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Tuesday, 28 March, 2000, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Kashmir: Should Mr Clinton mediate?
President Clinton's arrival in India has been overshadowed by the brutal killing of some 35 Sikhs in a village in Indian-administered Kashmir.
India's only Muslim-majority state has seen a steady increase in violence in recent months, as separatist militants step up their campaign against Indian rule. The state - claimed by both India and Pakistan - has been the source of two wars in the sub-continent and remains a dangerous flashpoint.
Pakistan wants President Clinton to get involved - pointing to his efforts over the Middle East and Northern Ireland. But India opposes outside mediation.
Should President Clinton help resolve the Kashmir dispute? Tell us what you think.
The situation has changed dramatically after Clinton's hugely successful visit to India. It is a fact that Indians are a proud race and would never welcome any foreign mediation in their internal affairs. But after this visit I would no longer resent Clinton's mediation on Kashmir, but I would remain cautious. If the US President mediates now (whether Democrats or Democrats), it is Pakistanis who should be worried.
The US will achieve nothing by intervening. While US administrations may change and US policies towards this matter may vacillate, the fact that the concept of democracy in India does not apply to Kashmir or its people, will never go away.
Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India. So there is no role of any third party. If Pakistan thinks that by spreading the terrorism, it can win asks the US to mediate, then it is not going to happen. US should act sensibly and should not mediate in Kashmir and if Pakistan continues to support the terrorist organisation then the US should declare Pakistan as the terrorist state.
In response to an earlier comment, no doubt Muslims and Hindus have lived together for more than 900 years but peaceful times were when Muslims were ruling South Asia. It's not a question of beliefs, it's a question of integrity, trust and freedom to determines one's own destiny.
India has broken the trust of the people of Kashmir. Those who sit in Islamabad or Delhi cannot determine the future course of Kashmir. Only the people of Kashmir can determine their own future. They should be allowed their right of self-determination.
Asif Elahi, USA
Absolutely. Clinton was responsible for ending the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo - he can do it again for Kashmir.
The question should not be "whether Clinton should mediate". (Aren't we forgetting some geo-political realities?)
Rather, the question should be whether India would allow US (or any third party) mediation.
NO. It's between the two countries concerned.
It does not seem possible to resolve the Kashmir issue and harp on the 53 year old resolution. The United Nations Security Council must legalise the Line of Control as an International boundary and force India and Pakistan to enforce it. After all, it has been technically something like an international boundary anyway for the last 53 years.
Vinod K. Varma, USA
Mr Clinton should meditate between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. If not there will be full blown out war between these countries. We the people of Kashmir do not want to be part of India and there is no force in the world that can stop us from out fight for our freedom.
The problems facing Kashmir are two-fold; One, Islamic fundamentalism. The Islam doctrine of converting or killing the infidels seems to be at play in Kashmir. Calls for 'holy war' are heard not just in Kashmir, but in more and more regions around the world. Two, terrorism; hijackings and killings are not the acts of religious leaders, these are acts of terrorists, which the Islamic world seems to have lots of.
Kashmir is only a separatist movement like many others around the world. In time, a solution should emerge.
Must we see a Nuclear War (God forbid) before the US or the other powers that be in this world-decide to intervene. The US really must stop thinking of trade first (US$4.00 Billion trade pacts signed) and look at the human losses being suffered in Kashmir.
It is hopes of intervention that is promoting terrorism across the border. If the world tells India and Pakistan clearly that there will no mediation until they act responsible there will be more genuine effort at settling the dispute. There should never be a reward for terrorism.
Yes, America should mediate, but America won't do it. India is economically stronger and no body sides with a weaker party. If Pakistan has any chance of making its case, first and foremost Pakistan has to take care of its socio-economic situation and get stabilised and strong.
Nuclear bombs could not save USSR from disintegration into pieces. What about poor Pakistan. As some one rightly said, "It is economy - Stupid!"
Dr Tariq M Sheikh, USA
I think a third party mediation is a good idea. The two countries have been fighting endlessly so it makes sense to involve a third party to mediate. However, India does not favour third party mediation while Pakistan has shown its willingness on many occasions. It is not difficult to see who does not want the truth to come out.
There is something very wrong here. Pakistan has been requesting and asking for International mediation. India has stubbornly refused it? One has to wonder why India would refuse such mediation unless it clearly knows for itself that it is on the side of error! Nasser Khan, USA
Clinton will never be fair with people of Kashmir. He will favour India. He should stay away.
I feel that the Kashmir issue is strictly an internal affair of India. India is capable of resolving its issues as it had done while handling terrorism in the State of Punjab. One should not forget that Kashmir has participated in number of general elections under the constitution of India. Only in late 1980s the state took a bloodier turn with Pakistan resorting to proxy war across the boarder in the name of religion. End of this proxy war is the only solution for the problem.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why US is poking its nose into this region. India, Pakistan and China should never allow US to squeeze in as it did in the GULF. As David Croft said it is the Kashmiri people who should be asked first to decide their own fate; under the UN.
I think the problem has no answer. Kashmiris can decide if the situation were normal. Right now, they have very little opportunities in terms of jobs, economic situation etc. In such a state of despair, they should not be allowed to decide their fates.
Mr Clinton should not mediate as borders have been clearly drawn for many decades and any attempts to redraw them will result in more bloodshed and worsening chaos. Pakistan should refrain from supporting violence. Elections should help Kashmiris to choose their representatives to resolve individual issues amicably.
The only solution to this problem is self-determination by the Kashmiri people. Neither Pakistan nor India should be trying to decide their fate. US should and must help make this happen as they are the only party that have any significant influence in the world at this time.
Mr Clinton should play as a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue. This is reality that Kashmir is a serious issue like Kosovo, Timor and Kurdistan.
Clinton being one of the most powerful men
in the world should mediate, since both countries
are showing no elasticity in there stances on the
issue of Kashmir, and the real sufferers are the
Kashmir is and will always remain a
part of India. The only thing that Clinton
can do is to tell Pakistan to stop supporting
terrorist activities in India.
No, I do not want Mr. Clinton to mediate the Kashmir issue. It is not the business of the United States, and this issue can only be resolved if both sides get to talk their problems over. I do not trust that the United States can be an even handed mediator, as its past performance related to the Middle East conflict has been on the Israeli side.
Further, the United States is asking Pakistan to join the nuclear ban treaty, why? Is it afraid that one day Israel may be attacked? The US should ask its poodle "Israel" to join and sign such a pact before it asks other countries.
M. Walid, USA
It took no time to have a referendum in East Timor, so why can't they have a referendum in Kashmir. This was also decided in UN resolution 50 years ago. Mr. Kofi Annan should be the one who should force this resolution.
Please for god's sake let the Kashmiris decide their own fate.
Kashmir is India's. There is no point of mediation.
Pakistan is making mess of it. If you see the history you will understand.
The common man on the streets of Kashmir is the one that is suffering. The bloodshed in Kashmir has to stop first. Pakistan is fermenting the fire by supporting terrorist organisations within Pakistan. The US role at this point should be to help control and stop the proxy war being fought in Kashmir. I support Bill Clinton's role in this area. However, the main responsibility lies with India and Pakistan to find a solution to the Kashmir issue after that.
Vinit Kohli, USA
To refer to the situation in Kashmir as a dispute is erroneous. The facts remain and are all on record and are well documented. It is Pakistan which is disputing the Status of Kashmir and trying to internationalise the issue in the hope that international pressure (and possibly even armed intervention by the US) can be generated to compel India to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan.
Vijay Tonse, USA
Mediation and dialogue have little significance as long as Pakistan continues her acts of terrorism and aggression against India. The international community would do well to pressurise Pakistan to stop these activities. If the US feels that mediation will help solve terrorism, perhaps they would like a third party to mediate between them and Osama bin Laden's terrorist groups?
David Croft has summed up what needs to be done the most simple way out of this is to let the people decide this in what the UN Resolutions state and this is what any future negotiations should be based on.
There is no point adding all the other excess baggage, the way forward is known. There is only one obstacle to peace that is the Indian State.
It is depressing to see that most people still see Kashmir as a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. But that is not the main issue here. For over 50 years the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiris have been ignored. 'Free will' is God's greatest gift to mankind. No one has the right to suppress it. It is time the Kashmiris as a nation were given the right to decide there own future. If mediation can help achieve this goal, then it is welcome. Because for 52 years Kashmir has continued to bleed and bilateral negotiations have not achieved anything positive.
Shoaib Butt (a Kashmiri), Qatar
What would the third party mediation add? If India and Pakistan are unwilling to resolve the Kashmir issue, then it shall remain unresolved. The need of the hour is to stop the violence in Kashmir - and only India and Pakistan can do that. Continuing to abet terrorism while asking for mediation is hypocritical and disingenuous.
My opinion is that Mr. Clinton of the United States should mediate between India and Pakistan. Mediation does not mean that he will decide the solution. Mediation means bring the two sides on the table and get them to listen to and answer to each other's concerns.
It's been over 50 years and nothing has happened up to now, no mediation I think its time that not only the US but the world should step in and pressurise both India and Pakistan to resolve this matter. Hundreds and thousands of innocent people have died in the past 50 years. Something is definitely wrong, India won't allow third party mediation but then again they won't even talk with Pakistan over Kashmir.
If India and Pakistan had the will and capability to resolve the dispute bilaterally, this would not have dragged on for such a long time. It is high time for mediation by United States or another third party.
Clinton's mediation was not required in India. Actually US involvement should be avoided by every single nation around the world. Let the United States mind its own business.
My nationality aside, I believe India's intransigence not to allow mediation on the Kashmir issue is inexplicable. We in Pakistan are not oblivious of the fact that the Indian foreign office's mandarins do normally have the better of their Pakistani counterparts. The Pakistani side has thrown the gauntlet yet again, why don't the Indians pick it up?
Nasser Khan, Pakistan
Yes, Mr Clinton should do that, not just because that Kashmir is the only point in the world which may trigger a nuclear holocaust, but also it is the only place in the world where crime against humanity is still unnoticed.
Let the inhabitants of Kashmir decide. Do they want to be ruled by India, or Pakistan, or would they prefer independence.
The arguments that I have read here all point to the same thing. On the one side we have the Pro-Indians and the other side we have Pro-Pakistanis. Everyone should take stock and ask first how this came about and then find the right path into resolving the problem. Hindus and Muslims have lived together for over 900 years so where is the problem?
When two parties can not reach an agreement, it is always better to involve some other parties. India and Pakistan must accept the fact that they can not solve this problem and involve one or few other nations to solve the problem of Kashmir along with Kashmiri people. Mr Clinton is the right person to do so.
We feel that no outsider should interfere with the matters of neighbours - India and Pakistan. Both the countries have full capabilities to end the conflict if they wish to.
It is only a matter of time when politicians
feel that this issue is no longer needed for their political survival
and then they will have solution to end this issue.
Mediation is essential, but I question whether the US is necessarily the best country to supply such a service. America has its own agenda in the region, and so cannot mediate from a position of neutrality. A mediation 'panel' drawn from various countries, or a single truly neutral country, might offer a better solution and might be more acceptable to both countries.
This approach certainly had some effect on the Middle East peace process, initially at least. Sole mediation by America, THE super power, smacks of imperialism, which is what precipitated the whole Kashmir problem in the first place.
Idris Ahmad, UK
Yes I do think the USA and other civilised countries should mediate to bring an end to India's and Pakistan's corrupt activities in Kashmir.
A strong country like ours does not require the
mediation of any country. I feel we can handle the
issue on our own.
We have a recent example of how impossible it is for Muslims and other religions to live together.
The Kashmir knot cannot be opened. It can only be controlled with superior force by either of the parties.
Therefore Bill is wasting his fuel in any attempt to mediate. India is right, nobody outside should mediate in that dispute.
Why should Clinton mediate? Is it not because Kashmir is the gateway to China and would be a strategically important ally in the American attempt to subjugate the world to it's set of rules? The US foreign policy is very selective, why does he not "mediate" between the Chinese and the Tibetans, or between the Russians and the Chechens? The United States is behaving like a gangster, it does not have the interest of the Kashmiris, the Indians or the Pakistanis at heart. One only has to look at the "Banana Wars" between the US and the EU to see that the US is a greedy manipulative state which only takes actions when it perceives a benefit for itself.
Bhavan Mistry, UK
The question is rather redundant as unlike the Pakistani's who welcome mediation, the Indians will have nothing of it.
India still thinks it can resolve this issue bi-laterally. Even after 50 years and the wars, they still have their heads stuck in the sand. I think the way forward is through international sanctions against India for not complying with the UN resolution which has been ignored for the past 50 years. 25,000 people have died in Kashmir in the last 10 years, mostly innocent civilians killed by Indian Occupation forces. Perhaps the next time the Indian Prime Minister is in the UK we can arrest him for crimes against humanity!
NO! What does he know about the subtleties of the issue? Why does the West, in
particular the Americans, always stick
their size 11's in? A neutral mediator is
a good idea, but isn't that the job of the UN?
Yes, President Clinton should enforce both India and Pakistan to sit down under International mediation to solve the Kashmir issue. International negligence is not understandable in the Kashmir issue, which is now almost a fifty-year-old issue. All know that India and Pakistan are undeclared nuclear powers of the world. It will be good for all to solve Kashmir issue right away without any delay.
Farrukh Shan, AR, USA
I don't think that Mr. Clinton's visit would effect the debate in any way but highlighting the fact as a recognised issue in world politics. This in turn may lead to the dialogues.
No, it is not worth mediating between the two rival countries. Clinton has shown a classic example of American short-sightedness in his India tour. A nation whose economic survival now depends on the Indian market won't get up enough guts to do anything, which might put off that market. A morally strong party should mediate, not weak Clinton.
The Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan had been boiling the issue and supporting in every aspect to Muslim militants. The third party mediation does not arise. The world community should warn off terrorist activities it is perpetuating in that part of sub-continent.
The Kashmir dispute is too intractable for the American President to mediate. It is not so much about territory or about sub nationalism as it is about a fundamental dispute that bedevils Indo-Pak relations in the aftermath of the partition. This fundamental dispute relates to the very relevance of the two-nation theory which brought Pakistan to existence. The fact that Hindus & Muslims can live & prosper in harmony in a secular India gives a lie to Pakistan that was created as a Muslim state.
For the past fifty odd years Kashmir has been draining the taxpayers money. Due to the pride and perjury of politics both India and Pakistan are billions of dollars poorer. The ordinary man in urban India is tired of the same issues but the rural Indian insists that the war must go on. I say that let us initiate a peaceful dialogue with the people of Kashmir and increase autonomy. Bill Clinton needn't be the medium for this dialogue, as America should then address the moral issue of continuously interfering in politics of other countries and wasting public money.
I think that Mr Clinton should mediate, as bi-lateral talks haven't reached anywhere through India's lack of interest in resolving this dispute. Mediation would help only if us Kashmiris are represented.
Someone "neutral" should mediate, neither nation is exactly qualified to criticise the other on human rights. As for those, who advocate that Kashmiris who object to Indian rule 'hop across to Pakistan' - isn't this ethnic cleansing? By the way, those people are actually indigenous to that region in case anyone has forgotten. It speaks volumes about the mentality of such individuals and illustrates perfectly the need for a mediator. I find expressions of such unashamed bigotry very worrying for the future of this region. Shame on you. How about reminding all concerned about certain outstanding UN resolutions and the fact that Amnesty International has been barred from the Region. Why is that I wonder?
1. Clinton can mediate in the Kashmir issue only if all the parties involved invites him to mediate. The Indian Government's stand on the issue is well known. All matters between India and Pakistan have to be resolved bi-lateraly. Thus, India will definitely not invite or encourage Clinton to mediate. 2. As per the Simla Accord signed by both India and Pakistan all outstanding disputes have to be resolved only through bilateral discussion. There is no role envisaged for a third-party mediator. 3. Being the sole global power does not give any right to USA to get itself involved in any international issue. Will China allow US mediation over Taiwan issue?
Chetan Pathak, Malaysia
There seems to be nothing wrong in the idea of President Clinton
mediating the two neighbours, who suspects each other, and have practically no confidence in each other.
In fact mediating between two rivals/enemies is nothing new in this world, Israel and Palestine also had faced this problem in past.
If Clinton does get involved in Kashmir he'll be wasting his time. One of the things that always surprises me when visiting India is the extent to which otherwise reasonable people are bigoted and intransigent in their attitudes towards Pakistan. The ongoing swing towards the far right Hindu parties makes the prospect of resolution in the foreseeable future even less likely. Until such time as the international community faces up to India and uses economic pressure to force the implementation of the old UN resolutions regarding a fair and open plebiscite on the future of Kashmir, no third party involvement has any point.
It is very important for Mr Clinton to mediate in a dispute which seems to be only pointing towards a nuclear flashpoint. It seems very suspicious that members of the Sikh community were killed given that they have harmoniously lived with the Muslim people of Kashmir for many years. May this indicate that the Indian military may be involved in the murders, given that the Pakistan government cannot afford to take on any more bad publicity. In the past the Muslim people of Kashmir have lived happily with the Sikh community and vice versa. If Mr Clinton does not intervene, present signs show that millions of civilians will be killed from a nuclear war, at the ignorance of both governments.
J Carter, UK
Yes, Mr Clinton or any influential third party is a must to find out a solution acceptable not only by India and Pakistan but by Kashmiri too. The world has to understand that "Kashmir" is a troubled place and innocent Kashmiri are victims. Peace loving people throughout the world has to pay attention at least for the sake of humanitarian grounds. Every day Kashmiri people are facing abuse, torture from the Indian Army more than they are victimised by so called Militants/Free doom Fighters. Let Kashmiri decides their own fate that is more reasonable and more logical. India's "No" for third party mediation is nothing but a negation and bullying in the region.
Yes, there is mediation required urgently to resolve the Kashmir issue. India and Pakistan have not been able to solve the problem for the past 50 years and show no signs of coming to an agreement in the next 50 years. South Asia must move from conflict to development and that depends on the resolution of the Kashmir problem. However, I have reservations about the US being the mediator. India doubts Washington's credibility because of America's close ties with Pakistan. But be it Washington or Tokyo, Kashmir needs mediation.
US mediation is not required. US policy should not reward state-sponsored terrorism. It would be hypocrisy to deny other countries the right to defend themselves. US policy would be better served by having a consistent policy throughout Asia. Specifically with regards to china, regarded in US policy as the most favoured trading nation. This completely ignores China's nuclear programme, annexation of Tibet and clear opposition to the values of democracy. India should remember the lesson of 1952 when China invaded Tibet during a 'peace' conference with India, whilst the United Nations and the world stood by and did nothing. This attitude towards self-defence is clearly the reason why people in the US oppose any limitations on the right to bear arms. India should consider allowing the right to bear arms in India.
Mr. Clinton is wise to attempt to head off
future conflict between Pakistan and India.
This is a noble thing for the man to do. And,
make no mistake about the fact that India and
Pakistan could get into some very real trouble
with nuclear weapons. The US has been in control
of nuclear weapons long enough, (for almost a half century)
to know the damage that can result. However, having said this -
if India and Pakistan decide to destroy each other than that is what
will happen. And, none of us can do any more than hope for the best
of the people in that part of the world. Other than that, what Clinton is
doing is likely to be building bridges of understanding to the mob mentality
that is out to destroy itself.
The facts of Kashmir are clear. The terrorism is fomented by the tyranny of Pakistan. Having perfected the art of ETHNIC CLEANSING within its own territories, it is now exercising the same doctrine across borders. Is it proper that there is no debate on the MAIN conflict between India, a secular state, and Pakistan, whose raison d'Ítre continues to be one of "Islamic purity", even if it means mass extermination, bringing shame and dishonour to millions of decent Muslims.
Before pontificating, Clinton would do well to digest this lesson!
No Clinton should not mediate on Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan has the capability to resolve conflict themselves. Militants sent by Pakistan to Kashmir have caused all the chaos. The army would not be there if it wasn't for the militants send by Pakistan. Pakistan has to accept the fact that Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India no matter of what. If some people living in Kashmir do not like that, they are more than welcome to leave. They were given a chance during partition. If they cannot live and abide the Indian rule they can hop and jump into Pakistan.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
India and Pakistan are in a zero-sum game. This means that it is hard for both the states to find a solution to the Kashmir problem bi-laterally. The United States, on the other hand, has its own interests in this region that range from short to the long term. The former might not permit it to mediate at this point in time. But the latter demands it to address this problem as soon as possible to avoid a nuclear eruption. President Clinton's visit is probably the best time for that because by virtue of his position he can force the two countries to rise above their animosity and work toward a realistic solution to this problem.
Yes, President Clinton must help resolve the
Kashmir dispute. I don't think India and Pakistan
would be able to resolve this by themselves
without third party's mediation.
Yes, President Clinton should mediate and help resolve the dispute over Kashmir. Too many innocents are being killed in Kashmir and the threat of nuclear war is very real for the world to lend a deaf ear to the conflict. India needs to set aside its pride and allow a third party to help peacefully resolve this dispute, which, if left to be decided by the present way, will, without doubt, lead to an all out war. And this war will not be a mere confrontation like in the past, but an end of a future for both countries because nuclear weapons are involved.
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