MOSCOW – The long ignored suffering of the Kashmiri people carries with it the world’s greatest risk of full-scale nuclear war between two long-standing adversaries.
Tensions have re-emerged in the disputed territory of Kashmir, a Muslim-dominated region a part of which has long been controlled by India and whose population longs to be reunited with their brethren in Pakistan, exacerbating longstanding tensions between the two nuclear powers, Russian news agency Sputnik in a report said Sunday.
Ten years ago, Pakistan and India stepped away from the abyss, after decades of warring over the territory, by deciding in principle to dissipate tensions and allowing the free movement of people and goods across the line of control.
The win-win agreement would have seen the two countries withdraw one million soldiers from Kashmir and administer the territory jointly providing residents more autonomy as progress moved towards a final resolution – but it never happened.
The situation in Kashmir today is now as dire as it was when over a million soldiers were always a hair-string trigger way from turning the territory into one of the world’s worst conflict zones.
In 1947, the disastrous partition of India administered by Lord Mountbatten, a friend of India’s founder Jawaharlal Nehru, stripped Pakistan of a future by separating it into two parts – East and West Pakistan – separated by over a thousand miles of India’s territory.
The partition itself resulted in the death of some 1 million people and years later, after a bloody war and another 1 million people killed, East Pakistan ultimately became Bangladesh.
There were other mistakes in the map making process too.
Pakistan and India now sit on roughly 120 nuclear warheads each – enough to eradicate life from earth several times over – and if the 1989-2002 conflict between the two countries, a violent cycle that led to at least 50,000 deaths according to Human Rights Watch and as many as 90,000 dead Kashmiri Muslims according to retired Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-NY), is any indicator then the situation could escalate rapidly towards a doomsday scenario.