Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Not Pressure India?

Special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke stopped by New Delhi, India this week after visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but said he was not pressuring India to resume talks over longer-term peace with Pakistan. The question is, why not? As Holbrooke stated, Islamic extremists threaten all three countries. One of the biggest problems is that Pakistan's military and leadership remains focused on preparing to fight India rather than on fighting the militants threatening its own stability. Only a settlement that makes Pakistan feel secure will allow it to refocus on the militants. Why not at least try for a settlement on Kashmir?
India is heavily involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, building infrastructure and numerous consulates. Pakistan feels threatened by this involvement, since it fears encirclement and has traditionally relied on Afghanistan for strategic depth. That's one reason why India's embassy in Kabul was bombed in July 2008 by a militant group linked to Pakistani intelligence.
When Holbrooke was named special envoy to the region, India lobbied hard to not be included under his jurisdiction, not wanting to be seen in the same boat as those troubled and militant-plagued countries. But really the lack of a Kashmir solution is hindering solutions. India and Pakistan came close to reaching an accord on their own. Why not at least get the two sides in a room again for a discussion?
Certainly India has valid concerns. Pakistani leadership is weak, and they may want to wait until a stronger leader comes into power before negotiating (although if Nawaz Sharif takes office it would almost certainly kill any deal). But a long-term solution on Kashmir is in everyone's interest. Why not at least try?

1 comment:

  1. The last time there were peace negotiations going on between the two countries they were highly classified and only became public years after the fact. What leads you to believe it would be any different this time around? As far as we know they are bunkered up in hotel rooms abroad already. If you need ultimate players hit me up