Once described as a nuclear flashpoint by US President George Bush, Jammu and Kashmir holds a special place in the geo-politics of the world, and more particularly South Asia. With the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, staking their claim on the state, the issue has attracted much international attention.
The fear in the minds of the world leaders was a war, probably a nuclear war between the two neighbours, which have already fought two wars in the past.
Indeed, not long back, the two nations had their armies standing eyeball-to-eyeball in probably the longest and the most anxious standoff, following December’s Indian Parliament attack by Pakistani-based militants hankering for Kashmir. (Pakistan, of course, contests that violence in the state is terrorism.)
It is in this backdrop that the recent elections in Jammu and Kashmir took place.
Indeed, with these elections, which even foreign observers call ‘free and fair’ (despite the Hurriyat Conference’s boycott), the state seems to have come a full circle. After years of violence and bloodshed, it has raised finally the hopes that normalcy will soon return to the state.
Whether or not the new People’s Democratic Party-Congress combine government led by the rotational Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will prove up to the task, time alone will tell!