Washington, Jan. 6 (ANI): US President-elect Barack Obama has made his first big foreign-policy mistake in pledging U.S. intervention in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, believes noted South Asian expert Selig S. Harrison.
In article for the Washington Times, Harrison says that in announcing plans to send a special envoy to Pakistan and India to discuss the Kashmir issue, Obama "not only will confront bitter opposition to U.S. intervention from India, which occupies the prized Kashmir Valley, but also will face resistance from Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari."
"The rationale for intervention is that fear of India requires Pakistan to strengthen its western front in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban. But the reason for Pakistani support of the Taliban and jihadi forces in Kashmir is that its military and intelligence agencies are riddled with Islamists," Harrison says.
By questioning the Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, he warns that the United States would strengthen jihadi forces in both Islamabad and Srinagar.
"More importantly, it would undermine improving U.S.-India relations," he adds.
What Washington should do instead is support Mr. Zardari's strategy for peace with India, he says.
"The appointment of a high-level regional envoy in South Asia to promote cooperation among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in combating al Qaeda and its allies would be desirable in the aftermath of Mumbai. But Kashmir indeed would be a tar pit for such an envoy. A U.S. Kashmir initiative, however veiled, would poison relations between New Delhi and Washington," he says, adding that "Obama will learn, if he persists, that Kashmir is not a territorial issue". (ANI)