Efforts Can Cap India-Pakistan Nuclear-Arms Buildup,'' June 16, which accurately identifies the potential for nuclear conflict in South Asia, but miscalculates the solution for peace.
The article correctly identifies the conflict over Kashmir as the source of ongoing and escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. Now, with both sides possessing the capability to assemble and deliver nuclear weapons, the rising tensions threaten to become far more than cross-border skirmishes. The Kashmir conflict threatens, as stated by President Clinton before the United Nations, ``to take on murderous proportions.''
It is therefore illogical and unreasonable to advocate a process for peace and denuclearization in South Asia that purposely ignores the Kashmir conflict. The two issues are inseparable, with resolution of the Kashmir dispute being the key to greater stability and confidence for resolving the larger regional issues. Just as peace in the Middle East became possible only with the inclusion of the Palestinians, peace in South Asia can only be achieved with Kashmiri participation.
Once peace is established in Kashmir, the governments of India and Pakistan will have eliminated a source of bitter resentment. Once confidence is established, the two sides can more easily be approached on the nuclear nonproliferation issue. Absent that confidence, however, neither side will have the incentive or the inclination to deter its nuclear weapons buildup. The result of that buildup in a region with rising tensions and no end to conflict in sight could be disastrous. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Washington Executive Director, Kashmiri-American Council
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