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DATE=7/10/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-43847 TITLE=THE KASHMIR STRUGGLE BYLINE=ED WARNER DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: HEAVY FIGHTING ALONG THE INDIA-PAKISTAN BORDER HAS SET BACK ANY RESOLUTION OF THE LONG STANDING DISPUTE OVER KASHMIR. IT HAS ALSO RAISED ALARM OVER THE POSSIBILITY -- HOWEVER REMOTE -- OF A NUCLEAR EXCHANGE IN CASE THE TWO COUNTRIES GET INTO ALL-OUT WAR. VOA'S ED WARNER REPORTS ON SOME VIEWS OF THE CONFLICT AND WHERE IT MAY LEAD. TEXT: "WE ARE CLOSER TO GOD HERE, AND IF I DIE FOR MY COUNTRY, HE WILL TAKE ME." THAT IS HOW A SOLDIER IN THE HIGH HIMALAYAS DESCRIBES HIS FEELINGS ABOUT THE CONFLICT OVER KASHMIR BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN. HIS WORDS SUGGEST THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO END THE FIGHTING THAT HAS BROKEN OUT ALONG THE LINE OF CONTROL SEPARATING THE TWO COUNTRIES' FORCES. EACH GOVERNMENT DESCRIBES DIFFERENTLY THE FORCES WHO CROSSED THE LINE TO ENGAGE THE INDIAN TROOPS. PAKISTAN SAYS THEY ARE MILITANTS OUTSIDE ITS CONTROL. INDIA SAYS THEY ARE UNDER PAKISTANI DIRECTION. IT IS HARD TO TELL, SAYS STEPHEN COHEN, A SENIOR POLICY ANALYST AT THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION IN WASHINGTON, WHO NOTES THE INFILTRATORS COULD BE BEYOND THE CONTROL OF PAKISTAN'S PRIME MINISTER, NAWAZ SHARIF: // COHEN ACT // IN PAKISTAN, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM OF KNOWING WHO IS IN CHARGE: WHETHER THIS WAS ORDERED BY THE MILITARY WITH (PRIME MINISTER) NAWAZ' (SHARIF) CONSENT OR WHETHER NAWAZ WAS NOT TOLD ANYTHING ABOUT IT. WHETHER HE CAN GET THEM TO PULL BACK OR NOT - THAT IS NOT QUITE CLEAR AT ALL. // END ACT // THE INFILTRATION COULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED WITHOUT PAKISTANI ARMY SUPPORT, SAYS TERESITA SCHAFFER, A FORMER U-S AMBASSADOR TO SRI LANKA WHO NOW DIRECTS THE SOUTH ASIA PROGRAM AT THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN WASHINGTON. SHE ADDS THE INCURSION NEEDS ARMY SUPPORT TO CONTINUE: // SCHAFFER ACT // SO EXACTLY WHAT THE GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN TELLS THE ARMY TO DO IS GOING TO BE CRITICAL. IT MAY BE A SITUATION WHERE IT IS EASIER TO START THAN TO STOP. A NUMBER OF MUJAHIDIN GROUPS AND THEIR POLITICAL FRIENDS HAVE SHARPLY PROTESTED THE PAKISTANI DECISION TO TELL THEM TO RETURN. SOME HAVE GONE SO FAR AS TO SAY: "HE (PRIME MINISTER SHARIF) CAN NOT BOSS US AROUND. WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT." // END ACT // AMBASSADOR SCHAFFER SAYS KASHMIR IS A UNIFYING ISSUE AT A TIME OF ETHNIC AND ECONOMIC DISCONTENT IN PAKISTAN. AND THE NATION'S NEWLY ACQUIRED NUCLEAR WEAPONS MAY HAVE EMBOLDENED IT TO TEST INDIA'S RESOLVE. ACCORDING TO STEPHEN COHEN, PAKISTANIS BELIEVE THEY HAVE ACHIEVED STRATEGIC PARITY WITH INDIA: // COHEN ACT // SO I THINK THE ASSUMPTION THAT NUCLEAR WEAPONS MEAN AN END TO CONFLICT IS NOT QUITE RIGHT. I THINK IT MEANS AN END TO LARGE SCALE CONFLICT, BUT CONFLICT BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES HAS GONE ON AT A LOWER LEVEL FOR MANY YEARS AND WILL CONTINUE IN THE FUTURE. // END ACT // AMBASSADOR SCHAFFER NOTES INTERNATIONAL OPINION IS IMPORTANT TO PAKISTAN BECAUSE IT NEEDS OUTSIDE SUPPORT FOR ITS POSITION ON KASHMIR; NAMELY, THAT IT WAS UNFAIRLY DEPRIVED OF THE LARGELY MUSLIM REGION AT THE 1947 PARTITION OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN. BUT SHE BELIEVES PAKISTAN MAY HAVE MISCALCULATED WITH THE BORDER CROSSING, WHICH HAS NOT MET WITH APPROVAL ABROAD: // SCHAFFER ACT // YOU HAVE TO WONDER AT THIS POINT: SUPPOSE PAKISTAN WERE SUCCESSFUL IN PERSUADING THE OUTSIDE WORLD TO TAKE A MORE ACTIVE ROLE IN TRYING TO MOVE ITS RELATIONS WITH INDIA FORWARD? WOULD THAT HELP PAKISTAN GET THE PRIZE THAT HAS ELUDED IT FOR FIFTY YEARS? I AM NOT SO SURE. I THINK INTERNATIONAL OPINION HAS SHIFTED. // END ACT // AMBASSADOR SCHAFFER CONSIDERS THE HIMALAYAS GAMBLE A POLICY FAILURE, BOTH IN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC TERMS. BUT SHE ADDS THAT DOES NOT RELIEVE INDIA OF THE NEED TO IMPROVE ITS GOVERNMENT IN KASHMIR AND START A POLITICAL PROCESS THAT WILL ENGAGE THE MUSLIM POPULATION. (SIGNED) NEB/EW/KL 10-Jul-99 3:29 PM EDT (1929 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .