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Toying with territory

Toying with territory

For decades together now, Kashmir has been the centre piece of the diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan. And as matters have taken a turn, the involvement of a third entity in resolving the festering dispute will only compound the conflict further, making Kashmir even more vulnerable and putting the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir at more dangerous stake. The talk of the town was the less-than-grand reception of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in his maiden visit to the US which was read as a diplomatic snub, but events took an unexpected turn with US President's offer to mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. It was Imran Khan who asked Donald Trump to mediate over the disputed territory because, as he addressed the American media, there will never be a resolution to the dispute bilaterally. That, of course, is the reality from Pakistan's side. During the talks, the US President made a tall claim that India, too, had approached him for mediation over Kashmir. As expected, India was quick to refute the claim and did so rather forcefully by more than one official channels. "There was one point when there was General (Pervez) Musharraf and Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee of India when we did get close to the resolution of the Kashmiri issue. But since then, we are poles apart and I really feel that India should come to the table. The US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part," the Pakistan Prime Minister went on to say. His reasons to bring Kashmir up are speculated to be many: deflecting attention from the tactical arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the recent military stand-off between the two countries following the globally-condemned Pulwama attack, generally deteriorating relations with India, etc. There was also a mention of Pakistan giving up their nuclear weapons if India did too. It is worthy to recall here the UN resolution that both India and Pakistan must withdraw troops from the disputed territory to hold the promised referendum, but that has not happened in over seven decades. Bringing the USA between India and Pakistan for sorting out Kashmir has to be utterly a recipe for disaster. Afganistan exemplifies this most aptly. In the bilateral discord of this extent, and no third party involvement should ever be encouraged as it will only increase the vulnerability of Kashmir to unprecedented extents.

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