Pakistan, India, Kashmir discussed on The President's Inbox


Establish. It could be courts. Find ways not to hear cases is to get into the intricacies of indian law right. What is the reaction been domestically in india apart from kashmir. This seems to be overwhelmingly homing popular so you see he's a political winner for movies. There's a political winner for mody. Remember the movie government was re elected. They were national elections this year. They are reelected reelected with an even larger single-party mandate than they achieved in two thousand fourteen and you really did see across india a great degree of celebration and that this had finally been done in that there wouldn't be kind of two different systems. There would now be one flag for this region. But of course it's not entirely clear what the view is from kashmir itself because there's been limited communications <hes>. Do we have any reason to believe. The kashmir is are quietly happy happy because they they want to be brought more closely into the indian union or do. We have reason to believe that for many kashmiris. This is bad news. There are are different parts of kashmir that india administers it seems that the part called la doc which is majority buddhist that has been hived off and and created into a separate union territory. That section of the state seems happy about this from what we know. There is hindu-majority jehmu region which seems seems quite happy with this from what we know. It does seem that there have been some protests in kashmir but again there's been you know people can't go out on the streets and sort of large scale gail. There have been reports of some protests. It's hard to gauge exactly how dissatisfied people are. Is there disatisfaction. That certainly seems so wanted this decision. Come now. I take the point point that the prime minister mody wanna big reelection victory earlier this year but why this decision august of two thousand nineteen gene in may of two thousand seventeen. That's a question a lot of people are asking and i think the people who know this answer. The best are presumably that very small circle of mr moody and his closest advisers who were in the room when they decided they were going to move ahead with this. I have read different accounts about why they took this decision. Now one version of the stories that they'd actually decided to do some time ago and we're preparing the groundwork much prior to even the elections but got disrupted by the events of february ever-wary twenty nineteen that began with terrorist attack in full lana that was then claimed by a terrorist group in pakistan of course india responded with airstrikes and that took us to an escalation collation at the end of february another version of this story is that the indian government had this on their mind and they were going to chart out a pathway to to do this but they were spurred into faster action by two things in which the united states plays a cameo rule one being president trump's offer offer to mediate between indian pakistan could the end of july yeah when he had his meeting with pakistani prime minister imran khan this of course offer to mediate. I don't know if you remember this but president trump said that prime minister he had asked him to mediate early came to surprise the prime minister mody came as a surprise india because that is historically historically not been india's position in any government so the indian government actually came out very quickly repudiating this story and saying you're confident that that the indian government line is corrected prime minister boaty didn't ask trump to i believe it in fact my best guess about what might have happened. Is that perhaps in a a meeting. Perhaps prime minister said something like we are struggling with the challenge of terrorism from pakistan and that somehow turned into in president trump's tad people are asking me to mediate because that's what american presidents do i mean i i'm guessing here but it's pretty clear that there was no request from the indian side so that what episode at the end of july is apparently one spur in another spur has been indian concern about the ongoing negotiations with taliban any indian governments fear that at the united states would be willing to take a very bad deal that would leave the region in a much greater state of instability that could conceivably result in more terrorists is making their way across into india and into kashmir and really destabilizing the region howard that works as well afghanistan is in the general vicinity. It's still a ways as away from kashmir the indian fear and if you look at history you can understand why this is a real fear is that there may be an outcome in which the taliban taliban with pakistan support end up playing a much larger role with no respect for borders and no desire to ramp down terrorist acts remember was when the taliban had control over afghanistan. There were real problems in the region. There was an indian airlines plane that was flying from nepal back to me. That was hijacked. <hes> ended up being taken where to cantu har. I mean this was you know direct linkages with the taliban there so this was a period of great instability polity for the whole region in india definitely doesn't want to see a return to that cycle at level of terrorism again so this is a real concern weather this and the issue of american merican mediation as proposed by president trump whether those precisely triggered these moves now or whether this had been planned and they were going to announce it at some time. I don't know but that certainly certainly is something that people are mentioning as triggers. The announcement gets made yeah. What is the reaction been in pakistan. Well that has been predictably one of outrage. Pakistan is very upset about a change in the status of j._f._k. India i thought it was actually in many ways a positive move that pakistan's first response has been diplomatic again. There's been such a challenge of terrorism from pakistan in this region that anytime you see a response that is employing diplomatic tools. I say well good right. If a country is upset they should employ diplomatic tools. That's what countries are supposed. I do not use terrorists. Pakistan has announced that they will shut down trade with india. They've downgraded their diplomatic. Is there that much trade between no actually i. I think this was just a sort of a symbolic right this. This has actually no economic effect. I mean there's sort of less than five billion dollars in two-way trade so this really is not a trade volume. That's going to hurt anybody but you know it's always good to be able to say you've got some sort of commercial engagement anyway. It's played the role of a safety valve in this case so oh pakistan shutdown trade has downgraded the diplomatic relationship so they actually we're going to send out a new high commissioner to india in this case now they do not do that and they have told india's high commissioner to go back to india so he's a high commissioner sort of like an ambassador. It isn't ambassador. It's the commonwealth former part of the british so oh they just called high commissioners and pakistan actually yesterday evening went to the u._n. Security council and is hopeful that the security council will take this up for discussion. My personal belief is that the security council is unlikely to do. This wasn't because it's hard to know what they would do. What would the security council's role be in this case and i think well how would you how would you just guessing would you lay out the views of the permanent members mean. What does your position on this issue. China britain the former colonial power the expressed views so far. We've had a very strong expressed view from russia which is historically a very close partner to india russia russia in india think of as a pair. They have a very long standing relationship in for many years and more recently the united states has developed a close strategic relationship with any any of it remember for many years. Russia was india's primary defense partner so a lot of indian military hardware is russian. Russia has come out with a very strong support for india's ideas actions by saying this is purely internal matter for india so there would be obviously russia's already declared its position yeah and you would expect them to veto given that we've seen the indian indian foreign minister who's called external affairs minister had a meeting with the chinese foreign minister and it looks like china has expressed its concerns china. There's a component of kashmir actually that china occupies china cares about that but china has also referred to encouraging bilateral engagement between indian pakistan. I would expect if push came to shove that china would support pakistan. It's all weather friend. They refer to this relationship is higher than the highest mountains deeper than the deepest the oceans that's a very strong relationship between beijing would also like to avoid having to take a definitive because it is cross cutting imperatives here because because it is a country that has regions where there might be separatist movements or outsiders saying should be separate <unk> tibet in the chinese got a number of issues that that it wants wants to clear of <hes> story about that but it has a very close relationship with pakistan. It's it's a very cross pressured. I guess i would say the united states has not said much about this. There was a formal statement of at the state department spokesperson gave the day this happened on august fifth which referred to to the indian government having describe this as an internal matter the statement also referred to having noted being concerned about reports of of detentions and urging respect for individual rights and then of course the statement also said that they are following this closely indifferent press briefings then the state department spokesperson has come back saying that you know support direct dialogue between india and pakistan on kashmir so washington is trying to avoid having avenue. Take a definitive position on this yeah yeah options okay yeah. I think washington is very frustrated with pakistan in the region but i think washington also also wants to encourage india and pakistan to have a level of dialogue. It's important for them to have dialogue. Do you think this noncommittal position by the u._s. Government government is something that is peculiar to the trump administration or would you imagine if he'd been a administration where you work or a bush administration astray shin or a clinton administration. You'd likely get the same kind of noncommittal response. You know. It's been a long standing u._s. Policy i think for almost twenty years ears on kashmir that the pace and scope and character or content of dialogue on kashmir should be determined and should be indian pakistan to determine so that really has been the kind of a framework that the state department that the united states government has thought of this issue issue with it is true that in nineteen ninety nine when pakistan spurred a small-scale war this is the cargo kargil l. war by sending across pakistan military dressed in regular close to look like tribesmen it is true that then actually pakistan's gaston prime minister sought intervention and assistance from the united states and president bill clinton invited him to the united states and told him in no uncertain terms. You need to pull those guys back. So that is the most recent level of involvement that the united states has had basically pressing pakistan to stop its adventurism on this front and of course encouraging dialogue now bill clinton famously said that this part of the world was the most dangerous part of the world because you had to nuclear armed powers rubbing up against each other yeah. Should we be worried. Given the events of the last year. The tension level has ratcheted up notably. We you should definitely be worried and and i would hope that people who are paying attention would pay greater attention to the fragility of this region. I mean i spoke about how how pakistan has so far used diplomatic steps which i think it's really important. We should encourage pakistan to keep its response in diplomatic channels else but frankly. I don't know what's going to happen next. Remember pakistan has an number of terrorist groups who are very focused on kashmir that make their home in pakistan. John pakistan has been under a lot of international pressure over the last couple years to really do more to combat all terrorist groups. The trump administration is certainly ratcheted up this pressure but but even with this level of pressure international attention pakistan has not done everything it can do and how do we know this. How do we measure this well. In the ongoing international process access of something called the financial action task force which is focused on anti money laundering and countering terrorist financing pakistan has been on something called the grey list meaning that they haven't done everything they should do to prevent financial flows from going to terrorist groups well. There was a story in bloomberg what three or four for days ago that said that pakistan realizes it cannot complete all of the steps on its action plan by the upcoming meeting of this financial action task force person. They're seeking china's help to prevent them from being blacklisted. A blacklist in this context would mean being cut off from the international financial systems was actually a pretty big step but that that tells you what a challenge this is to deal with the problem of terrorism in pakistan that after a couple of years of very intense international focus very intensified side american focus on this issue they still haven't done everything they're supposed to do so i worry that that flows and the support and the safe haven that exists for terrorists despite all the pressure to end this stuff could produce you yet more problems and so the real worry here would be something like we saw in february wary..

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