Rama Lakshmi reports for the Washington Post on India's extension of its fence to keep Pakistani Islamic guerillas out of Jammu and Kashmir.
Construction of the fences began in the late 1980s in the state of Punjab, when India faced an armed Sikh separatist uprising and weapons were being smuggled from Pakistan. The fences now cover almost half the border, at a cost so far of $300 million. India is pushing ahead with work in Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, to stop Islamic guerrillas from entering from Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan of training and arming militants who are fighting to end India's rule in Kashmir. The two nations have fought two of their three wars over the region.
Lakshmi says the fence illustrates "the deep suspicion, hostility and paranoia that have bedeviled relations between the nuclear neighbors for more than half a century". What is it with reporters who write like this? The fence is being built because it will reduce the number of people who get killed by Islamic fighters who come across the Line Of Control from Pakistan to India. The fence "illustrates" the desire of the Indian government to reduce the number of people who live in fear and get wounded and killed.
Is the main problem between India and Pakistan "deep suspicion, hostility and paranoia"? Or is the main problem quite simply that Pakistan's leaders and people have convinced themselves (as Muslims have done in many other regions of the world) that the only natural order of things is for Muslims to rule Muslms and Muslims to rule non-Muslims and that it is never right for non-Muslims to rule Muslims?
A Pakistani general is quoted in the article claiming that since the Jammu and Kashmir border is not officially settled India's construction of a fence thru it is an attempt to alter the status of the disputed region and therefore is a violate international commitments. But isn't Pakistani support for fighters who kill people in the disputed region and in the rest of India an attempt to alter the status of the area and therefore doesn't it also constitute a violation of international commitments? I'm skeptical of lofty-sounding legal rhetoric trotted out to justify a position in a conflict between nations.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 August 02 01:16 PM Civilizations Clash Of|