The conflict over Kashmir has afflicted South Asia for nearly a half century. Far from fading away with the passage of time, this seemingly intractable situation has in recent years grown even more bitter and violent. No day goes by without exacting a further toll of victims and suffering. The urgency of resolving the problem is heightened by the danger that it could once again lead to war between India and Pakistan, this time in a nuclear confrontation with calamitous consequences for South Asia and the world. Yet despite the crying need for a settlement and the great human and economic costs of failing to reach one, the conflict persists.

The Committee that has formed the KASHMIR STUDY GROUP (KSG) is convinced that the dangerous and tragic situation in Kashmir calls for fresh efforts to break the deadlock. We have considered the situation carefully, and have concluded that a non-governmental body comprising Americans and others who are concerned about the problem, well-informed about the issues involved, and open-minded and objective about the elements of a solution can make a significant contribution to these efforts.

The Kashmir Study Group includes academics and foreign policy specialists with length professional experience with South Asian issues, and prominent U.S. legislators. Members of the Committee have held differing views on the Kashmir problem, but are united in the conviction that the conflict must be peacefully resolved and that all parties to it--and, indeed South Asia’s well-wishers around the world--have a responsibility at this time to initiate a process that can bring genuine peace and enduring prosperity to the region.

To develop ideas that can lead to a resolution of the Kashmir conflict, the committee plans to continue to consult with a broad spectrum of government officials, political leaders, and other figures who share its concerns. In addition to broadening itself by adding members from other countries and by contacts with other groups and organizations, the Committee expects to go beyond its fact-finding initiatives to explore proposals with practical potential and offer them for the consideration of the parties concerned.

Breaking the deadlock in Kashmir will inevitably require significant concessions by all the concerned parties, and we recognize the challenges we face. As we proceed, we hope that everyone will understand that ours is a good-faith, nonpartisan effort and will cooperate with us in our search for ways to bring this conflict closer to a peaceful, honorable, and feasible resolution.


August 1996