The current status quo is not an answer to the Kashmir problem: Omar

Image Courtesy-Online Media Sources

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has called for converting the Line of Control into an international border that allows free movement of people and goods, asserting that the current status quo is not an answer to the Kashmir chaos.

“One thing is certain. Status quo is not the answer. If India is going to continue to maintain that the parts of Jammu and Kashmir occupied by Pakistan have to be vacated and till then there would be no solution and if Pakistan continues to insist that Jammu and Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of the 1947 partition, then they are going nowhere,” said the Opposition leader.

“For any solution to work, we first have to recognise that there can be no further transfer of territory between either of the two countries, which means you take the Line of Control and recognise it as an (international) border,” he added.

Delivering the keynote address at ‘The Kashmir Conclave’ organised by the Georgetown University’s student group India Dialogue in Washington DC, Omar acknowledged that his solution would be a tough sell in the two countries as there are vested interests in the two capitals that want the Kashmir problem to continue. He expressed that this is the most viable solution to the Kashmir problem, given that India itself has recognized this LoC when there have been reasons not to do so. He gave the example of 1999 Kargil war in this regard.

“I know this is not going to be an easy sell. But this is the most viable alternative because I do not see any other alternative that requires either India or Pakistan lose face,” he said, adding, “If you de-recognise Line of Control, then it has to be a soft border. It has to allow people to move more freely, for goods to move more freely. I think, this can be an example to the rest of our neighbours.”

Responding to questions, Omar opposed the idea of international mediation arguing that such a move is not going to work. “A certain amount of backchannel facilitation would help, but meditation would not work,” he said, adding that it is for India and Pakistan to work on a viable solution to the Kashmir problem. He said that dialogue, not violence, is the only solution to Kashmir problem. Such a dialogue should be not only between New Delhi and Islamabad but also with the people of the state on both sides of the border.

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