June 2000 News

Secret US move to settle Kashmir issue

7 June 2000

NEW DELHI: The United States has started a secret diplomatic initiative to get India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute, the Jane''s Intelligence Digest said in its latest issue.The sister publication of Jane''s Defence Weekly said on its website that the initiative, centred on a US emissary of Kashmiri origin, also aimed at involving Kashmiri Mujahideen leaders based in occupied Kashmir.An Indian home ministry official said he had no comment, adding: "This is a very sensitive issue. I have not seen the report."Jane''s quoted unnamed sources as saying that the initiative followed President Bill Clinton''s March tour of South Asia."During his recent visit to the sub-continent, President Bill Clinton showed a willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan, along with an urgent desire to see tensions reduced between South Asia''s two nuclear-armed rivals," it said.The website article said New Delhi, which has consistently rejected third party mediation over Kashmir, had changed its policy recently."... in the wake of the emergence of a unipolar world and the internationalization of Islamic terrorism, the Indian government this time took a less rigid stance on the issue," it claimed.Jane''s said the "White House is using the services of an American-Kashmiri who is constantly shuttling between Delhi and Islamabad and Washington."Encouraged by the positive response to his efforts, President Clinton is reportedly considering nominating a personal secret representative to monitor and assist all parties involved in the negotiations."Jane''s said India''s reported climb down on Kashmir was due to increasing worries that the huge amount of resources used in monitoring the Line of Control and fighting the Mujahideen would affect the modernization of the armed forces.It said New Delhi also hoped to face less global pressure to cap its nuclear programme and also gain US backing for its bid for a permanent seat on an expanded UN security council.Jane''s attributed US motives to two things - the business lobby''s deep interests in the huge Indian market which would be difficult to tap without regional peace, and Washington''s desire to curb India and Pakistan''s nuclear programmes.The sources claimed that New Delhi had chosen an expert team, including occupied Kashmir''s chief minister Farooq Abdullah, to negotiate with the freedom fighters.Jane''s said the United States had "instructed" Pakistan "not to block the possible talks or any putative peace deal between Delhi and the (Mujahideen) leaders."According to the strategy, once India and the separatists (Mujahideen) work out a tentative formula to resolve the Kashmir issue, Pakistan will join the talks to find a comprehensive and lasting solution to the five-decade-old problem."In the meantime, the White House is pressing Islamabad to limit the activities of the fundamentalist and militant groups in Pakistan and reduce the scale of cross-border terrorist incidents so that direct India-Pakistan talks can be resumed in the next phase," Jane''s added.-AFP


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