Report on Kashmir Conference of April 14, 2002
by Michael D. Intriligator, Burkle Center for International Relations and Professor of Economics, Political Science, and Policy Studies, and Stanley Wolpert, Professor of History, UCLA
The UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations (BCIR) held a one-day conference on April 14, 2002 on “Kashmir: Ways to Help Resolve One of the World’s Most Dangerous Conflicts.” The conference, held at the UCLA Faculty Center, brought together Kashmiris, both Muslim and Hindu (Pandits) as well as Indians and Pakistanis, with the purpose of identifying constructive proposals for defusing an extremely dangerous situation in Kashmir. Kashmir has been divided into an Indian portion, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) (which Pakistan calls “Indian occupied Kashmir”) a Pakistani portion, Azad Kashmir (which India calls “Pakistan occupied Kashmir”) and a small northern portion occupied by China. India and Pakistan have, together, fought three wars over Kashmir; there have been repeated incidents and clashes; and India and Pakistan have close to a million troops at the border. Further complicating matters are the nuclear weapons in both India and Pakistan, as demonstrated by the tests both conducted in May 1998. While Kashmir does not receive the attention and press coverage of other potential conflict situations, such as the Middle East, it is clearly one of the most dangerous potential conflict situations in the world today.
The conference attracted over 300 participants, a record for BCIR conferences, with intense interest on the part of the various communities involved. Speakers at the conference included scholars, diplomats, and others from Kashmir, India, and Pakistan. UCLA speakers included Professors Stanley Wolpert and D.R. SarDesai from the Department of History and Professor Michael D. Intriligator from BCIR and the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Policy Studies. After a review of the history of the Kashmir conflict by Professor Wolpert, Professor Raju Thomas of Marquette University, who earned his Ph.D. at UCLA in Political Science, spoke on the nuclear dimension of the conflict, with comments by Brigadier Feroze Khan of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. Professor Subhash Kak of Louisiana State University presented the Kashmiri perspective, with comments by Lord Nazir Ahmed of the British House of Lords. Professor Mustapha Kamal Pasha of American University presented the Pakistani perspective, and Professor SarDesai presented the Indian perspective. At the lunch, messages were read from Indian Ambassador to the United States, Lalit Mansingh and Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan’s Special Representative to East Timor. The Pakistani Consul General in Los Angeles, Raana Rahim, read a message from the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Lodhi, and added her own message. Professor Ravi Kalia, of CCNY read a message from former Prime Minister of India I.K. Gujral and presented his own views. Finally, Lord Nazir Ahmad gave his presentation, concluding the luncheon.
We reserved ample time was for questions and comments, and many points of view were presented. Feelings were strong among the participants, and, at one point in the morning, there was an unruly disturbance for a few minutes. Fortunately, order was restored, and, in the afternoon there were many genuine expressions of support for the people of Kashmir as well as support of Muslims by Hindus and of Hindus by Muslims. Younger members of the Kashmiri community of Los Angeles who attended the conference expressed hopeful optimism at meeting so many of their Kashmiri contemporaries whom they never had seen nor spoken with before.
At the end of the meeting a document was prepared by members of the Los Angeles Kashmiri community and read aloud by one of its young women members. The seven-point agenda for settling the Kashmir dispute in that document called for opening borders for trade and withdrawal of military and paramilitary forces from both sides. Most importantly, it called for third-party mediation of the Kashmir dispute, with the United States playing a key role in such mediation. Another proposal presented at the conference was that former President Jimmy Carter might become a mediator in this dispute, as he has successfully done in other regions.
Overall, the conference combined both an academic meeting, with scholarly papers being presented and discussed, and a Town Hall meeting, where people could openly express their views on the subject of Kashmir.
“The Kashmir Conflict From Various Perspectives: How Best to Defuse and Resolve It”
8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Registration (UCLA Faculty Center Entrance)
9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Welcoming Greetings (California Room)
Professor Michael D. Intriligator, Director, Burkle Center for International Relations, UCLA
Professor Stanley Wolpert, Department of History, UCLA
9:30 a.m.– 10:00 a.m. “Historical Background to the Kashmir Conflict”
Professor Stanley Wolpert, Department of History, UCLA
10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. “The Nuclear Dimension: Added Urgency to Resolve Conflicts in South Asia.”
Professor Raju Thomas, Marquette University
Comments: Brigadier Feroze Khan, Woodrow Wilson Fellow
10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. The Kashmiri Perspective:
Professor Subhash Kak, Louisiana University
Comments: Dr. Muzaffar Shah, Kashmiri Action Council
Lord Nazir Ahmed, Britain’s House of Lords
11:15 a.m. –11:45 p.m. Questions and Comments from the Audience
Tea and Coffee Break
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The Pakistani Perspective: Professor Mustapha Kalam Pasha American University
The Indian Perspective: Professor D. R. SarDesai, UCLA
The U.N. Perspective: Dr. John Renninger, Director of Asian Affairs for the United Nations
12:30 p.m. -1:00 p.m. Questions and Comments
1:00 p.m. -2:30 p.m. Lunch (Main Dining Room)
Professor Stanly Wolpert, Department of History, UCLA
Messages from Indian Ambassador Mansingh and Secretary General Kofi Annan's special representative to East Timor, Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, will be read aloud
Consul General R. Rahim, Pakistan - She will join us to deliver her own greetings and read a message from Pakistan's Ambassador, Dr. Lodhi Professor Ravi Kalia, CCNY - He will read a message from former Prime Minister of India, I.K. Gujral
Lord Nazir Ahmed, Britain's House of Lords, Professor Michael D. Intriligator, Director, Burkle Center for International Relations, UCLA
2:30 p.m. -4:00 p.m. Plenary Discussion (California Room)
Resolutions drafted by the panelists or submitted from the floor for practical ways to resolve the Kashmir conflict as expeditiously as possible. L.A. Kasmiri Community Resolution.
4:00 p.m. -4:30 p.m. Tea and Coffee Break
Drafting scholars prepare resolutions to be discussed for broader circulation.
4:30 p.m. -5:00 p.m. Final Plenary Session (California Room)
Discussion of Resolutions to be forwarded to Washington, New York, London, New Delhi, Islamabad, Muzaffarabad, Srinagar, and Geneva
Date: Sunday, April 14, 2002
Time: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
UCLA Faculty Center
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations