With U.S. relations in Pakistan at a low point and the two countries’ strategic disagreement over priorities in Afghanistan on full display, it is time to review U.S. strategic options. One that deserves a close look is a grand bargain: give Pakistan what it wants in Afghanistan – but on two conditions: Pakistan assumes responsibility for preventing terrorism out of Afghanistan, and Pakistan agrees to settle Kashmir along the present geographic lines. This is not a panacea, nor would it be easy to execute. But it addresses the principal stumbling block to the current U.S. strategy, and provides an incentive to settle the region’s longest-running dispute.
July 20, 2011: Veteran Kashmir-watchers like ourselves were amazed to find that today’s New York Times and Washington Post gave front-page coverage to the arrest of Ghulam Nabi Fai, the longtime director of the Washington-based Kashmir American Council. Fai and another Pakistani-American were charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign principal – the Pakistan government – without registering with the attorney general. They were also charged with concealing the fact that Pakistan was funding and directing the KAC’s lobbying and public relations campaigns in the United States. The funding allegedly included campaign contributions to members of Congress known for their pro-Pakistan positions on the long-standing Kashmir dispute.
Howard and Teresita Schaffer’s comments on the Indian government’s latest initiatives in Kashmir. February 27, 2011.
After a summer of anguish and unrest in Kashmir, punctuated by an eloquent plea from the prime minister to “give peace a chance,” the Indian government in October appointed three non-officials to serve as “interlocutors” with all shades of opinion in Kashmir… Long-time observers of Kashmir argue that after the traumatic developments of last summer, people in the Valley are looking for ways to move forward toward more acceptable political arrangements. But they also caution that further incidents such as those that sparked last summer’s clashes could again inflame the situation. It is important in this context that the Indian government not again delude itself into thinking that the quieter atmosphere means that meaningful steps are no longer urgently needed.
An article by Teresita C. Schaffer and Howard B. Schaffer on actions India, Pakistan, and the United States can take to quell the crisis in Kashmir.
Since mid-June, over 50 civilians, many of them teenagers, have been killed in clashes between stone-pelting protesters and police in the streets of Srinagar and other towns in Kashmir. This could pose a serious threat to peace in South Asia. India needs to address both the domestic alienation in Kashmir and its 60-year-old dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir’s future, issues it has rarely before tried to deal with at the same time. The United States can play a useful but very limited role in this dangerous drama.
Originally published August 20, 2010 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Commentary. Read the entire article.
Before the 1947 partition of India, few Americans knew or cared about the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Tucked away in the high western Himalayas, Kashmir, as it was commonly called, was an amalgam of territories widely varied in language, culture, religion, ethnicity, and economic development. Its disparate regions had been cobbled together by the dynastic ambitions of the state’s rulers abetted by British imperial design. In the first half of the nineteenth century, these maharajas,Hindus of the Dogra ethnic group based in the Jammu area of the state, had with British backing created one of the largest states in Britain’s Indian empire. Situated along India’s border with China, touching Afghanistan, and close to the Central Asian regions of Czarist Russia and, later, the Soviet Union, it was also one of the most strategically placed.