Simon Tisdall in London

From Guardian: “India’s blinkered policy on Kashmir

“Indian finger-pointing over the upsurge in lethal violence in Kashmir suggests beleaguered Pakistan may soon face a bigger crisis than even the current floods disaster. Reviving tension over the divided territory, claimed in its entirety by both sides and the spark for two previous wars, has already upset Indo-Pakistan peace talks. More importantly for Britain and the US, a new Kashmir confrontation could derail their spluttering Afghan strategy.”

Despite plenty of evidence that the unrest was both spontaneous and rooted in decades of neglect, discrimination and repression of Jammu and Kashmir’s Muslim majority, the Indian government has also stuck to an old story: blaming Pakistan. Delhi has repeatedly accused Islamabad of covertly backing efforts by militant Islamist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, held responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to destabilise Kashmir. Now it says that Pakistan, switching tack, is at it again.”

But Delhi’s blinkered Kashmir policy since partition in 1947 – ignoring UN demands for a self-determination plebiscite, rigging elections, manipulating or overthrowing elected governments, and neglecting economic development – lies at the heart of the problem, according to Barbara Crossette, writing in the Nation.

The violence “is a reminder that many Kashmiris still do not consider themselves part of India and profess that they never will,” she said. “India maintains a force of several hundred thousand troops and paramilitaries in Kashmir, turning the summer capital, Srinagar, into an armed camp frequently under curfew and always under the gun. The media is labouring under severe restrictions. Torture and human rights violations have been well documented.” Comparisons with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians were not inappropriate.”

The US and Britain, and the UN, tend to keep mum on Kashmir for fear of riling India. But writing in the Washington Post, Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid said it was in their own interest to speak up. A durable settlement in Afghanistan required “a concerted effort” to bring India and Pakistan to the negotiating table – and that meant, first and foremost, ending their confrontation over Kashmir, he said. “If the US hopes to salvage any remotely positive outcome from its … war in Afghanistan, then it should move a resolution [of] Kashmir up its list of priorities.”

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