US think tank report on Kashmir


The US Congress-funded think tank, US Institute of Peace (USIP), has recommended that the US policymakers tell India, privately and publicly, of the potential consequences and complications their (Indians’) political and security strategies in Kashmir create. Moreover, Americans’ interests in India – be that geopolitical, strategic or economic – could be affected in the face of India’s Kashmir policy because New Delhi has alienated vast chunks of the population in the Kashmir Valley. The report, which is not binding to the US policymakers, points to the growing frustration in the US think tanks because of the growing violation of human rights in India-held Kashmir, and Indians’ conduct to destabilize the peace of the whole region. The days are over when India would insist that Kashmir is its domestic issue as the think tank’s report calls India’s stand “a fiction maintained only by a large security presence”. The report dissects New Delhi’s August 5 actions under which it abrogated India-held Kashmir’s autonomy and later on enforced lockdown on physical movements of the people and blackout of the Internet. Both restrictions have not been lifted despite Indian top court instructions. The report warns: “New Delhi will increasingly find it hard to manage its narrative about constitutional and political changes ushering in peace to Kashmir. Most indicators of violence in Kashmir have been on the rise since the August 2019 decision”.
The best solution to the Kashmir issue is the implementation of the US’s resolution under which Kashmiris are given a right to self-determination. As India does not want to go along the UN resolutions, and the international forum is also either helpless or reluctant to implement its own resolutions, the world should push India to come to the negotiation table. Also, the think tank suggests some out-of-box solutions. One such was once negotiated between Pervez Musharraf and Manmohan Singh in 2004, the solutions could be the self-government and the demilitarisation of Kashmir without changing the de-facto borders. The world should know that Modi’s August 5 step has affected the free movement of people and trade between India, Pakistan, and Kashmiris. The bus service, which has been running since 2005, has been closed. The report states India committed illegal annexation and now “any future talks based on that formula will be harder to begin”. The US Congress should take up the report and start talking about rights violations in India-held Kashmir forcing the Modi regime to free Kashmiris.