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DATE=10/25/1999 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=KASHMIR IMPASSE NUMBER=5-44608 BYLINE=NINIE SYARIKIN DATELINE=WASHINGTON INTERNET=YES CONTENT= NOT VOICED INTRO: There is no end in sight to the long and bloody dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. That is the conclusion of experts who attended a VOA symposium in Washington last week. We have a report from Ninie Syarikin. TEXT: The two neighbors went to war twice over Kashmir, once in 1948 and again in 1965. With the emergence of both India and Pakistan as nuclear powers, and their fresh military conflict from May to July, the potential for disastrous war in an area of more than one billion people is cause for global concern. A former professor of history at Columbia University in New York, Ainslie Embree [male], says India and Pakistan have different objectives in Kashmir. /// EMBREE ACT /// Pakistan has never claimed Kashmir and Jammu; India does, of course. So, one has to begin by recognizing that the two countries are looking at a very different kind of problem. What is Pakistan's claim of involvement? Not that it claims territory, but it claims the rights to intervene on behalf of what they regard as oppressed people. /// END ACT /// Professor Embree believes it is very unlikely that the United Nations will be able to make any contribution to a settlement, or that third-party negotiation could work. He says Pakistan would welcome more involvement from the United Nations and the United States, but India would not. Professor Embree says leaders of India and Pakistan should engage in a dialogue without preconceptions and listen to what the Kashmiris are saying. A senior researcher with the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, Patricia Gossman, says the Indian approach to Kashmir remains brutal and abusive, and on the Pakistan side journalists dare not write anything that differs from government policy Ms. Gossman says intimidation, assassination, and violence in general in Kashmir have left the people too weak to confront Indian government policy. /// GOSSMAN ACT /// One thing that I have always found most tragic about being in Kashmir is isolation. Meeting with activists, meeting with journalists there, how cut off they have always felt, not only from the rest of their international colleagues, but even in India, from any support from any groups that should be advocates for change, should be advocates for human rights. /// END ACT /// Ms. Gossman says the international community must keep up the pressure on both India and Pakistan to reconcile their differences, because there will be no peace in Kashmir as long as they are at odds. One U-S group exploring solutions to the conflict is the Kashmir Study Group, co-founded by Farooq Kathwari [pron: farook kathwaree], a Kashmiri-American. /// KATHWARI ACT /// Kashmir should not hold one billion people of India and Pakistan hostage; nor should people of Jammu and Kashmir be held hostage due to the lack of courage and wisdom of the leadership in India and Pakistan. The south Asia region needs to move on to improve the welfare of its people. They can only do so by creating an environment of regional peace and cooperation. /// END ACT /// Mr. Kathwari believes the issue of Kashmir is solvable, if India and Pakistan take the initiative to normalize their bilateral ties and address the sufferings and aspirations of the five million people of Kashmir. He thinks the timing for resolution of the conflict is better now than it has been. The director of the South Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington is Teresita Schaffer, a former U-S Ambassador to Sri Linka. She says India and Pakistan have three unsettled agendas: border issues; normalization issues such as visas, cultural relations, and trade; and risk reduction to avoid a nuclear conflict. Ms. Schaffer says the latter issue is the most urgent. /// SCHAFFER ACT /// The United States, in looking at the Kashmir problem, has for the past 17 years, basically opted for managing the problem rather than trying to solve it. There are good reasons for that, what the obstacles are to a real settlement. They are very real and they are very powerful. Especially under present circumstances -- with nuclear weapons on both sides -- the most important goal is simply to ensure that the war doesn't break out. /// END ACT /// Ms. Schaffer says it is unrealistic for the world to expect to solve the Kashmir problem, but perhaps it can, with effort, manage it. (Signed) NEB/NGS/GM/KL 25-Oct-1999 13:12 PM EDT (25-Oct-1999 1712 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .