Now, time for US to ask Pak to lay off from Kashmir: Expert

As Obama Administration gears itself for its second term, an eminent American expert on South Asian affairs has said that it is time the US declare that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir and that the decision of the then King of Kashmir to accede is final.

Reflecting the changing mood of think-tank and experts in US, the eminent expert in an article in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine argued that the US should stop seeking to buy Pakistan off with civilian aid or military assistance and make it clear that it will hold Islamabad responsible for any kind of proliferation of nuclear materials that occurs.

"The United States must frankly concede that it has subsidised and incentivised Pakistan to adopt this insane path to security," said C Christine Fair, assistant professor at Georgetown University's Security Studies Program in the Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service.

"Pakistan's security managers believe that the United States cannot punish Pakistan for its use of terrorism as a policy tool -- but this is exactly what the United States must do.

"While this is not a risk-free proposition, the next administration should consider taking the following steps to deprive Pakistan of the coercive power it covets," she wrote.

According to Fair, Washington must recognize that Pakistan's nuclear weapons coerce both India and the US.

US intervention in the region's frequent crises has shielded Pakistan from bearing the direct cost of its misadventures.

"The United States must remove itself from the Indo-Pakistan equation by declaring that it no longer entertains Pakistan's central claims on Kashmir.

"Pakistan was not entitled to Kashmir -- the legality of Pakistan's claims is specious and always has been. The king of Kashmir had a right to accede to India, which he exercised.

"The accession was prompted by the invasion of Pakistani marauders that enjoyed extensive direct civilian and military support," Fair said.

"Equally important, the US should rubbish any notion that Pakistan has a positive role to play in ameliorating the suffering of Kashmiris, due to the decades of terrorism it has sponsored in Kashmir and beyond.

"The United States should instead focus its energies on persuading New Delhi to make right by the reasonable and constitutional demands of its Kashmiri citizenry.

"This will put India on the spot to follow through and consolidate a hard-won peace," she wrote.

The US needs to make it clear that it will hold Pakistan responsible for any kind of proliferation of nuclear materials that occurs, whether from accident, theft, an insidious inside operation, or from a state decision to provide them to state or non-state actors, she said.

Fair added that the US should make it extremely clear that Pakistan will be held responsible for any terrorist attack conducted with fissile material with Pakistan's signature.

There should be no scope for plausible deniability. Also the US should stop seeking to buy Pakistan off with civilian aid or military assistance.

"This has not worked," she asserted. "As the current war winds down in Afghanistan, Pakistan knows full well that the United States is deeply frustrated with its duplicitous behavior.

"Having taken billions in military assistance with the explicit purpose of supporting the US war in Afghanistan, Pakistan has supported the very forces killing Americans and their allies.

"Howsoever discordant US and Pakistan interests are and will remain, Pakistan wants to keep the United States – and its checkbook -- around for a while longer. And it has a shrewd strategy to ensure that this happens," Fair said.

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