The divided south Asian mountain state of Kashmir is like a volcano: forgotten when
quiescent, but terrifying when it comes alive.
After the first India-Pakistan War in 1947, in which the British Indian Raj was divided
into Hindu and Muslim-dominated states, India ended up with two-thirds of the formerly
independent mountain state of Kashmir, and the new state of Pakistan with a scrubby,
poor third known as Azad Kashmir.
Rebellion and attempts at secession have flared ever since in Indian-ruled Kashmir which
has a restive Muslim majority, and minorities of Sikhs and Hindus. In fact, the Kashmir
conflict is now the world's oldest major crisis. The UN's calls for a plebiscite to
determine Kashmir's future have been ignored by India.
A week ago, Kashmiri militants attacked an Indian Army brigade base at Uri that sits
near the 1948-49 cease-fire line known as the Line Of Control (LOC). Seventeen Indian
regular soldiers died along with four militants. New Delhi rushed 10,000 soldiers to
Kashmir, boosting Indian military strength in the mountain state to over 500,000 men.
It is a grave mistake for the world to ignore Kashmir. My first book, "War at the Top
of the World," explored the Kashmir crisis and Indian-Pakistani-Chinese-Tibetan
rivalries in the Karakoram and Himalaya mountain ranges ( a work inspired by my talks
with the Dalai Lama). A decade ago I called Kashmir the 'world's most dangerous crisis.'
It remains so today. . . .
[By 1948, as the great migration drew to a close, more than fifteen million people had
been uprooted, and between one and two million were dead. . . . Partition is central to
modern identity in the Indian subcontinent, as the Holocaust is to identity among
Jews--William Dalrymple, "The
Great Divide: The violent legacy of Indian Partition," New Yorker, June 29, 2015]
[Nyla Ali Khan knows each of these Kashmirs. Born and raised there, educated in Delhi,
India and Norman, Oklahoma, granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, first premier of Kashmir,
author of four books and now a Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Nyla
Ali Khan understands her nation and has a vision for its future.
"Why is Kashmir's struggle important to Americans?" I asked her. "Kashmir's struggles
shine a spotlight on the quest of all people, everywhere, who seek justice, who value
democracy, who believe that people have a right to security and sustenance and
freedom.--Camille Landry, "Creating common ground: Conflict in Kashmir mirrors
universal issues," reddirtreport.com, September 29, 20016]
[Bangladesh followed Afghanistan and Bhutan in boycotting the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad next
month. Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal followed suit leading to the total isolation of
Pakistan among SAARC nations.--Syed Tashfin Chowdhury, "Dhaka to back India
if war breaks out," atimes.com, October 10, 20016]
[India ignored the fact that the New Delhi-based South Asia terrorism portal
(www.satp.org) had produced figures showing that during the years 2003-2016, . . . India
had lost 26,882 lives (civilians: 9640, security forces: 4249, terrorists: 12 993) and
that Pakistan had lost 61,148 lives (civilians: 21,389, security forces: 6,564,
terrorists: 33,195) from terrorist attacks. Further, the anti-Soviet Mujahedeen wars in
Afghanistan (1979-1989) led by the US, had led to influx of 25,000 foreign jihadists
into Afghanistan and the entry of about seven million Afghan refugees into
Pakistan.--Kadayam Subramanian, "Indian
media fuels jingoism after 'surgical' Pakistan strike," atimes.com, October 28, 20016]
[Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India's permanently shutting
off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive.
A 1960 treaty allows Pakistan to use most of the water, but India has consistently tried to
take back as much as it can.--Reese Erlich, "What's
Really Going On in Kashmir?," huffingtonpost.in, March 9, 2019]