Why is Gilgit still an undisputed area

Basic principles

Ulrich Stahnke

Since the beginning of 2011, India has been an elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in New York for two years and thus participates in all deliberations and resolutions on international crisis and conflict management. Since India - like Germany - is striving for a permanent seat on the reformed UN Security Council, it should - more than before - try to bring its own conflict with its direct neighbor Pakistan over Kashmir closer to a solution.

In this conflict, which has been simmering for decades and is also significant for European politics, one of several - if not the essential - keys to the solution of the Afghanistan conflict, Europe and NATO are increasingly burdened. As a party to the conflict, Pakistan has called on the international community to help resolve the conflict with India.

The following is intended to show how multi-layered and complex the cashmere conflict is and whether and, if so, which possible solutions are available. Since Pakistan is described by the mass of experts as the epicenter of international terrorism and India can be described as the far more predictable party to the conflict, Pakistan should be the focus of considerations.

The geostrategic importance of the Central and South Asia region

Geostrategically, the region southeast of the Caspian Sea with its raw material deposits is of increasing importance for all economic nations, but especially for the new economic power China and for the emerging economy India. China is investing heavily in Afghanistan as part of securing raw materials and developing regional infrastructure. In the mines near Aynak, the new economic power is mining the copper previously prospected by the Soviet Union, continues to research deposits of hard coal and ores - especially the important lithium - as well as natural gas and crude oil; Plans for a rail link from Uzbekistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and the Indian Ocean have started. China has now become the largest taxpayer in Afghanistan. In the past ten years, India has given Afghanistan USD 1.3 billion in development aid and for infrastructure measures in order to secure raw material reserves in the medium term and to win a trading partner. For strategic and economic reasons, Iran is building a railway line to Herat in western Afghanistan. Pakistan could also benefit, but it is economically too weak to be as active as India. In addition, there are political disagreements with the Afghan government, which accuses Pakistan - not unjustly - of supporting the rebellious Taliban.

For China, India, Pakistan and Iran, but also for all of Central and South Asia, Afghanistan is of central importance for future economic development in the region.

Political and social stability in the region southeast of the Caspian Sea are a prerequisite for the global extraction of raw materials from this area (ores - especially the so-called "rare earths" lanthanum, lithium, neodymium, promethium etc. - for crude oil and natural gas according to current knowledge 40 % and 70% of the known deposits) as well as the safe and fast transport (pipelines, shipping routes, rail traffic) of raw materials and goods of considerable geostrategic importance and explosiveness as well as of considerable security policy relevance (Afghanistan, nuclear power Pakistan, nuclear development Iran).

This relevance also applies to Europe, which is e.g. via the Nabucco pipeline project[1]) wants to participate in the exploitation of the Caspian natural gas reserves. For Russia it is important that the region around the Caspian Sea, the North Caucasus and Dagestan be protected from further activities by radical Islamists and that the security situation in Xinjiang remains under control for China. Undisturbed economic interests in China and India in particular, but also the involvement of Islamic Turkey as an emerging trading power in the region, will build up political pressure and can therefore have a positive influence on solving political crises - including the Afghanistan and Kashmir conflicts.

3. The Afghan factor

From the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the end of December 1979 and until their complete withdrawal in February 1989, support for the freedom struggle of the Afghan mujahideen determined Pakistan's policy. The Pakistani foreign intelligence service ISI ("Inter-Services Intelligence") was sponsored in partnership by the American intelligence service "Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)" as a base organization for the fight of the mujahideen against the Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan. Islam served as the ideology in the fight against the “infidels”. In this way, close ties developed between the ISI and the mujahideen in the 1980s and with the Islamist Taliban in the early 1990s.

With technical and logistical support from the USA and financed by the Gulf States (mainly Saudi Arabia), the Taliban (religious schools) were indoctrinated in the Pakistani “madrasas” (or “madrasas” = religious schools) in the early 1990s, with Pakistani help trained militarily and sent to fight in Afghanistan. Here they succeeded in the fight against the Northern Alliance with covert support from the ISI and the Pakistani military (in advisory functions and partly also in direct use on the battlefield)[2]) capture Kabul in October 1996 and conquer the bulk of the country by 2001. This “brotherhood in arms” with the Taliban is still effective today, and through the Taliban there is also contact between the ISI and the international terrorist organization Al Qaeda, which was established in Afghanistan at the end of the 1990s with the help of the Taliban. At the end of 2001, parts of the Pakistani military ensured that not inconsiderable elements of the Taliban fighters who had evaded Afghanistan from the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom found shelter in Pakistan.

It can be assumed that Pakistan maintains a permanent connection to the Afghan Taliban through its own secret service, in order to use this to maintain influence on the future design after the foreseeable withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan and to act as a counterweight to the growing influence of India in Afghanistan establish. So will the leadership in Pakistan[3]) The Afghan Taliban is only touched by Pakistani security forces if, for example, individual leaders do not behave in accordance with the rules and then have to be "sacrificed" to discipline the rest. The largest Afghan Taliban group (the Haqqani group) in North Waziristan has not yet been attacked by the Pakistani military, despite considerable pressure from the US government.

Since the founding of the state, Afghanistan has been viewed by all Pakistani governments as a strategic depth (no enemy behind) in the confrontation with India. From the perspective of NATO, Pakistan and Afghanistan form a strategic unit in the fight against international terrorism. Without an improvement in the situation in Pakistan, it will hardly be possible to achieve stable conditions in Afghanistan. And if Afghanistan were to become a base of Islamist terror again, the neighboring nuclear power Pakistan would get deeply into the vortex.

4. The internal situation of the nuclear power Pakistan - Pakistan a "failed state"?

After the domestic political situation in Pakistan had deteriorated significantly for several years due to the strengthening of the Islamist Taliban and other Islamist militants and the country was classified on the scale of 177 countries examined by the annually published "Failed State Index"[4]) occupies 10th place in 2010, there is a growing desire for the country to remain governable and thus predictable for world politics and thus also in the conflict with India.

In decolonized Africa, the “disintegrating states” there have reached their present state mostly in a very short time after gaining independence. The development to the "failed state", as it has dragged on in Pakistan for more than 60 years, is unparalleled. Pakistan seems to be in an intermediate stage between "adequately sound statehood" and the stage of a "failed state". Pakistan's government development is latently at a stable low. The fact that this state has survived so far despite serious deficits and since its founding has repeatedly writhed out of situations that, according to the prognosis of many experts, should have led to the collapse of the state long ago, is due to the fact that in Pakistan, unlike otherwise in collapsing states, as the only mainstay of the state that has firmly established the regular military. Pakistan's military is clearly the strongest political force in the state and has played a decisive role in the country's politics since the state was founded, be it in the direct exercise of executive power or as a puller in the background of civil governments. The military has permeated all areas of political, social and economic life and sees its role as that of the country's highest judge and as a guarantor of stability and security. It is generally held in high esteem among the common people, and many citizens have welcomed the recurring military coups - at least at the beginning of the seizure of power - as a blessing for the liberation of politicians who have been declassed as corrupt and incompetent. Even if they were condemned from abroad, military rule in Pakistan has in most cases generated a minimum of stability, security and tranquility in the country and has at least temporarily stopped the spiral of corruption and self-enrichment. However, even the military has not been able to bring about a social and political change in Pakistan. Consolidation and maturation of the democratic institutions and the development of a democratic consciousness in the population are only poorly developed.

The irreversible Islamization pursued since the military dictator General Zia ul Haq (president from 1977-1988) and the symbiosis of parts of the armed forces with the Islamist militants have taken root and harbor dangers for the stability of the military, not yet in the top structure, but in the middle and lower ranks. Despite general reliability, there are therefore weaknesses within the Pakistani military and the military-dominated ISI intelligence service. However, there can be no talk of a Talibanization of the Pakistani army or the secret service.

In the case of latently weak civil governments, the Pakistani military leadership alone determines more than just the basics of security and foreign policy. All important foreign state visitors therefore do not miss out on an appointment with the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani Army. Neither the Kashmir conflict nor the Afghanistan problem can be resolved without the consent of the Pakistani military leadership.

5. The division of the subcontinent and the emergence of the Kashmir conflict

The Pakistani state emerged on August 14, 1947 from parts of British India in two regions (West and East Pakistan - today: Bangladesh) separated by about 2,000 km. The background to the founding of Pakistan was the desire of large parts of the Muslim population of the British crown colony of India to live in a state of their own that is not part of the Hindu-dominated India. In the course of the partition of 1947, over four million Muslims left what is now India, while about seven million Hindus and Sikhs left what was then Pakistan. It is estimated that up to 750,000 people lost their lives as a result of acts of mutual violence and the hardships during the flight. (About 150 million Muslims live in India today). The partition treaty between the new states of India and Pakistan provided that those states with a majority Muslim population should belong to Pakistan, those with a majority Hindu population should belong to India. The Maharajah of Kashmir, a Hindu, led his mostly Muslim subjects to India and not to Pakistan, which in 1947 led to a military intervention by Pakistani militants. The entire north of Kashmir (Swat, Gilgit, Hunza and parts of Jammu) was occupied by Pakistan. In what is now the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)[5]) what remained was the bulk of the Jammu region, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, which in turn was involved in the Sino-Indian War[6]) from 1962 was "reduced" by a third. At that time the almost uninhabited Aksai Chin high plateau was occupied by the Chinese. Pakistan volunteered to have parts in 1963[7]) of the former Kashmir area ceded to China, which in turn is not recognized by India. The part of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan is administratively divided into the special territory Gilgit-Baltistan - (until 2009: Northern Areas) and "Azad Kashmir"[8]) (= Free cashmere) divided. The Indians collectively refer to these areas as "POK" (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).

The disputed areas of Kashmir between India and Pakistan are governed by one of the UN[9]) Monitored armistice line ("Line of Control" - LoC) separated. At this unnatural border, despite a ceasefire agreed in November 2003, small local firefights and occasional artillery duels continue. The Siachen Glacier, which is 6,300 to 6,400 m high, forms an eternal battlefield.[10]) where Indian and Pakistani army units have faced each other within sight since 1984 and regularly fought firefights until the ceasefire in 2003. The division and use of water resources is causing increasing controversy[11]) from the Kashmir region, which are particularly important for Pakistani agriculture.

6. Pakistan's trauma

The trauma of “birth by caesarean section”, the displacement of the Muslim population to the west, the violent displacement of the Hindu population to the east, anarchy and mass killings have created a climate of mistrust between the political and military leaders of Pakistan and India that has persisted for decades Is essentially determined by three wars (1947-49, 8-9 / 1965, 3-12 / 1971) with the big neighbor India. The wars of 1947 and 1965 were about Kashmir;[12]) As a result of the war of 1971, in which India also intervened on the side of East Pakistan, East Pakistan - today's Bangladesh - separated from West Pakistan. Pakistan's fear that India is willing to regain the old national territory is latent.

In order to escape isolation and to modernize the military, Pakistan first entered into US-led alliances after the founding of the state. When the US and other western countries began supplying arms to India during the 1962 Indo-China border war over the Aksai Chin area, Pakistan felt isolated. This "isolation trauma" increased when the US stopped delivering weapons to Pakistan during the Second Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir. This forced Pakistan to lean closely on China, which was itself isolated from the Soviet Union. The lack of support from China and Muslim countries during the Kargil crisis in 1999 added to the feeling of isolation.

The trauma of "dichotomy and humiliation" became latent when Pakistan was divided in 1971 and defeated by the Indian military[13]) was humiliated. After that, the nuclear option was initiated and an anti-Western attitude established in the country. The withdrawal from Kargil in July 1999 without achieving the goal heightened the impression of humiliation.

The trauma of "encirclement" hit Pakistan when it was wedged between two hostile countries (India and Soviet-occupied Afghanistan) after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The old alliance with the USA was renewed, the anti-Western stance revised. After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1988, the USA (after giving up their common enemy) began to turn against the Pakistani nuclear program. The 1990 sanctions brought Pakistan back into isolation and closer to China.

7. Kashmir - a national identity issue for Pakistan; Fear of the disintegration of the multiethnic state in India

The partition of Kashmir in January 1949 created a delicate political and military status quo that left Pakistan and India only limited room for maneuver. Pakistan in particular had to be dissatisfied with the result of the partition, since India not only won the greater part of Kashmir, but also controls the political and cultural center with the Kashmiri valley, which is mostly inhabited by Muslims. Kashmir therefore became a question of national identity for Pakistan: the political and military defense of Kashmir became synonymous with the defense of the internal and external borders of the Pakistani nation.Consequently, the military confrontation with India in all Kashmir wars started from Pakistan. Even more: The policy of supporting the “Kashmiri struggle for freedom” is not only a domestic and foreign policy reason of state, it is also the gateway of the Pakistani army into Pakistani domestic politics. The fact that Pakistan was ruled by the military for more than 27 years is also due to the fact that its own Kashmiri policy maintains a permanent feeling of threat towards India.

Pakistan defines itself as an Islamic nation, as a home for all Muslims on the subcontinent, as the “land of the pure”. In India, on the other hand, any danger of a change in the status quo in Kashmir arouses fears of the disintegration of a multi-ethnic state that has been challenged by rebel movements on its geographical fringes since its independence. Pakistan, on the other hand, insists in principle and steadfastly on the implementation of UN Resolution No. 47 of April 21, 1948, which contains a referendum for Kashmir. To make matters worse for Pakistan is that none of the militant Islamist parties,[14]) all of which are linked on a personnel and organizational level with the militant groups operating in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir and who rule the masses of the population on Pakistan's streets, with a different political solution to the Kashmir conflict - i.e. without the affiliation of the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir expected after a referendum to Pakistan - agree.

8. Pakistan's support for the "Kashmiri freedom struggle"

Since 1990 a civil war (from a Pakistani point of view: "freedom struggle") has been going on in the Indian state of "Jammu and Kashmir" between the Kashmiri insurgents who originally fought for an independent, secular Kashmir and Indian army units. Initially, Pakistan only provided the local insurgents with political and logistical support. Only after the Indian troops were able to achieve success against the insurgents did Pakistan change its strategy around 1994 and with the help of the Pakistani military and secret service ISI smuggled increasingly pro-Pakistani and predominantly Islamist groups such as the “Hizbul Mujaheddin” (HM), the “Harkatul Ansar” "Or" Harkatul Mujaheddin (HA / HUM) "or the" Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) "with a share of foreign mercenaries in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in February 1989, there were many Islamist fighters in Pakistan who had been trained by the Pakistani secret service ISI and were now unemployed, who were highly motivated and continued to work for the “Islamic cause”. The Islamists smuggled in from Pakistan were supposed to initiate a popular uprising of the majority Muslim population - but this has not yet succeeded.

After the Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, the terrorist organizations operating in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir were officially banned in Pakistan under the then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, but officials are said to have issued timely warnings again and again before raids or the threat of bank accounts being blocked, and they still enjoy considerable support from the Pakistani population today. The military and secret service support of the Islamist groups smuggled into Kashmir from Pakistan has remained - reduced or increased depending on the political climate - to this day. And also the serious terrorist attacks[15]) of the past few years in the Indian heartland are said to have been carried out by Islamist terrorists from Pakistan - with the support of the Pakistani ISI. So far, however, India has only been able to provide clear evidence of this in the last major attack in November 2008 against the tourist hotels in Mumbai[16]) deliver.

The undisputed fact is that the Pakistani military (including ISI) is still training Islamist fighters for terrorist use in the Indian part of Kashmir. It is the same Islamist forces that (in association with Al Qaeda) in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (until April 2010: "North West Frontier Province - NWFP") in the border area with Afghanistan, but increasingly also in the Punjabi heartland with terrorist means also fight against their own Pakistani security forces. For the political and military leadership of Pakistan there are obviously still useful, i.e. "good", and "bad" or "bad" terrorists!

The Pakistani armed forces command obviously does not want to forego the fighting power of the Islamist militants in the Kashmir conflict. The guerrilla war in Kashmir is the only realistic strategy that will allow the much smaller Pakistan to bleed, if not to bleed to death, its large neighbor “with a thousand stitches and cuts”. These Islamist militants - as far as they can (still) allow themselves to be controlled by the Pakistani military and the ISI secret service - carry the terrorist struggle into India as cheap “special forces” and thus support the political leadership in its claim to all of Kashmir. They only become dangerous for Pakistan's politics when the militant Islamist groups evade state control and cross the LoC without authorization. This is obviously happening and it will hardly be possible to prevent it in the future. During periods of political negotiation between the two countries, India regularly reports - depending on the status of the negotiations or their termination - a percentage decrease or increase in infiltration from Pakistan.

9. The situation in the interior of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir

Because of the civil war, the special constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir has been undermined by the Indian central government for decades. She has exerted ever greater influence on state politics, e.g. through the establishment of sympathetic governments; The result is the alienation of large parts of the Kashmiri population from the Indian Union. The civil war supported by Pakistan and the associated increased presence of Indian security forces[17]) lead to attacks on the civilian population and serious human rights violations.[18]) Altogether, the clashes with the security forces since 1990 are said to have resulted in up to 100,000 deaths (security forces, Islamist militants and civilians) as well as innumerable injuries and a large number of arbitrary arrests and torture by the security forces.

The conflict is mostly fought between militant Islamist groups and the police, while the common people are among the main victims of the conflict. The security authorities are imposing curfews, so that all public life comes to a standstill. Shops, government offices and schools are closed on many days, and local public transport is paralyzed. The curfews are only partially effective, however, as the demonstrators often ignore the ban.

The unemployment rate in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is higher than in comparable parts of the country, while annual economic growth and per capita income are significantly lower. Current estimates suggest that over 70% of the state's population is under 35 years of age. The lack of training and jobs makes the unemployed youth more receptive to the ideas of extremist groups. The Indian government has not yet found a permanent solution and is more or less powerless to face the ongoing conflict.

Occasionally, however, conciliatory tones can be heard from the current Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Speaking to a group of representatives from various Kashmiri political parties, he declared on August 10, 2010 that he believed that the state could have autonomy within the constitutional framework. He also set up a committee under his chairmanship to explore how to proceed with regard to Kashmir. However, the promised autonomy of Kashmir aroused mixed reactions from the various parties and actors. The “National Conference” and the “Communist Party of India (Marxist) = CPI (M)” welcomed the initiative, while the Hindu “Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)” rejects autonomy. The People's Democratic Party (PDP), the strongest opposition party in Kashmir, and the separatists rejected the proposal on the grounds that it was not a political solution. In any case, the government made it clear that it would like to enter into a dialogue with all groups involved, who renounce violence, in order to come to a solution.

Another important actor in the Kashmiri conflict is Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the group of hardliners in the "All Parties Hurriyat Conference", the reservoir for all Muslim groups in Kashmir. His conditions before talks between the central government and the separatists can begin[19]) Among other things: recognition of the Kashmir conflict as an international dispute, a complete demilitarization of the area, suspension of the "Armed Forces Special Powers Act"[20]) and the release of political prisoners.

However, the latest response from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the renewed unrest among the Kashmiri population since late summer 2010 was the call for more troops. That's ironic given that Kashmir is one of the most densely militarized places in the world. Although the true number of Indian troops in Kashmir is unknown, their number is believed to be at least 250,000. The cost of this troop presence is a heavy burden on the state budget of the emerging economic nation India. At least 100 people were killed in 2010 as a result of the clashes between rioters and Indian security forces, but also between demonstrators and security forces. Nevertheless, the population in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir has seen a noticeable war fatigue overall in recent years. Its moderate leaders are therefore looking for a political solution to the oppression of the Muslim population caused by the extremely high Indian troop presence in Kashmir. Pakistan's leadership seems to be interested in this, at least in the short term.

10. Can the Kashmir conflict be resolved peacefully?

Avoiding a precedent by separating Kashmir from the state association of India and securing the connection routes into the high valley of Kashmir are at the fore of Indian politics. In addition, the government principle of secular nationalism, i.e. no dependence of the government on religions, should apply to all of Kashmir and thus also to the Muslim-dominated areas. India therefore sees no need for international discussion on the Kashmir issue.

While India had promised when the conflict broke out that it would hold a plebiscite on Kashmir's accession to the Indian Union, and India had given the UN an important role in this in 1948, its position has changed over the past few decades. With the Simla Treaty of 1972, Pakistan, weakened and humiliated after the separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), had to sign that the Kashmir problem could only be negotiated as a bilateral point of conflict between India and Pakistan in the future.

Basically there is no room for negotiation, neither for Pakistan nor for India. For India it is clear that in 1947 Kashmir legitimately fell to India, that several elections, as “plebiscite substitutes”, have since proven the will of the population to remain in the Indian Union, and that Pakistan is wrongly occupied by around 40% of Kashmir holds. In contrast, Pakistan holds the view[21]) states that Kashmir, as a predominantly Muslim member state, was and is due to Pakistan and that the Indian army, for its part, is wrongly occupying the majority of Kashmir. So it is not surprising that so far all bilateral approaches to the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir conflict have collapsed after a short time of negotiation, with the most hopeful of these negotiation periods falling during the reign of Pakistani President Musharraf. In 2003, his government negotiated a ceasefire with the Indians for the entire LoC, including the Siachen Glacier, which has been largely observed to this day. As a result, solutions were sought in months of secret talks (“back channel”; “track two”). The central point of contention between the two countries, according to which both lay sole claim to all of Kashmir, was excluded with mutual consent. At the beginning of December 2006, Musharraf was able to develop a far-reaching proposal for a solution that seemed suitable for a compromise with India.

The "four-point plan", which had not yet been formulated in detail, provided for:

- Phased withdrawal of Pakistani and Indian troops from both parts of Kashmir,

- regional self-government of the Kashmiris,

- no change in the borders of Kashmir,

- a joint government organization exercised by India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

With this plan, Musharraf carried out a fundamental U-turn on the Kashmiri question for Pakistani foreign policy. He shifted Pakistan's long-standing position, which insisted on holding a referendum in the context of UN Resolutions 47, to the bilateral level desired by India, which is not without controversy domestically, but he himself as Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani military[22]) (in double function) could allow.

By mid-2007 there had been a total of four negotiation rounds of the so-called “General and Comprehensive Dialogue (Composite Dialogue)”, in which confidence-building measures such as travel facilitation, new transport connections in divided Kashmir and between Pakistan and India and better economic, cultural and scientific cooperation were agreed were. In July 2007, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke out in favor of joint use of land and water resources in Kashmir.

As a result, the crisis-ridden domestic political development[23]) in Pakistan, beginning in the second half of 2007, and the events of 2008 left no room for Pakistan to negotiate with India. Negotiations were only resumed in 2010, although the new Pakistani government does not want to invoke Musharraf's four-point plan. The “window of opportunity” seems to be closed for the time being.

There may be new momentum in the Pakistani-Indian negotiations if US President Barack Obama makes a state visit to Pakistan in 2011. During the US election campaign, Obama had spoken out in favor of the US acting as a mediator in the Kashmir conflict, but due to Indian resistance (only a bilateral Indian-Pakistani solution), he did not officially pursue this further and did not attempt to mediate during his state visit to India in November 2010.

One of the decisive factors is how Pakistani civil society in particular, after having been sworn by its political and military, but above all religious leaders for decades, to the enemy image of India and its own Pakistani uncompromising attitude, is prepared for a peaceful settlement with India and "taken along". So far there is hardly any approach to this. Only people from the educated middle class try to see the Kashmir problem and the possible solutions with a realistic view, and take part in political events to build trust, which are mostly promoted and organized by foreign political organizations.

On the initiative of Indian and Pakistani non-governmental organizations (NGO), representatives of civil societies in both countries attended a peace conference in January 2010 in cooperation with the offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in New Delhi / India and Lahore / Pakistan. Pakistan Peace Conference ”) in New Delhi. After the official peace negotiations between India and Pakistan were broken off after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, representatives from both sides were sitting at the same table for the first time. They call for the resumption of government talks and a roadmap for bilateral reconciliation and regional stability. The result of this conference resulted in an extensive "Guide for Peace" (actually: catalog of demands)[24]) with the title "Roadmap towards Peace". This document lists all interstate problem areas and the measures required to minimize or resolve conflicts in 15 headings, each with a number of sub-items. It is a considerable and valuable document for politicians on both sides, but also for anyone who, for example, as a diplomat has to deal with the Kashmir conflict. The conference participants see the event as a significant first initiative to normalize the neighbors' relationship, but not as a “flash in the pan”, as an isolated event.You want to continue the discussions on the individual topics in groups.

The negotiations at government level should benefit from the advice of the NGOs and help to prepare the political climate for a compromise solution. It is also important that Pakistan's large parties - if possible with the participation of the Islamist parties - and the military leadership can agree on a common and realistic solution strategy. Only in this way can the population, indoctrinated to an uncompromising attitude towards India for decades, be carefully “taken along” and ultimately support the compromise that is certainly necessary. Without the backing of the military, security and foreign policy issues - especially with India - cannot be negotiated. Kashmir and the threat from India give the Pakistani military its essential raison d'etre and, as a result, its own dominance in the state, which cannot be discussed away.

Targeted attacks by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan and India, Indian reprisals and unforeseeable domestic political confrontations in Pakistan can interrupt or even end the negotiations at any time. In the fight against international terrorism, Pakistan should concentrate above all on preventing Islamic terrorists from Pakistan from carrying out further attacks in India. To this end, help from Western intelligence services and increased cooperation with them could be sought.

11. What's next, are there prospects?

Before the Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons tests[25]) In May 1998, the international community wanted to hear as little as possible about the Kashmir conflict because the eternal squabbles between India and Pakistan were getting on their nerves. That changed fundamentally, especially after the attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001 and with NATO's deployment in Afghanistan.

Pakistan tries to convince the world that the country is as much a victim of Islamist extremists as the rest of the world. Apart from the fact that it was actually the victim of its own generosity and indulgence towards the Islamists, one strong suspicion cannot be shaken off: the assumption that Pakistan is playing a double game and is trying to gain financial and political advantage from the situation in Afghanistan beat. While India's economy is growing rapidly, Pakistan is hanging on to the West's financial drip, and the military is collecting billions of dollars annually to help the allies in the fight against terrorism. Most of the money, however, will be used for the procurement of large equipment from the associations for conventional warfare against India, but not for counter-insurgency operations[26]) are capable.

The Pakistani Strategy[27]) To inflict maximum military costs and a loss of political legitimacy on India with (apparently) minimal military and political effort appears increasingly counterproductive: the terrorist groups originally organized, trained or financed by Pakistan for the Kashmiri operation can be controlled less and less; they cooperate with the Islamist domestic political opponents of their own state; they are involved in attacks and unrest within Pakistan; they potentially contribute to differences of opinion, directional battles and instability of the military and intelligence apparatus - and in December 2003 the then President General Pervez Musharraf was the victim of almost two bomb attacks by these groups. A strategy that should weaken India in Kashmir is now calling into question Pakistan's internal security, the functionality of the military apparatus, the survival of its own state and, last but not least, the indispensable cooperation with the USA.

The West needs Pakistan if it wants to bring peace to Afghanistan. He needs the Pakistani government and its military at the epicenter of terrorism to combat the threat of terrorism for the whole world. The West can exert pressure, but it must not be so clear that Pakistan reacts negatively. The Pakistani government knows this and is therefore increasingly referring to the decades-old Kashmir problem. Only when a solution is found for Kashmir, say Pakistan's military, can one concentrate fully on combating terror in the border belt with Afghanistan. The West may not like this stance, but there is no room for the illusion that without a resolution to the Kashmiri issue, Pakistan's armed forces will allow normal Pakistan-India relations or stability in Afghanistan.[28])

A symmetrical solution that equally satisfies both parties to the conflict will hardly be achievable. Basically, there would also be a division of Kashmir along religious borders[29]) into consideration. However, this approach is not currently being discussed. For better or for worse, Pakistan will have to come to terms with the fact that the ceasefire line will also have the character of a state border under international law. India, which could accept the solution, would have to commit itself to a domestic autonomy in accordance with the original article 370 of its constitution. The Kashmiris' ideas of autonomy could then be taken into account by creating a border between the two parts of Kashmir that is open to economic and cultural exchange.

Without a solution for Kashmir, political and economic progress in the region will be difficult, if not impossible. At the moment the chances for a bilateral rapprochement are actually better than ever, not least due to international pressure (largely scheduled withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan) and economic constraints (India needs peace for its economic development, China needs energy for its economic expansion). Both states, especially the almost bankrupt and highly unstable Pakistan, urgently need a normalization of the mutual exchange of goods and cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

In addition, there is an important secondary aspect that could possibly induce India to be willing to concessions and to accommodate Pakistan in solving the Kashmir conflict: the country's political goal of obtaining a permanent seat on the reformed UN Security Council. Overall, given the historical dimension of the conflict and the profound alienation of both state elites and populations, a good deal of skepticism is in order for a quick solution to the Kashmir conflict.


[1]) The Nabucco pipeline project is intended to connect Europe with the Caspian natural gas reserves. Construction is scheduled to start in 2011. The first expansion stage should be completed by 2015.

[2]) The Northern Alliance was an alliance of formerly rival Afghan opposition groups that had come together in the mid-1990s against the victorious advancing Taliban. This group was supported by India.

[3]) The leadership of the Afghan Taliban out of Pakistan is divided into four shurs: Omar (Quetta Shura); Zakir (Gergi Jangal Shura); Mansoor (Peshawar Shura), Haqqani (Miran Shah Shura).

[4]) See: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/2010_failed_states_index_interactive_map_and_rankings.

[5]) The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is located in the north of India and borders on Pakistan in the west and north and on China in the east. The area covers 222,236 km2 and the total population is around 10.5 million people. Apart from the union territory of Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir is the only Indian union state with a Muslim majority. 67% of the population profess Islam, 29.6% Hinduism. Sikhs (2%) and Buddhists (1.1%) make up smaller minorities. The distribution of religions reflects the tripartite division of the Union state into the regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh: While Kashmir is almost entirely Muslim, Hindus make up the majority of the population in Jammu. The inhabitants of Ladakh are roughly equally divided between Lamaist Buddhists and Muslims.

[6]) In the course of the Indo-Chinese border war from October 20 to November 20, 1962, former Kashmiri areas (Aksai Chin, a small area in the south around Demchok and also the Shaksa or Shaksam valley) were occupied by Chinese troops. The war claimed about 2,000 lives. The area occupied by China is still claimed by India. There have been no more border incidents since then. India and China also agreed in a declaration in 2005 on the mutual recognition of the current "Line of Actual Control" (armistice line) along the entire common border (Kashmir, Sikkim, McMahon line in Arunachal Pradesh). However, this agreement has not yet been legally anchored in a border treaty with the demarcation of the common border.

[7]) In 1963, Pakistan ceded its claims to all formerly Kashmiri territories occupied by China to China with reservations and definitely by contract in the 1980s, thereby provoking India, which claims all of Kashmir for itself.

[8]) AZAD (= "Free") Kashmir, a part of Kashmir occupied and administered by Pakistan, is not part of Pakistan under international law. It has its own president, government and parliament. The link between the government of Azad Kashmir and the Pakistani central government in Islamabad is the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas. According to Pakistani law, the status of all of Kashmir is open until a final settlement is reached, which is supposed to be based on a free decision by the Kashmiris themselves.

[9]) The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is an observer mission of the United Nations based on Resolution 91 (1951) along the ceasefire line. The headquarters of UNMOGIP are alternately stationed in Srinagar and Islamabad. Human resources (2007): 45 military observers, 65 civilian employees.

[10]) When the course of the armistice line between the parts of Kashmir occupied by India and Pakistan was established in 1949 and later in the Simla Agreement of 1972, it ended about 100 km from the Chinese border at coordinate point NJ9842, because it was assumed that in the area north of it human life is impossible in the long run. After the mountaineers became interested in climbing the mountains of the Siachen region, Pakistan allowed expeditions to be carried out, which were accompanied by their own military. Provoked by this, India occupied the glacier area in a military operation on April 13, 1984, as the Indian reconnaissance assumed that Pakistan was planning to do the same, but on April 17. When the Pakistanis tried to deploy their troops in this area, they found that the Indians had already occupied the main mountain passes west of the Siachen Glacier; they only managed to occupy the western slopes of the Saltoro Mountains. India holds two thirds of the glacier and two of the three mountain passes in this area. The operating area is located at an altitude of 6,300 to 6,400 m in one of the coldest regions in the world, where temperatures can drop to -40 ° C and below. The troop strength is 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers on both sides. Since the glacier area was occupied, more soldiers have died from the extreme weather conditions than from enemy action.

[11]) The Kashmir region is rich in water, which mainly flows into the Indus via tributaries. The Indus Water Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan regulates the use of water in the Indus and its tributaries. Pakistan was granted the (almost) sole right of use for the three western and particularly water-rich rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, while India received the rights of use for the three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Satluj. Since India's intensive water use caused the lower reaches of the eastern rivers on Pakistani territory to dry out, Pakistan was also awarded financial support to divert water from other sources through diversions and canals. The planned construction of new Indian barrages (e.g. construction of a new dam, the "Wular Barrage" on the Neelum, a tributary of the Jhelum) may exacerbate the water shortage in Pakistan. Pakistan sees the planned construction of dams in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir as a violation of the Indus water treaty.

[12]) The 1st Indo-Pakistani War was the first armed conflict between the South Asian states of India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region claimed by both sides. It began in October 1947 with the penetration of Pashtun militants into the previously formally independent state of Kashmir and ended in January 1949 with the de facto division of Kashmir into an Indian and a Pakistani-administered part. The second Indian-Pakistani war for Kashmir from August to September 1965 was preceded by a few skirmishes from April to July 1965 over the likewise controversial swamp area of ​​the "Rann of Kutch" in the southern section of the Indian-Pakistani border. The war ended with the restoration of the pre-war status.

[13]) In the 1972 Treaty of Simla, both states undertook to solve problems only bilaterally. Pakistan signed the agreement mainly to free its 90,000 prisoners of war. To this day, Pakistan has tried again and again to torpedo the bilateral approach and to achieve international mediation, especially in the Kashmir conflict. This is fundamentally rejected by India.

[14]) Religious parties in Pakistan have so far only been able to achieve a few percentage points (max. 11%) of the votes cast in elections (with approx. 35% - max. 45% turnout), but they dominate the masses of the population on the streets.

[15]) In the past few years there have been several momentous terrorist attacks in India. Most crimes are accused of militant Islamists, without this always being able to be proven in a court of law.

[16]) The involvement of the Pakistani terrorist group Laschkar e-Taiba in the attack is also admitted by Pakistan.

[17]) India has given its troop strength (military and paramilitary) in Kashmir only vaguely as 200,000 to 300,000 soldiers. Pakistan estimates the number of Indian security forces at around 500,000 to 700,000 men.

[18]) In a report published by WIKILEAKS by the US Embassy in New Delhi on April 6, 2005, frustrated representatives of the International Red Cross complained in detail in a confidential briefing to US diplomats about the serious human rights violations committed by Indian security forces against captured rioters and on the Civilian population in Kashmir.

[19]) Cf. Internet document: http://www.kas.de/haben/de/publications/20620/ of September 27, 2010; Kashmir as a hotbed of conflict: New paths to dialogue? Author: Dr. Beatrice Gorawantschy.

[20]) The "Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSP)" equips the members of Indian state security forces, border troops (Border Security Force) and associated paramilitary associations with unrestricted powers for operations in "disturbed areas" and largely guarantees impunity ; where “crisis area” is vaguely worded in the law (AFSPA Section 3). Section 4 of the AFSPA in conjunction with Section 15 is particularly serious. Even an officer of the armed forces who is not on duty can kill a person on mere suspicion in order to “maintain public order” (Section 4.a). Likewise, the armed forces and associated groups may arrest and detain suspects without an arrest warrant or destroy property suspected of being used by insurgents. According to Section 5, detainees should be handed over to the police "as soon as possible", but the section does not specify an exact time limit. The only possibility of the detention check opens the "habeas corpus procedure", as far as there is access to a court. No member of the armed forces can be brought to court without the express permission of the Union government (AFSPA Section 6). Although the security forces under AFSPA are primarily supposed to provide “help” to the civil authorities, AFSPA actually means unrestricted military law - de facto martial law - for an indefinite period. (Source: www.adivasi-koordination.de/dokumente/AKD_AFSPA.doc).

[21]) Cf. Internet document http://www.suedasien.info/analysen/2819 of August 21, 2010; Analyzes: South Asia - Politics & Law - Can the Kashmir conflict be resolved? Author: Jakob Rösel.

[22]) General Pervez Musharraf remained after his coup on October 12, 1999 against the civilian government under Nawaz Sharif and the assumption of the office of president until November 28, 2007 in the post of commander-in-chief of the army.

[23]) 2007: July 3rd, the military attacked the Islamist-occupied Red Mosque in Islamabad with 150 dead; October 18, Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan; November 14th, declaration of a state of emergency in Pakistan; December 27, murder of Benazir Bhutto; 2008: February 18, parliamentary elections; August 18, resignation of President Musharraf; November 26th, terrorist attack on tourist hotels in Mumbai / India.

[24]) Cf.Internet document: http://www.boell.de/downloads/100113_Abschlusserklaerung_Konferenz_Road_Map_Towards_Peace.pdf.

[25]) From May 11-13, 1998 India carried out five underground nuclear weapons tests, to which Pakistan responded from May 26-30, 1998 with six underground nuclear weapons tests.

[26]) Cf.: Study by the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP): “Civil-Military Counterinsurgency” from January 2011; http://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/studien/2011_S02_rdf_ks.pdf.

[27]) Cf. Internet document http://www.suedasien.info/analysen/2819 of August 21, 2010; Analyzes: South Asia - Politics & Law - Can the Kashmir conflict be resolved? Author: Jakob Rösel.

[28]) See press articles by Willi Germund in various newspapers in German-speaking countries. E.g. Internet document: http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/archiv/.bin/dump.fcgi/2008/1222/meinung/0012/index.html.

[29]) Religious boundaries: see footnote 5.