News

DATE=06/23/99 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP NUMBER=6-11349 TITLE=A HOT, BUT COLD WAR OVER KASHMIR BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE TELEPHONE=619-3335 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS CONTENT= INTRO: THOUGH MUCH OF THE WORLD'S MEDIA ATTENTION IS STILL FOCUSED ON YUGOSLAVIA'S KOSOVO PROVINCE, A POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOT NEAR THE "TOP OF THE WORLD" IS GARNERING SOME ATTENTION. HIGH IN THE WORLD'S TALLEST MOUNTAIN RANGE, IN SUB-ZERO COLD, PAKISTAN AND INDIA, THE TWO NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE NUCLEAR CLUB, HAVE SQUARED OFF OVER YET ANOTHER TERRITORIAL DISPUTE REGARDING KASHMIR. THE FIGHTING BEGAN MORE THAN A MONTH AGO AND IS GAINING MORE AND MORE ATTENTION IN THE EDITORIAL COLUMNS OF THE UNITED STATES PRESS. WE HAVE A SAMPLING NOW FROM _________________ IN TODAY'S U-S OPINION ROUNDUP. TEXT: ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO, INDIA DISCOVERED A WELL-ARMED BAND OF SEVERAL HUNDRED FIGHTERS HAD INFILTRATED ONTO KASHMIRI TERRITORY CONTROLLED BY INDIA, ABOUT 55-HUINDRED METERS UP IN THE HIMALAYAS. THE INDIAN AIR FORCE SENT FIGHTER PLANES TO DISLODGE THE FIGHTERS, WITHOUT SUCCESS. SO FAR, TWO PLANES HAVE CRASHED, AND ONE INDIAN PILOT WAS KILLED. PAKISTAN SAYS THE FIGHTERS ARE N O T OPERATING WITH ITS PERMISSION OR SUPPORT, BUT INDIA DENIES THE CLAIM. JAMMU AND KASHMIR IS THE ONLY INDIAN STATE WITH A MUSLIM MAJORITY, AND THERE HAS BEEN A DECADES-LONG INSURRECTION BY SOME OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE, WHO WOULD LIKE TO JOIN PAKISTAN, A PREDOMINANTLY MUSLIM NATION. "THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION" IN JACKSONVILLE HAS THIS CANDID APPRAISAL OF THE DANGER. VOICE: BEYOND ANY DOUBT, THE WORST CRISIS IN THE WORLD IS IN KASHMIR. ... THE SPECTER OF AN ALL-OUT WAR WAS RAISED LAST MONTH AFTER THE NEW DELHI GOVERNMENT DISPATCHED TROOPS TO DISLODGE REBELS WHO HAD CROSSED THE BORDER INTO (INDIAN KASHMIR) AND SEIZED MOUNTAIN RIDGES ABOVE A VITAL ROADWAY. PAKISTANI AND INDIAN SOLDIERS UNLEASHED FURIOUS ARTILLERY BARRAGES ALONG THE (LINE OF CONTROL), IN THE MOST INTENSE FIGHTING SINCE THE LAST FULL-SCALE WAR - - ... IN 1971. ... SINCE BOTH COUNTRIES HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY, THAT HAS BROUGHT ABOUT SPECULATION OF A DEVASTATING NUCLEAR WAR - - AND CALLS FOR THE DISPATCH OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS, INCLUDING AMERICANS .... BUT IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT INDIA WOULD ACCEPT AMERICAN INVOLVEMENT ... BESIDES, THE UNITED STATES ALREADY IS OVEREXTENDED. ... THE UNITED STATES HAS DONE ENOUGH. LET SOMEONE ELSE HELP. TEXT: THERE IS DEEP CONCERN IN THE HEARTLAND OF THE NATION AS WELL, AS WE HEAR IN THIS COMMENTARY FROM "THE INDIANAPOLIS [INDIANA] NEWS." VOICE: WHILE THE INTERNATIONAL FOCUS HAS BEEN ON THE BALKANS, HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD ANOTHER SMOLDERING INTERNATIONAL TROUBLE SPOT HAS THREATENED TO BURN OUT OF CONTROL. ALTHOUGH BOTH COUNTRIES HAVE MADE PEACE OVERTURES ... RECENT CLASHES BETWEEN INDIAN AND PAKISTANI FORCES OVER .... KASHMIR COULD BE MORE DANGEROUS THAN FIRST IMAGINED. ... BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN ARE MEMBERS OF THE NUCLEAR CLUB, ABLE TO HURL NUCLEAR-TIPPED MISSILES AT ONE ANOTHER'S POPULATION CENTERS. SOME ANALYSTS PREDICT THAT AT LEAST 200 MILLION PEOPLE WOULD DIE IN SUCH AN EXCHANGE. ... IN THE PAST, U-N EFFORTS IN THE AREA HAVE BEEN RELATIVELY UNSUCCESSFUL. PERHAPS A NEW REGIONAL GROUP, MODELED ALONG THE LINES OF SEATO [THE SOUTH EAST ASIAN TREATY ORGANIZATION, SIMILAR TO NATO], WOULD HAVE A BETTER CHANCE AT ENDING CRISES LIKE THIS ONE BEFORE THEY DESCEND INTO MADNESS. TEXT: IN BOSTON, "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR" LAMENTS: VOICE: THIS BATTLE OVER A BIT OF BEAUTIFUL BUT UNINHABITABLE LAND COULD SEEM OF LITTLE MOMENT -- EXCEPT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF ESCALATION BY TWO NUCLEAR-ARMED NATIONS. THE LATEST OUTBREAK OF WAR IN KASHMIR UNDERSCORES THE NEED TO FINALLY RESOLVE THIS DISPUTE. ... THE LAHORE DECLARATION, SIGNED BY THE LEADERS OF THE TWO COUNTRIES IN FEBRUARY, WAS A RARE STEP TOWARD GREATER COOPERATION BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND INDIA. IT SHOULD BE BUILT UPON TO END THE FIGHTING AND MOVE ON TO WIDER PEACEMAKING. TEXT: "THE MIAMI HERALD" HAS THESE THOUGHTS ON THE CONFLICT. VOICE: WITH BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN VOWING NOT TO BACK DOWN, THE DUSTUP COULD GET UGLY FAST. THE WORLD HAS SURVIVED MORE THAN A HALF-CENTURY WITHOUT A NUCLEAR EXCHANGE BETWEEN ADVERSARIES -- AND THERE IS N O SUGGESTION THAT THIS WILL HAPPEN IN THIS DISPUTE. BUT THIS FIGHT I S A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. IT INVOLVES PROUD BUT BELLIGERENT ADVERSARIES, EACH OF WHOM HAS DEFIED GLOBAL PRESSURE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT IN THE PAST YEAR BY TESTING AND BUILDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. ... PEACEMAKERS, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES, MUST ACT NOW - - BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. /// OPT /// TEXT: "THE BOSTON GLOBE" ALSO COUNSELS RESTRAINT ON ALL SIDES. VOICE: ... THE LINE OF CONTROL ...A DE-FACTO BORDER ... NEEDS TO BE RESPECTED IF PEACE IS TO BE MAINTAINED. ANY ATTEMPT BY INDIA OR PAKISTAN TO CHANGE IT BY FORCE COULD LEAD TO CATASTROPHE. PAKISTAN SAYS THE INFILTRATORS WHO WENT ACROSS THE LINE IN MAY ARE ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BEYOND ITS CONTROL. BUT THEY ARE CLEARLY THERE AT THE BIDDING OF THE PAKISTANI MILITARY. INDIA HAS THE STRENGTH TO PUSH THEM OUT, BUT TO DO SO WITHOUT PROHIBITIVE LOSS OF LIFE WOULD MEAN OUTFLANKING THE INFILTRATORS. THIS WOULD MEAN THAT INDIAN ARMY UNITS WOULD HAVE TO CROSS THE LINE OF CONTROL THEMSELVES TO GET BEHIND THE INFILTRATORS, ESCALATING THE CRISIS. /// END OPT /// TEXT: AND FINALLY, THIS SUGGESTION FOR RESOLVING THE DISPUTE FROM "THE NEW YORK TIMES." VOICE: NO RAPPROCHEMENT CAN OCCUR WITHOUT SOME SORT OF A POLITICAL RESOLUTION OF KASHMIR'S STATUS. ANY SUCH SOLUTION WOULD PROBABLY HAVE TO BE A CREATIVE MIXTURE OF SELF-GOVERNMENT FOR THE KASHMIRIS WITH SOME KIND OF POLITICAL ASSOCIATION WITH BOTH INDIA AND PERHAPS PAKISTAN. BUT NO SOLUTION CAN BE ACHIEVED UNDER THE THREAT OF MILITARY ACTION. THE NEXT STEP MUST COME FROM PAKISTAN, WHICH SHOULD ENCOURAGE OR PERHAPS EVEN FORCE THE MILITANTS FROM THEIR INCURSION INTO INDIAN TERRITORY. THEN TALKS CAN COMMENCE ON STEPS TO IMPROVE RELATIONS AND EVENTUALLY SETTLE THE STATUS OF KASHMIR. TEXT: THAT CONCLUDES THIS SAMPLING OF COMMENT FROM THE U-S PRESS ON THE DISPUTE OVER KASHMIR BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN. NEB/ANG/KL 23-Jun-99 1:39 PM EDT (1739 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .