Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Indians Accuse Powell of Meddling
Interesting story by Rama Laskshmi in todays Post with regards to Secretary Powell's comments to allow international monitors to watch over elections in Jammu and Kashmir that are to occur in a couple of months. It seems that the Indians have taken this as a personal affront to their sovereignty. While I see the Indian point, the fact that Kashmir has now been brought again into the Worlds eye complemented by the games that the Central government has played in Kashmiri elections in the past, makes it almost sensible for the Indians to allow international observers to watch the process. Hopefully however, none of those observers are from Florida, are or have any relation to the Republican, or actually come from America.

"We have said very clearly that we don't object to diplomatic or media representatives or visitors in their individual capacities wishing to go to the state, but not to investigate or certify the elections," said a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Nirupama Rao. "Whoever obtains a visa for India is free to travel to any part of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, although nongovernmental organizations and other groups which may seek formal status as observers will not be permitted."

I think it might be wise to have an international monitoring force, I do not see it happening. I also think it is odd for the Americans, rather than the Brits, the Germans, or any other country to suggest this. Have we forgotten the debacle that was the 2000 election, where certain groups were denied franchise, or where votes were not counted? Have we forgotten that George W. Bush is really not the chosen leader of the United States? Have we forgotten that the U.S. loves to deal with dictators, those leaders not elected democratically when it is in their interest, without promoting return to democratic rule? When was the last time the U.S. has publicly asked Musharraf about his alleged timetable for democracy. The issue really isn't this, or the Americans. Rather, it is, can the Indians, really allow the Kashmiri people to have free and fair elections? I hope that the answer is yes. I just hope no government, monitoring group, or militant group affects the outcome.


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