December 2003 News

US ambassadors advise against making LoC permanent border

10 December 2003
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: Three high-profile former US diplomats have advised against changing the Line of Control between Azad and Indian-held Kashmir into a permanent frontier between the two countries, urging a solution that 'humiliates' neither Islamabad nor New Delhi. Former US ambassadors Frank Wisner and Nicholoas Platt, and retired US state department official Dennis Kux, who were part of a task force constituted by two prestigious US think tanks, the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Asia Society to find a way out of India-Pakistan problems, are in Delhi to discuss their report with top policy makers. Admitting that the gap between the Indian and Pakistani positions was too wide to be easily bridged, the diplomats report asked Washington to consult the European Union, China, Russia and Japan for a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem.Clearly asking for division of the state, the Task Force believed the dispute mainly focuses on the future of roughly five million Kashmiri speaking people rather than the state's total population of 16 million. It has recommended that the following three principles should govern diplomacy on Kashmir* No settlement can be reached that humiliates either India or Pakistan. * Any adjustments in borders should be approached with extreme care and can proceed only with the consent of all the concerned parties. Territory cannot change hands through use of force or terrorism. Support for violence across the LoC should no longer be used by Pakistan as an instrument of national policy. * Kashmiris must be fully consulted in determining the final resolution of the state's future. Any lasting settlement is likely to require some change in the way the areas populated by Kashmiri speakers are governed.


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