But ominously, Barack Obama, the new US president-elect, is on record saying that India must ÃÂsolveÃÂ the Kashmir issue to PakistanÃÂs satisfaction.
His (convoluted) logic is that only then will Pakistan concentrate on the fight against Al Qaeda! In short he wants India to hand over Kashmir to Pakistan so that Pakistan will crush Taliban/Al Qaeda.
He will not be the first or the last American to think on these lines. India has so often been told that Pakistan is the spoilt brat and a danger to world so India must sacrifice and appease it. Nobody cares to point out that it will mean pushing more areas into the lawless land that is Pakistan! Surrender on Kashmir will only embolden the religious extremists in the entire subcontinent. Repercussions of a ÃÂpartitionÃÂ of Kashmir on grounds of religion will open PandoraÃÂs Box in the Jammu region and all over the country. Unfortunately the pseudo liberals (some of them in pay roll of the oil rich countries) are the one to be blamed equally. For while they have cried hoarse over the Gujarat communal riots, they have been deafeningly silent on forcible ethnic cleansing of 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. No wonder, a novice in international politics like Barack Obama gets away with outrageous ideas on Kashmir.
Kashmir may well prove to be the usual stumbling block in the emerging Indo-US partnership. It was so in 1963 during Kennedy Presidency. History may well repeat itself.
Image: A school boy reaches out to kiss a cut-out of US president-elect BarackObama at a function to celebrate the victory in New Delhi on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. (Photograph Copyright Associated Press. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.)
Colonel (retd) Dr Anil Athale is a Chhatrapati Shivaji Chair Fellow of the United Services Institute and co-ordinator of INPAD, a Pune based think-tank. He is also the author of ÃÂNuclear Menace: the Satyagraha ApproachÃÂ (Pub 1997).