Expert rubbishes US think tank solutions on Kashmir
8 September 2004
News Network International
Jammu: Resisting pushy moves from aggressive American foreign policy think tanks to resolve Kashmir tangle, India and Pakistan should swiftly move forward on less contentious issues first and then make slow but tangible progress on the most tricky matter. This was averred by Prof Aijaz Ahmed, eminent writer and academic and Fellow Professor Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here while delivering special lecture on 'Recent trends in American Foreign Policy'. He maintained that American think tanks have considered all options for Kashmir problem from complete independence to autonomy and even bifurcation and trifurcation as suggested by some internal groups in J&K, reports KTNS. In fact, Kashmir Study Group is very keen on solution primarily based on LoC adjustment which involves even division of Jammu, with India retaining Valley and distribution of other parts of state between India and Pakistan. Another idea is about weak kind of joint trusteeship of India and Pakistan over Kashmir. After 9-11, the hands of leaders like Musharraf, who is genuinely very secular, liberal and modern, have been strengthened. US' renewed interest in Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations is guided by these changed circumstances,' Prof Aijaz asserted while profusely praising General Musharraf. He stated that even Pakistan's interest too now lies in the resolution of Kashmir problem but US is still adopting carrot and stick policy. 'But nevertheless, I feel that the peace efforts have a better chance of success, it can produce better results. Changed circumstances in Kashmir and Pakistan too would help in getting the desired results. Kashmir issue is losing its impetus in most parts of Pakistan even. Moreover it's US tendency of 'We shall prevail, which is also pressing the two nations to resolve the issue,' he commented. He stated that there are sets of problems. First which can be solved, second which could be resolved only when the tempers are down. Till then you can leave it to future generation and thirdly that set of problems which you leave to posterity for its resolution. 'Kashmir falls in second category. We should continue to make consistent efforts in this regard. While US interest is in imposing its solution on us. It won't encourage any India-Pak relationship which could be threat to it in future,' Prof Aijaz remarked. In fact 9-11 offered US the greatest excuse to do what it cannot do otherwise. It is seeking support from third world countries just to remove crisis of legitimacy of its actions so that it could continue talking about democracy, HR issues, he observed. Prof Aijaz noted that United States could not emerge as the world's super power until other blocks could be destroyed, disseminated primarily. In fact it was after 1989 that US emerged truly as super global power with complete dominance over its competitors, other nations. Technological revolution too worked to its advantage. He mentioned that there are certain specifics integral to US foreign policy. Referring to present US administrative set up, he averred that it has certain continuities. Internal political dynamics has a definite role. For an instance Democrats have no significant policies to counter President Bush's policies. 'USSR dissolution did not mean just territorial alteration or collapse of political system. It meant that one could pre-empt excavation, production and sale of 'not well explored oil reserves' where ownership was not decided. This was the single strategic interest of US in Central Asia and West Asia. This was evident when US established its military bases in country after country,' Prof Aijaz averred. Mentioning about Cheney report, wherein it was predicted that US would have its hold on 70 per cent Petroleum business, the noted writer, academic asserted that in order to have control over new industrial economies, US would do all it could i.e., control over production, prices, channels through it could be procured. 'Natural advantage to US is that this strategic raw material is already exchanged in its currency. So every nation has a strategic interest in the stability of Dollar. Last crime Saddam committed was that he had abandoned Dollar and had adopted Euro. Europe can emerge as an integral economy but it does not have stronger military clout,' Prof Aijaz observed. Quoting prominent sociologist Huntington, he averred while 20th century saw the confrontation between Capitalist and Communist systems, the 21st century would witness clash of civilizations. He maintained that the economic model we perceived after our independence was real hindrance in better ties with US while Pakistan moved very swiftly in emerging as its important strategic partner. The lecture was organised by Department of Students Welfare, University of Jammu at Seminar Hall of Department of Environmental Sciences. Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor University of Jammu presided over the function while M Y Tarigami, MLA was the guest of honour. In his presidential remarks, Prof Mattoo noted that Prof Aijaz touched various aspects of American foreign policy viz., historical continuities, strategic thinking, role of think tanks etc. This is an underlying fact about US foreign policy that the tactics may change but the goal remains same and that is unquestionably unbridled power, he commented while making observations on the lecture. 'Several questions Prof Aijaz raised in his lecture but there remain some important questions which still need to be probed including weakness of US foreign policy, decline in its strength,' Prof Mattoo remarked. Earlier Dean Students Welfare Prof Devinder Singh, in his welcome address, maintained that it was honour for University of Jammu to have Prof Aijaz, a distinguished teacher- writer to enlighten the gathering with his vision. Head of Department of History, University of Jammu Jigar Mohammad presented vote of thanks.