Since signing of Simla Pact, Pakistan’s approach to resolve Kashmir dispute is based more on Indo-Pak mutual talks than on internationalization of this dispute. Pakistan’s this approach towards Kashmir dispute has led international community to believe that Kashmir is a Pak-India’s mutual dispute which should be resolved through Pak-India’s mutual talks. This scenario underlines only a nominal role of APHC and reflects prime importance of Pak-India’s role to settle this dispute. Such a bilateral approach to resolve Kashmir dispute goes in India’s favor because it enables India to defer settlement of this dispute indefinitely, and also to settle this dispute (if India would will it so at any distant point in the future history) in India’s favor instead of settling it fairly. On the other hand, if Pakistan adopts approach of ‘Internationalization of the dispute’, such approach would deprive India of veto power which India enjoys in case of bilateral approach, and would enhance chances of fair settlement of Kashmir dispute.
India’s recent demand from Pakistan for not involving APHC in settlement of Kashmir dispute is not only a pretension to call off the Pak-India talks but also a well thought over India’s policy tactic to forestall internationalization of Kashmir dispute. India knows very well if Pakistan switches over from bilateral approach to internationalization approach regarding Kashmir dispute, Pakistan can do so only through presenting Kashmir dispute to international community as an issue of right of self-determination of millions of Kashmiri people; in other words, role of APHC needs to be enhanced in order to internationalize the dispute. India’s recent bet to play down APHC’s importance in order to forestall internationalization of Kashmir dispute can also be better understood by taking into account changing regional scenario which has tilted towards Pakistan.
Historically Russia (erstwhile USSR) has been supporting India against Pakistan in the Security Council because Pakistan was considered to be in the USA’s camp. With the emergence of China as economic super power of the region, China needs to establish itself as the greatest economic stake-holder in the region in order to not only maintain but also further enhance its international economic stature. Resultantly we are seeing huge Chinese investments in CAS, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, which would lead to economic integration of these countries in near future. Russia is fully aware of Pakistan’s economic and strategic importance in the emerging regional scenario which reflects Pak-China Economic Corridor as vanguard of regional economic integration. As a result, we are seeing emergence of friendly economic and defense relations between Pakistan and Russia. This changed regional scenario has deprived India of unconditional USSR’s support in the Security Council against Pakistan; if Pakistan agitates the Security Council to proceed further to settle Kashmir dispute on the basis of UN resolutions, Russia’s worst reaction would NOT be to veto Pakistan’s initiative. If Pakistan effectively presents Kashmir dispute as a dispute for ‘right of self-determination’ of millions of Kashmiris’ (NOT as Pak-India’s mutual dispute) Pakistan may bring extra and effective pressure on India to initiate meaningful dialogues, even if Pakistan fails to get the dispute resolved as per UN resolutions. India, being mindful of all these possibilities, has adopted a well thought over policy tactic to keep APHC out of the process of Pak-India negotiations over Kashmir dispute.
It also needs to be appreciated that, in the present global world, all countries are economically dependent on one another in varying degrees. Such dependence limits every country’s capability to bring economic and diplomatic pressures on another country. Pakistan, being aware of this fact, has to employ some other tools as well to bring India to terms. One such tool may be to shut doors of likely emerging regional economic integration block to India. Pakistan should be determined to go to every extent to block India’s way to this regional economic block, until and unless India resolves Kashmir dispute fairly. Another tool to bring pressure on India may be to convert India’s security perceptions into real and clear security dangers for India; for the purpose all freedom movements, including Kashmir movement, going on in India may be strengthened. Pakistan is much more integrated entity than India; Pakistan may safely take risk of Indian counter subversive activities in Pakistan. It may be only unbearable cost in terms of economy and security that may force India to come into terms with Pakistan.
We may conclude that the changing regional scenario demands Pakistan to change its Kashmir policy. Pakistan has to switch over from bilateral approach to internationalization approach to settle Kashmir dispute. At the same time, Pakistan may employ economic and security pressures to bring India to terms.