PARIS: “Peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue could pave way for a better security situation in Afghanistan,” feels the official spokesperson of the French government. The logic behind it is that if Pakistan is free of the tensions on its eastern border it shares with India, then Islamabad could concentrate more on security issues that dog its western border which straddles with Afghanistan.
Talking to a group of visiting journalists, Eric Chevallier, special advisor to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, who is also the spokesperson for the French foreign office, said the renewed interest and the new international push to solving the long standing Kashmir dispute ‘makes sense.’
He explained that if there is decreased tension on the Pakistan-India border with Kashmir, the Pakistani security apparatus could put enhanced efforts in securing the porous border Pakistan shares with Afghanistan. “Solving the Kashmir dispute will help everybody in the region,” said Chevallier.
He further said that resolving the Kashmir issue might also help avoid the cross border bombing of the tribal areas of Pakistan. Towards finding a negotiated settlement of the Afghan problem, France is hosting in Paris a special regional meeting of all the countries that are neighbors to Afghanistan, with the hope that a quick solution can be found to the Afghan crisis. Chevallier emphasized that ‘there is no military solution to the issue of Afghanistan’.
On the Kashmir issue, similar opinions have also been voiced by the incumbent Democratic administration in Washington DC. For India’s part, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has gone on record saying that the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue between the two neighbors. Further on being questioned as to whether France supports the UN plebiscite in Kashmir, Chevallier said, “The Kashmiri people should find a way to develop peace in the region.”-SANA