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Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 21:30 GMT
Kashmir: Should the United Nations become more fully involved?
Tensions between India and Pakistan are still running high following last month's assault on the Indian parliament, in which fourteen people died.

India says the attacks were carried out by Pakistan-backed militant groups who oppose Indian rule in parts of Kashmir. Pakistan denies the allegations.

Since British rule ended on the subcontinent in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir.

The two states are now nuclear powers and the stakes of any future conflict could be raised to potentially catastrophic levels.

Should the international community play a greater role in ensuring that Kashmir does not cause another war? Should peacekeeping in Kashmir be given higher priority? Should the United Nations offer both Delhi and Islamabad more support in finding a political solution to the situation?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

When the British left India in 1947 they clearly felt that creating a unified India and Pakistan could be a threat to them. With their policy to divide and control they divided the region into India and Pakistan knowing fully well that this would cause instability in the region. If the then leaders of the two nations had followed Gandhi's suggestion for one unified country the region would be economically and militarily very stable and prosperous. Since Britain created the problem it needs to take a prominent role in bringing stability in the region.
Sean, U.S.A

The only solution in my mind is that the Line of Control be made the border. India, Pakistan and let's not forget China border portions of Kashmir. This region can never be independent. Having it so will be like creating another Afghanistan. India and China will fear Islamic militancy taking roots there and so should Pakistan.
Shyama Padhi, Indian in San Francisco

Let's not overlook the fact that the Kashmiri people, just like the rest of us, have the right to self-determination. There is need for a fair referendum under the supervision of the UN to decide this matter once and for all. Until that happens, the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people will go on.
Hasan, USA

UN administered Pakistan would be a very good solution for a peaceful Kashmir. Why should the UN interfere in a part of India that is being ruled by a democratic government? The UN should take the reins of Pakistan and the problem of Kashmir will die a natural death, bilateral relations between India and Pakistan will improve and the beautiful Kashmir valley will become prosperous like before.
Jayadev, India


This region can never be independent

Shyama Padhi, Indian in San Francisco
Please keep the UN away; they make a muck-up of everything. Get the big boys around the table - Pakistan, India and the Western Allies. Let them work out an agreement as to how to stop the escalating situation first, and then work their way to a referendum later.
Michael, Dublin, Ireland

As an Indian, I'm disgusted by these (almost always Hindu) Indian comments that say Kashmir is a part of India. They're the same people who say that Pakistan should be a part of India too, because they never recognised partition in the first place. To these people - you cannot ignore history and reality because it will always come back to haunt you and your arrogance will always be an obstacle to peace.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

The UN could play a very constructive role here as an honest broker, particularly in this climate of mistrust between India and Pakistan. UN resolutions on Kashmir should be implemented as not doing so will only encourage other countries to occupy territory by force. Kashmir is no more a part of India as Kuwait was a part of Iraq or East Timor an integral part of Indonesia. UN resolutions are UN resolutions and no country should be exempt from international law.
Umar, UK

When did UN start involving itself in a country's internal affairs. Kashmir is an integral part of India - the myriad elections and the functioning of democracy shows that. The disruption to the way of life is due to terrorists from Pakistan. What UN needs to do is be more forceful in enforcing countries to not sponsor terrorists. It is time UN decides if "It is with the terrorists or against the terrorists" instead of poking its nose when it is none of its business
Hari, USA


Please keep the UN away

Michael, Dublin, Ireland

It is evident to the world that neither India nor Pakistan is genuinely interested in the welfare of the Kashmiri people.

Cool, UK
The policies of "Muscle Flexing" by India and "Terrorist Promotion" by Pakistan are only going to aggravate the long standing Kashmir problem. From the manner in which the events have unfolded in the last 20 years or so, it is evident to the world that neither India nor Pakistan is genuinely interested in the welfare of the Kashmiri people. India and Pakistan use Kashmir as a battleground to promote more hatred and distract the population of both the nations from other serious issues like economic welfare, education, unemployment, etc. It is time for both India and Pakistan to stop enforcing their own national agenda on the Kashmiri people and realise that a solution to the Kashmir problem can be found only if the will of the Kashmiri people is ascertained. This can only be achieved through a plebiscite held under the watchful eyes of a neutral observer like the United Nations, United States or the United Kingdom.
Cool, UK

I think the best solution would be that the UN should assume the administrative control of Kashmir for a limited period. During this period both the Indian Army and the Pakistani Mujahidin should be sent home and Kashmiri people should be given a right to choose what they want to do. Kashmir is an undoubtedly disputed territory and whoever says that it is an integral part of India lives in fools paradise.
Usman Aslam, United Kingdom

The people of Kashmir should be given the right to determine their fate under a UN guided referendum. If India is so certain that Kashmiris are happy being a part of India then they shouldn't be afraid of such a referendum. Likewise for Pakistan. Yes, the UN should intervene but in a forceful manner that gets results and doesn't make it even more complicated. If Britons had done their job right in 1947 this situation wouldn't have happened in the first place.
Farah, USA


The whole Kashmir problem arose because of a wrong decision by the UN.

Deepak, USA
Kashmir, Its a integral part of India. Kashmir is not a disputed land, This is Pakistan who is trying to promote it as a disputed land. In 1947 when India was freed from Britain, a resolution was passed in the assembly of Britain which clearly says that Supremes of States can decide whom to join - India or Pakistan. In 1948, the Supreme of Kashmir decided to go with India. So how come this can be a disputed land? As far as UN is concerned. I think they should stay away or they should correct their mistake made in 1948 by dividing this Kashmir into two parts. The whole Kashmir problem arose because of a wrong decision by the UN. So, UN should stay away.
Deepak, USA

Since none of the two countries wants to back down from their claims, I would like to see an all out war between them. The country that wins, gets the whole of Kashmir. The problem will be solved once and for all. UN or any other countries in the world should not interfere with these peoples with nationalistic zeal. Let them fight and get what they can and see who is the last man standing.
Khairul Hasan, Bangladesh/UK

Kashmir is not a commodity. Kashmir is the land of the Kashmiri people whose will and rights should be considered. Both the Indian and Pakistan government are providing very bad governance to their own citizens. Corruption and favouritism are normal procedures in the corridors of government. Both countries waste resources on defence and nuclear projects. Under these circumstances, the Kashmiris should opt to be an independent nation.

The United Nations should of course work as the main vehicle for providing the right of living freely to Kashmiri people while keeping friendly relations with both countries. It should ask India and Pakistan to remove all forces from the state of Kashmir. The UN should then bring multinational forces to arrange elections. I think this is the only solution for all south Asian countries to live in peace
Yousuf ali Hashmi, Kuwait

As the world is becoming a global village, there is less and less need for the new countries to emerge. The role of UN is being changed to a large extent, and as it can be clearly seen the UN has less and less role to play in the world disputes and conflicts. More involvement of UN can only complicate the matters, as UN is seen as a toothless tiger.
Robert, USA


This has created more problems than it has solved

Rahul Ahuja, UK/ India
The United Nations should stay away from this problem. The last time they got involved (1947) half measures and misguided policies led to the situation worsening rather than improving. The UN "Line of Control" has never been administered by the organisation and has become the de facto border of India and Pakistan in Kashmir. This has created more problems than it has solved.
Rahul Ahuja, UK/ India

One part of Kashmir is with Pakistan and the other part is with India. Those who want to stay in Pakistan administered Kashmir, let them go there. India's Muslim population is 140 million, which is more than the total population of Pakistan. Pakistan and India should not interfere in the internal matters of each other.
Phillip, India

I think in order to reassert its relevance in the 21st Century, the UN should play a more proactive role in world affairs, i.e. they should stop situations, especially this one, before they become conflicts.
Peter Bolton, UK/USA

As the Indian Government has stated time and again, the status of Jammu and Kashmir is non-negotiable. It is an integral part of India and will continue to be. The involvement of the UN should only be limited to stopping cross border terrorism. If it is controlled the Kashmiri issue will disappear in no time.
Shiva, USA


Kashmir should become an independent entity

Zach Braddock, USA
I believe that the disputed territory of Kashmir should become an independent entity, thus insuring that neither India nor Pakistan could claim that it belonged to them.
Zach Braddock, USA

The United Nations is expected to play a constructive role in easing the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. The organisation should make Pakistan stop sponsoring terrorism and harbouring those who have been involving themselves in various terrorist attacks in the Indian-administered Kashmir and the rest of India. The United Nations should also make India become more democratic as it is essential to get the views of Kashmiris whether they want to be part of India or Pakistan or to have a separate state.
Albert P'Rayan, Indian in Rwanda

Kashmir is an integral part of India now and it will continue that way in the future. Regarding UN intervention, I think this will make the issue more complicated.
Vishwas, India

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See also:

04 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan rounds up militants
28 Dec 01 | South Asia
South Asia's high nuclear stakes
04 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Blair prepares to fly to India
23 May 01 | South Asia
Q&A: Kashmir dispute
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