wonders how can the leadership of these two countries afford to put so much emphasis on amassing weapons, both, conventional as well as nuclear?'
Looking at such hopeless socio-economic conditions, one wonders how can the leadership of these two countries afford to put so much emphasis on amassing weapons, both, conventional as well as nuclear? Also, in the presence of such poverty and misery for about half of their populations, what moral justifications do they have for spending such enormous funds on arms and ammunition?
Both India and Pakistan need to rethink their behaviour with regard to their resource allocation. They are at a very critical juncture. If they do not resolve their conflicts and disputes through dialogue and with a spirit of mutual accommodation, their future is going to be very bleak.
One also finds a wide gap between public and private diplomacy taking place
between the two countries. Many Track Two dialogues are in progress. Some
of these are indeed very positive and are contributing to promote good neighborly
relations. But, unfortunately the dichotomy between the public and the private
rhetoric of the political as well as intellectual leadership, leads to the
creation of confusion in the minds of the masses and does not help in any
way in mobilizing their opinion for bringing about a change and accepting
the concept of peaceful co-existence. This gap between the public and the
private diplomacy needs to be bridged and a unified effort need to be launched
to achieve peace. The idea of a permanent peace must be propagated and the
masses should be motivated to accept and implement it.
Copyright IPRI 2000-2003
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