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Siddhartha Jain asked: What are the short-term and long-term solutions to the Kashmir insurgency?

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  • Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: Kashmir is a difficult issue woven into the nationalist consciousness in both India and Pakistan over the decades. India considers it its secular crown; Pakistan regards it as its jugular vein and its terra irredenta (un-redeemed territory that rightfully belonged to it). Hence, to expect an early solution is unrealistic. But the two countries must take measures to improve bilateral relationship progressively and create conducive atmosphere for such thorny issues to be discussed in a dispassionate manner.

    Short term measures could be keeping the official and unofficial lines of communications alive even in the face of gravest provocations from the spoilers, and keep discussing the issues isolated under the composite dialogue. The progress made through dialogue begs for better dissemination through media. More regular dialogue between security establishments is another measure which may moderate Pakistani approach towards India. Moreover, peace along the LoC and international border should be ensured by both the countries at all costs.

    Long term measures could be setting up a high level joint body from both the countries at a semi-official level and encourage it to thrash out issues related to Kashmir, and identify shortcomings in various approaches adopted by both the countries so far. There is also a significant body of literature on how to resolve the Kashmir issue based on measures adopted by countries at the international level while dealing with similar cases. Issues like porous borders, shared control, joint sovereignty, neutral terrain, etc., have been discussed in the available literature. Such efforts can tap into the existing literature and suggest alternatives to both the governments.