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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/18/16

The "Kashmir Spring" & Global Reluctance

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Continued violence in Kashmir overshadows talks between India and ...

Our century, merely 16 years old has seen the re-invention of word "Spring" in the most unexplained manner. Commencing from Arab peninsula, it has become synonymous with the notion of "change", converging political and social feature onto one platform.

A similar spring is blooming, no more silently in a region not far from where the genesis came, however it is being ignored in the same manner as the former was misunderstood. The region, or valley as they call it is "Kashmir", which remains volatile and disputed between arch historical and nuclear rivals India and Pakistan for close to seven decades now. The "Global Reluctance" I quote in the heading comes from the fact that when world leaders unite under the context of world peace, progress and order at UN General Assembly later into this week, the "Kashmir Question" will be nowhere to be seen. Yes, the drive will remain Syria, Refugee Crisis, and Sustainability on top of the agenda, it is once again regrettable that neither security council nor general assembly learns from the fact that taking on issues that pose threat is the key to peace, rather than resolving as mediator when the tide has already passed the breaking point with Syria the best example.

So what is wrong with Kashmir and the Kashmiris, and why is the world so divided in addressing this root cause of a major outstanding rivalry between the two South Asian neighbors is all this article is directed to place in front of the readers. Let's not enslave us with the tales of last century or more, referred especially in the case of Kashmir, the accession question of the Maharaja, the war that waged in 1948, the division of the valley into Pakistan and Indian controlled, the UN resolution and subsequent inaction. Learning from the past is the key, however remaining in the past might not be the answer in a case like Kashmir as we see it today. The fact is that it is time to internationalize the growing crisis in Kashmir instead of burying it into the past half explained historical facts and the context of "Bilateral Solution". The latter especially is as vague as a puzzle can be, with Both India and Pakistan lacking the capacity to settle the issue on their own.

The "Spring in Kashmir" has been witnessed in the Indian held region, and the last three months have been critical especially. An unending reign of curfew and crackdown by the Indian security forces has been equally matched by the resilience of ordinary Kashmiris, flocking out into the streets to register their protests. The clashes have left scores of civilians dead, with immense force being deployed by Indian state to counter the wave, which is gaining momentum every passing moment. The presence of Pakistani flags during marches and protests, has become symbolic with this wave. For India, this is the worst nightmare, a popular uprising and that too with Pakistan being made a party. Quoting India's nightmare, the same is translated for Pakistan, which itself houses a sizable proportion of Kashmir population and territory, and remaining aloof to the situation will only make it untrustworthy for both Kashmiris living inside its domain as well as across the Line of Control. So what does the hoisting of Pakistani flags by protestors under curfew signifies, is a question needs understanding. The Kashmiris are looking for a platform, the reluctance of global community to consider their voice leaves them with no option but to call for the next door neighbor. A call of this magnitude, unheard on state level will not be the case with the Kashmiris and civilians in Pakistan for a longer time, and any action in this direction can dissolve the already weakened trust barriers between New Delhi and Islamabad into an open conflict.

The optimism for a solution of Kashmir, based on multilateral international diplomacy comes from the fact that even inside India, the old wine being projected in the renewed bottle of "Cross Border Infiltration of Mujahedeen" isn't selling the way PM Narendar Modi would have liked to. It is important to establish that the new India has been caught between the wave of modernization and the centuries old conservative illusion of "Greater India" at this crucial junction. The former comes from the fact that in 2016, India has a very legitimate regional and global presence stemming from its economical bloom while the latter comes from the fact that leadership like Modi knows the long tested "Hate and Segregation" card to bring home the electoral victory and divine presence. Yes, the "Spring" seen in Kashmir (Indian Held) has nothing to do with any support coming from Pakistan or any other land. The uprising is against the non-secular lines explored and exploited by BJP under PM Modi, and Kashmiris have only reacted upon seeing their survival at a risk.

One important aspect not to be ignored is the fact that the new trends of radicalism globally reflect that under oppression or tyranny, the forces like Al Qaeda, ISIS or other local chapters have an easier access or penetration and Kashmir stands no exception. The present momentum is from internal forces, in the face of atrocities inflicted by the Indian state. However, severity in it or extension of crackdown can soon bring all unwanted elements into Kashmir, something which will bring down both Pakistan and India into an unwanted but unavoidable confrontation.

To conclude, the great powers not limited to US and Russia alone needs to step up and undertake their due role in addressing the issue of Kashmir as the situation is quite volatile for only Pakistan and India to be left alone to address. The lesson from Syria, in view of newly found understanding and arrangement between US and Russia is crystal clear that the millions killed in civil war is all because the two power houses took too long to understand their responsibility, that finally came at a very heavy cost. Let's hope the same doesn't imply for Kashmir.

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Holds a Masters Degree in International Relations. Been engaged with Development Sector from the past 5 years. Field of expertise and interest remain international political dimensions, current affairs, Pakistan affairs etc

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