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March 10, 2019

War and the world


March 10, 2019

The tensions between India and Pakistan, which recently led to an aerial clash, have sent alarm bells ringing across the world. The loudest sounds can be heard in the US, which as a nation heavily engaged in the region remains alarmed for obvious reasons about the tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations. The US media too has delivered warnings. Significantly, the head of the US Central Command has stated that militants operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to pose a threat to the region. Pakistan, meanwhile, has told the US Senate’s Sub-Committee on South Asia that peace cannot be guaranteed in the region until the central issue of Kashmir is ironed out. The Pakistani ambassador in Washington is continuing to meet with other officials to emphasise this point. While this trigger point remains in place, there is always the risk that violence in one form or the other will continue to hit the region. In the worst case scenario, as highlighted by the US media and its leading publications, this could lead to the armed forces on either side becoming involved and nuclear weaponry being used. Naturally, this is a highly undesirable, indeed unfathomable, situation.

The evidence that the international community is working hard for lasting peace in South Asia and suggestions that Pakistan and India may also be active behind the scenes to ensure harmony, even amidst the tensions, are all welcome. Certainly, Kashmir needs all the help it can get. The world must join the chorus of voices that warn that the region will remain highly unstable until the issues of Kashmir are sorted out and the people finally given the right to choose their destiny; a right that should have been theirs in 1947.

The denial of this right for well over seven decades has led to the crisis-like situation we see now. Given the harsh stance taken by the Indian government, which mostly recently has put its cricketers in camouflage caps, we need international mediation. The purpose must be to find a lasting settlement in an area of immense geopolitical significance so that the dark, ugly clouds of war and the still darker shadow of nuclear weapons no longer hang over the billions of people who inhabit the Subcontinent. These people most of all need peace. Even the possibility of nuclear war is devastating. The international community needs to move quickly to ensure that an agreement to work jointly can be reached with an emphasis on unraveling the problems which have ensnared Kashmir and held its people captive for too long.

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