India, Pak Should Talk

As has been the case since 1990, Pakistan observed Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5. This year, Pakistan government tried to turn the observance of the day into a mega event in an effort to draw the world’s attention towards Kashmir. Day was marked by the protest rallies and the solidarity speeches in the country.

Ever since the revocation of Article 370 on August 5, Islamabad has tried to use every diplomatic means available to somehow get the word involved in Kashmir but the effort hasn’t so far been successful. The country’s efforts to internationalize Kashmir have hardly borne any fruit. World doesn’t seem to care much about what is happening in the state. New Delhi effectively controls the way the world looks at Kashmir. In fact, the world is now more partial towards India’s point of view on the erstwhile state. Kashmir is still largely seen more as an issue between India and Pakistan than a movement led by the people of the Union Territory. India, however, did face a stringent scrutiny of its revocation of Article 370 in international media. The drift of the news stories and the Op-ed pieces was predominantly against India’s point of view on J&K. But that makes little difference unless the governments too share a similar opinion and it informs their policy action too. The major powers other than China have maintained a largely neutral stand. So, Pakistan can expect little Kashmir-related action and New Delhi has all the reasons to feel satisfied about its Kashmir diplomacy so far. The major powers have reserved their criticism largely for the communication clampdown in the UT and overlooked the August 5 action.

Six months after withdrawal of Article 370, the international focus on Kashmir is winding down. The world has moved on but the situation in Kashmir and between India and Pakistan hasn’t changed. The two countries have become more estranged, a state of affairs that is fraught with a potential for further violence in future.

This depressing state of affairs has led to perpetuation of the bloodshed in Kashmir and undermined chances of a settlement in the foreseeable future. Only ray of hope is for India and Pakistan to talk and sort the issue between themselves. Here’s hoping that in near future the two countries take credible steps towards rapprochement and work together to find solution to the issues dividing them. This alone will guarantee a durable peace in the region.

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