Musharraf Reopens The Andorra's Box
26 October 2004
The Times of India
New Delhi: While many in India may not be very impressed with General Pervez Musharraf's new suggestions for Kashmir's future, his suggestion is the most serious solution that is under consideration in the region, definitely prompted by the Americans and seemingly acceptable to the Hurriyat. What is Principality of Andorra? - Like Kashmir, Andorra is a former princely state - France, Spain both claimed right over Andorra - Andorrans had co-principality of French Chief of State and Spanish Bishop of Urgel - Locals had no major say in administration - In 1993 France, Spain agreed to give them autonomy bordering on complete freedom - Andorra adopted Parliamentary democracy, but retains the titular heads of state nominated by France and Spain Timesofindia.com had reported on September 27 that the All Party Hurriyat Conference would suggest an Andorra Plan, on the lines of the Principality of Andorra between Spain and France, as a final solution to the contentious issue. The Hurriyat plan and Musharraf's latest suggestions are identical except for the nomenclature. In both the plans, the Kashmir Valley, or some other identified part of the region, becomes an autonomous region, a condominium, or under UN control. Under Hurriyat's Andorra Proposal, Kashmir is to become a principality with foreign policy, defence and financial support shared by India and Pakistan. The Andorra proposal would result in the Kashmir Valley - including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir - dominated by Muslims, being carved out into a principality with its own Parliament. However, India and Pakistan would have nominated representatives. Musharraf on Monday spoke on similar lines, saying a region within Kashmir could be identified that could be demilitarised, and converted into a region under UN, a condominium or some similar arrangement. Musharraf said, the 'status can be independence, condominium where there can be a joint control or there can be UN mandate'. Similar hints of a soft border, amalgamation of the divided valley, and a political solution involving Kashmiri political leaders etc are given in detail in the US mission plans for Pakistan and Kashmir that was reported by Timesofindia.com earlier this month. There has been no indication from the Indian side if the Andorra plan was acceptable to it. But there are clear indications, including a recent quote from a senior government functionary in the Time magazine that the new government was ready to 'think out of the box'. Timesofindia.com had reported that Andorra plan was among the possible solutions to Kashmir problem studied by the Prime Minister's Office under Atal Behari Vajpayee. Vajpayee's principal secretary and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra had collected details of the possible solutions from various agencies and was studying them in detail when the National Democratic Alliance was defeated in the general elections. The new National Security Advisor JN Dixit is continuing with behind-the-scene consultations that Mishra was holding with Pakistani top brass on Kashmir and other contentious issues. It is not known if India's positive response to the solution was what made Musharraf bold enough to float the trial balloon. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure, Andorra plan, or whatever it be termed, would remain high on the possible solutions and India cannot ignore that so easily.