While the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs was discussing the prevailing turmoil in Balochistan, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who was heading the session was largely perturbed by something else. He demanded that the right of self-determination must be granted to Kashmiris. Such opinion in the Foreign Affairs Committee must have caused quite a stir. It is very rare that Americans politicians talk about Kashmir issue let alone demand its resolution.

In the past a number of American leaders, including President Bill Clinton have expressed their concern at the dispute. Although in his first term, Clinton promised that if elected for a second time, he would make serious effort to resolve the issue, this promise turned out to be just hot air. President Obama also promised during his electoral campaign that if elected, he would help settle the dispute. His were also hollow words. Although US leaders know that the conflict has become a nuclear flashpoint, they fight shy of mustering the courage to work towards its resolution. Apparently one big hurdle is the influence Indian lobby exercises in Washington’s corridors of power. The US penchant for broadening trade ties with India appears yet another reason, why most of the US leaders tend to keep mum on the issue. However it is hoped that Rohrabacher’s call for right of self-determination would impress upon other Senators the need of pressurising India into respecting the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir. It is good to know that despite Indian mantra of ‘integral part’, there are a few US leaders who are not willing to regard the Valley as such. Kashmir moreover is a leftover problem of the partition that has caused wars between Pakistan and India. The US that calls the shots at the UN Security Council has an obligation to see to it that its resolutions are implemented in letter and in spirit.

New Delhi’s construction of over 60 dams in the held Valley further reveals its plans to perpetuate its stranglehold over Kashmir. Already some of these reservoirs are being used as a lever to block our legitimate share of Indus waters. This has stymied efforts for a timely resolution of the conflict. Worse still the growing tension could push the two nuclear armed rivals to the brink of a serious military confrontation in near future. India must be warned that the right of self-determination is something that is Kashmiris’ inalienable right. It must now be vested in the people of the Valley to prevent violence and more wars.