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Scope for third party mediation in Kashmir

Topics Covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Scope for third party mediation in Kashmir

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Various bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan.

For mains: Mediation in Kashmir issue- do we need it? India’s opposition and what is the way out?

 

Context: PM rejects scope for third party mediation in Kashmir.

  • Modi made these remarks while interacting with the media alongside U.S. President Donald Trump, had said that he will discuss the Kashmir issue with him on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz.
  • Trump in the recent past has offered mediation between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

 

Background:

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

 

What is mediation?

Both in international law and diplomacy, mediation often denotes a ‘friendly interference’ of a neutral state in the controversies of other nations, with the objective of using its influence to ‘adjust their difficulties’.

 

Previous instances of mediation:

The US offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute is not new. There have been precedents when India and Pakistan have allowed a third-party to help resolve their issues.

  1. Indus Water treaty: Both nations were able to reach agreements through third party mediators in case of the Indus Waters Treaty and the negotiations on the Rann of Kutch dispute.
  2. Rann of Kutch Accord (mediated by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson) persuaded the combatants to end hostilities and establish a tribunal to resolve the dispute.
  3. During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, the then USSR led mediation efforts paved the way for India and Pakistan to withdraw forces from each other’s territories while agreeing to discuss all future matters. This was followed by signing of the Tashkent Declaration in Uzbekistan.

 

Why India’s reluctance to third-party intervention on the issue is justified?

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of which have centred on Kashmir.

  • Given the heightened state of nationalism across the border, critics might argue that Kashmir cannot be compared to the Indus Water Treaty arbitration or the Rann of Kutch accord or the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war mediation.
  • India, for instance, argues that mediation has no chance of working better than bilateral agreements, like the Simla Agreement of 1972 that both sides agreed to respect.
  • From India’s stand point Kashmir remains an internal problem.
  • Apprehension of the country’s policy wonks mainly stems from the fact that in the event of a third-party mediation (by the US for instance), America could use its might as the world’s superpower to impose a solution on Kashmir that might go contrary to India’s stated position.
  • Such concerns are not entirely without basis. The UN resolutions on Kashmir have historically been a diplomatic imbroglio for India, which emphasises bilateralism on the issue.
  • Clearly New Delhi does not want to set a foreign policy precedent if it allows some kind of international facilitation on Kashmir.

 

What needs to be done now?

  1. Kashmir dispute has dragged on for nearly seven decades now. Wars have been fought over it and countless lives lost across both sides of the India-Pakistan border.
  2. Both countries are nuclear armed and there is a danger — as witnessed during the recent Balakot strikes — of a skirmish turning into a big flashpoint over Kashmir.
  3. It is time for India and Pakistan to resolve the conflict and if they somehow find the mutual distrust too big to gulf, may be take help from a neutral player.

 

Conclusion:

Principles of state sovereignty and non-interference dictate that mediation needs not be imposing. It can be beneficial, non-coercive and compatible with the structures of international system. We already have a historical precedent to it.

 

Sources: the Hindu.