India-Pakistan: October 18, 2004


  Pakistan has offered to divide up Indian Kashmir according to the wishes of the Kashmiris. The would likely mean that the most valuable part of the province, the mostly Moslem Kashmir valley, would go to Pakistan, while the Hindu and Buddhist areas would opt for India. But maybe not. The Kashmiri Moslems are aware that India has a real democracy and a growing economy, versus dictatorship and economic chaos in Pakistan. There is much less corruption in India. Over a decade of Islamic terrorism, even if technically on their behalf, has left many Kashmiri Moslems fearful, if not outright hostile towards Islamic radicalism. Putting it all to a vote would be unpopular with nationalists in both countries, but is one solution that would end the fighting, or at least reduce it. However, India has a point in that Pakistan's tolerance for Islamic terrorist groups in Pakistani Kashmir is the main source of the violence in Kashmir. That said, half a century of fighting over this province is wearing out a lot of Indians and Pakistanis, especially since both have nuclear weapons. This means a battlefield solution is no longer possible.


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