Resolution of Kashmir issue will make Pakistan a normal state
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Resolution of the Kashmir issue would go a long way towards making Pakistan a more normal state and reducing its preoccupation with India, says CIA veteran Bruce Riedel. He also suggests a quiet American effort led by President Barack Obama to move the two countries towards an agreement.
In his new book "Avoiding Armageddon", published by HarperCollins, Riedel, who was a senior adviser to four US presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues, explains the challenge and the importance of successfully managing America's affairs with India and Pakistan and their toxic relationship.
Full of riveting details of what went on behind the scenes, and based on extensive research and Riedel's experience, the book reviews the history of American diplomacy in South Asia, the crises that have flared in recent years, and the prospects for future crisis.
"Resolution of the Kashmir issue would also remove a major rationale for the army's disproportionate role in Pakistani national security affairs; that in turn would help to ensure survival of genuine civilian democratic rule in the country," he writes. He believes that a resolution of the major outstanding issue between Islamabad and New Delhi would reduce the arms race between them and the risk of nuclear conflict. "By eliminating Pakistan's desire to wage asymmetric warfare against India, it would also discourage Pakistan from making alliances with the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda."
According to Riedel, such an agreement would not resolve all the tensions between the two neighbours and the disputes on issues other than Kashmir are comparatively trivial. "More than anything else, a Kashmir deal would set the stage for a different era in the sub-continent and for more productive interaction between the international community and Pakistan. It could set the stage for a genuine rapprochement between India and Pakistan and nurture trade and economic interaction, which could transform the subcontinent for the better," he writes.