Kashmir issue is closer to a solution, said Lieutenant General (Retd.) Moti Dar, a Kashmir expert at the third international symposium organized by Indo-American Community Federation (IACF) and Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF) held August 17 at the Logan High School conference room in Union City, California. Lieutenant General Moti Dar of the Indian Army has intimate knowledge and experience of India-Pakistan relations and his rationale is that increasing pressure on Pakistan to democratize bodes well for a solution.
The General served over 40 years in the Indian Army and has participated in strategic talks at the highest levels. He is well known to top leaders in the USA and India and has worked closely with the new Indian President. Gen. Dar gave a fascinating account of Kashmir from pre-British days to the recent border build-up, complete with anecdotes from his own distinguished career. He went on to explain that while progress may be slow in the next two years due to political pressures in Pakistan and India, on the whole the nuclear deterrent and the growing international interest in Kashmir favors a peaceful solution on mutually acceptable bilateral terms.
Earlier in the day, keynote speaker Congressman Pete Stark (D) of the 13th District opened the symposium on an upbeat note. The senior ranking Congressman, who happens to have an engineering degree from MIT, asserted, “Every American resident has the right to constitutional protection under our laws”. Although the current administration was zealous to a fault and tight-lipped even in Congressional briefings, people can still “look to the courts to protect civil liberties” and minorities should not hesitate to press for their civil rights in the courts. With respect to Kashmir, noting that “the Egypt-Israel peace accord has worked,” Rep. Stark expressed confidence that bold leadership on both sides will lead to a bilateral resolution of the dispute.