What Kashmir's young independence activists most want the world to grasp is that the protracted fight for Kashmir has broken from its roots in a territorial tug of war between India and Pakistan. Instead, it has become an independence movement led by the two-thirds of Kashmiris who are under age 30 and fed up with living in a police state.
Particularly of interest to world powers, they say, should be their resolve to resist without guns.
But while US support for Arab uprisings is reinvigorating hopes among Kashmiris, whose persistence complicates US efforts to draw closer to India and win more cooperation from Pakistan, it is also sharpening longstanding disappointment.
The US role
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the imposing octogenarian leader of Kashmir's separatist movement, minces no words, chiding the United States for what he sees as its shortcomings on Kashmir. For half a century, Mr. Geelani has been involved in the struggle, and remembers how the US sponsored the first United Nations resolution calling for Kashmiri self-determination. In recent years, however, Washington has courted New Delhi as a rising power – and dropped its public pressure, at least, over Kashmir. In March, Timothy Roemer, US ambassador to India, visited Kashmir but declined to meet separatist leaders.