Kashmir – A Way Forward – 2005

The following proposal was developed in consultation with persons from the Jammu and Kashmir region from both sides of the Line of Control and with Indians and Pakistanis.

We recommend that portions of the former princely State of Jammu and Kashmir be reconstituted into self-governing entities enjoying free access to one another and to and from both India and Pakistan.

1. Three entities — Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh — would be established in the portion of the pre-1947 state now administered by India. These three self-governing entities would each take part in a body that would coordinate issues of interest to all of them, such as internal trade and transportation.
2. Two entities — Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas — would be established on the side now administered by Pakistan. Like the entities on the Indian side, they would each be represented in a coordinating body that would consider issues in which they both had an interest.
3. An All-Kashmir body would be set up to coordinate areas of broader interest such as regional trade, tourism, environment, and water resources. This body would include representatives from each of the five entities as well as from India and Pakistan.

Each of the new entities would have its own democratic constitution, as well as its own citizenship, flag, and legislature which would legislate on all matters other than defense and foreign affairs. India and Pakistan would be responsible for the defense of the entities, and the entities would maintain police forces to maintain internal law and order. India and Pakistan would be expected to work out financial arrangements for the entities.

Citizenship of the entities would also entitle individuals to acquire Indian or Pakistani passports (depending on which side of the Line of Control they live on). Alternatively, they could use entity passports subject to endorsements by India or Pakistan as appropriate.

The borders of the entities with India and Pakistan would remain open for the free transit of people, goods, and services in accordance with arrangements to be worked out between India, Pakistan and the entities.

While the present Line of Control would remain in place until such time as both India and Pakistan decided to alter it in their mutual interest, both India and Pakistan would demilitarize the area included in the entities. Neither India nor Pakistan could place troops on the other side of the Line of Control without the permission of the other state.

All displaced persons who left any portion of the entities would have the right to return to their home localities.

The proposal represents a practical framework that could satisfy the interests of the peoples of the Kashmir region, India and Pakistan. It would end civil strife and the tragic destruction of life and property in the Kashmir region. By resolving the principal issue that could lead to armed conflict between India and Pakistan, it would go far towards relaxing political tensions in South Asia. It would offer enormous economic benefits not only to the Kashmir region but also to India, Pakistan, and all the South Asia region.

Larchmont, New York
February 1, 2005