Kashmir, the disputed and heavily-militarized border zone between
India and Pakistan, has been a source of violent conflict for decades.
The conflict has involved conventional battles, allegations of
state-sponsored terrorism, and the development of
nuclear weapons in both states. The whole world is watching today as leaders from India
and Pakistan meet in the latter's capital city to discuss peace in
Kashmir. The U.S. is also pushing to deescalate the Kashmir conflict,
which it sees as fueling the militant violence in Pakistan that is also troubling Afghanistan. Here's what's at stake in Thursday's talks.
Emphasizes Terrorism The Wall Street Journal's Amol Sharma and Tom Wright
write, "India says terrorism is the core issue of the talks. ...
Despite the moves to ease tensions, the new spat that played out ahead
of the meeting could complicate the nascent rapprochement between the
neighbors. India is now accusing elements of the Pakistani government of
planning and executing the Mumbai attack. India had previously blamed
Pakistan-based militants for carrying out the attack, but hadn't
publicly accused Pakistan's government of direct involvement."
Emphasizes Long-Term Stability, Development, Trust Pakistani
newspaper Dawn reports, "President Asif Ali
Zardari said on Thursday that the destinies of the people of both
Pakistan and India and the development of the entire region lies in
friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between the two
countries. ... The president said that the resumption of composite
dialogue would help remove mistrust and restore confidence in relations
between the two countries and would also help resolve all outstanding
issues, including occupied Jammu and Kashmir."
- How Kashmir
Peace Talks Are Like Soccer Indian journalist Nitin Pai compares the failure
of India and Pakistan at such peace talks to the behavior of soccer
players. A recent study showed, "the optimal strategy for the goalkeeper
was to stay put (and not dive in either direction). For the kicker, the
optimal strategy was to target the upper third of the goal. Yet, in the
matches they analysed, goalkeepers almost always dived and kickers did
not consistently aim at the upper-third. ... Like the goalkeeper, the
Indian government is better off staying still--focusing on liberalising
the economy, accumulating power and engaging in robust
counter-terrorism. Yet, New Delhi dives spectacularly into summits. ...
Like the kicker, the Pakistani government is better off aiming at the
upper-third--deradicalising its own society, dismantling the
military-jihadi complex and otherwise stop burning down its own house.
Yet, Islamabad kicks the ball into the India's hands--finding reasons to
- How the World Misunderstands Kashmir Problem
Former CIA station chief in Pakistan Robert Grenier recounts,
"There was a long history behind the Kashmir dispute ... and it would be
a big mistake to focus myopically on the terrorism without trying to
solve the dispute itself. Nonetheless, that is precisely what the US has
done since 9/11: Focusing on the illegitimate means of redress - the
terrorism - without considering either the grievances which produce it
or promoting more legitimate means of redressing those grievances." He
says the U.S., India, and Pakistan all focus on terrorism, but that's
"an overwhelming distraction from the matter at hand." That matter is
the humanitarian and political plight of the Kashmiris themselves.
What Do Kashmiris Want? British university professor Robert Bradnock ran a study to find out. He tells Voice
of America, "The overwhelming majority of Kashmiris on both sides of the
unemployment is the most important issue, along with a whole range of
other economic issues. But having said that, nearly all Kashmiris do say
that solving this crisis problem is very important to them personally."
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