September 25, 2016

Beware the Kashmir Volcano

by Eric Margolis

The divided south Asian mountain state of Kashmir is like a volcano: forgotten when quiescent, but terrifying when it comes alive.

After the first India-Pakistan War in 1947, in which the British Indian Raj was divided into Hindu and Muslim-dominated states, India ended up with two-thirds of the formerly independent mountain state of Kashmir, and the new state of Pakistan with a scrubby, poor third known as Azad Kashmir.

Rebellion and attempts at secession have flared ever since in Indian-ruled Kashmir which has a restive Muslim majority, and minorities of Sikhs and Hindus. In fact, the Kashmir conflict is now the world's oldest major crisis. The UN's calls for a plebiscite to determine Kashmir's future have been ignored by India.

A week ago, Kashmiri militants attacked an Indian Army brigade base at Uri that sits near the 1948-49 cease-fire line known as the Line Of Control (LOC). Seventeen Indian regular soldiers died along with four militants. New Delhi rushed 10,000 soldiers to Kashmir, boosting Indian military strength in the mountain state to over 500,000 men.

It is a grave mistake for the world to ignore Kashmir. My first book, "War at the Top of the World," explored the Kashmir crisis and Indian-Pakistani-Chinese-Tibetan rivalries in the Karakoram and Himalaya mountain ranges ( a work inspired by my talks with the Dalai Lama). A decade ago I called Kashmir the 'world's most dangerous crisis.' It remains so today. . . .


Eric Margolis, "The Scenario For Nuclear War 1999," Toronto Sun, November 8, 1998

Arundhati Roy, "Freedom Is The Only Thing The Kashmiri Wants," Outlook India, September 1, 2008

Victoria Schofield, "Tenth International Kashmir Peace Conference," Kashmiri American Council, July 29, 2009

Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Al-Qaeda Aims To Cash In On Kashmir," Asia Times, July 13, 2010

[By 1948, as the great migration drew to a close, more than fifteen million people had been uprooted, and between one and two million were dead. . . . Partition is central to modern identity in the Indian subcontinent, as the Holocaust is to identity among Jews--William Dalrymple, "The Great Divide: The violent legacy of Indian Partition," New Yorker, June 29, 2015]

S. Amjad Hussain, "Smartest way out of Kashmir crisis may be independence offer,", September 12, 2016

[Nyla Ali Khan knows each of these Kashmirs. Born and raised there, educated in Delhi, India and Norman, Oklahoma, granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, first premier of Kashmir, author of four books and now a Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Nyla Ali Khan understands her nation and has a vision for its future.

"Why is Kashmir's struggle important to Americans?" I asked her. "Kashmir's struggles shine a spotlight on the quest of all people, everywhere, who seek justice, who value democracy, who believe that people have a right to security and sustenance and freedom.--Camille Landry, "Creating common ground: Conflict in Kashmir mirrors universal issues,", September 29, 20016]

[Bangladesh followed Afghanistan and Bhutan in boycotting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad next month. Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal followed suit leading to the total isolation of Pakistan among SAARC nations.--Syed Tashfin Chowdhury, "Dhaka to back India if war breaks out,", October 10, 20016]

[India ignored the fact that the New Delhi-based South Asia terrorism portal ( had produced figures showing that during the years 2003-2016, . . . India had lost 26,882 lives (civilians: 9640, security forces: 4249, terrorists: 12 993) and that Pakistan had lost 61,148 lives (civilians: 21,389, security forces: 6,564, terrorists: 33,195) from terrorist attacks. Further, the anti-Soviet Mujahedeen wars in Afghanistan (1979-1989) led by the US, had led to influx of 25,000 foreign jihadists into Afghanistan and the entry of about seven million Afghan refugees into Pakistan.--Kadayam Subramanian, "Indian media fuels jingoism after 'surgical' Pakistan strike,", October 28, 20016]

Nyla Ali Khan, "War and Peace: The ramification of India and Pakistan climbing the ladder of nuclear proliferation is a tottering stability,", December 5, 20016

[Pakistan to deploy low-yield tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons and to give permission for local commanders to decide when to use them.--Conn Hallinan, "A Global Nuclear Winter: Avoiding the Unthinkable in India and Pakistan,", December 8, 20016]

"Kashmir: Born To Fight," Al Jazeera, February 9, 2017

Yasmin Khan, "Why Pakistan and India remain in denial 70 years on from partition,", August 5, 2017

Nyla Ali Khan, "Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah's Reflections on Kashmir," Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2018 edition (January 15, 2018)

"Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir," Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, June 14, 2018

[a new predicament now arises for Delhi when the civilian and military leaderships in Pakistan get along well--M K Bhadrakumar, "Hopes and forebodings in India over the rise of Imran Khan,", July 29, 2018]

Arshad Khan, "Could India Have Remained an Undivided Country?,", December 26, 2018

[A suicide bomber who killed 44 paramilitary policemen in Indian-controlled Kashmir joined a militant group after having been beaten by troops three years ago, his parents told Reuters--Fayaz Bukhari, "Kashmir suicide bomber radicalised after beating by troops, parents say,", February 15, 2019]

Arundhati Roy, "By deploying the IAF, Narendra Modi has ensured that Kashmir is conclusively internationalised,", March 1, 2019

Adam Withnall, "This is the struggle for freedom': Father of Kashmir suicide bomber defends son's actions which brought India and Pakistan to the brink,", March 8, 2019

[Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India's permanently shutting off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive.

A 1960 treaty allows Pakistan to use most of the water, but India has consistently tried to take back as much as it can.--Reese Erlich, "What's Really Going On in Kashmir?,", March 9, 2019]

Murtaza Hussain, "The Indian Government Has Systematically Used Torture to Crush Opposition in Kashmir, New Report Finds,", May 26, 2019

[Article 370 was the main justification for being a part of India and by revoking it, the BJP has irrevocably changed Delhi's relationship with the region.--"'Article 370: India strips disputed Kashmir of special status,", August 5, 2019]

"Kashmir: Why India and Pakistan fight over it,", August 8, 2019

[Since the word "Partition"has figured in the discourse on CAA, NCR, NPR the mind turns towards Maulana Azad, who was so fiercely opposed to the country's division. . . . Sardar Patel appeared to be more convinced of the two-nation theory than Jinnah--Saeed Naqvi, "Reflection On Partition As Government Opens Wounds On Citizenship,", January 24, 2020]

Richard Falk, "On Justice for Kashmir,", December 16, 2022

UAE's Big Investment in Kashmir: What Changed? Vantage with Palki Sharma, March 22, 2023

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