Human Rights in S. Asia Should Concern US

The idea that the breakup of India could trigger ``several mini-Bosnias'' is completely erroneous. On the contrary, independence for the shackled nations of India is the only means for peace, prosperity, and stability in South Asia.

For years, independence movements have raged in the Sikh homeland, Punjab/Khalistan; the Muslim homeland, Kashmir; and the Christian homeland, Nagaland. Though the world is largely unaware, hundreds of thousands have died in these conflicts. As in Bosnia, human rights organizations have documented widespread rape and torture.

Contrary to the assertion that ``pressure'' rather than ``questioning borders'' will induce India to end human rights abuses in Kashmir, only an independent sovereign state where Kashmiris may determine their own fate will bring peace to the region. The same is true of Khalistan and Nagaland.

The Clinton administration is to be commended for injecting human rights concerns into American foreign policy in India and elsewhere. If all our policy concerns - trade, nuclear nonproliferation, and diplomatic relations - are to be met, then there first must be a stable South Asia. Only respect for human rights and the right of self-determination will bring peace and stability to South Asia. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, Washington President, Council of Khalistan

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