DATE=8/21/1999 TYPE=ON THE LINE TITLE=ON THE LINE: THE INDIA-PAKISTAN DISPUTE NUMBER=1-00770 MEDIUM-LENGTH VERSION EDITOR=OFFICE OF POLICY - 619-0037 CONTENT= ACTUALITIES AVAILABLE IN POLICY OFFICE Anncr: On the Line - a discussion of United States policy and contemporary issues. This week, "The India-Pakistan Dispute." Here is your host,-- ------. Host: Hello and welcome to On the Line. Fighting in Kashmir between Indian troops and Muslim militants has ended, and the danger of a full-scale conflict between India and Pakistan has receded. Earlier this year, India and Pakistan seemed to be moving towards improved relations. The prime ministers of both nations met in Lahore, Pakistan, in February, the first such visit by an Indian leader in a decade. The dialogue was seen as all the more important since both countries had conducted successful nuclear weapons tests last year. When fighting in Kargil broke out in May, it provoked worldwide concern because, as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, "Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint." Joining me today to discuss the crisis between India and Pakistan are three experts. Stephen Cohen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Zalmay Khalilzad is director of the strategy and doctrine program at the RAND Corporation and a former Assistant Under Secretary of Defense. And Michael Krepon is president of the Henry Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank. Welcome to the program. Stephen Cohen, how is it that, so soon after an agreement between the two prime ministers in Lahore to peacefully settle the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, there was an armed conflagration in Kashmir? Cohen: Apparently, Nawaz Sharif decided to give permission for an incursion by the Pakistan military or something supported by the Pakistan military. And either it was larger than he thought it would be or it got out of hand. It was more successful than he thought it would be, and the Indians suffered at least a tactical military defeat. I think, though, that Lahore and Kargil, these two extremes, do represent the way in which the countries relate to each other. They do find it hard to establish a normal working relationship. And that's been with us for forty- five years. Host: Zalmay Khalilzad, could conflicts like the one in Kashmir lead to a larger war? Khalilzad: The problem is whether the Pakistani Prime Minister miscalculated, that is, in thinking that the war can remain limited, that they can indulge in activities like Kargil. But things might get out of hand and inadvertently lead to a bigger war. Neither wants a big war but, out of miscalculation, war is an unpredictable business. It is plausible that, as Pakistanis pursue an insurgency strategy against India, the Indian reactions and Pakistani counter-reactions to that could, not that it necessarily would, lead to a bigger war, including the use of nuclear weapons. Host: Mr. Krepon, wasn't the danger of nuclear escalation supposed to prevent Pakistan and India from fighting even conventional conflicts? Krepon: It was a terrible miscalculation on the part of some of the Pakistani military leaders and on the part of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to pursue a Kargil strategy immediately after a Lahore strategy. This speaks to the growing incoherence of Pakistan's approach toward India and also the difficulties that are growing within Pakistan itself. Host: Stephen Cohen from the Brookings Institution, to what extent does the incoherence in Pakistan's Kashmir policy reflect political incoherence inside Pakistan? Cohen: Pakistan has been groping for a new political order almost since the day it was born. It has gone through several definitions of what it means to be a Pakistani and what Pakistan stands for, ranging from being "not Indian" to being Islamic, and everything in between. The military have played an inordinate role in Pakistani politics. And in a sense, since they have been in power for almost twenty-five years, half the country's existence, they have not allowed civilians to rise up and assume their own political role. And therefore their security and defense policy-making in Pakistan is somewhat imbalanced. One of Pakistan's problems is that it is strategically too far extended. It has really overreached itself. Host: Michael Krepon from the Stimson Center, how do the two sides view the Kashmir problem? Krepon: Pakistan's Kashmir problem is that Pakistan's Kashmir policy is an insurgency policy. And the more Pakistan resorts to the use of the gun within Kashmir, the more the gun becomes prevalent within Pakistan itself. And so Pakistan's Kashmir policy threatens Pakistan. And it does not help Kashmiris. India also has a Kashmir problem. India's Kashmir problem is that India's governance has not done real well in the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir. There is widespread alienation. People do not like what the Indian security forces are doing on the ground. India's approach to Kashmir has had only one track, which is fighting insurgency. And every Indian scholar who has looked at Kashmir has come to the same conclusion. A one-track policy for Kashmir is not going to work. Host: Zalmay Khalilzad from the RAND Corporation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with President Bill Clinton on the 4th of July. President Clinton stated that he would take a personal interest in resolving the Kashmir dispute. How can the United States do that? Khalilzad: I think that for the immediate future I don't see a real prospect for a settlement or a compromise between India and Pakistan. The options clearly could be acceptance of the current line of control [that divides Kashmir into Indian- and Pakistan-controlled sections], some modification of the current line of control in favor of Pakistan, and independence for Kashmir, or a grand bargain across south Asia involving China and India. I think that the problem is not only India, but the problem is also Pakistan because each of the alternatives, except one in which the whole of Kashmir comes and joins Pakistan, poses Pakistan with extreme dilemmas and challenges. But I think what we need to do is to become more engaged in preparing the grounds for a settlement over the longer term. The near term is to manage the crisis and prevent it from getting out of control. Host: Stephen Cohen from the Brooking Institution, what should America's role be? Cohen: I would be worried about a direct and major American role. I do think that America has interests in the region and has to get engaged, but more gradually. America should engage other countries, not simply China, because China and the Saudis have some influence in Pakistan, but also Japan and some of the European states, which are concerned about both Kashmir and the nuclear issue. There are really two separate issues, the question of a nuclear war or nuclear proliferation from the region, and as well as to the region, and a conflict in Kashmir. I don't think that Kashmir itself necessarily leads to a nuclear war. These problems are tied together. They have to be unraveled in some way. And a more careful, extended diplomacy or diplomatic effort is necessary to deal with them both, a sort of parallel process. So I think a more holistic, comprehensive American view is necessary. Host: I'm afraid that's all the time we have and I would like to thank our guests, Stephen Cohen from the Brookings Institute, Zalmay Khalilzad from the RAND Corporation, and Michael Krepon from the Henry Stimson Center, for joining me to discuss the India-Pakistan dispute. This is ------ - for On the Line. 24-Aug-1999 13:30 PM EDT (24-Aug-1999 1730 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .