Skip to main content

Need to unravel knotty Kashmir issue by 'accepting' American offer to mediate

By Saloni Kapur*
Before a recent meeting in Davos with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, Donald Trump reiterated his offer to help mediate over the issue of Kashmir. It’s been six months since India revoked the special constitutional status for the disputed territory of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir and put the state on lockdown. While internet restrictions have eased, connectivity remains patchy and prominent local politicians are still in detention.
Khan’s administration objected to the revocation on the grounds that Jammu and Kashmir is internationally recognised as a disputed territory. It argued that India’s unilateral decision contravened UN resolutions on the conflict, the Geneva Conventions, and India’s own constitution and supreme court. Pakistan also expressed concerns about ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Since then, the Indian government of prime minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly refused to accept mediation over Kashmir, something Khan says he is open to. The question of mediation is likely to come up at a forthcoming visit to India by Trump in late February.
My ongoing doctoral research suggests that mediation by the world’s great powers – such as the US, UK, Russia, China or Turkey – to resolve the festering conflict over Kashmir could pave the way for greater security cooperation in the Pakistan-India-Afghanistan triangle.
The disputes over the line of control that separates Indian- and Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir, and the Durand Line separating Pakistan and Afghanistan, are remnants of the decolonisation process. These disputes have complicated security relations in South Asia and led to lingering instability, hindering regional cooperation and integration.
Since 1989, India has deployed between 600,000 and 700,000 soldiers to Jammu and Kashmir. Alleged human rights abuses on the part of the Indian security forces have included rape, torture, extrajudicial killings, custodial disappearances, and the violent suppression of protests – one of the fundamental rights of citizens in a democracy. 
These have been documented in reports by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. In the summer of 2016, 17,000 demonstrators were injured in a brutal security crackdown. This has fuelled a further sense of marginalisation among local Kashmiris.

A shared history

I’m looking at the Kashmir issue from the perspective of the English school of international relations, a theoretical approach to international affairs that emphasises countries’ pursuit of shared interests and values through common institutions, human rights and diplomacy. This theory argues that the great powers have a special responsibility to maintain security and stability in the world.
In the Pakistan-India-Afghanistan triangle, despite deep-seated conflicts, all three countries have repeatedly turned to the institutions and norms of international society to seek to resolve disputes and defuse tensions. For example, Pakistan and India have repeatedly attempted to engage in a bilateral dialogue and to share intelligence on terrorism. Afghanistan’s inclusion in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is another example of this desire to use international institutions to defuse tensions. Such regional cooperation is a foundation upon which to build a more cooperative trilateral relationship – if the countries choose to do so.
Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have a shared history going back to the Mauryan Empire of the fourth century BC. Ethnic and religious identities spill over borders and the common cultural heritage is rich, spanning music, food, cinema, poetry, language and spirituality.
If India wants to be a great power in the emerging world order, it must achieve peaceful and stable neighbourhood. Accepting Trump’s offer would be a step in this direction
The security threats plaguing this region are shared too. Violent extremist groups are a concern not only for India, but for Afghanistan and Pakistan too. While India repeatedly blames Pakistan for attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India perpetrated by the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant groups, Pakistan believes that India supports the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has caused tremendous insecurity in Pakistan over the past two decades.
It also accuses India of supporting secessionism in the province of Balochistan, which threatens the economic corridor between China and Pakistan. Afghanistan has been destabilised by the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network and regularly blames Pakistan for backing them.
This cycle of allegations and counter-allegations hides the fact that these terrorist groups are non-state actors who work across borders. A comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy requires security and intelligence cooperation, alongside an approach that addresses the political, social, economic and psychological factors underlying terrorism.

Breaking the deadlock

A first step towards unravelling the knotty security dynamic in this region could be a positive response to the American offer to mediate on Kashmir. In the absence of bilateral headway in the peace process, third-party mediation is a reasonable way of attempting to break the deadlock. The successful settlement of the dispute over Kashmir could open the way to negotiations on the other core and interlinked issue of transnational terrorism.
The Pakistan-India, Pakistan-Afghanistan, and India-China territorial disputes are legacies of colonisation. The mistrust between Pakistan and India has hampered efforts to forge cooperation in the wider South Asian region, as shown by the cancellation of the 19th SAARC summit in 2016.
If India wants to be a great power in the emerging world order, it must first achieve a peaceful and stable neighbourhood. Accepting Trump’s offer would be a step in this direction.
--- 
*Assistant Professor, International Studies at FLAME University and PhD Candidate in International Relations, Lancaster University. This article was first published in The Conversation

Comments

Jag Jivan said…
The argument appears interesting. Will the concerned parties look into it, setting aside emotions?

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.