Posted on 05-10-2010
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf became the first Pakistani official to openly admit what everybody else already knew.  Pakistan used terrorism as a tool of foreign policy to wrest Kashmir from India (complete interview in German here).  He also openly admitted culpability for the Kargil War, which at the time he tried to pass off as an attack of “freedom fighters.”  Musharraf’s comments come as rumors of a coup in Pakistan are rising and he is planning to return home to wade into politics.

With Pakistan trying again to rake up Kashmir in international forums in its tediously predictable manner, the question is what exactly India needs to negotiate with Pakistan about.  Indian possession the Kashmir valley and the partition of the old princely state of Kashmir is a fait accompli.  While Kashmir has boiled over this summer and India has made more than its share of mistakes in the state (bungling made worse by the state’s demographics), Kashmiris enjoy constitutional protections that preserve their language, culture and property along with full rights as Indian citizens.  Kashmiris do not face the prospect of being swamped in their homeland like the Tibetans.  This is in stark contrast to the legal limbo or outright colonial rule faced by their brethren on the Pakistani side of the line of control.

Ultimately the geopolitical reality is that India cannot let Kashmir go without triggering similar vociferous demands elsewhere.  More than 60 years after partition it will not hand Kashmir over to the failing state on its western border.  The only parties to the negotiations should be the Indian government and the representatives of the Kashmiri people to address their legitimate grievances so that the military presence that infuriates Kashmiris can be drawn down and human rights issues resolved.  The sooner Pakistan comes to grip with this reality it can focus on the disaster within its borders that has been exacerbated by allowing its terrorist proxies free rein.

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