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U.S. Intentions in Kashmir
By M. Ahmad Kazmi

The US policy-makers in the post-cold war era seems to be increasingly aggressive to implement the Dixon Plan in Kashmir for attaining ultimate target of having a foothold in the region and to use Kashmir as their main operations station. Before going into the US activities in the region it would be useful to understand the broad framework of the Dixon Plan. Named after its author Sir Owen Dixon, who was the UN representative for India and Pakistan in 1950, the plan envisages a division of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru favored this plan, but it was a non-starter because Liyaqat Ali Khan, the then prime minister of Pakistan, rejected it.

The US policy makers have resurrected this plan in recent years with some refinement. In the first phase, the idea of recognizing the Line of Control (LoC) as an international border is being mooted through different quarters. J&K Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah himself has proposed time and again that the only solution of the Kashmir issue lies in recognizing the LoC as the international boundary. Similar views were expressed by several US officials including former US ambassador to India, Frank Wisner.

The second phase of the Dixon Plan includes the division of Jammu & Kashmir into three entities on communal lines. The proposal says that Ladakh should become a centrally administered territory (Union Territory) while Jammu and Kashmir should become separate states. The proposed Jammu state should be like any other state in the Indian Federation while Kashmir should have more internal autonomy. Inderjit Gupta, home minister in Deve Gowda government had proposed this solution while several BJP leaders including the present home minister Lal Krishna Advani have also expressed similar views on the future of Jammu and Kashmir. Advani recently said that Ladakh and Jammu should be separated from Kashmir. This clearly indicates that the idea would support of any government in New Delhi.

To understand the US intentions in Kashmir it would be advisable to observe the swift changes in Washington's foreign policy in the last ten years. The important developments in the Kashmir began with the eruption of the armed struggle (militancy) in 1989. The other major development followed with the breaking of the Soviet Union in December 1991. The end of the cold war was the turning point for the world history and the political scene at large. The policy makers in Washington put their heads together to set their priorities in the New World order.

Before going into studying the changes in the US Administration's priorities in the post cold war era, Washington was supportive of Pakistan on several international issues including Kashmir. India was considered a pro-Soviet nation. In the charged atmosphere of the cold war, Nehru's non-alignment policy was interpreted as pro-Soviet, mainly because of its popularity in the third world.

In September 1993, India was annoyed by the then President Bill Clinton who referred to Kashmir as a major trouble spot in his address to the United Nations General Assembly. He also said that his country shared Pakistan's concern about human rights abuses in Kashmir. In 1992, Clinton had referred to Kashmir in the same breath as Bosnia in his speech to the UN General Assembly. After September 1993 speech Indian Foreign office said ‘it is unfortunate that the US President has made common cause with Pakistan in his remarks on human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and has failed to take into account the proven role of Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism. Those were the bad days of Indo-US relations. In March 1994 Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphael issued a controversial statement criticizing India for the excesses in Kashmir. She had created turmoil in the Indian political circle. She had been very vocal in her anti India tirade. In the meantime Indian government headed by P. V. Narasimha Rao began economic liberalization allowing the multi-national companies and entering India into the competitive world market. The Americans saw it as a positive sign advantageous to their business. The American Jewish lobby and the trading community exerted pressure on Washington administration to change its policies towards India where one-billion population strong market was readily available. Washington, at this juncture decided to change its ally in the region, leaving behind Pakistan and taking India into its friends list for its ultimate game plan in the sub-continent in general and Kashmir in particular.

The beginning of winning India over was made with the appointment of Frank Wisner as new ambassador in New Delhi in July 1994. Before proceeding to New Delhi Wisner had reportedly said that he was absolutely confident that Indo-US relations were now back on a ‘serious track and we are going to move forward strongly’. He also added that ‘we also inherit the past and we have to cope with that as well’.

On this occasion Wisner was asked whether he was planning to play a facilitating role in solving the Kashmir issue. He said that it could only be solved through ‘negotiations between Pakistan and India taking into account the attitude and wishes of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir. HERE WAS THE CHANGE. Wisner referred not to take into account the wishes of the ‘Kashmir’ people as the Clinton administration used to argue earlier, but to the attitude and wishes of ‘all the people of Jammu and Kashmir.’

After coming to New Delhi Frank Wisner, in Aug. 1994, during first interaction with the Indian press stated that Kashmir issue should be solved through direct bilateral negotiations ‘taking into account the will of the people of Kashmir.
Despite this major shift in the US policy towards Kashmir and India the US Assistant Secretary of State Ms Robin Raphael continued her negative remarks. In early Oct. 1994, during her one-day visit to Mumbai, she stated that she was not convinced with the credibility of the elections, which were being proposed to be held in Jammu & Kashmir. Washington changed its position on the polls in Jammu & Kashmir in May 1995. The US Secretary of State Mr. Warren Christopher had stated that India's willingness to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir was an important step towards the resolution of the conflict. Christopher stated that certain steps taken by India in Kashmir encouraged US administration. At some time in 1994, Robin Raphael had also admitted publicly that Pakistan has aided the terrorists in Kashmir and that such aid was continuing. In November 1994 a US delegation headed by Mr. Gary Ackerman, chairman of the US Foreign Affairs sub-committee for Asia and Pacific visited Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Ackerman, while talking to the press persons said, ‘US would do everything possible’ to end violence in Kashmir. He also said, ‘all hands in Kashmir militancy are not local’.

In December 1994, a report quoting reliable sources said that US has launched a secret initiative to bring India and Pakistan to the negotiating table to ‘seriously discuss the future of Kashmir. This report further said that the Dixon Plan, proposed 44 years ago has been reviewed by the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robin Raphael. She spent more than a week in Pakistan discussing the possibilities of the implementation of Dixon Plan. During the same period India allowed Hurriyet leaders to attend OIC summit at Casablanca. In the past India had been consistently preventing Kashmiri leaders from attending OIC meetings. But due to Robin Raphael’s' efforts, India allowed these leaders to attend the OIC summit, it was learnt.

In January 1998 a senior US congressional delegation visited Kashmir to get themselves acquainted with the latest political, security and strategic situation in the valley. Mr. Mike Ennis headed the group. Later the high level delegation visited Islamabad.

In April 1998, US Army Chief General Dennis J. Romier had two day visit to the border areas of Kashmir. He visited the headquarters of the Northern Command in Udhampur town in Jammu and Leh town in the border areas of Ladakh. The chief of US army was accompanied by a high-level defence delegation.

In the meantime, some US officials had admitted that time was not ripe to recognize Line of Control as International border. That indicated that US observers had been all-along observing developments at the ground level. In October 1998, US Ambassador to New Delhi Richard F. Celeste brushed aside the Indian stand on Kashmir, refusing to accept that the Kashmir issue was ‘internal’ to India. Only after a week he had to deny the statement and said that it was reported out of context.

Around the end of the year 1998 a report was published claiming that US citizens overwhelmingly wanted the UN to mediate between India and Pakistan. It said that an opinion poll was conducted in six American states of Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah where 79 to 86 percent responses favored the UN ‘route’ for mediating in the Indo-Pak dispute. Some 11 to 16 per cent Americans opposed such UN mediation. Like any other country, in the US also some NGOs serve the government objectives indirectly. The observers felt that this was an implanted survey result by the Washington establishment.

After using all kinds of tactics, the US decision-makers persuaded some elements in Pakistan, including General Parvez Musharraf, to send some ‘mujahideen’ and troops into Kargil. This was part of the ‘shock therapy’ to get India ready for the ‘outside mediation’. This therapy was successful when India virtually asked Washington to tell Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to get back his forces from Kargil. Bill Clinton made Pakistan ready for the same and India had to ‘indirectly’ accept US mediation, rather New Delhi invited US intervention into the matter. It was a major success for the US policy-makers in the Subcontinent. Officially both Washington and New Delhi refrained from using the word intervention or mediation. This was part of the understanding reached between the two. During these developments US used the term ‘infiltrators from Pakistan’. James Rubin, the spokesman of the State Department said, ‘We understand that there have been a number of conversations between Prime Minister Vajpayee and Sharif. We believe that India and Pakistan military and political leaders need to be in touch so that there are no misunderstandings and miscalculations.

At the height of Kargil episode President Bill Clinton called on Pakistan to withdraw its ‘forces and its support to militants’ in Kargil. This was considered to be a ‘big blow’ to the Pakistanis and militants in Kashmir. Their sympathizers in Europe and America were shocked by the President Clinton's statement. This had further ‘won’ the Indian hearts, feeling as if US is their true sympathizer.

On this Pakistan complained to the US for its statements on Kargil ‘reflected a bias in favour of India.’ Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington, Riaz Khokhar, a seasoned diplomat who also served in New Delhi, said that Washington was using the term ‘infiltrators from Pakistan’ instead of Kashmiri Mujahideen’.

There was another astonishing report that CIA provided Indian authorities with the audio tape of the conversation between Pakistan Army Chief General Parvez Musharraf and Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammad Aziz, while Musharraf was in Beijing during Kargil episode. With putting the audio tape to public India gained upper hand in harassing Pakistan on the issue. The conversations were recorded on May 26 and May 29, when General Musharraf was on a visit to China. These conversations indicate the clear role of Pakistan army in Kargil.
In July 1999, Pakistan suffered another setback in Washington when a congressional panel overwhelmingly rejected plebiscite as a possible solution to the Kashmir problem. By a vote of 20 to 8, the House International Relations Committee defeated an amendment sought by the Republican Congressman Mr. Dana Rohrabachar. The Amendment wanted the US to urge India and Pakistan to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution of 1948.

After making India happy on almost every front, now everything is ‘moving in right direction’ for the Americans in the sub continent in general and in India and Kashmir in particular. Under the cover of Kashmir, American business community is gaining ground deep into the national economic fabric. Indian industries are being closed down in the name of pollution and other ‘humane’ reasons.

Indian leaders including those belonging to BJP are speaking the language favoring implementation of the Dixon plan. Even the Home Minister LK Advani has favored the division of Jammu and Kashmir on the communal lines. The Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah says that LoC should be accepted as international boundary. That too suits the American plan. At every level Americans have entered into the process of decision-making in India.
According to observers, US has now penetrated into India in a fashion that New Delhi is having no control in some of its internal affairs. The arrival of Israeli security experts has proved to be the fuel for the implementation of the Dixon plan. 

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