A SHORT GLIMPSE AT A NEVER-ENDING CONFLICT – KASHMIR
wpisał: Przemysław Majka
At the time of raving battles in northern Pakistan, the media are paying attention to the impact of Talibans on the policy of Islamabad. Politicians fear that the regional instability may cause troubles in Afghanistan and seriously undermine peace afford in this war-battered country. The situation in Swat valley is on the top of US policymakers` agenda. However, while the media are getting steadily interested in the Pakistan and its flaming northwestern border, they turn the blind eye on the situation in Kashmir – the actual root of the northern culture of violence and terrorism. This short article is to remember that international community had once forgotten about the northern Pakistan and despite all resolutions the shadows of conflict still affect the regional affairs.
The terrain of Jammu and Kashmir, 61 years after the first war between India and Pakistan, remains one of the most dangerous and violent region in the world. Since 1948 various organizations and states have tried to solve this Gordian stroke, but none of them have been able to grasp the complexity of the problem. None of them have forced, persuaded or encouraged the main actors – India and Pakistan – to reach some sort of consensus. Foreign observers, special envoys and diplomats have failed to understand true, ideological aims of rivalries, as well as the demands of Kashmiris. However, failed plans, broken truces and peace talks have left traces in the minds of policy-makers. Traces which can be used as a framework, a practical lesson for the future and help us to understand mistakes, obstacles as well as opportunities which have been lost.
1. The UN resolution no. 47 is perceived as one of the most important drafts of resolving the conflict. The UN called India and Pakistan to stop fighting, withdraw their main forces, but not the police (in order to prevent eruption of violence) and „enter into immediate negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Representative” . The resolution set a size of regional armies and made India to conduct a plebiscite in Kashmir which let its inhabitants to decide about their destiny. It was approved by both fighting parties in 1948, mainly because everyone was tired and unable to continue the struggle. Nonetheless both sides treated it as a temporary cease-fire and were not willing to implement it. United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan send its representative to Kashmir, firstly Admiral Chester Nimitz, backed by President Harry Truman and Prime Minister Clement Atlee, offered his arbitration, and when it was rejected in 1949, the Security Council chose sir Owen Dixon, a retired Judge of the Australian High Court, as a mediator . His mission failed since India and Pakistan had not been inclined to start talks. However, in the first glance the resolution seems to be unsuccessful, it eventually has been serving as a common draft for further agreements and cease-fires between main actors. It helped to establish the Line of Control and UN observers in Kashmir.
2. Simla Agreement (3rd July, 1972) was signed after the third Pakistani-Indian war. Article VI of the agreement stipulated that „both governments agree that their respective heads will meet again and in the meantime the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss the modalities and arrangements for the establishment of durable peace and normalization of relations including the question of repatriation of prisoners-of-war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.” New Delhi and Islamabad resigned from threating to each other. Cynically, one can point out that it has not restrained violence in Kashmir. Nonetheless, Simla Agreement may be used as a basis for future negotiations on Kashmir.
3. “Secret American diplomacy”, adopted by American policy-makers after the collapse of the Soviet Union, had two aims: potential profits which can give an economic cooperation with huge Indian market and „curbing the nuclear programmes of India and Pakistan which will be almost impossible while Kashmir remains at boiling point.” The US was involved in indirect talks leading to calming violent fightings in Kargil in 1999. It also supported the imposition of sanctions against both countries after they had conducted nuclear tests in the 90s. Most of action taken by the US had a face of secret talks, which apparently were aimed at limitation of the conflict. Although some of them were successful, they have always been restricted to extinguishing temporarily tensions, not to solving a broader problem. What is more it is quite clear that the US tend to favor India as a potential economic partner and tend to ignore the abuses of human rights in Kashmir.
4. Lahore Agreement in 1999 and Agra Summit in 2001, where prime ministers and presidents of India and Pakistan met, ended with official declarations of mutual trust and the need of talk over dispute questions. Unfortunately, no side is willing to take firsts steps in implementation of these agreements, and from time to time, sides accuse each other of showing bad will. It seems that, even if they want to, the actors cannot find a common solution.
The conflict over disputed territory of Kashmir is multidimensional. India and Pakistan, two warring states, have proved that they are not capable of resolving the incompatibility on their own. It is worth remembering that both sides used to treat the dispute as a “zero – sum confrontation” and assume that there could be only one winner of the clash. Such an attitude leads inevitably to a stalemate – none of the sides would is willing to resign from its claims, no matter if authentic or prestigious ones.
Pakistan’s natural goal is to obtain whole territory of Kashmir as to combine it with its own country, hence create one Muslim – oriented state. The India’s pivotal aim is concentrated on the idea of secular state. Its main policy is focused on remaining of Kashmir within India’s borders. As a result, the actual status quo promotes its interests since the disputed territory officially belongs to India. Apparently for Indian elites the status quo benefits India. However, in fact the current situation of Kashmir destabilizes the Indian democracy and undermines its international image. For Indian policy-makers such a state of affairs took a shape of “hurting stalemate”, which consumes much more resources than it is worth and causes constant tensions. Paradoxically, Indian elites, while building a secular, democratic state, impose an unfair and despotic rules in Kashmir. New Delhi has mired somewhere between a desire to carve a modern society and a fear that that society might turn against it.
Let`s hope that this time neither Pakistan, nor the US do not forget Kashmir lesson.
1.„Resolution 47 (1948) on the India-Pakistan question submitted jointly by the representatives for Belgium, Canada, China, Columbia, The United Kingdom and United States of America and adopted by The Security Council at its 286th meeting held on 21st April, 1948.” The full text can be found: http://www.gharib.demon.co.uk/unres/res12.htm accessed on 27th May, 2009.
2.http://www.gharib.demon.co.uk/unres/res12.htm accessed on 27th May, 2009.
3.http://www.kashmir-information.com/storm/chapter10.html accessed on 27th May, 2009.
4.http://www.kashmir-information.com/storm/chapter15.html accessed on 27th May, 2009.
5.http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jid/jid000512_1_n.shtmll accessed on 27th May, 2009.
6.http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jid/jid000512_1_n.shtmll accessed on 27th May, 2009.
7.http://www.hasbrouck.org/kashmir/index.html accessed on 27th May, 2009.
8.Bose, Sumantra, Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace, Harvard University Press, 2003, p. 218.
Bose, Sumantra, Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace, Harvard University Press, 2003.
http://www.gharib.demon.co.uk/unres/res12.htm by Gharib Hanif.
http://www.kashmir-information.com/storm/chapter10.html by Bal Raj Madhok.
http://www.kashmir-information.com/storm/chapter15.html by Bal Raj Madhok.
http://www.hasbrouck.org/kashmir/index.html by Edward Hasbrouck.