India, Pakistan and Kashmir

After a week’s careful thought I entered the post below in the early hours today and woke to read leading articles in the Indian Express and Kashmir Times. Narendra Modi had invited Nawaz Sharif to the new PM’s swearing-in ceremony and Sharif has accepted. That is good news.

Kashmir has considerable interest in the relationship between the two countries. Many Kashmiris tolerate or are content to be part of India but there are ‘flare-ups’ within J & K and at the Line of Control but J & K is in effect a buffer between the two nations although ‘managed’ by a large Indian military force. Many suffered due to the 20 year war and seek a resolution. Some still want separatism for Kashmir even though it is landlocked with limited sustainable resources. Others want an easy trading relationship with both India and Pakistan. Perhaps that will happen.

Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has welcomed this meeting between Modi and his Pakistan counterpart. He says “Maybe Modi meeting Nawaz on the first day at work will be beneficial for us as they are trying to build relations from the first day which otherwise, we have seen, takes a lot of time.” He goes on to say that the time has come that a dialogue between the Centre and the leadership in J & K is started and that the Hurriyat Conference (an alliance of 26 disparate groups that want self-determination for J & K) joins in too. This is a positive start for Modi in a critical part of India.

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