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Kashmir Conflict : Why India said NO to Kashmir Mediation? What could be the solution to this Kashmir Conflict?

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What has happened recently?

Recently, the India-Pakistan Kashmir Conflict took a drastic change when U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought mediation in Kashmir Conflict when they met during the G20 summit in Osaka. 

On the other hand, the External Affairs Minister negates the fact.

The Kashmir history has been one of the most controversial and most studied one. In order to understand the whole issue of Kashmir Conflict we first need to understand the backstory over the U.S. mediation in it. 

The Background of the U.S. Mediation

It was In 1993,when the new administration of U.S. President Bill Clinton decided to wade into the issue of Kashmir Conflict, indicating repeatedly that it wished to mediate between India and Pakistan.

At the U.N. General Assembly, President Clinton referred to resolvingcivil wars from Angola to the Caucasus to Kashmir,” and after a month, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel put up questions on the validity of Kashmir’s ‘Instrument of Accession’ during a press briefing.

Why is India against taking help in Kashmir Conflict?

India’s strict stand against mediation on Kashmir or any other issue roots from a number of  reasons, most notably a historical suspicion, since the 1950s and 1960s, as mediated talks by the United Nations and World Bank, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia have been unsuccessful in bringing the Kashmir Conflict between India and Pakistan to a conclusion. 

India seeing itself as a regional leader is another reason for India to not take any help in Kashmir Conflict, and hence does not require any favours in resolving its issues with other regional neighbours. 

Also, the it is believed that the mediation favours the weaker party by levelling the playing field, and with its stronger conventional and non-conventional military strength, India has seen no significant gain from bringing an outer third-party into its 70-year-old Kashmir Conflict with Pakistan.

UN's attempt for mediation in Kashmir conflict

UN made its early attempts at mediation after 1948 when India complained against Pakistan’s forced occupation of parts of Kashmir (PoK) to the UN Security Council on January 1, 1948. 

As a result of the complaint, UN set up the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) which proposed mediating a resolution along a three-point action plan : 

  1. Pakistani demilitarisation of the Kashmir region
  2. Indian reduction in military presence, and 
  3. A proposed final resolution by an impartial U.N. administered plebiscite to “determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people”.

Unfortunately, the deal was never signed as Pakistan never agreed to demilitarise, and India under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made it clear that a plebiscite would never be accepted. 

But, UNCIP was successful in mediating a ceasefire in 1949, and negotiated the geographical location of the cease-fire line which was to be monitored by the United Nations Military Observer Group In India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

The first United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan (UNRIP) appointed to mediate the Kashmir Conflict was Sir Owen Dixon, an Australian jurist, who was followed by Frank Graham, an American diplomat, who gave up after his proposal was rejected by both the countries in April, 1953. 

The only exceptions to this dismal record were : 

  • The  Indus Water Treaty of 1960 which was guaranteed by the World Bank, and 
  • The territorial agreement on the Rann of Kutch, which was mediated successfully by the British government in 1965.

Soviet Premier Kosygin also moderated between Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan to broker the Tashkent peace agreement of 1965, but after the sudden death of Lal Bahadur Shastri at Tashkent, the treaty has always been marked by suspicion and doubts.

U.S. earlier attempts for being a mediator before in the India-Pakistan Kashmir Conflict

The most unwelcome episode for India came from mediation attempts by the U.S. and the U.K. after the Sino-Indian war of 1962.  India was provided with planes and military hardware worth about $60 million from U.S. during the war in return to India's acceptance of mediation talks with Pakistan on Kashmir Conflict.

It was on November 21, 1962, that the war ended, and a team of 24 American negotiators headed to India. The team was led by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Averell Harriman, who  worked, along with U.S. Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith and British High Commissioner Paul Gore-Booth to bring India's acceptance for six rounds of talks between Foreign Minister Swaran Singh and Pakistan Foreign Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Finally, however as India regained its confidence, the talks come in serious difficulties, and later ended in 1963 after Nehru made it clear that India would never give up the Kashmir Valley.

What is the background of the India's Opposition to Kashmir Conflict? 

In 1972, after winning the war with Pakistan that saw the creation of Bangladesh, India negotiated the Simla Agreement, which did away with any idea of future mediation between the two countries.

According to the Simla Agreement, which was signed on July 2, 1972 by Indira Gandhi and by then President Bhutto, the two countries “resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them”.

In February 1999, the Lahore declaration was signed by Nawaz Sharif and Atal Behari Vajpayee. This agreement also affirmed the bilateral nature of issues and their resolution. 

Will it continue to stand opposed in issue of Kashmir Conflict?

Even when Mr. Trump spoke,  India’s response, in Parliament, was to invoke the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration saying that they “provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally”

These bilateral efforts are at an end at present, and little has moved since the last negotiations on Kashmir Conflict in 2003-2008, when Indian and Pakistani negotiators discussed the four-step formula.

India is firm on its stand for opposition to third-party mediation despite offers from several leaders including South African President Nelson Mandela, UN Chief António Guterres, and more recently, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg.

Also read : 27th July 2019 current affairs, 26th July Current Affairs

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