Syed Nazir Gilani, risingkashmir.com
India seems to be preparing itself to ‘buy out’ a settlement on Kashmir. Deep down in the recesses of heart Indian administration is expressing its comfort with the ‘non-territorial’ formula and ‘soft-border solution’ prepared by Galbraith (John Kenneth Galbraith US Ambassador to India) and discussed by President Kennedy with Nehru during his November 1961 visit to Washington. Nehru did not have a good trip because earlier in July 1961 President Ayub had been on a state visit to US and the highlight of his visit was his address to the joint session of the Congress.
The high point of his effective public diplomacy in Washington was that he declared: “The only people who will stand by you are the people of Pakistan, provided you are also prepared to stand by them”. Kashmir figured as the main interest in Ayub’s exchanges with the American hosts. According to US Embassy Karachi telegram 2078 to the State Department of June 2, 1961, FRUS, 1961-1963, XIX, p.52 President Ayub Khan told William Manning Rountree US ambassador in Pakistan that ‘only the United States could prevent the disastrous consequences of a failure to arrive at a Kashmir solution’. Ambassador told Washington that 'Pakistan public opinion, combined with Ayub's own personal belief in Pakistan's cause on Kashmir, might lead him to take whatever action he thought necessary to bring dispute to worlds attention'. (Embassy Office Murree airgram G-16 to the State Department, June 17, 1961, SDCF 690D.91).
Nehru was offered a “non-territorial formula” to a Kashmir settlement. According to this India and Pakistan should retain the territory they currently held but permit greater movement between the two sides of the state. According to Galbraith, this concept offered the only way to resolve the dispute given competing and irreconcilable Indian and Pakistani demands for the Valley. Galbraith had floated the idea earlier with Nehru and had received a non-committal response. It has been recorded that Indian prime minister was more positive during the talks at the White House. He said that if territorial claims were dropped, all other questions could be resolved without difficulty. It was easy enough for him to take this position since Galbraith’s formula let India retain the Kashmir Valley.
Today the Indian camp considers that start of a bus service between the two sides of Kashmir and the development of other intra-Kashmir confidence building measures have given the formula a fresh currency. ...