On the conclusion of the 2001-2002 (10 months’ long) military stand-off between India and Pakistan, the latter’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, through a public speech in January 2002, denounced terrorism, pledged not to support non-state actors as an instrument of state policy and banned militant groups. This step further reduced the possibility of infiltration of non-state actors from across the Line of Control (LoC), besides allowing India to fence the LoC, which was completed in September 2004. In its wake, not only did any uprising in Kashmir become dependent on local actors rather than on foreign ones but also non-state actors diverted their attention towards India proper from across the international border, as witnessed in the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and Gurdaspur attacks in 2015.
Making Kashmir a nuclear flashpoint is more counterproductive than productive. The effort by Pakistan to do so in 1999 (i.e. the Kargil war) showed to the world the frustration felt by Pakistan over the lingering issue of Kashmir. Nevertheless, the same effort exhausted Pakistan’s opportunity to highlight the issue of Kashmir at the international level as a nuclear flashpoint.
Since 2000, from across the international border, non-state actors have tried twice to provoke India directly to challenge Pakistan in making the region a nuclear flash point. However, any such possibility was frustrated in both 2008 and 2015 when India exercised restraint. Hence, now the initiative to make or not make Kashmir a nuclear flashpoint rests with India, though the prerogative of provoking India still lies with non-state actors or with Pakistan.
The solution lies in addressing the issue of hatred first. The weight of this hatred can be reduced by allowing people to meet each other.
The writer is a freelance columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org