Kashmir Conflict Will Last for 100 Years, says Cohen

Jammu, May 31 (IANS) A leading American expert on South Asia feels that the India-Pakistan conflict over Jammu and Kashmir will last for 100 years -- or perhaps even more.

Stephen P. Cohen, author of "The Idea of Pakistan" and a senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, told the Pakistani newspaper Dawn: "My prediction is that the India-Pakistan conflict, which includes Kashmir besides many other problems, will last for 100 years or even more."

"I am very pessimistic about a solution between the two countries. They should cooperate over trade, for instance. Kashmir will eventually find its way (to a solution).

"The US should have only a silent role which should be limited to providing ideas and suggestions as we often do in the Middle East peace process."

Cohen said he was writing a book about the India-Pakistan rivalry and that he would call it a "hundred year old war".

He was asked if the Pakistan Army can ever overcome its obsession with India and how the US can help the two countries resolve their dragging row over Jammu and Kashmir, which is divided between them.

Cohen said the Pakistan Army was today more anti-American than radical. He traced the radicalisation of the Pakistan Army to the days of the movement which led to the break up of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh.

That was when the army recruited people for outfits such as Al Badar and its death squads.

This, Cohen said, became more systematic during the regime of Zia-ul-Haq both in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

"Now, it is a full-fledged strategic alliance for the Pakistan military."

Cohen also felt that the Pakistani Army was more anti-American than anti-India.

"It has become more anti-American. Some sections of the army are more anti-American than they are anti-India.

"The obsession with India, on the other hand, is weakening Pakistan rather than strengthening it. Pakistan has a huge list of reforms that it should have made."


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Title: Kashmir Conflict Will Last for 100 Years, says Cohen

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