By Iram Zahra
BEIJING—(October 22, 2010—M4relay) — India and Pakistan have failed to make any progress in finding a solution to the Kashmir problem – a walk towards an independent Kashmir – according to Hurriyat, Kashmir’s leading party. America’s intervention as a third party to resolve the Kashmir issue has been solicited.
With President Barack Obama visiting India next month, hopes are high that the path towards a possible tangible truce is gradually being swept.
The Kashmir dispute is one of the oldest unresolved international conflicts in the world today. Pakistan and India consider the Kashmir palaver a core issue in their political dispute. While Indian security forces are accused of carrying out an unprecedented reign of terror in Indian occupied region of Kashmir, the Indian government, currently led by Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has neither been willing to negotiate through international mediation nor has India and Pakistan been ready to sort things out through bilateral agreements. But now the circumstances seem to be changing in both regions.
India and Pakistan have already fought two wars over Kashmir. The exchange of fire between their forces across the Line of Control, which separates Azad Kashmir from Occupied Kashmir, is a routine affair. Now that both India and Pakistan have acquired nuclear weapons potential, the possibility of a third war between them over Kashmir, which may involve the use of nuclear weapons, cannot be ruled out. The possible nuclear disaster in South Asia could be averted with an intervention by the international community. This partly explains why eyes are on Obama as he visits visits India in November.
Kashmir is in the northwestern region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term “Kashmir” referred only to the valley lying between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range. since then, it has been used for a larger area that today includes the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir consisting of the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh; the Pakistani-administered provinces of the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract. The United Nations and several sources use the designation Jammu and Kashmir to refer to this entire geographical area.
A third party intervention is necessary according to officials in this region because the conflict over Kashmir is becoming more intensive and concentrated. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi insisted that his government wanted peace with India but tore into its rule of Kashmir which he called “oppression.”
“The occupation cannot continue. The rights of the Kashmiri people cannot continue to be denied,” Qureshi said at the Council on Foreign Relations.
It is a fact in international politics that superpower intervention is always guided by long term, well thought out and core concerns of the superpower itself. If Kashmir really becomes the focus of U.S. foreign policy one day, it will only be meaningful if the U.S. considers a just intervention for the general good of the people and parties in the region and for its own interests.
* Iram Zahra is an international reporter at M4 Media