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Kashmir: The View From New Delhi
Kashmir: The View From New Delhi
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
Pakistan’s Relations with India: Beyond Kashmir?
Pakistan’s Relations with India: Beyond Kashmir?
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
Report 69 / Asia

Kashmir: The View From New Delhi

For half a century Kashmir has been the major issue of contention between India and Pakistan.

Executive Summary

For half a century Kashmir has been the major issue of contention between India and Pakistan. In India’s view, the conflict in the state of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a major internal security threat and is driven by Pakistani interference. No solution is possible, according to the Indian leadership, until Pakistan ceases its support for militants there.

The ceasefire at the Line of Control (LOC) established by India’s acceptance on 24 November of Pakistan’s announcement the previous day of a unilateral measure and confidence building measures (CBMs) proposed by India in October 2003 have raised hopes of an improved environment for negotiations. Nevertheless, the potential for yet another Kashmir crisis that could result in armed conflict looms large, since mutual distrust and hostility remain high, and both countries’ substantive positions are rigid. Meanwhile the Kashmiri people are caught in the crossfire between the militants and Indian security forces.

This paper lays out the public and private positions of the government in New Delhi on Kashmir and relations with Pakistan. It also examines the way the issue is tackled by Indian politicians of all parties and the media. ICG is releasing simultaneously reports that look at how the conflict is seen in Islamabad and at the history of the crisis and past efforts to resolve it. An earlier report examined views from within the Kashmir Valley. Taken together, the series analyses the positions and looks at the constraints in terms of ending the conflict as they are perceived on all sides.[fn]ICG Asia Report N°35, Kashmir: Confrontation and Miscalculation, 11 July 2002; ICG Asia Report N°41, Kashmir: The View from Srinagar, 21 November 2002; ICG Asia Report N°68, Kashmir: The View from Islamabad, 4 December 2003; ICG Asia Report N°70, Kashmir: Learning from the Past, 4 December 2003.Hide Footnote  A subsequent final report in this series will offer extensive recommendations on how to move forward with a process of reconciliation between India and Pakistan and within Kashmir.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has traditionally pursued an uncompromising attitude on Kashmir, favouring a military solution over a political resolution of the conflict. Although it has moderated its views in government, the pressures of electoral politics and, to a lesser degree, its ideological preferences, will continue to constrain its decisions.

Internal constraints in resolving the Kashmir conflict extend beyond the conservative political parties to encompass an array of rightist forces. Within Kashmir, despite divisions between hardliners and moderates, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference still represents Kashmiri separatism. Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri militants pose formidable hurdles to conflict resolution.

Any movement forward on Kashmir is made even more difficult by the lack of a national consensus on how the conflict within Kashmir and with Pakistan should be addressed. In general, public opinion is not set against an agreement and is supportive of peace initiatives since Kashmir, for most Indians, is not the most pressing of the country’s major problems. However, popular sentiment hardens during crises, influenced by official and media rhetoric. There is then a tendency to move away from support for a negotiated settlement to preference for a military solution in dealing with Pakistan and the militants.

India’s bottom line on Kashmir has remained unchanged over the decades: the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union, and any settlement of the crisis there must be effected within the confines of the Indian constitution. However, differences abound within Indian policy circles on the future shape of a possible solution, from support for incorporating into India all of Jammu and Kashmir, including territories presently under Pakistani and Chinese control, to the territorial status quo, to the increasingly apparent shift in official policy for recognition of the Line of Control (LOC) as the international border.

Indian perspectives are moving in the following direction: that a holistic solution must include recognition that it is impractical at this late date to conduct a plebiscite; that New Delhi cannot avoid providing maximum autonomy to Srinagar; and that converting the LOC into an international border is necessary on pragmatic grounds. The Indian government remains publicly opposed to any international involvement in the dispute although it has urged the United States to press Pakistan to end support for militants. Statements by Indian officials on all these matters are split. Most accept in private that a solution is possible along the basic lines just described. However, few have yet acknowledged this in public.

New Delhi/Brussels, 4 December 2003

Report 224 / Asia

Pakistan’s Relations with India: Beyond Kashmir?

Their recent dialogue process provides the best chance yet for bilateral peace and regional stability, but Pakistan and India must still overcome serious mistrust among hardliners in their security elites.

Executive Summary

In March 2011, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government resumed the composite dialogue with India, with the rapid pace of its economic liberalisation program demonstrating political will to normalise bilateral relations. The November 2011 decision to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by the end of 2012 is not merely an economic concession but also a significant political gesture. Departing from Pakistan’s traditional position, the democratic government no longer insists on linking normalisation of relations with resolution of the Kashmir dispute. India no longer insists on making such normalisation conditional on demonstrable Pakistani efforts to rein in India-oriented jihadi groups, particularly the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and hence suspension of the composite dialogue. The two countries need to build on what they have achieved, notably in promising economic areas, to overcome still serious suspicion among hardliners in their security elites and sustain a process that is the best chance they have had for bilateral peace and regional stability.

Within Pakistan, the normalisation process enjoys broad political support, including from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz, PML-N), the largest opposition party. Viewing liberalised trade with India as in Pakistan’s economic interest, the PML-N also believes that broader economic ties would provide a more conducive environment to address longstanding disputes like Kashmir.

Liberalised trade, stronger commercial links and deeper bilateral economic investment would strengthen moderate forces in Pakistan’s government, political parties, business community and civil society. Yet, an effective integration of the two economies would only be possible if Pakistani and Indian traders, business representatives and average citizens could travel more freely across borders. For this, the stringent visa regime must be relaxed, including by significantly reducing processing times, granting multiple-entry visas, eliminating police reporting requirements and removing limits on cities authorised and the obligation for entry and exit from the same point.

However, Pakistan’s ability to broaden engagement with India and move beyond Kashmir depends on a sustained democratic transition, with elected leaders gaining control over foreign and security policy from the military. Pakistan must also counter anti-India oriented, military-backed extremist groups. These include the LeT – banned after the 2011 attacks on the Indian parliament but re-emerging as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JD) – as well as the Jaish-e-Mo­hammad and similarly aligned outfits. A powerful military, deeply hostile towards India, still supports such groups and backs the Pakistan Defence Council (PDC, Defa-e-Pakistan Council), a new alliance of jihadi outfits and radical Islamic and other parties aligned with the military that seeks to derail the dialogue process.

Within India, with suspicions of Pakistani intentions still high, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has limited political support for talks that do not prioritise the terrorist threat. Another Mumbai-style attack by a Pakistan-based jihadi group would make such a dialogue untenable. It could also provoke a military confrontation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Meanwhile New Delhi’s heavy-handed suppression of dissent and large military footprint in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) alienates Kashmiris, undermines Pakistani constituencies for peace and emboldens jihadi groups and hardliners in the military and civil bureaucracies.

There are numerous other impediments. Water disputes, for example, could place the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960, which has successfully regulated the distribution of a precious resource between the two countries for over five decades, under greater strain. India, with its larger population and mushrooming energy requirements, uses much more of the shared waters, and its domestic needs are rising, while Pakistan depends increasingly on them for its agriculture. With India constructing several dams in the Indus River Basin, the Pakistani military and jihadi groups now identify water disputes as a core issue, along with Kashmir, that must be resolved if relations are to be normalised.

Islamabad/Brussels, 3 May 2012