February 2003 News

Iraq war has implications for Kashmir, dialogue between India-Pakistan appears remoter

18 February 2003
News Network International

SRINAGAR: Despite being anticipated for the past almost three years, the dialogue between India and Pakistan appears remoter than ever. And the reason for this is not so much the apparent acrimony between the two countries as the prevailing global situation, say the analysts here. India, observers here believe, does not see itself benefiting from a re-engagement of Islamabad, particularly when that country finds itself precariously placed in relation to international community, reports Greater Kashmir. New Dehli, it is understood, does not want to start a dialogue process with Pakistan at a time when the post 9-11 anti-terror paradigm is just coming to a head. Today, aversion to violent struggles has evolved into a cornerstone of the US foreign policy and the only resolution of the conflicts is seen as the end of violence rather than the solution of the problem. And what better evidence of this new global approach than the proposed US assault on Iraq which is being waged on the assumed potential terrorist threat to Washington. India, analysts opine, despite its official opposition to the war, sees in it a welcome trend with Pakistan its likely target in near future. As a major outcome of such a possibility, India expects a sharp decline in the support of Islamabad to the ongoing militancy in the state. In the wake of US getting its way with Baghdad, Pakistan is expected to be left with no option but to tailor its policies to US specifications. This is a promising prospect for India given the fact that it traces the ongoing violence in Kashmir more to Islamabad's abatement than to a historically steeped domestic cause. So engaging Islamabad at this time would be tantamount to its bail out as it would help rub off the terrorist label from the Kashmir struggle as also absolve Islamabad from the blame of being its source. Such a scenario would be a diplomatic disaster for New Delhi as Pakistan being the abettor of the Kashmir violence is now officially recognized even by US and other major countries of the world. Besides, any dialogue between the two countries could even take away the spotlight from sub-continent as the 'most dangerous place on earth' which in the current global terror paradigm would be to the benefit of Pakistan. This reason coupled with the forthcoming assembly elections in several states makes entente between Islamabad and New Delhi a politically unproductive proposition for BJP. Dialogue between the two countries, therefore, could be more distant than its usual round-the-corner impression.


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