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Kashmir dispute is resolvable
Pakistan's former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, has revealed in his book, 'Magnificent Delusions' that in November 2009 the US President Barack Obama secretly offered Pakistan that the US could nudge India towards negotiations on Kashmir in lieu of it ending support to terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Taliban. But Pakistan did not entertain the proposal.

It just shows how Mr. Obama is judged by international community and also that it has wider implications for both India and Pakistan. It tells at the very complex side of Mr. Obama?s personality that he can play hard real-time games in international politics. India should be somewhat cautioned if Mr. Obama?s ultimate game-plan was to bargain over territories.

Other than its military?s uncompromising and intransigent position and objection to the proposal, Islamabad should have had grave concerns about US intentions if it had agreed to follow the US line and that suspicion starts from Mr. Obama?s Democrat predecessor William J Clinton?s second term.

During the Kargil war of 1999, the then US President Mr. Clinton intervened in India?s favor. He asked the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to revert back Pakistani army to the original pre-Kargil war situation.

The policy of the world community since the past decade and even before that has been to uphold the sanctity of the Line-of-Control (LoC). Pakistan will never gain from this position nor would it like to end almost 66 years of dispute on this simple note. Moreover, it can anyway deal with India on its own should it agree for converting LoC into an international border.

What Pakistan wants from India is Srinagar and adjoining areas as by that time and indeed definitely by this time, it should have lost all hopes of getting the whole of Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

To be frank, Pakistan might not even have the appetite to gulp the whole Valley. But the then Obama administration might not have promised Pakistan much on substance and detail except for simple commitment of being an honest broker. Also, it should not have consulted India at the highest level then and might not have known India?s real response of the time.

The so called pro-Indian stand of the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might also be one of the determining factors in Pakistan rejecting Mr. Obama?s proposal. Moreover, the Obama administration would not have nudged India to the positions as it would have done with Israel and would not have taken Pakistan?s side as much as it would have taken Palestine?s. After all, Pakistan is too hot to gain any territory and even iconic victory in the region at least for the time being.

Also, abandoning LeT and Taliban might not have been that soothing for Pakistan as it might have feared its dwindling influence in Afghanistan vis-à-vis India. It still considers both the organizations as its assets and not as liabilities. Apart from that, frankly speaking, accepting US proposal without much offer-in-hand could have destabilized civilian Union government in Pakistan like the one in 1999.

Stakes were not that high for Pakistan at that time but risks and apprehensions were. The biggest problem for Pakistan was to start formal peace dialogue with India, the US and the rest of the West saying all correct things but not doing sufficient to nudge India from abandoning its official position of converting LoC as international border between the two estranged South Asian neighbors.

The Indian position on Kashmir at least towards Pakistan, if not towards the whole global Western-dominated audience, gets highlighted by the fact that the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when he met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in last week of September this year on the sidelines of UN General Assembly summit said that he had not become Prime Minister of India to redraw the boundary. Similar statement was made by Winston Churchill when he famously said in 1942 that he had not become the King?s first minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.

The fact is no Indian Prime minister; of any identity, including when he and she were a Muslim, can ever dare to talk about a solution sensitive and conducive to Pakistan?s desire without seeking the consent of a nonpartisan majority of the Parliament, including explicitly seeking the consent of principal opposition party. This is true of all Indian political colors in power alike, be they Centrists, Rightists, Socialists and Communists. The communication to Mr. Sharif reflects a firm view of Dr. Singh and as long as he is the Prime Minister of India, this is not going to change even by a minuscule.

Dr. Singh is not considered a strong Prime Minister even by die-hard INC supporters and therefore, his ability to maneuver things over resolving Kashmir dispute more or less depends on the sanctions and limits granted by INC?s first family and other power-structures of the INC and the UPA. That no Indian Prime Minister would favor Pakistan is a completely different thing as many among them would consider resolving the dispute to the satisfaction of Pakistan and Valley Muslims ideologically nauseating and loathsome. As a matter of fact Dr. Singh does not fall into that category and would be ideologically rather comfortable to offer sops to Pakistan, if permitted by the circumstances.

But still diplomacy demanded that Dr. Singh better had not said that to Mr. Sharif. Pakistani military anyway does not have capacity to force redraw of boundaries in J&K on India. While the West, including the US, can understand Pakistan?s position on principles, the fact is that its interests and comparisons and contrasts between India and Pakistan would dictate it otherwise.

As a matter of fact even the then Governor-general of India in 1947 Lewis Mountbatten was half-hearted when he temporarily supported Nehru?s proposal to save J&K from Pakistani tribal supported by Pakistani regulars? intrusion into the state. Mountbatten told Nehru explicitly to seek people?s mandate before finalizing the status of J&K. As a result, J&K is divided and the West considers the whole of territory as disputed.

But still one has to find out a way to redress and heal the pain and agony of Valley people. The better way is to look for partial union of people and allowance of greater trade, commerce and exchange of currency between the two Kashmir. As far as Pakistan?s current strategy of investing into India?s troubles is concerned, it is just insufficient to meet its supposed target: to dismember India into parts along various divisive lines. If it continued its wish-thinking, which it cannot actualize, Indian government is not going to start any serious talk with it.

The Indian Union is eternally strong and minimally never going to break up till its economic situation is healthy though even in dire circumstances bondage of Indian-ness would hold it together. Anyway, even China, except for a very cleverly planned nuclear attack, which for all practical purpose in real-time is a dud-and-null option, cannot dream to fragment India. If the West foolishly takes anti-India stand, though this is practically impossible at this stage, then even that may turn out to be counterproductive.

The fact is that Indian Union must remain strong but equally true is the fact that Kashmir dispute should be resolved at the earliest, to the just satisfaction of all sides. India has the potential, capability, flexibility and means though definitely no courage to let Kashmir dispute be resolved without compromising much over its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Therefore, India and Pakistan should look for parallel paths; those which turn out to be productive and effective.

To all my nationalist Indian friends: I must tell that I am not saying that India should compromise on its resources and territories but only saying that Kashmir dispute is resolvable and it should be resolved. Please don?t put arbitrary charges of sedition on me as I am not at all that stuff. Please ignore if one feels infuriated about the issue. I strongly think that India needs to address its own problem seriously at the earliest and should get away from the self-defeating path of being in zilch progression.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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