Scholars urge US to play more active role to resolve J&K issue
29 October 2003
The Hindustan Times
Indo-Asian News Service
Washington: Experts at a seminar here have urged the US to play a more active role in bringing about 'normalisation and resolution to the Kashmir problem'.They were speaking on 'Indo-Pakistan Dialogue on Kashmir and Options for a Peaceful Solution: High Hopes and Harsh Realities' at the Brookings Institution.Rodney Jones, president of the Policy Architect International and a scholar on India-Pakistan affairs, said: 'The US should take a more active role for a solution of the Kashmir problem.'Both Jones and Marvin Weinbaum of the Middle East Institute, Washington, felt the war on terror had taken away the priorities and put the problem of Kashmir on the backburner.Saying that due attention needed to be given to prevent any India-Pakistan hostilities from flaring into a nuclear conflict, they said the Bush administration should take a cue from the Clinton administration that had described Kashmir as the most dangerous place on earth.'If a conventional war starts, there is brinkmanship that may operate on both the sides and it would be disastrous,' Jones said. 'If Kashmir is not addressed, it can bring inextricably bad results.'He said the positions of both India and Pakistan during the past 50 years have remained unchanged over the Himalayan state, which both countries claim and which is held in parts by New Delhi and Islamabad.India also accuses Pakistan of backing a separatist campaign raging in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 that has claimed some 40,000 lives.Referring to his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir, he said he was saddened by the way the tourism industry had been left in a shambles because of the violence in the Kashmir Valley.He also wondered why the US, which has taken a great interest in the Middle East peace process, had not cobbled a roadmap for peace in Kashmir.The seminar was organised by Nisar Chaudhry, president of the Pakistan American League (PAL).In his brief opening remarks, he urged the international community to intervene to solve the Kashmir dispute either as a facilitator or mediator.