CONTACT: Justine Craw
Kashmir Study Group
(914) 834-0400


Larchmont, NY (June 6, 2002)--The world is watching in horror as India and Pakistan maneuver on the brink of a war that could all too easily turn into a nuclear holocaust, no matter whether governments think it can be avoided. The Kashmir Study Group strongly supports the efforts of the U.S. and other governments, including China and Russia, and those of thoughtful people in the Subcontinent to move these long-term rivals away from a potential catastrophe.

But ending the immediate confrontation is not enough; it can all too easily recur. India and Pakistan need to settle their dispute, for their own well-being and that of the entire region. In doing so, they must both work with the people of Kashmir to secure a peaceful future.

We believe the Bush Administration has the influence and the interests to take on, as a sustained foreign policy priority, the difficult task of encouraging a lasting and peaceful settlement. The United States has a heavily burdened foreign policy agenda. Continuing military operations in Afghanistan, the challenge of rebuilding that war-torn country, and the devastating violence in the Middle East will continue to crowd the calendar of top officials. Recurrent tensions between India and Pakistan, however, will undercut these other important goals as well as perpetuating the risk of a nuclear war in South Asia itself. With persistent and creative high-level diplomacy, and the help of other governments, the United States has a unique opportunity to make a lasting difference. Concerned non-governmental groups can help.

The International community has pressed Pakistan to stop infiltration across the Line of Control into Indian-controlled Kashmir and into India, and has urged India to show restraint. We urge both governments to take the next step by laying the groundwork for a serious peace process. For India, this will mean moving forward promptly both with dialogue with Pakistan and with a new and creative discussion with Kashmiris. For Pakistan, it will require using its influence with the Kashmiris to promote peace. Unless both parts of this peace process advance, the alienation and turmoil that have brought us to the current crisis will persist.

At the end of the day, India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris must shape a solution that is peaceful, honorable, and feasible.


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