James Gundun

From Center for Research on Globalization: “America’s role in Kashmir…

“Kashmir may be the key to unlocking South Asia. For now it jams the system in silence, disturbed only by the violent rhythm between India security forces and Kashmiris that occasionally spills into the international media. US envoy Richard Holbrooke, arguably Washington’s toughest diplomat, is afraid to mention to word “Kashmir” in fear of aggravating India – and pushing it towards Russia or China. With the status quo favoring the heavyweight India, Pakistan lacks the power to challenge directly for Kashmir and resorts to proxy warfare.”

“The combination ignites the streets and relations between the two states, leading to competition and potential destabilization in Afghanistan.”

“Apparently America cannot have it all in South Asia. It cannot cry foul of Pakistan’s support for Kashmir militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), link them to Afghanistan, then refuse to speak the word Kashmir in public. The Kashmiri American Council has taken to petitioning President Barack Obama to address the crisis. There’s no doubt that Kashmir affects Afghanistan, and yet while the White House hails its “civilian surge” in Afghanistan, Kashmir’s streets are filled with stones, rage, and blood.”

“This is a generation that is totally disillusioned with India’s approach to Kashmir,” Farooq warns. “They have aspirations and they’re aware of what’s happening in the world – in Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan. Today they are throwing stones. But if this continues, tomorrow they’ll take up the gun.”

“It’s not surprising that Obama dropped Kashmir from his vocabulary after taking office when he raised the issue two days before election day, but the loss of time is tragic nonetheless and must be rectified as soon as possible. Having arrived in Pakistan in transit to Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s weightiest action may have been phone calls to the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministries, admonishing them for their public feud and urging “side-line talks” at Kabul’s upcoming conference.”

“Yet this act, seemingly important as it is, falls short of Kashmir’s demands and merely protracts its crisis. Washington guides India and Pakistan’s strategic dialogue from behind the curtains, trying to keep the two in line and from colliding, but it never brings them into line either. Hence they stay parallel and mired in the status quo. All issues aside, America still appears the best mediator to Kashmir’s conflict given its relationship with both states. But if Clinton leaves the region without broaching Kashmir and if Obama stays silent as Srinagar intensifies, the time will ripen for international mediation.”

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