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'Nehru blocked Kashmir accord'

May 31, 2006 16:59 IST
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If Nehru had accepted a US-British proposal in 1963 for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute, the history of the subcontinent would have quite different, says a report in the Daily Times, Pakistan.

Quoting from The India-Pakistan Negotiating Experience, a book by former US State Department official and South Asia specialist Dennis Kux, the report says that 'by the time the proposal was submitted to the Indian and Pakistani governments, "President Kennedy had grown increasingly pessimistic about the negotiations". '

The proposal, called 'Elements of a Kashmir settlement,' worked out by US President John Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, however, reached Pakistan before India due a bureaucratic bungle. And according to Kux, Nehru "used" this as "an excuse to finish" what he called "these ill-conceived initiatives however well-intentioned they may be", says the report.

The Death of Nehru's India

The American ambassador in New Delhi, JK Galbraith, cabled Washington that Nehru was "unquestionably angry, in part at my pressure, much more at the fact that I have translated his vague talk of wanting a settlement into firm concessions that he doesn't want to make," the Daily Times quotes from the book.

Four rounds of talks had already taken place between then foreign ministers ZA Bhutto of Pakistan and Swaran Singh of India before the proposal was tabled, and two more were held later. All ended without any result.

Quoting further from the book, the report -- titled 'Kashmir dispute could have been settled in 1963, but for Nehru'-- says the joint US-UK proposal said "neither India nor Pakistan can entirely give up its claim to the Kashmir Valley," therefore, "each must have a substantial position in the Valley".

India and Pakistan, "must have assured access through the Vale for the defence of their positions in the north and the east. These defence arrangements must be such as not to impede a disengagement of Indian and Pakistani forces."

"Outside the Valley, the economic and strategic interests of the two countries should be recognised, e.g., India's position in Ladakh and Pakistan's interest in the development of water storage facilities on the Chenab".

"The position of the two countries in the Valley must be such as to permit

  • (a) clearly defined arrangements for sovereignty and for the maintenance of law and order;
  • (b) political freedom and some measure of local self-rule for the inhabitants;
  • (c) free movement of the people of the Valley throughout the Vale and their relatively free movement to other parts of Kashmir and to India and Pakistan;
  • (d) the rapid development by India and Pakistan of tourism in the Kashmir area - with its important foreign exchange potential for both countries; and
  • (e) the effective use in Kashmir of development funds, available for external sources, for such purposes as improving water and forestry resources, the development of communications and small industries, and improving the health and welfare of the people."

Kux has also written The United States and Pakistan, 1947-2000:Disenchanted Alliesand co-authored India and the United States: Estranged Democracies 1941 - 1991, with Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

More reports from Pakistan

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