Proposed: Free Kashmir
The contested region of Jammu and Kasmir, shown around the number 10 near the top of a Wikipedia map, has inspired passions and war among India, China, and Pakistan. While the situation has been largely stable on the state-to-state level for years, the unsettled status of the region continues to inspire militancy. It may therefore be prudent to take advantage of the current relative stability to pursue a more permanent solution to outstanding grievances in the region.
One concept for such a solution would call for creation of a state — call it Kashmir — spanning the entire contested area, including parcels now controlled by China, India, and Pakistan. Kashmir would have its own government but no army. Indian troops would remain on the portion now controlled by India; similarly for troops from Pakistan and China. The mandate for such troops would be limited to defense of the regions they now control.
In this proposal, that status quo would remain unchanged for ten years. During that time, Kashmir would develop its ability to govern itself. After that ten-year pause — extensible for one or two additional five-year terms at the insistence of any of the three parties — Kashmir would begin to develop its own armed forces, concomitant with a winding-down of the external armies, over a five-year period. Pakistan, China, and India would retain the right to withdraw from the agreement — to revert, that is, to today’s disputes — upon serious indications that Kashmir was failing to persist as an independent, effectively self-governed, perhaps neutral state.
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Tags: china, disputed, free, independent, India, Jammu, Kashmir, militants, pakistan, territories