Tuesday, February 17, 2009

US will not mediate on Kashmir: Walter Andersen

'The US has consistently turned down Pakistan's call for mediation on the Kashmir issue and it will continue to do so, says an American expert on South Asian affairs. "The Pakistanis have historically called for mediation; the US has consistently turned it down and will continue to do so," says Walter Andersen, a former South Asia Bureau intelligence official in the State Department, in an interview to this correspondent.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's call for mediation came ahead of a planned visit next month by US President George W Bush to India and Pakistan, his first to the subcontinent.
Musharraf had turned to the US after New Delhi rejected his recent proposals to solve the Kashmir issue. The General had asked its neighbour to pull out troops from three districts of Kashmir and had also suggested self-governance, both of which India rejected. Musharraf had then said that if the bilateral route to resolve the Kashmir issue failed, he would take the multilateral route.
Andersen, also the Associate Director of the South Asia Program at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, however says that the US could put suitable pressure on both sides to resolve the issue.

"I think US can pressure Pakistan to put an end to movement of cross-border terror, because not only is this a dangerous thing but it also makes it very difficult politically for any Indian Government to respond to Pakistan's proposals on Kashmir." As for India, Professor Andersen says that it should take Pakistan's proposals seriously. "For India, we need to advise that it should respond to some of President Musharraf's innovative proposals on Kashmir that do not involve altering the LoC or the historic plebiscite position of Pakistan," he says.

(Written on February 20, 2006 for Hindustan Times)

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