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Seminar at Brookings Institution: USIP Funded Study on Kashmir PDF Print
Written by Brookings Institution   
Saturday, 07 June 2008 00:00

A further complication is posed by the people  of  Jammu and Ladakh feeling that the Kashmir issue has been ‘hijacked’ by the Kashmir Valley. The dispute has reached an impasse and neither India nor Pakistan has been able to impose its preferred solution. Both have also come to realise that a military solution is ruled out. However, India’s traditional policy of shunning international mediation has diluted considerably and President Pervez Musharraf has “given up Pakistan’s traditional position insisting on implementing the UN resolutions”. The new government in Islamabad has said it wants to take the peace process with India forward.
Both countries, Chari and Rizvi maintain, agree that independence for Kashmir is a “non-starter.” The public mood in both countries favours peace and stability. Track-II diplomacy has strengthened the official peace process. While the leadership has shown enthusiasm, the bureaucracies in both countries retain some reservations. Hardline parties in India as well as Pakistan oppose any movement away from traditional positions. The people in the Kashmir Valley see the peace process as a good beginning but remain skeptical about the outcome. Openings exist but so do strong constraints on reaching a settlement acceptable to all. The proposal to soften the borders of the Line of Control is a halfway house between the erasure of the Line and its recognition as the international border. India and Pakistan have taken important steps since 2005 to encourage the “cross-LoC interaction” which could lead to the management of the conflict without having to agree to a final settlement. Softening of the LoC suits India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. Divided families will be reunited, the business community will flourish but the militants will have to be dealt with because they are opposed to any such outcome. The soften-LoC solution means different things to different people.
To push the idea further, Chari and Rizvi write, mobility of people across the LoC must be facilitated, trade and commerce increased, humanitarian aid and development of the region undertaken and public administration efforts of interdependent issues enhanced. The number of crossing points between the two parts of Kashmir should be multiplied. Frequency of bus service increased considerably, road links extended, the Sialkot-Jammu rail link re-established, civil society exchanges increased, present visa and permit restrictions “debureaucratised” and drastically eased, tourism introduced and encouraged, communication links installed and promoted, trucking of goods allowed with border checks eased, a free trade area established, de-mining undertaken, forest management co-operation brought about, hydropower and irrigation projects jointly taken in hand, public administration improved, a joint mechanism on terrorism established and military to military programmes initiated to improve the atmosphere.

Last Updated on Friday, 10 September 2010 20:41


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