News

July 13, 1999

KASHMIR: 'BACK FROM THE BRINK', BUT 'TOO SOON TO SPEAK OF PEACE'

Analysts overseas kept a wary watch on developments in Kashmir over the past few days following the de facto cease-fire agreed to by India and Pakistan on Sunday. Observers generally credited President Clinton's personal intervention--via his talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Washington July 4th--with having eased the two rivals away from the brink of a third Indo-Pakistani war over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Most writers, however, cautioned that it was "still too soon to speak of peace, much less a permanent one" for Kashmir. Among the "obstacles" ahead, some analysts emphasized, was the difficulty the Pakistani premier would have in "selling" the withdrawal of the mujahideen forces from Kashmir--one of the elements of the agreement between Islamabad and New Delhi--to "extremists and fundamentalists" in his country. Others put the onus on India to alter its stance toward Kashmir, arguing that "as long as India does not give up plans to rule Kashmir like an occupied country, and as long as human rights violations in Kashmir do not stop, this trouble spot will continue to exist." A writer for Munich's centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung held that "the Kashmir question" might well be "unresolvable, because it touches on the self-understanding of Muslim Pakistan and secular India." If so, that paper concluded, "all sides involved should try to live with it." Following are highlights in the commentary:

INDIAN VIEWS ON 'LESSONS' FROM KARGIL--Although a number of Indian pundits could not refrain from expressing the view that the "Kargil conflict once again underscores the fact that Pakistan's is one army which has never won a war," most warned their government not to crow about a "victory" over Pakistan. Many fretted about Pakistan's perceived efforts to "internationalize" the Kashmir issue and urged a revival of the "Lahore process" in order to ensure that Kashmir "remains a bilateral issue." New Delhi's pro-economic reforms Business Standard stressed that the "hardest" lesson for India to learn from the Kargil episode was that "politics" in Pakistan were "no longer driven" only by "anti-India sentiment" but by religious considerations, and saw "theology and nuclear weapons" as a dangerous mix.

PAKISTAN: 'U.S. COMES TO INDIA'S RESCUE'--Most available commentary from Pakistan charged that the U.S. had taken India's side in the Kargil dispute and that Pakistan "had lost more than it had gained" following the Clinton-Sharif meeting in Washington. Islamic-oriented and independent papers questioned "why Pakistan alone should bear the responsibility of implementing the Washington agreement" by ensuring that the mujahideen withdraw from the Kargil region, and decried their country's "morbid dependency on Washington." Karachi's Urdu-language, pro-Jamaat i-Islami Ummat and the center-right Nation couched their complaints in religious terms, calling for a "holy war" to "repay the blood" of the "hundreds of civilians, soldiers and...army officers [who] have embraced martyrdom for the cause of Kashmir and of Pakistan."

This survey is based on 34 reports from 10 countries, July 10 -13.

EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney

To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click Below

|  EUROPE  |    |  EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC  |    |  SOUTH ASIA  |   

SOUTH ASIA

INDIA: "Cease-Fire Signs"

An editorial in the right-of-center Indian Express argued (7/13): "The withdrawal or disengagement, as it is euphemistically called, marks the triumph of the military and diplomatic offensive launched by India since mid-May against Pakistani intruders.... The Kargil conflict once again underscores the fact that Pakistan's is one army which has never won a war. The cease-fire does not mean that the Kargil crisis is over. The diplomatic initiative India took in convincing the world about the genuineness of its case played a great role in turning the tables against Pakistan. And the diplomatic offensive should go on.... There is now greater appreciation of India's stand on Kashmir--that it should be settled according to the provisions of the Simla agreement. Thus, it is in India's interests to pursue peace by putting the bitterness caused by the Kargil developments behind it."

"The Final Stage"

According to an editorial in the centrist Hindu (7/13): "By effecting a phased withdrawal which began on Sunday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has demonstrated his hold on his government, the military establishment and the mujahideen.... Even if this misadventure causes a lot of domestic, political problems for Sharif, he will no doubt earn the appreciation of the international community, particularly the United States, for summoning up the courage to stand by the Washington statement. It is obvious that Pakistan acted under international and U.S. pressure.... Without international pressure, Sharif may not have relented.... Even after the drubbing on the ground, Islamabad is convinced that it has succeeded in 'internationalizing' the Kashmir issue through the Kargil conflict.... If India wants to ensure that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue and is resolved peacefully, it must now seize on the opportunity presented by the withdrawal to revive the Lahore process."

"Beyond Kargil"

An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times asserted (7/13): "Now that Pakistan, at the prodding of the United States, has seen the folly of its ways and begun to withdraw to its side of the Line of Control, India has to weigh the various consequences of the Kargil conflict. That New Delhi has scored a major diplomatic triumph goes without saying.... But even as the world has largely recognized the justice of India's case, it will also expect New Delhi and Islamabad to initiate steps to resolve their differences now that the war has ended. India, of course, is quite prepared for a resumption of the dialogue.... But the point that is still to be ascertained is whether Pakistan is ready for a negotiated settlement. It cannot be allowed to play a double game any more--talks with India while instigating the so-called mujahideen in their acts of terrorism.... Indeed, its spokesmen threatened that there would be more Kargils if their demands were not met. If so, what will be the point of holding talks? A settlement is possible either through peaceful means or through war. Pakistan has to make up its mind as to which option it would exercise. Otherwise, an agreement will turn into a scrap of paper like the much-heralded Lahore Declaration did."

"Lessons From Kargil"

The pro-economic reform Business Standard held (7/13): "When countries fight even a limited war such as the one that is now concluding in Kargil, they tend to draw three types of lessons from it--political, diplomatic and military. The political lesson for India may well turn out to be the hardest to learn, namely, that politics in Pakistan is no longer driven by just one driver, the anti-India sentiment, but that another, more potent driver--God--has taken over.... The diplomatic lesson is closely linked to this. It is that theology and nuclear weapons don't mix well--and the BJP, too, would do well to bear this in mind.

"The Western countries, especially the United States, stood by India during the crisis.... The third lesson...is the military one. When someone sets about finding out how the Kargil incursion happened, they will doubtless come across the uncomfortable fact that the sentry was asleep at the gate.... In the most immediate context, it would be futile to hope for early talks. There has to be a cooling off period.... During that period, India must insist that Pakistan dismantle the training camps for the mujahideen and that unless it does so, India is not willing to resume talks. If, somewhere along the way, the Lahore process gets relaunched, well and good. Because, as the human cost of this engagement should remind all of us, peace is better than war."

"Turnaround By Pakistan"

An analysis in the centrist Hindu contended (7/12): "The 'Appeal' issued by the powerful Cabinet Defense Committee of Pakistan to the mujahideen, in effect to withdraw from the Indian side of the Line of Control, has the potential to defuse a potentially explosive crisis. Combined with the Chief of the Army Staff's support for the Washington statement that followed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's meeting with President Bill Clinton, the 'Appeal' signals a turnaround in Islamabad.... The signals from Islamabad must be welcome.... [But] India must be alert to the larger agenda. Defeated on the ground and exposed around the world as the aggressor, Pakistan has stepped up its efforts to try and internationalize the Kashmir dispute.... The threat of third-party intervention...will remain as long as the bilateral track is not sincerely utilized."

"Saving Face"

According to an editorial in the right-of-center Indian Express (7/12): "The impression that the Pakistani government has tried to foist upon the media is that the mujahideen arrived in Kashmir without touching Pakistan soil anywhere. Were this to be true, it should constitute a very great miracle, such as the teleportation device often seen in Star Trek. The government will have its work cut out for it if it is to move towards the Lahore process again, as it piously declared in Washington. The national mood in Pakistan is distrustful and confrontationist at present. It will have to change substantially if a return to diplomacy is to be backed by the national will. It is the government which will have to work this change. For starters, it should stop deluding its own people."

"Reaping The Kargil Harvest"

Executive Editor Malini Parthasarathy penned this analysis in the centrist Hindu (7/12): "New Delhi's diplomatic strategy not to allow the world to scrutinize the Kashmir dispute has been severely dented. Apart from the fact of President Bill Clinton's assurance to Sharif that he would 'take a personal interest' in encouraging an expeditious resumption and intensification of bilateral efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute, the daily coverage of the Kargil crisis by the mainstream international media has brought Kashmir back into the spotlight, globally speaking. If not for Washington's loudly expressed disapproval, Islamabad might well have persisted with its adventurist military strategy.... Strengthened by the attention that the international community has given the Kargil affair, Islamabad will watch intently for proof of New Delhi's laggardness in addressing the substantive issues underlying the divide.... The Vajpayee government would be ill-advised to turn the Kargil episode into a 'victory' and to paint Pakistan as 'the defeated aggressor.' While it might make effective and winning election rhetoric for the BJP and its allies, it would damage India's image in the international arena as a trustworthy and credible interlocutor. The country cannot afford to pay this price."

"Sharif Stoops To Survive"

N.C. Menon observed in the nationalist Hindustan Times (7/12): "The moment Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent an SOS to President Clinton...it was a foregone conclusion that Islamabad had surrendered all its options and was desperately willing to be rescued out of the mess of its own making, on any terms that Washington chose to set down.... Despite all the friendly and cooperative diplomatic rhetoric that followed, President Clinton knew he had Sharif where he wanted and there was not much wriggling that the Pakistani prime minister could do.... The unkindest cut of all, as far as Sharif was concerned, was the attitude adopted by Beijing. The Pakistani prime minister fully expected China to demonstrate an element of support for its old ally. Unfortunately for him, the Clinton administration had called in all its chips in Beijing and made it clear that as a major power, it expected Beijing to help defuse the looming South Asian crisis.... [For] its part, Beijing, having forced the United States to wear sack cloth and ashes over the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, was looking for ways to resume a more normal relationship with Washington.... Caught in that power play, poor Nawaz Sharif did not know what had hit him."

"The Clinton Doctrine"

Kapil Sibal, Congress member of the Indian Parliament, judged in the centrist Times of India (7/12): "American foreign policy is fast adjusting itself to grasp the advantages of a unipolar world. Though the Clinton doctrine may provide justification for intervention in Kosovo, the joint statement issued by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington on July 5, is a manifestation of the increasingly significant role that the United States thinks itself destined to play in what it considers to be potential areas of conflict.... The so-called Clinton doctrine...[which] allows intervention when intervention bears no relation to the national interest of the United States...has the potential of being interventionist in the long term.... President Clinton [also] wishes to take a 'personal interest' in bilateral efforts between India and Pakistan as reflected in the joint statement. Yet these have to be done in the context of the Simla Accord by the two countries themselves."

"Kargil And The Future"

N. Krishnan commented in the centrist Hindu (7/11): "We cry ourselves hoarse that we do not want any internationalization [of Kashmir].... But...there is little sense in shouting from the housetops that we do not want the Americans meddling in Indo-Pakistan affairs, at the same time applauding the strong pressure they are exerting on Pakistan to take concrete measures for the vacation of the intrusions beyond the Line of Control."

PAKISTAN: "U.S. Did It!"

According to an editorial in Karachi's rightist, pro-Jamaat-i-Islami, Urdu-language Ummat (7/13): "The United States has never taken as much interest in getting occupied Kashmir vacated from Indian troops as it has shown in getting Kargil freed from the freedom fighters. The Kashmir issue can never be resolved through negotiations, so the only solution left is a holy war."

"After The Withdrawal"

An editorial in pro-Islamic unity, Urdu-language Jasarat held (7/13): "It has become apparent that during his meeting with President Clinton, Nawaz Sharif entered into an agreement for the withdrawal of guerrillas from Kargil, and Pakistan achieved nothing out of it."

"War At Home"

This op-ed column by Ghazi Salahuddin ran in the centrist News (7/13): "It is encouraging that President Clinton has promised to personally push forward the process launched by the Lahore Declaration.... Considering what has happened during the recent weeks, it would not be easy for the two countries to return to Lahore, by bus or by any other means of transport. But there was, and [is], no other option. It is now Nawaz Sharif's task to de-escalate the political situation in [Pakistan] and promote an environment in which national issues can be raised and discussed without recourse to rowdiness and shrill rhetoric. He must also demonstrate that in this endeavor, he is willing to reform his own views and his ways of dealing with his critics."

"U.S. Comes To India's Rescue"

General Mirza Aslam Beg penned this op-ed piece in the center-right Nation (7/13): "History has witnessed an ironic reversal: India humiliated Pakistan, mustering the full support of the United States and the former Soviet Union in 1971 in dismembering Pakistan. Now in 1999, it is the United States which has come to India's rescue again by freeing the strategic locations of Kargil from the mujahideen's grip and letting India regain them, which would not have been possible militarily.... During the past two months, along the Line of Control hundreds of civilians, soldiers, and about forty young army officers have embraced martyrdom for the cause of Kashmir and for the cause of Pakistan. Who will repay their blood, which is a sacred trust with almighty Allah, but seems to have been traded by someone, who will not go unpunished by Him?"

"Pulling Back From The Brink"

Peshawar's independent Frontier Post judged (7/13): "The United States has every reason to feel satisfied with the results of its South Asia policy. Pakistan has again proved to be extremely vulnerable to American pressure. Conversely, it indicates a morbid dependency on Washington. Whatever be the case, war now has been averted, and it is a moment of joy for all of us."

"Kashmir: The Global Context"

Tanvir Ahmad Khan argued in Karachi's independent Dawn (7/13): "The retreat of the mujahideen from the bunkers of Kargil, carries the risk that it may go too far. This is a metaphorical danger.... Of all the possible solutions of Kashmir, partition along the Line of Control is easily the worst as it sunders and fragments people beyond help and redress.... It is time to return to the drawing board for a comprehensive strategic rethink. There must be someone around the prime minister who can tell him that the task needs appropriate tools. The task is to formulate a viable and sustainable foreign and security policy."

"Washington Communique And Indian Designs"

An editorial in the leading, mass-circulation, Urdu-language Jang declared (7/12): "Pakistan has started implementing the Washington Communique and has appealed for the freedom fighters to withdraw. On the other hand, the Indian army is continuing its disregard of the international borders and targeting the civilian population [inside Pakistani-controlled Kashmir]. In these circumstances, political quarters in Pakistan are questioning why Pakistan alone should bear the responsibility of implementing the Washington agreement, as India has been left free to commit all types of aggressions. In these circumstances it is the responsibility of the United States to take stern note of the violation of Line of Control from the Indian side."

"A Moral Tragedy"

Syed Talat Hussain told readers of the center-right Nation (7/12): "The perception runs deep in the public mind that in the Washington deal, Pakistan lost more than it gained.... The Kashmiri lobby is not just a handful of Kashmiri hard-line groups, but an extensive network of businessmen, army men, bureaucrats and Mr. Sharif's voters.... This entire lobby has been affected by the Washington deal and the manner in which it was done. It needs to be put at ease."

"Controversial Diplomacy"

Nadeem Shahid observed in the center-right Nation (7/12): "The opposition has bitterly accused the prime minister of a sellout to the United States on the Kashmir issue. Some of his opponents have directly or indirectly labeled him a traitor. In fact, Nawaz Sharif took a high-risk gamble by giving his word to Bill Clinton about the withdrawal of the militants from Kargil.... Now, the crucial question is whether Nawaz Sharif will be able to persuade the mujahideen to vacate the hills near Kargil. The latter, and their supporters in Pakistan, have flatly refused to respect the former's pledge to America.... It is difficult to decide whether the prime minister's diplomatic adventure is an act of brilliant statesmanship or the result of arm-twisting by the world's sole superpower.... Mian Sahib, however, does deserve credit for his efforts to ward off a potential nuclear war in South Asia."

NEPAL: "India's Advance Sympathy To Pakistan; America's Success"

Independent Aajako Samacharpatra featured this commentary (7/11): "On the Kargil issue, America has unexpectedly achieved a diplomatic victory after a long effort.... Clinton's role is praiseworthy.... America has the opportunity to win the hearts of billions of people without any material investment...and this has increased the possibility of averting the threat of a devastating cloud of war that was hovering over South Asia.... The enhancement of the South Asian people's respect for the United States is a great achievement.... With America's role in the Kargil issue, relations between the United States and India have improved to such an extent that both India and the United States have been seeing each other as allies.... Tension in Kargil and Kashmir may persist for years because of the attitude of the Islamic fundamentalists.... India needs to adopt a long-term strategy with additional preparedness.... The United States, which has constantly been under the threat of terrorists like [Osama] bin Laden, will, and must, help India.... If the United States will be able to make the two warring nations agree to sign the CTBT, it will be another American triumph."

SRI LANKA: "Pakistan Likely To Defy Clinton On Kargil"

Adrian D'Melo filed this special report for the pro-business Sunday Times (7/11): "With increasing pressure to live down the charge that he has sold out Pakistan's interest to Washington, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is unlikely to be in a hurry to honor his pledge to President Clinton.... The clout of the United States in Pakistan is also in question now.... Pakistan will...try to play the China card to neutralize U.S. influence. But the economic leash in the hands of the United States is short, and Pakistan could feel the pinch if the United States applies economic sanctions."

"Pakistan's Dilemma"

Vernon L.B. Mendis told readers of the government-owned/controlled, English-language Sunday Observer (7/11): "There is...a widespread fundamentalist type movement [in Pakistan] opposed to the settlement, which is also a political threat to the government, as it is calling for the removal of Nawaz Sharif.

"Thus the Pakistani government is facing a dilemma over the implementation of the accord, which is damaging its reputation in the eyes of the international community. Indeed, it would appear that, as a result, India has become a hero in the eyes of the Western world. It is up to Pakistan to restore its image, which means in effect control of the armed forces and the assertion of civilian rule in the face of the opposition from the military and militant religious factions."

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

HONG KONG: "Respite, Not A Resolution"

The independent South China Morning Post stressed (7/11): "After two months of fresh brutality on the Kashmir front, something inexcusably rare is being added to its cruel politics: a dash of common sense. This brings hope that a restored armistice between India and Pakistan can lead to serious talks about finally resolving 52 years of wasteful war.... What comes next is unclear. Pakistan has cause to feel aggrieved by history, but both sides have been so committed to righteous violence that broader interests suffer. Mr. Clinton can merely get talks resumed; he can't settle things. Resolution will require more courage and foresight than either side has managed since it all began back in 1947. And asking for that may still be asking too much."

JAPAN: "Seeds Of Kashmir Tension Must Be Eradicated"

An editorial in top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (7/13): "Indian and Pakistani military officials agreed on the gradual withdrawal of Islamic militants from Kashmir in a bid to defuse tension which arose from more than two months of armed skirmishes that could have brought the rival neighbors to the brink of a fourth Indo-Pakistani war. We hope a cease-fire will take hold. Unlike their previous military clashes, the recent shelling and air operations between India and Pakistan, both already de facto nuclear powers, have had more different and serious impacts on the global community."

SOUTH KOREA: "Dispute Resolved"

Kwon Hyuk-bum declared in moderate Hankook Ilbo (7/13): "This round of resolving a conflict--over Kashmir this time--demonstrates once again the power of U.S. influence. President Clinton's involvement--supporting India and urging Pakistan to have the guerrillas withdrawn--provided critical momentum.... Although Pakistan's guerrillas will soon be withdrawn from the area of conflict, Pakistan appears to be the one that scored points, by having 'internationalized' the Kashmir issue."

THAILAND: "Fighting Won't Define The Borderline"

The independent, English-language Nation's lead editorial argued (7/11): "SInce returning to Pakistan, Sharif has been quiet on his pledge to U.S. President Bill Clinton 'to take concrete steps' to end the fighting. Despite the political heat, Sharif must carry through on his promise. He must make it clear to the army and the militants that more fighting serves nobody's interest and could cause great economic and social hardship to the country. The guerrillas are not going to make more military gains, and besides, they have achieved their objective--Kashmir is on the international agenda again. India can help the process by offering to halt its shelling to allow the militants to withdraw. It was right to refuse to discuss Kashmir until the guerrillas are gone from its territory, but [India] must also be sincere in looking for a negotiated settlement to the Kashmir dispute.... The dispute in Kashmir, a region with a volatile mix of ethnicity, religions and cultures, needs to be resolved. Fighting will not do it."

EUROPE

GERMANY: "Retreat"

Werner Adam had this to say in right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/13): "It seems that the danger of a third war over Kashmir has been stemmed. India and Pakistan...agreed on a withdrawal plan. The Delhi government can consider it a diplomatic success that this plan includes Islamabad's concession that, despite statements to the contrary, it had the control of the Muslim intruders who invaded the Indian part of Kashmir. However, India should not enjoy this success to the full, since this would create enormous domestic difficulties for Pakistan's Premier Sharif. Instead it would be much better for India to finally accepted Pakistan's wish for international mediation. This conflict showed again and again that both countries are unable to find a way out of this permanent Kashmir crisis. This way out can be found only if the Kashmiri themselves have a chance to say what they think of their future."

"Only Winners In Kashmir"

Andreas Baenziger emphasized in centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/13):

"Both sides are selling the end of the Kashmir conflict as a success.... It is true that the Kashmir conflict attracted the attention of the global public again and made it aware of how dangerous the conflict between the two nuclear powers and the world is. But despite the crisis, which was provoked by Pakistan, the problems have not been resolved. The Kashmir question continues to be unresolvable, because it touches the self-understanding of Muslim Pakistan and secular India. But if a problem is unresolvable, all sides involved should try to live with it. There are enough concrete possibilities to live with it, for instance, the end of the regular artillery duels at the Siachen glacier, the most foolish battlefield in the world.... But steps in this direction require mutual confidence which did not increase in the roaring of guns in the Indus valley."

"Peace Still Distant In Kashmir"

From Berlin, centrist Der Tagesspiegel's Gabriele Vensky opined (7/13): "The government in New Delhi is well aware of the fact that the Islamists will not accept defeat and that they will not accept orders from politicians to withdraw from Kashmir. This means that the Indian offensive will continue. But the Delhi government will also adjust to the fact that quiet and order will not return to the region for a long time to come. India's wise reaction in the latest conflict resulted in international praise and brought the country closer to its goal of turning the provisional cease-fire line into an internationally recognized border. But as long as India does not give up plans to rule Kashmir like an occupied country, and as long as human rights violations in Kashmir do not stop, this trouble spot will continue to exist. Kashmir is still far from peace. It is now up to India, which calls itself the biggest democracy on earth, to make a serious, democratic, and fair new beginning in Kashmir."

RUSSIA: "Pakistanis Back Down"

Vladimir Skosyrev noted in reformist Izvestiya (7/13): "The extremists and the generals behind them have to leave, which is a bitter pill to swallow. Their attempt to change the status quo in Kashmir by force has virtually put Islamabad in isolation."

"Biggest Nuclear Threat Is in South Asia"

Ivan Safranchuk mused in reformist weekly Moskovskiye Novosti (7/13): "South Asia is where the world faces its biggest nuclear threat. Aware of that, great powers have had to give up their dogmatic approach whereby their client-countries need to be supported under any circumstances.

"The Kosovo conflict has helped India and Pakistan become nuclear club members. After Kosovo, countries that have sought to solve their problems by violent methods have had their hands untied, and others feel free to renege on their commitments."

"U.S., Russia Coordinate In South Asia"

Vladimir Skosyrev noted in reformist Izvestiya (7/10): "The Sharif government cannot but honor the accords with the United States--it is expecting another loan from the IMF. Besides, it is under pressure from other Western industrialized countries and Russia. Moscow and Washington have exchanged opinions on Kashmir. Differences over Yugoslavia have not stopped them from coordinating in South Asia. This has been especially important since India and Pakistan became nuclear powers."

SPAIN: "Toward Peace In Kashmir"

Conservative ABC commented (7/13): "Undoubtedly, it is still too soon to speak of peace, much less a permanent one.... The suspension of hostilities [between India and Pakistan] is partly the result of a commitment made by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to President Bill Clinton.... The opportunity presented by the current diminution of tensions should not be wasted in the search for a definitive solution--via UN mediation--to the historic problem of...Kashmir."

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: "A Stitch In Time"

The mass-circulation, independent Express contended (7/12): "Intervention by the United States appears to have averted a major war, or even worse, between India and Pakistan although Indian troops continue to fight tough battles with islamic militants in the mountains of disputed Kashmir. Pakistan has apparently allowed itself to be persuaded by the United States that it should seek to back off from more confrontation with India by encouraging the Islamic militants at battle with the Indian army to withdraw from territory in Kashmir, which India regards as its own. The plan, described as controversial, has not gone down well with some political and military officials in Pakistan who see any concession to India over Kashmir as a serious slap in the face.... [In Pakistan,] Islamic militants have described the plan as a 'sellout' and are angry that the Pakistani government has allowed the Americans to use their considerable influence in Islamabad to tone down the conflict in Kashmir.... Hopefully, the U.S. intervention will lead to a cooling off of tensions between the two countries which have already gone to war twice over the disputed Kashmir territry.... Both countries might be said to have drawn back from the brink this time around. But unless serious steps are taken to cool down the situation in Kashmir, it may only be a matter of time before we find ourselves sitting on the brink once more."

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7/13/99

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