Decoding United States’ ‘Concern’ over Kashmir


Srinagar: The United States has expressed “concern” over the ongoing unrest in Kashmir and called on “all sides” to make efforts to find a peaceful solution to the issue. 
“We encourage all sides to make efforts to find a peaceful solution to Kashmir unrest,” state department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters. 
Kirby said the US was in close touch with the Indian government over the issue. “But we’re obviously concerned by the violence and we want to see the tensions de-escalated,” Kirby said.
All media in Kashmir have carried this news and some Kashmiris might be elated over the United States’ “putative” involvement over the conflict in and over Kashmir. However, in the final analysis, Kirby’s statement does not amount to much. 
Consider what Kirby has not said. He has not stated that the United States will get involved over Kashmir; and moreover, his statement pertains to the conflict in but not over Kashmir. This is a nuance this is of utmost importance. 
The key and operative word in the State Department spokesperson is “concern”. What does “concern” mean in diplomatic speak? It is pertinent to note that Kirby follows up the word concern with “de-escalation” of tensions. 
Discursive analysis of Kirbys’s statement suggests that the United States is interested in bringing an end to the violence in Kashmir. 
It is lending the weight of the State Department to crystallize termination of the violence that obtains in Kashmir. 
If we may graft our analytical terminology to the United States, Kirby’s statement would have been significant if he would have used the word “closure”; but he has not. 
If the meaning and import of his statement can be stretched then what the statement reflects is a very mild “censure” of India. Again, all this does not amount to much.
The question is why?
The reasons pertain to the current drift of International Relations which is gradually but inexorably moving towards some sort of  a “loose multipolarity”. 
In this schemata, India with its ‘Great Power’ ambitions and its heft and clout in the world economy assumes significance. 
The context to the “strategic partnership” (not alliance) between the United States and India is the landmark Indo US Nuclear Deal which kind of not only  legitimized India’s nuclear status but also set the ball rolling for a more deeper and sustained relationship between the United States and India. 
Overlaying this is the growing and expanding trade relationship between the two countries. The United States would not want or desire to throw a spanner into India US relationship by throwing its weight and clout on the resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir. 
If at all, the United States did veer to this stance, it can only happen if two conditions are fulfilled. 
One, if the United States has core strategic interests involved in the resolution of the Kashmir conflict, the country might opt for a deeper involvement. As far as the eye can see, the United States has no enduring or abiding interest in Kashmir. 
Two, United States’ involvement can be predicated on altruism or selflessness but the raison d’etre of state states is interest and power in an anarchic world. 
States usually or often times do not work on selfless motives; their operating assumption and practical orientation is motivated and informed by  interest and power. Added up, the United States statement over Kashmir means nothing. 
In the final analysis, it is the stakeholders to the conflict in and over Kashmir– especially Kashmiris, India and Pakistan- upon who the onus of resolving the conflict lies. This is the prosaic reality of international relations and politics; barring a miracle, hoping for outside powers’ deep involvement in the resolution of the conflict might mean hoping against hope.

Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.



Observer News Service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.