Letter: Proposals for peace in Kashmir

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Sir: Your leading article ('Concessions hold key to peace in Kashmir', 25 August) rightly stresses the need for India and Pakistan to seek a negotiated settlement to the Kashmir problem. However, a viable peaceful solution is unlikely to emerge unless the current level of violence is significantly reduced and a political process is reactivated.

Pakistan, ever since its inception in 1947, has consistently sought a military solution to the Kashmir problem. It invaded the state twice, first in 1947 and then in 1965. Having failed to capture the Kashmir Valley through military means, it has resorted to political destabilisation. The former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has recently declared that his government had provided financial support to the Kashmiri militants.

However, not withstanding the current atmosphere of mistrust and duplicity, a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue is still possible within the framework of the Simla Agreement signed by India and Pakistan in 1972.

There are many options that can be explored, including the one your article put forward, which effectively amounts to accepting the existing line of control as the international border between the two countries. But before any meaningful dialogue can take place, the international community must persuade Pakistan, the Kashmiri militants and India to put an end to the cycle of violence and intimidation.

Yours faithfully,

RANDHIR SINGH BAINS

Gants Hill,

Essex

25 August

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