Kashmir: The South Asian Panacea

India’s Bad Bet in Kashmir
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Your email address will not be published. India has hit back at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's UNGA address, saying his speech bordered on crudeness and while Islamabad has "ventured to upstream terrorism and downstream hate speech, New Delhi was going ahead with mainstreaming development in Jammu and Kashmir". Indian Independence Day Special.

Kashmir: Can the nation win back Kashmiri hearts and minds? My early recollections are focused on Kashmir, because that is where I was born; in a town called Anantnag, near Srinagar. Etched in my memory, is the traumatic night of 30 October , when India was a mere 10 weeks old and I had just crossed three years.

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We lived in a village named Badgam, about 30 km south-west of Srinagar airport, where my father was a revenue officer in-charge of the district. The fusillade was coming from surrounding hills, occupied by Pakistani kabailis tribals , en route from Uri and Baramulla hoping to capture Srinagar airport.

At the break of dawn, we piled into the family horse-drawn tonga, with just the clothes on our back and fled to the airport, where RIAF DC-3 Dakotas were disembarking Indian troops. My father watched, as we clambered into a departing aircraft, which flew us to Delhi, and refuge with relatives.

We rejoined father in mid, to start life again from scratch. Growing up, in lovely little towns of the Valley in post-independence decades was idyllic. The leadership in all the countries of South Asia is obliged to concentrate on the imperative of providing inclusive and sustainable development and economic opportunities to the needier sections of their populations.

It informs the vision of our leadership when they seek dialogue with Pakistan. The linkages resulting from economic interaction, connectivity and people to people contacts could build the sinews of a more durable and lasting peace in which stakeholders will have a vested interest in preserving the gains of a mutually beneficial relationship.

This is the call of the 21st Century. While there can be no guarantees for success, such an approach seeks to build first on what is achievable and simultaneously to also address the more intractable issues in a sustained manner. The issue of terrorism arising out of the sub-conventional conflict directed by Pakistan against India for over two decades now, cannot be ignored either. It is as substantive an issue as the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, or the issue of the Siachen Glacier. As we seek to pave the way for a serious and comprehensive dialogue, how do we enlarge the constituencies of peace in both countries so that the dawn of a new era does not remain a chimera?

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I had earlier referred to economic linkages and enhanced people to people contacts. The task before us is to translate this on the ground to a mutually enriching and beneficial partnership for the greater good. While the Government is committed to inclusive growth so that the benefits of an ever expanding economy percolate down to the grassroots, we would be happy to share this growth with all our neighbours.

This can only be done if we are able to promote our complementarities and link our economies to a trajectory of inclusive and incremental growth. Artificial barriers and self-defeating policies need to be struck down. The ensuing economic interaction and mutually beneficial cooperation can lift our region from the morass of poverty and deprivation and at the same time create vested interests in a shared vision of peace and prosperity for our people.

Dr. Ashutosh Misra - Google Scholar Citations

Unfettered trade and investment flows coupled with freer people to people exchanges at various levels, particularly between the youth of the two countries, and better communications could help in realizing this vision. Education can form a bridge in bringing together young minds in the region. Universities and academic institutions in both India and Pakistan can play an important role in creating objective understanding.

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Lastly, India is effectively trapped in a policy prison cell that is largely of its own making. To Indian voters, the government claims that there is no dispute at all. Kashmir is an integral part of India, it insists, so no negotiations are needed. Just weeks before the recent announcement, when US President Donald Trump offered to mediate the dispute over Kashmir, Modi flatly refused, reiterating that any discussion of the subject would involve only India and Pakistan. India refuses to engage with Pakistan until attacks are brought to a halt — a stance that has pushed the country into a corner.

But it is Pakistan that closes the cell door, owing to the nature of its state, in which the military, rather than the civilian government, decides key policies, including on Kashmir. As then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously warned in , Pakistan could not keep snakes in its backyard and expect only its neighbors to be bitten.

Instead of moving forward with this dangerous policy, India should agree with Pakistan to transform the de facto international border — which has barely shifted over 70 years of conflict — into an official, open one, across which Indians and Pakistanis could travel freely. This would facilitate people-to-people connections, increased market integration, and cooperation in a range of areas, from tourism to environmental management. By boosting shared prosperity, such a step would enable both countries to invest more in social security, welfare, and economic development.

Closer integration across South Asia would likely follow. India has one foot on the ladder to global prominence. But as long as its other foot is stuck in the quagmire of conflict with Pakistan, it will not be able to climb very high. It appears that you have not yet updated your first and last name. If you would like to update your name, please do so here. Please note that we moderate comments to ensure the conversation remains topically relevant.

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We are ideally placed to rush badly needed relief material, food, medicines and supplies across the border to provide succour to the suffering millions. This means your teaching will not only be research-informed, but also delivered by staff that are well positioned to facilitate policy and practitioner community engagement. Main article: History of Kashmir. Can we realise this goal? Artificial barriers and self-defeating policies need to be struck down.