`US should ask Pakistan to lay off from Kashmir`

An eminent American expert on South Asian affairs has said that it is time the US declare that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir.

Washington: As Obama Administration gears itself for its second term, an eminent American expert on South Asian affairs has said that it is time the US declare that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir and that the decision of the then Maharaja of Kashmir to accede is final.

Reflecting the changing mood of think-tank and experts in US, the expert in an article in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine argued that the US should stop seeking to buy Pakistan off with civilian aid or military assistance and make it clear that it will hold Islamabad responsible for any kind of proliferation of nuclear materials that occurs.

"The United States must frankly concede that it has subsidised and incentivised Pakistan to adopt this insane path to security," said C Christine Fair, the assistant professor at Georgetown University`s Security Studies Program in the Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service.

"Pakistan`s security managers believe that the United States cannot punish Pakistan for its use of terrorism as a policy tool -- but this is exactly what the US must do.
"While this is not a risk-free proposition, the next administration should consider taking the following steps to deprive Pakistan of the coercive power it covets," she wrote.

According to Fair, Washington must recognise that Pakistan`s nuclear weapons coerce both India and the US.

The US intervention in the region`s frequent crises has shielded Pakistan from bearing the direct cost of its misadventures.

"The US must remove itself from the Indo-Pakistan equation by declaring that it no longer entertains Pakistan`s central claims on Kashmir.”

"Pakistan was not entitled to Kashmir -- the legality of Pakistan`s claims is specious and always has been. The king (Maharaja Hari Singh) of Kashmir had a right to accede to India, which he exercised. The accession was prompted by the invasion of Pakistani marauders that enjoyed extensive direct civilian and military support," Fair said.

"Equally important, the US should rubbish any notion that Pakistan has a positive role to play in ameliorating the suffering of Kashmiris, due to the decades of terrorism it has sponsored in Kashmir and beyond.”

"The United States should instead focus its energies on persuading New Delhi to make right by the reasonable and constitutional demands of its Kashmiri citizenry.”

"This will put India on the spot to follow through and consolidate a hard-won peace," she wrote.