Kash­mir: Obama’s fail­ure

Views from Srinagar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

ter­view with MSNBC and other in­ter­na­tional magazines.

From his in­ter­views and speeches, one could read that like Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower, he also rec­og­nized the ‘po­ten­tial danger Kash­mir dis­pute posed to the Amer­i­can in­ter­ests’ and global peace. It also em­anated from his in­ter­views to the press that com­pared to other can­di­dates in the elec­tion fray he was fully ac­quainted with the his­tory of the dis­pute. He knew In­dia ‘re­neged on its pledge to al­low the Kash­miris to de­ter­mine their fu­ture through a UN-su­per­vised plebiscite.

The can­di­date and Pres­i­dent Obama had lit­tle doubt to quote Daniel Markey, Se­nior Fel­low for In­dia, Pak­istan, and South Asia, Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions, “that nor­mal­ized re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan, in­clud­ing a re­gion­ally ac­cept­able set­tle­ment on Kash­mir, would of­fer tremen­dous ben­e­fits to the United States. Indo-Pak ten­sions are es­pe­cially dan­ger­ous be­cause they bring two nu­clear states toe-to-toe; they dis­tract Is­lam­abad from the ur­gent task of com­bat­ing ter­ror­ists and mil­i­tants on its soil, and they con­trib­ute to sus­pi­cions about In­dia’s in Afghanistan.

Thus, the long-stand­ing dis­pute over Kash­mir is one part of a wider re­gional dy­namic that has di­rect im­pli­ca­tions for Wash­ing­ton’s abil­ity to sup­port a sta­ble Afghan state and to ad­dress the threat posed by ter­ror­ist groups in South Asia.” Not only the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion but many im­por­tant an­a­lysts across the globe had al­most reached a con­sen­sus that ‘the Road to Kabul runs through Kash­mir’.

Obama’s con­cern about the res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir had caused worry in the cor­ri­dors of power in New Delhi. The na­tional spokesper­son of the BJP, then a famed jour­nal­ist, M. J. Ak­bar had writ­ten in The Times of In­dia (June 7, 2009) “A tur­bu­lent whis­per is surg­ing through Wash­ing­ton. Barack Obama wants peace in the life of his first term. He has dis­cov­ered the magic po­tion that will kill the roots Pak­istani ac­tiv­i­ties of two poi­sonous plants, Pales­tine and Kash­mir.

He has told Is­rael that he wants a def­i­nite route map to­wards an in­de­pen­dent Pales­tine state by July. July is also the month dur­ing which Hillary Clinton is sched­uled to visit the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent. In her bag­gage will be a war man­ual for Af-Pak and a peace pre­scrip­tion for Ind-PaK.” Notwith­stand­ing, New Delhi not favour­ing the fi­nal res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir, in Wash­ing­ton saw it im­por­tant for the Amer­i­can in­ter­ests. Many I ex­perts had im­pressed upon Pres­i­dent Obama to fol­low a ro­bust role for the set­tle­ment of this out­stand­ing dis­pute.

The fear about Kash­mir caus­ing a nu­clear war be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan had not only be­come the cause of con­cern in the South Asia alone but also in Wash­ing­ton. Am­bas­sador Howard B Schaf­fer in his book the ‘Lim­its of In­flu­ence’ writ­ing about In­dia’s am­bi­tion to play ma­jor role on the in­ter­na­tional stage had rightly ob­served that ‘it will see Kash­mir as an ob­sta­cle to seek­ing that recog­ni­tion and it will have to be more ready to rid it­self of this al­ba­tross.’

Fear­ing the con­flict be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan over Kash­mir es­ca­lat­ing into nu­clear war be­tween the two coun­tries, he also has ob­served a ‘set­tle­ment has be­come more im­por­tant to Amer­i­can in­ter­ests in South Asia and be­yond.’ Schaf­fer is not alone; there are many other strate­gic ex­perts and De­fence an­a­lysts who have been vo­cif­er­ously sub­scrib­ing to this view. But, strangely enough de­spite rec­og­niz­ing Kash­mir as the road to peace in Kabul and a po­tent threat to nu­clear war be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan in his sec­ond term in of­fice failed to ad­dress the is­sue.

In­stead of hav­ing en­sured peace in the re­gion, dur­ing his last days in the White House, it seems his pol­icy of deep­en­ing of US-In­dia ties which Is­lam­abad be­lieves is cen­tred on strength­en­ing In­dia’s mil­i­tary power will es­ca­late ten­sion be­tween the two coun­tries. The two coun­tries are al­ready in a con­fronta­tional mode with New Delhi re­port­edly pur­su­ing the

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.