October 1999 News

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US: We can help build up a damaged Kashmir

7 October 1999
The Indian Express
By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: The international community can play a role in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Kashmir if India and Pakistan can move towards a long-term solution to the dispute, a key Clinton administration official has proposed.

In a new spin to the role of the international community in the festering dispute, US Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth spoke about the destruction of infrastructure in Kashmir during years of rebellion. "There can be a role for the international community to assist the rehabilitation, reconstruction of Kashmir to allow it to return to functioning its economy, tourism," he said during a lecture at the South Asia Institute of the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies here.

Inderfurth said: "There are lot of things the international community can do if the parties themselves can move towards a long-term solution... But a long-term solution will require an important close of realism, about what's attainable and an important dose of creativity to determine what are the ways that the various needs of all parties can be met,"he added.

Referring specifically to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's recent interview to The Indian Express, US Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth has said that the India-Pakistan dialogue can be resurrected. Particularly since the Prime Minister had acknowledged that this was "very much on his agenda as soon as the election results are known and when he had formed a new government," he said. "We are concerned that if matters drift and a modicum of trust is not restored, and if the Lahore process is not resumed, such clashes (Kargil) could occur again - and escalate," Inderfurth said earlier during his address. By referring to "creativity," the US official appeared to be alluding to some recent think tank proposals for the resolution of the dispute, including providing greater autonomy and creating a special administrative zone in the Kashmir Valley.

Inderfurth also referred to the growing threat of terrorism in the region and the need to fight it jointly. (Even as he was speaking, the United States pressed forward with a resolution at the United Nations seeking to impose sanctions on the Taliban regime. The resolution was supported by Russia, which is a victim of fundamentalist-sponsored terrorism in Dagestan. And it was not opposed by China, which normally stands up to economic sanctions. Beijing is also concerned about Islamic fundamentalism in the western parts of China.).


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