1947-1997: The Kashmir Dispute at Fifty Charting Paths to Peace
18 Aug, 1998 · 137
Report on the visit of independent study team to India and Pakistan
The Findings section of this report revealed how widely divergent are the perceptions of the several parries to the Kashmir dispute in respect to the origin and nature of that dispute as well as in respect to the means of resolving it. That section also revealed the depth of emotion with which the dispute is viewed. It follows, therefore, that the path to a just, viable, and enduring peace will be both long and arduous and that progress Along this path will require creative compromises by all the concerned parries.
This Recommendations section of the report expresses the Team’s best collective judgement in regard to such compromises. Its focus is on compromises that need to be made immediately or in the near future. It does not present the Team's own blueprint for the long-term future of
Following are the Team’s specific recommendation.
III.1. Continuation of normalization initiative.
The Team commends the governments of
This recommendation is premised on the Team’s recognition that the various peoples of
The Team recognizes also the formidable barriers that both governments face as they take steps towards complete normalization, and it recognizes too the obligation laid upon the world community to honour the virtue of patience as the two governments strive to surmount these barriers. At the same time, however, the Team is persuaded that the extraordinary statesmanship, political courage, perseverance and resourcefulness that these two governments must now summon in order to succeed in this mammoth task of reconciliation are matched in every respect by the degree to which social, economic, ecological, cultural, and political conditions will be enhanced for all who dwell in the region of South Asia once this goal is achieved.
III.2. Strengthening and institutionalization of dialogue.
The Team considers it imperative that the dialogue now underway between
A major step in this direction has been taken, of course, in the decision by the governments of India and Pakistan in June 1997 to establish a "mechanism" including working groups, to address outstanding issues of concern to both sides-including Jammu and Kashmir-in an integrated manner.
Over the longer term, however, the objective of overcoming the frailty of the South Asian region’s conflict-mediating and conflict-resolving institutions might best be achieved by creating a permanent regional framework along the lines of the Conference on Security and cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki model), to be charged with developing rules, techniques, and organizational formats for peacekeeping in the South Asian region as well as for conduct of routine discussions over such political and security problems as are represented by the Kashmir dispute. This framework would considerably supplement and reinforce-and, at some point, desirably be expanded and formally linked to-the existing South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
III.1. Restoration of normal civil life.
The Team believes that progress towards the restoration of normal civil life in
Progress towards the restoration of normal civil life involves, first and foremost, a commitment to the substantial "demilitarization" of the civilian-inhabited areas of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in other words, to the imposition of significant curbs on and, if possible, termination of the whole array of insurgent and counter-insurgent "military" activity. Demilitarization, as the Team envisions it, must be defined broadly enough to include the use of draconian measures by Indian security forces to combat insurgency, the infiltration of insurgent forces from across the border, activities by insurgent and counter-insurgent groups against unarmed civilian populations, and other forms of armed internecine strife. The legitmate security needs of both
The Team does not believe that the
Proceeding in this way would undoubtedly involve some risk to all parties. In particular, by asking the Kashmiri separatists to set aside for some time their aspirations either for independence or for accession to
While it was not a requirement of the Team’s study mission either to craft or to propose particular institutional or territorial models for application to Kashmir, it is the Team’s judgement that over the longer term the complexities of the Kashmir conflict may require-and almost certainly would benefit from-innovative, even what may now seem redical, experiments in the region’s management of its ethnic and religious minorities. Among such experiments, autonomies schemes for devolving maximum political authority to state or sub-state regimes should certainly be closely examined. Nor would the Team rule out from consideration desgines of "co-sovereignty," confederalism, or other power-sharing arrangements as have sometimes been proposed for
III.4. Inclusion of peoples’ representatives in talks.
At an appropriate time early in the unfolding of normalization talks between
The Team is convinced that the process of normalization will not and should not proceed very far without some agreement having been reached among all principle parties to the
Omission of the representatives of the peoples of
III.5. Broadening of representation in talks.
The Team urges that representation of Kashmiris in normalization talks between
Confronted by its own conviction that the "political representatives of the people of
Determination of appropriate mechanisms both for the fair selection of such representatives and then for joining them to the bilateral India-Pakistan discussions are matters, the Team believes, for the parties themselves to work out.
III,6. A confidence building measure to which the Team attaches particular importance would be a significant reduction in the number of security forces that India maintains on internal security duties in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the transfer of these duties to the state’s own regular police forces.
It goes without saying that headway towards achieving the objectives set forth in the five recommendations above could not possibly be made without major concessions over
III.7. Monitoring of cross-border activity.
The Team believes that
The process of normalization, and, in particular, the reaching of any bilateral agreements with
In making this recommendation, the Team lays claim to no authoritative knowledge that covert cross-border activities are currently underway or are being advocated. Indeed, creation of such a body must be understood neither to imply nor to relieve the related responsibility of any party to this dispute. Neither should the existence of the proposed body suggest that hostile cross-border actions were necessarily confined to the sector of the India-Pakistan border constituted by the LOC. Its sole and entirely constructive purpose would be to facilitate the process of normalization and, specifically, to enable the parties to the
While the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), the peacekeeping organization already in existence in Kashmir, is certainly technically qualified to carry out the monitoring function described here and might conceivably have its mandate converted to that purpose, the political difficulties involved in such step, in the Team’s judgement, might prove to be insuperable.
III.8. Strengthening of peacekeeping on the Line of Control.
A logical follow-on to the last recommendation, in the Team’s judgement, would be for
Already given some consideration in the context of the India-Pakistan negotiations over the Siachen Glacier, a joint peacekeeping arrangement on the LOC would formalize security cooperation between India and Pakistan while at the same time providing a mechanism for reducing and perhaps eliminating the grounds for the frequent military clashes between them on the LOC. Introduction of a joint Border Security Group would also give explicit, institutional acknowledgement to the incontestable fact that the situation in the Indian-controlled sector of Jammu and Kashmir is in some part interstate in origin and therefore requires interstate cooperation for its amelioration.
Regrettably, UNMOGIP itself has been weakened over the years and is now to serve the purposes noted above. Upgrading of its capabilities, in light of political attitude in the region, presently seems improbable. A formalized peacekeeping apparatus of some kind is obviously required in the region, however, and UNMOGIP should not be discarded until a durable agreement is reached on a viable successor.
Assuming a joint Border Security Group is established and demonstrates its efficacy, consideration should be given to gradually expanded demilitarization of sections of the Line of Control to a width of up to ten kilometers on either side of the line. Such demilitarized sections-which would be subject to the same type of inspection as the sections that are not demilitarized-would go far toward eliminating the all-too-frequent trans-border exchanges of fire that presently occur along the line of Control.
III.9. Monitoring of compliance with human rights covenants.
It is equally crucial, the Team believes, that the Government of India takes public steps to formalize and strengthen monitoring of
There are several ways by which the Government of India can protect human rights in
III.10. Initiation of domestic-level talks with Kashmiri leaders.
The Team believes that
These talks, which would be separate from and preparatory to trilateral discussions within the normalization framework (as recommended in Section III.4, above), can be variously structured. They must certainly not exclude representatives of the Present National Conferenceled state government. They should have as their initial objective winning the support of the state’s political leaders, whether in or out of power, to the project for restoring normal civil life to
III.11. Commitment to eschew violence.
A parallel confidence-building measure that the Team Considers equally important to the successful restoration of normal civil life in Kashmir would be a clear commitment given by all of the armed militant and counter-militant Kashmiri groups of their willingness to eschew violence and to participate constructively in the process of political dialogue.
An unambiguous declaration by all these groups of their willingness to suspend all military activity and observe a complete cease-fire pending the outcome of talks with India is one obvious and very likely essential such commitment.
III.12. Role of the international community.
The international community, the Team believes, can play a helpful role by emphasizing to all those concerned the importance of implementing measures to restore normal civil life and by pointing out to them the high costs of failing to do so.
Major and direct involvement by agencies within the international community at the present preliminary stage of negotiations over normalization between
For the moment the Team believes that the primary focus of the international community including here interested governments as well as nongovernmental and intergovernmental entities-should be upon communicating forcefully and frequently to the governments of India and Pakistan the urgency of their undertaking and the willingness of the international community to assist in facilitating its success.
There can be little doubt that, virtually since the moment of their independence, the high costs of military preparedness borne by India and Pakistan, to no small extent because of the Kashmir dispute, have acted to the detriment of most of the people of the subcontinent, roughly two-fifths of whom still live below the poverty line. Thus, one can see that 99% of the combined populations of
Yet, despite the widespread recognition of the dangers and costs engendered by continued conflict over
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