A free Kashmir will be a terrorist haven: US paper
6 September 2002
The Indian Express
T. V. Parasuram
Washington DC: An independent Kashmir could turn into a haven for terrorists, a US Congressional research paper has warned while suggesting some type of monitoring mechanism for the Line of Control (LoC) to stop incursions from Pakistan. There is the real danger that an independent Kashmir, given the jehadi nature of some of the insurgent groups, could end up as another permanent sanctuary for Islamic extremist terrorist operations, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an advisory body to the members of Congress, said in a report. It is worth noting here that in the solution to the Kashmir conflict, a haven for Islamic extremist organisations not be created, it said. The paper said that since much of the current tension has arisen out of alleged incursion from Pakistan across the LoC, an importany step in reducing the tension might involve some type of monitoring of LoC in Kashmir. A system would be required that would not only allow India to present proof of reported incursions but also enable Pakistan to reject any false claims in this regard, it said. Airborne or satellite surveillance would be non-intrusive and could help both the countries make their cases. Another possibility would be to expand UN presence in South Asia to include the monitoring the LoC, the paper said. Currently, India opposes an expanded UN role. The paper said when coupled with the war on terror and US relations with India and Pakistan, the Kashmir issue becomes complicated and difficult to address through foreign and security policies. The anti- terror campaign and hunt for Al Qaeda in the region would be hampered considerably if the Kashmir conflict were to escalate to all-out war, the report said. Defusing the current crisis and establishing some degree of stability in Kashmir is, therefore, important to the US long-term interests, the report added.