Skip to main content

Kashmiri diaspora view: US can 'unlock' Afghan conflict via Indo-Pak truce on J&K

By Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai* 

The Kashmir question is one of the oldest unresolved international problems in the world. The experience of nearly seven decades has shown that it will not go away and that an effort is urgently required to resolve it on a durable basis. ‘Durable’, in this context is synonymous with ‘equitable’. It is imperative, whatever be the rights and wrongs in the equation as far as arguments go, real populations with a pronounced sense of identity of their own, with their suffering and their aspirations rather than just legal title and merit are involved.
The Kashmir dispute primarily involves the life and future of the 23 million people of the land. Because of its impact on relations between India and Pakistan, however, it directly affects the peace and stability of the region of South Asia that includes Afghanistan as well. This is a region, which contains one-fifth of the total human race.
The following considerations are most pertinent for an assessment of the dispute by the policy-making agencies and personalities of the world powers, including the United States.
When the Kashmir dispute erupted in 1947-1948, the United States championed the stand that the future status of Kashmir must be ascertained in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the territory. The United States was the principal sponsor of the resolution # 47 which was adopted by the Security Council on April 21, 1948 and which was based on that unchallenged principle. Following the resolution, the United States as a leading member of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), adhered to that stand. The basic formula for settlement was incorporated in the resolutions of that Commission adopted on August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949.
The part played traditionally by the United States Government is apparent from: The appeal made by President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee that any contentious issues between India and Pakistan relating to the implementation of the agreement on Kashmir must be submitted to arbitration; the appointment of an eminent American, Admiral Chester Nimitz, as Plebiscite Administrator on Kashmir; the appeal personally made in 1962 by President John F Kennedy to the President of Ireland to the effect that Ireland sponsor a resolution on Kashmir in the Security Council reaffirming the resolutions of the Commission; the forceful advocacy by the US Delegation of points regarding the demilitarization of Kashmir preparatory to the plebiscite at countless meetings of the Security Council from the years 1947-48 to 1962 and its sponsorship of twelve substantive resolutions of the Council to that effect; the protracted negotiations conducted by another distinguished American, Frank Graham, from 1951 to 1958 in the effort to bring about the demilitarization of Kashmir, making possible the holding of a free and impartial plebiscite.
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles stated on February 5, 1957 that: "We continue to believe that unless the parties are able to agree upon some other solution, the solution which was recommended by the Security Council should prevail, which is that there should be a plebiscite.”
On 15 June 1962, the American representative to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, stated that: "...The best approach is to take for a point of departure the area of common ground which exists between the parties. I refer of course to the resolutions which were accepted by both parties and which in essence provide for demilitarization of the territory and a plebiscite whereby the population may freely decide the future status of Jammu and Kashmir. This is in full conformity with the principle of the self‑determination of people which is enshrined in Article I of the Charter as one of the key purpose for which the United Nations exists.”
Unfortunately, all these pronouncements and commitments by the United States remain unfulfilled until today and Kashmir dispute has brought both India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Now, it is being said that peace between India and Pakistan could help unlock another conflict with even higher stakes for the United States: the war in Afghanistan. Indeed, a growing chorus of experts has begun arguing that the road to Kabul runs through Kashmir – that the U.S. will never stabilize the former without peace in the latter. Suddenly, bringing India and Pakistan together seems to be very much in America's interest. Which makes the Biden administration's determination to avoid the issue increasingly hard to fathom.
There is a convergent thinking among Indian, Pakistan and American scholars that key to progress of peace in Afghanistan lies in Kashmir. On one hand, Indian Independent thinker and writer, Pankaj Mishra wrote in the ‘New York Review of Books’, “As always, the road to stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan runs through the valley of Kashmir,” and on the other hand, Pakistani journalist, Ahmed Rashid wrote in ‘Foreign Affairs’ on October 11, 2010, “The road to Kabul runs through Kashmir…There can be no peace in Afghanistan until these two neighbours (India and Pakistan) sit down and talk about a common approach to both Kabul and Kashmir, rather than negotiating by proxy war.”
There can be no peace in Afghanistan until India and Pakistan sit down and talk about a common approach to both Kabul and Kashmir
And see the similarities of idea with an American journalist, Jonathan Tepperman who wrote in 'Newsweek' on February 10, 2010, “To understand why Kashmir is so important to Afghanistan, start with the fact that the U.S. can't defeat the Afghan insurgency without Pakistan's help. Fear of India also keeps Pakistan from putting enough troops on its 2,250-kilometer-long Afghan border, which the Taliban still cross at will… Yet even he (Richard Holbrooke) concedes that Kashmir makes Afghanistan ‘more difficult to resolve’, and Washington simply can't afford to avoid it if it hopes to leave the region any time soon.”
And Dutch independent write and researcher, Laura Schuurmans is equally passionate to suggest to the world powers to intervene in both crisis: Kashmir and Afghanistan. She wrote in November 2013, “The world will have to take notice of this issue if it really wants stable and durable peace in Afghanistan, south Asian subcontinent and consequently the whole world….A new beginning can start from Kashmir and therefore, peace and stability can return to Afghanistan through the valleys of Kashmir.”
Incidentally, it was on March 8, 2021 that Zalmay Khalilzad, US Negotiator on Afghanistan met with General Bajwa of Pakistan and discussed the issue of Afghanistan and matters of mutual interest. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has announced to sponsor a meeting on Afghanistan. Foreign minister of India and Pakistan along with foreign ministers of China, Iran, Russia and United States are invited. It has been suggested that the meeting will take place in Turkey. Turkey’s President Erdogan has already said on March 1, 2021, "Developments in Afghanistan are closely related to the security and stability of the region. We closely follow the developments in friendly and brotherly Afghanistan. We hope that the peace process which aims to put an end to the ongoing conflicts of more than 40 years succeeds."
We hope that Turkey will take into consideration the recommendations made by Professor Patrick J Larkin, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California, he made in March 2013, “The U.S. will not be able to achieve a lasting peace in Afghanistan without the unilateral support of Pakistan and India. If the conflict in Kashmir can be reconciled, this will aid U.S. objectives of a secure Afghanistan… Only by finding a final status on Kashmir with South Asia be able to achieve a real, lasting peace.”
I believe that the time has come that the United Nations and world powers, particularly the United States intervenes in Kashmir to bring peace and prosperity not only to Kashmir but also to the whole region of South Asia, including Afghanistan. Dr Syed Nazir Gilani said it best, “Kashmir solution would help US and NATO forces to have a credible respite. They would have a strong impregnable complementary military shield in Pakistan, which would be a reliable constituent to build peace in Afghanistan.”
In this regard, President Biden can listen to Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, who wrote in ‘New York Review of Books’ on September 30, 2010, “Silence and indirectness about the conflict is no longer workable….The United States does not need to intervene directly in Kashmiri negotiations to support the Indo-Pakistani peace process. It does, however, need to rediscover the sense of urgency and international leadership that characterized its engagement with Kashmir in the 1950s and early 1960s.”
And we hope that President Biden will heed to the advice of President Barack Obama who said on October 30, 2008, “The most important thing we're going to have to do with respect to Afghanistan, is actually deal with Pakistan…We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants.”
---
*Secretary general, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.