Inclusion of Kashmir is imperative for any major breakthrough

Resurrecting peace process
The much needed India-Pakistan peace process has begun showing signs of slowly getting on the track but it may as well be quite off the mark with no inclination towards the inclusion of Kashmir issue into the charter of its so far limp and unfixed agenda. The separatists have rightly pointed out the dangers of this non-exclusion of Kashmir and the inability to deal with the crisis of a gigantic magnitude within Kashmir. The issue is being ignored foolishly at the altar of massive traditional egos and hawkishness, even as it is assuming dangerous proportions with people’s patience having long run out and frustration and anger pushing the youth towards re-glamourising the gun. 

The denial of democratic space within Kashmir and the unattended long festering sore of the political issue coupled with the continuing graph of human rights abuse and curbing of civil liberties has made Kashmir vulnerable to several dangers and these would need to be addressed with a sense of immediacy and sincerity by both New Delhi and Islamabad. Some suggestions coming from separatists about Pakistan aiding the course of pressurizing for international intervention in Kashmir, however, may not be pragmatic in view of the staunch Indian opposition to any such move. A healthy peace process cannot be built on the edifices of feeling of animosity within the region. However, it is also for New Delhi to understand that an over delay in dealing with the Kashmir dispute is not onlypushing the people in Kashmir to the wall, forcing them into confines where amicable solutions seem a rare possibility. It is also causing much harm to the India-Pakistan bilateral peace process. 

For long there has been a debate within south Asia about whether Kashmir should be put on the back burner or whether it should be resolved first and let rest of the peace process follow from that. The issue is too complicated to search for such simple quick fix remedies. Both the India-Pakistan tangle and the Kashmir question are intrinsically interlinked and it would be a folly to compartmentalise the peace process by either excluding Kashmir or solely focusing on that. While international mediation, despite their limited scopes and addedcomplications of generating suspicions, need not be treated as a pariah, a more fruitful conflict resolution vis a vis both India-Pakistan and Kashmir would be one borne out of an internal realization and an indigenous push towards amicable negotiations. This would eventually require not just out of the box thinking but also streamlining the existing remains of the peace process, the confidence building measures and building further on that for a systematic multi-level dialogue to progress from that. India and Pakistan would thus need to begin spade work for pushing in not just official level channels into the agenda but also people to people level contact as well as dialogues for Kashmir on the two sides of the Line of Control with New Delhi and Islamabad. An intra-state dialogue with Jammu and Kashmir would also be significant not only because it would address the intra-state socio-political complicacies but also provide the necessary conducive atmosphere for a genuine peace process. 

Needless to point out that sincerity of the two sides would hinge on the essential component of confidence building measures within the two sides of Jammu and Kashmir, especially on this side which has been brutally battered during the two decades of heightened armed conflict. Kashmir having been recognized as a global nuclear flashpoint, the imperatives of this peace process cannot be negated. The sooner the realization dawns the better and the sooner the push for amicable negotiations for building mutual trust, co-operation and final resolution, the best for the south Asian region.