What does the fate of a small island in the Pacific Ocean have to do with the conflict in Kashmir? If the island is East Timor, the answer is everything and nothing, with the Indian and Pakistani governments apparently unable to address the fate of the Indonesian occupied territory without looking at it through the prism of their own battles.

No sooner had the UN-authorised intervention in East Timor, which led to the landing of Australian-led troops on 20 September, been carried out than it turned into a political football for India and Pakistan. The latter was quick to draw parallels between the crises in East Timor and Kashmir, while India, along with a range of Western powers, sought to downplay any such comparison.

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Himal Southasian