The Indo-Pak Rivalry and the Kashmir Issue: A Historical Analysis in the Security Context of the South Asia.
Keywords: Kashmir Issue, Indo-Pak Rivalry, Security Issues, South Asia, Human Right Violation.
South Asia is considered the most militarized zone of the globe where two nuclear rivals, Pakistan and India, are competing over arm race. The development and economic prosperity of South Asia is traumatized by Indo-Pak rivalry which is deeply rooted in South Asia due to structural asymmetry resulted from faulty distribution of boundaries. Kashmir dispute is the pivotal point of Indo-Pak rivalry which has further aggravated the complex strategic environment of South Asia. The rift in bilateral relations between India and Pakistan is determined by Kashmir issue which remained the cause of several crises between two states either directly or indirectly. Kashmiris right of self-determination is under Indian heal since the time of partition and the political efforts by Pakistan to solve this issue has not yielded significant results.
India's repudiation to conduct fair plebiscite in Kashmir, noncompliance to the United Nations Security Council resolutions, human right violation in Kashmir by Indian security Forces and indecisive bilateral dialogue process transformed this single dimensional issue to multidimensional. Now, the right of Kashmiris self-determination needs multilateral approaches which may reduce the rift between India and Pakistan.
Although plenty of literature is available on Kashmir dispute, but there is lack of such literature which chronologically explore the lethal aspects of this issue. The objective of this article is to inspect the root causes of Kashmir disputes and its associated fallouts over the Indo-Pak rivalry and regional security. The first section of this study illuminated the political conditions in Kashmiri's right before the partition. The next sections demonstrated the role of India, Pakistan and United Nations in Kashmir. Finally, deteriorated relations of India and Pakistan in context of Kashmir and its impact on South Asian region were discussed.
Pre-Partition Political Context of Kashmir
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was owned by Gulab Singh, founder of Dogra dynasty, from East India Company under the Treaty of Amritsar on 16th March 1846. The Dogra reign was characterized by autocracy and sectarianism which denied the freedom of expression and speech.
In 1932, All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference was established, and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was its first president. In 1939, Muslim conference was converted into National conference to ensure the joining of non-Muslim Kashmiris. Early politics of Kashmir in mid-1940 was full of controversies and contestations due to enhanced ties of Sheikh Abdullah with Congress.
The popularity of National Conference was diminishing among the Muslims because it was the time when the Hindu Muslim identities were at their peaks. Muhammad Ali Jinnah recommended Sheikh Abdullah to dissolve National Conference into Muslim conference and terminate the ally with Congress, but Sheikh Abdullah strongly criticized this decision. At that time, Nehru was devoting his time to Kashmir affair and visited the valley along with Muslim leaders to improve the image of Congress as national party supported by many enlightened Muslims.
"Quit Kashmir Movement" was led by Sheikh Abdullah in 1946 that challenged the ethical and political validity of "Amritsar Treaty". This movement was criticized by congress leaders and mainstream of Kashmiri Pandits associated with National Conference (Bhat, 2017). However, Nehru defended the case of Sheikh Abdullah by interfering in the internal affairs of Jammu and Kashmir state and was arrested while attempting to enter the Kashmir through Rawalpindi, on 19th of June 1946 (Chandel, 2017). Meanwhile Jinnah advised the Muslim Conference to keep away from this movement and declared its as "foreign inspired" which portrayed the Jinnah as anti-Kashmiris and damaged its stance as the only Muslims representor.
National Conference drafted an economic and social plan known as "Naya Kashmir" and submitted to Maharaja Hari Singh, in 1944. This plan postulated to transform the absolute monarchy to absolute democracy in Jammu and Kashmir. It further contained an economic design which was adopted as manifesto by National Conference.
At the time of independence, 562 odd princely states were forced to join either India or Pakistan. Kashmir, the largest princely state having an area of 84,471 sq. miles (218,800sq.km), was contagious to Pakistan in every aspect. Maharaja had to accede Pakistan due to demographic composition of its state but being a Hindu, he could not accede to a state which was founded in the name of Islam. He was also unable to accede with India because of Nehru and Congress, the friends of his biggest enemy Sheikh Abdullah. Maharaja was thinking to make Kashmir as independent state.
Kashmir had a proximity to China, Russia, Afghanistan and remained a part of Silk Route. Kashmir could secure the north western border of India and as a Muslim majority state, its accession to India would fortify the idea of secular India. Due to its ancestral homeland, Nehru was impatient to making Kashmir as Indian part. Gandhi visited Kashmir and persuaded the Maharaja to withdraw from announcing independence. Lord Mountbatten replaced R.C Kak, prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir who favored the accession to Pakistan, by Janak Singh and then by M.C Mahajan on the dictation of Nehru and Gandhi. Mahajan was previous Hindu member of Radcliffe Commission a loyal Arya Samajist and he started working on accession of state to India.
Sheikh Abdullah was in prison and Nehru thought that he is the only man who could guide the Kashmir to join India. On Nehru request, Patel wrote a letter to Maharaja and Sheikh Abdullah was released on 29th of September while other leaders of Muslim Conference were still behind the bars. But Sheikh raised the slogan of freedom before accession and the supremacy of the will of people during a speech at a rally in Hazaribagh Srinagar on 2nd October. His mood of speech indicates that his inclination was not to Pakistan. He was a big critique of two nation theory, but a question emerged about the fate of state. After being released Sheikh Abdullah did not show wisdom in managing state's affair and he camped in Delhi.
Congress was interested in Kashmir accession while Muslim League could not give much time to this issue due to demographic composition of Kashmir. Mohammad Din Taseer and Sheikh Sadiq was sent by Jinnah to negotiate with Sheikh Abdullah but Sheikh Abdullah repeated the slogan of freedom before accession. It is also important to note that out of 77.06% of Muslim population, 47% were pro-Pakistani and against the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah. Its certain ways, treaty of Amritsar had a close resemblance to Maharaja decision of accession to India because both were against the will of Kashmiris (Sherwani, 1999).
Deplorable behaviour of India in Kashmir and Culpable Negligence of UNO
Kashmir issue is one of the oldest phenomena in United Nation Security Council. Resolutions of Security Council were passed on August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 ensured that the people of Kashmir had the right to determine the future of Kashmir by holding an impartial plebiscite. In this regard Security Council established a commission namely United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan to resolve the conflict. India and Pakistan signed Karachi agreement of Ceasefire under the United Nation Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.
The Kashmiri people are experiencing Indian occupation and they don't accept this status quo. There are many liberation movements in response to which Indian forces has been adopting brutal ways thus resulting in massive fatalities and injuries. United Nation Security Council has not taken a serious action against Indian refusal to UN resolutions about plebiscite. Indian government imposed oppressive laws upon innocent Kashmiris to curb the basic rights of independence and self-determination which was given by the UNO Security Council (Sehgal, 2011).
The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978 permits the detention of any suspect for 2 years without any definite charge. This act is being abused against 12 to 16 years aged children for pelting stones on vehicles (Amnesty International, 2011). The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) allows the Indian security forces to maintain public order in disturbed places by searching the suspicion home and arrest him without any warrant. It bans the gathering of five or more persons in that area and permits Indian Security Forces (ISF) to use force or open fire to scatter them.
Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act of 1990 can detain a person without any proper charges of involvement in terrorist activities for up to one year. Any act committed by lethal weapon is a terrorist act according to Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002. Article 370 of Indian constitution grants an autonomous status to Kashmir. Article 35 (A) was incorporated in constitution of India in 1954 which gives special rights to permanent residents of Kashmir. With the lapse of time, the status of its special state was terminated as the posts of Kashmiri president and prime minister were replaced by governor and chief ministers respectively (Zulfiqar, 2016).
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) always opposed the article 370 of constitution but, Prime Minister Vajpayee (1998-2003) did not try to terminate it. Later, BJP reverted to criticize special status of Kashmir, and abrogation of Article 370 was the part of their 2014 election manifesto. However, after gaining power, Modi has considered Kashmir issue more carefully and made serious efforts to resolve the issue. But in opposition, after forming government in Indian Held Kashmir in alliance with People's Democratic Party, BJP is trying to change the demography of Kashmir by creating Sainik Colonies and townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandits. According to international laws, the said attempts are illegal.
Under the Article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention, "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer part of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Gilani Kashmiri responded that Pandits have the right to come back to their motherland but their settlements in private colonies is not acceptable. It will change the ethnic demography and generate a continuous communal division in Kashmir.
Kashmir issue is a nuclear disaster waiting to happen and root cause of the abortive Indo-Pak relations. After the partition, struggle against Indian occupation resulted in major revolts of 1953, 1964, 1988-2000, 2010 and 2016. Inability of Security Council to solve Kashmir dispute has instigate India to commit human right violation at large scale with impunity. Kashmiris are facing serious human rights violation due to the lookout for their right of self-determination. It is reported that during riots of 1989, almost 100,000 people had been killed and 1000 people were disappeared. Continuous insurgency in Kashmir made it a substantial concern for regional as well as international security (Ul Haq and Dar, 2014). Approximately, 94,767 people has been killed by Indian security forces from 1989 to 2017. Moreover, due to violation of ceasefire at Line of Control has resulted in 1040 and 318 civilians and military casualties respectively in last ten years (Hayat, 2018).
Killing of a youngster separatist commander Burhan Wani in 2016, gave birth to a huge stream of violence among Kashmiri civilians. Regardless of curfew, people were on road against his killing which resulted in killing of 36 civilians and 1500 injuries within 6 days after Wani funeral. After 4 months, near about 75 Kashmiris lost their lives and more than 5000 were severely injured. About 1300 people suffered from serious eye injuries due to use of non-lethal pellet gun.
Pakistan's Stance over Kashmir Issue
Pakistan has always tried its level best to resolve the dispute. Pakistan has adopted orthodox and offensive approach before the dawn of 21st century. Now a days, economic and strategic gap between India and Pakistan is widening rapidly and Pakistan is much apprehended about that soon or later India will repudiate to negotiate the Kashmir issue bilaterally. The growing asymmetry in negotiation dynamics between India and Pakistan is evident from emerging geostrategic relationships of India with Iran, the US and Afghanistan. Moreover, India is also succeeded in gaining foothold in Balochistan and FATA which are the juggler vein of Pakistan's economy and transit routes towards China and Central Asia. Another concern which ignite Pakistan to solve Kashmir issue at immediate basis is water scarcity which is worsened by Indian aggression.
India is posing existential threats to Pakistan by diverting the flow of Indus River and its tributaries from Kashmir. Therefore, Pakistan has changed its stance regarding Kashmir and now is adopting moderate approach to solve the Kashmir issue (Cheema, 2015).
Pakistan and India Relations Deteriorated by Kashmir Issue since 1947
At the time of partition, Mountbatten approved an edict that partition would be on geographic and demographic feature. Based on this decree, Princely states integrated into either Pakistan or India except Junagadh, Jodhpur, and Hyderabad. The Muslim rulers of these states were denying their demographic features and want to accede Pakistan, but India used force to accede them in her privilege. The situation of Kashmir was totally different from these states where the Hindu ruler of 75% Muslim community dwelling in proximity of Pakistan was inclined to accede India (Sherwani, 1999).
Maharaja Hari Singh signed to accede India in October 1947 which resulted in a partial fruitful war for Pakistan. After ceasefire on the recommendations of United Nation, Pakistan succeeded in winning one-third piece of Kashmir land. Claim of Pakistan to Kashmir is morally right and irredentist. Pakistan has always tried to seize Kashmir from India by adopting diplomatic as well as military strategies. According to India, bowing to Pakistan annexation of Kashmir is harmful to its secular structure and will trigger other secessionist movements (Thomas, 1991). In this regard India extended the article 356 and 357 to Kashmir which declared the presidential rule in Kashmir during 1964. This is direct violation of its own Article 370 which guarantees the special autonomous status to Kashmir (Ahmar, 2017).
India fortified its military with modern tactics after chastening defeat in 1962 war with China and surprised Pakistan by deploying bulk of infantry on frontline of Kashmir border. Pakistan launch a war of 1965 as she seen that the hope of military solution to Kashmir is going to end owing to Indian defense fortification. Pakistan made several strategic assumptions to led war in Kashmir during 1965 which proved wrong and in turn Pakistan faced a lot of crisis especially the secession of East Pakistan. Intense engagement with Kashmir issue led to the negligence of East Pakistani sub-nationalist movement which ended in 1971 war (Kanwal, 2014).
War of 1971 was outcome of Indian strategic initiative to weak Pakistani claim to Kashmir, challenge the two-nation theory and reduce the size of Pakistan so that she never challenges Indian dominance in South Asian region. As far Pakistan is concerned with respect to the issue, it is right to say that it was resulted due to failure of Pakistan's domestic policy to accommodate Bengali resentments. Bengalis had always criticized the infliction of Urdu as national language, their inadequate representation and unfair allocation of budget and foreign aid to West Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, after his victory in first democratic election of Pakistan, demanded quick implementation of Six points which was refused by General Yahya Khan. A large civil war erupted after Pakistani Military invasion in East Pakistan. Extreme cruelty of Pak army resulted in massive influx of refugee, about 60,000 refuges per day, to West Bengal (India).
India invaded the East Pakistan in terms of humanitarian intervention and helped the Mukti Bahini against Pakistan. After war of 11 days, Pakistan faced an overwhelming humiliated defeat. Pakistan had lose half of its population (54%) and about 93,000 of its soldiers and civilian became prisoner of war (Mustafa, 2014).
In 1972, both countries agreed to solve their disputes by negotiation and respect the line of control at Jammu and Kashmir border. This agreement is known as Simla Accord in history. After the end of war, geography of South Asia was totally changed as the emergence of Bangladesh as new state. India emerged as dominant power in South Asia and Simla Acord totally froze the Kashmir dispute as India claimed that UN resolution regarding Kashmir has supplanted after the formation of Line of Control (LOC). India took the control of strategically most significant areas of Tithwal and Kargil. Furthermore, solving the disputes via bilateral negotiation was the diplomatic victory of India (Behera, 2016).
After 1971 debacle, President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has tried efficiently to rebuild Pakistan. He turned to maintain Islamic identity of Pakistan and projected toward the oil-rich Middle Eastern states. Nuclear tests by India in 1974 further intensified the Pakistan security concerns. Indo-Pak relations remained peaceful until the soviet invasion in Afghanistan which made Pakistan a frontier allays of US. Regan government provided 3.2 billion dollars for six years in terms of economic and military aid to Pakistan (Epstein and Kronstadt, 2013). After receiving US aid in bulk amount, General Zia ul Haq tried to build army in modern way and Pakistan became again confident to exploit India and challenge her due to its domestic weakness.
In the 1980s, claim over Siachen glacier, Sikh insurgency, nuclear issues and Brasstacks crisis again worsen the bilateral relations. Siachen disputes remained the major bone of contention during two decades and ended up after the war of Kargil in 1999. During 80s decade both countries accused each other of supporting ethnic revolts on their territories. In 1981, Sikh insurgency arouse in Indian Punjab demanding virtual autonomy and recognition of Chandigarh as capital of only Punjab. Assassination of Indira Gandhi by her own bodyguards cause the huge scale Hindus-Sikhs riots considered as worst revolt since partition (Chawla, 2017b). Pakistan denied the Indian accuse of its role in assassination and in contrast alleged India for motivating violence in Sindh.
During this act of accusing, the US and Indian intelligence agencies reported the development of nuclear weapon capabilities by Pakistan. International community has speculated that India had a plan to attack Kahuta nuclear center like "Operation Opera'. However, in December 1988, both countries signed an agreement not to spoil each other's nuclear programs. This effort of goodwill and friendship was again distorted due to series of largest military exercises on Rajasthan border which sounded like alarm of war. These military exercises are called "Operation Brasstacks'. Although its objectives were very vague, but these military exercises were planned to put political pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting Khalistan movement. Pakistan can't afford another war while fighting with Russian beer in Afghanistan. Brasstacks crisis were settled after the agreement between Rajiv Gandhi and Zia ul Haq.
During 1990s, Kashmir crisis, nuclear tests by both Pakistan and India and Kargil war deteriorated bilateral relation. Armed resistance in Kashmir valley started after the rigged 1987 state legislative elections. Pakistan supported the militants and this insurgency was resulted in massive evacuation of Kashmiri Pandits (Sarkaria, 2009). In 1991 and 1992 both countries agreed to provide advanced notification for military exercises, not to violate airspace boundaries and not to use chemical weapons against each other's (Sehgal, 2011). In 1998, both countries detonated nuclear devices and slapped by international sanctions.
Kargil war erupted in May 1999 which eroded the diplomatic objectives of memorable Lahore Declaration. Lahore Declaration was a milestone in Indo-Pak bilateral relations, and it rekindled the hopes of restitution of peace in South Asia. Full scale military operation was conducted in Kashmir after the attack on Kashmir legislative assembly in 2001. Pervez Musharraf met Atal Brhari Vajpayee to solve core issue of Kashmir, but no agreement was signed. After that the Indian Parliament attack in December 2001 resulted in army standoff at LOC which was ended in October 2002 after external mediation. Ceasefire agreement was again signed during UN general assembly meeting in September 2003 (Misra, 2007). Vajpayee and Musharraf met again in Islamabad at the 12th summit of SAARC (January 2004). Bilateral negotiations took place between different level of government officials.
In November 2004, Man Mohan Singh announced that India was going to reduce the deployment of her troops in Kashmir but in 2006, India redeployed about 5000 troops in Kashmir. Joint anti-terrorism mechanism was formed in September 2006. In February 2007, 68 people were killed in Samjhuta express bombing. India signed Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan gas pipeline project in 2008, and Pakistan was blamed for bombing Indian embassy in Kabul. Indo-Pak relations were again ceased after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which more than 160 people were killed. After that the two countries occasionally opened fire at LOC and attempted to resume the substantive peace talks (Mukherjee, 2016).
In 2014, Pakistan not only accepted the invitation of swearing in ceremony of Modi but also released 155 Indian fishermen in a well-wishing gesture towards the invitation. Formal meeting was held between two premiers in Russia at the 15th SCO summit. Modi surprised visit to Lahore at the occasion of Sharif's birthday and his granddaughter wedding as well sweet exchanges between Pakistan ranges and Indian BSF (Boarder Security Forces) played some role in defusing tension. However, according to defence ministry of Pakistan, India has committed violation of ceasefire 247 times which killed 39 Pakistani civilians during the short period of May 2014 to December 2015 ("India Violated," 2015). In January 2016, gunmen attacked Indian Pathankot airbase while in September of the same year terrorist invaded Uri army base and killed 18 soldiers (Panda, 2016).
Implications of Indo-Pak Rivalry on Fragile Security of South Asia
Indo-Pak Rivalry created a situation of security complex which was described by Barry Buzan in his book "Regions and Powers; The Structure of International Security'. According to this work by Buzan, the national security of India and Pakistan is linked with each other and can't be considered independently. This security complex also bounds the other states of region (Buzan, 2011). The reasons for the interstate aggression are territorial disputes over Kashmir, opposite constitutional bases such as Islamic republic of Pakistan opposed the secular India and structural asymmetry.
Pakistan has constantly denied the Indian domination regardless of her supremacy in area, population, military and economic capability. Pakistan has attempted to attain balance of power regarding India by two means. Collaboration with US, China, Gulf and Middle East states has secured its economy and military strength. However, aid from Islamic states is purely economic while alliance with US and China gave him both economic and military power. The aggregate outcomes of these collaborations have made the Pakistan a developed and modern nation which is capable to challenge India.
Extended conflicts over Kashmir issue are hustling the two neighboring nuclear states to constantly modernize respective nuclear programs and wagering the national revenue on uncertain but hovering threat of sudden war. The security dynamic of smaller states is shaped by changing strategic imperatives of major states. In this way, small states respectively respond to overcome the gap created by strategic dilemma and drew in the viscous circle of arm race thus disputing their own existence.
After the nuclearization of India in 1974 and Pakistan 1998, there were overall six nuclear tinged emergencies (two of them were before the nuclearization of Pakistan). These crises were very intense, and the mediation of international power made them normal. The Brasstacks Crisis (1986-87), Compound Crisis (1990), followed by Kargil war, Twin Peak Crisis, Mumbai attack Crisis of 2008 and the Pulwama attack crisis (2019), were most grievous threats in terms of nuclear escalation.
Solution of Kashmir Issue: Prospects and Challenges
A permanent solution to this issue is necessary for lasting regional peace in the region. Pakistan, like other stakeholders of international community, is willing to solve the dispute under the instructions giving by United Nation. The only lawful way is the holding of free and unprejudiced plebiscite under the auspices of the UNO by rendering Kashmiris with their due right of self-determination. Indian more inexorable behavior to implement the Security Council resolution has made this issue more complex and intertwined. Despite Indian intransigent, resolution of Kashmir dispute either by implementation of UNSC proposed fair plebiscite or with the mediation of multilateral approach has certain hurdles due to the current political dynamic.
First hurdle is the Simla Pact which was signed between India and Pakistan in 1972. This accord bound both nations to resolve all the disputes bilaterally and respect the line of control across Kashmir came into being after war of 1971. India resist Pakistani effort to resolve Kashmir issue multilaterally due to Simla Pact. Pakistan has caught between devil and a deep blue sea situation due to Simla Pact. When Pakistan attempts to address the issue bilaterally then India revoke such effort (Cheema, 2016).
The second hurdle is inability of Pakistan to efficiently raise the Kashmir issue at global forums. Pakistan has lack of active networking which assemble public opinion and persuade the policy makers to take serious actions to resolve Kashmir issue. Despite holding protest, conferences and presentations in Pakistan, it will be more effective to influence UN Security Council permanent and non-permeant members which can play authoritative role in Kashmir peace processing. Confidence building measure across the Line of Control paired with cease fire agreement has relieved the life of many people living in conflicted Kashmir area in 2003. After this, a bus services across the LoC has promoted the peace process. However, in current political scenario, India and Pakistan failed in capitalizing this peacebuilding process.
Divergence from ceasefire agreement and intermittent firing incidents at LoC is the third major hurdle in solving Kashmir dispute (Braithwaite and D'costa, 2018). The fourth major hurdle is cynicism among Kashmiris about India and Pakistan. Estranged Kashmiri youth are quitting nonaggressive and democratic means of protest and have joined violent movements due to brutality of Indian forces against peaceful indigenous protests.
The post Mumbai attack bilateral distress is fifth hurdle in Kashmir solution. India alleges Pakistan of supporting terrorism in Indian and militancy in Kashmir thus politicizing the pure indigenous movement of Kashmir. However, Pakistan repudiates these allegations and considered it cumulative result of Indian repressive policies, denial of their right of self-determination and discriminative economic policies (Behera, 2016).
The rivalry between India and Pakistan is historically deep rooted based on structural as well as ideological enmity which is unlikely to vanish soon. India has constantly challenged the theoretical base of Pakistan. In addition to mentioned challenge, Pakistan is exposing Indian hegemony in South Asia. The acquisition of nuclear bombs and arm race between India and Pakistan is thickening the historical animosity rather resolving the disputes. The Kashmir issue is an apple of discord between India and Pakistan and waged three major wars that disturbed the social fabric and economic structure of both sides.
India has been continuously committing human rights violation in Kashmir by imposing brutal laws and using unethical means to curb the righteous movement of Kashmiri people. Pakistan is now morally supporting the Kashmir movement rather seizing it by means of militancy. Although, Pakistan is using diplomatic approach to solve the issue but the dispute itself demands multidimensional approach. Simla Accord had shackled the Pakistan from calling international mediation which is major hinderance in solving the dispute.
After the cold War, humanitarian interventions were made in Africa and Yugoslavia but human right abuses in many other states like Kashmir were ignored. Humanitarian interventions were only applied where the state is geo-strategically important for big powers. Despite knowing the fact that Kashmir dispute is threat to not only South Asian stability and peace but for the whole Asian region, world powers closed their eyes on human rights violation in Kashmir.
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|Author:||Dr. Syed Shahbaz Hussain, Ghulam Mustafa, Muhammad Imran and Adnan Nawaz|
|Publication:||Journal of Political Studies|
|Date:||Dec 14, 2019|
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