EXCEPT for the Indians, who are in a constant state of denial on the issue, no one looking at the Subcontinent could deny the existence of the Kashmir dispute and its obvious fallout in the form of strained relations between Pakistan and India, which vitiate the political atmosphere in the entire region and impede its progress. The human suffering, as the local population struggles against the illegal and oppressive Indian occupation, gives birth to the phenomenon of militant resistance. Even the American political and media circles, which had overlooked the issue for quite some time for political and strategic reasons, have begun urging for its solution, calling it a "festering sore", as they themselves confront the reality of militancy. The world now realises what Pakistan has been trying to bring home to it, that without a just and proper settlement of the dispute, the road to peace and development that puts an end to militant feelings is littered with insurmountable potholes. The New York Times has, in an editorial written after the Congress party's victory in recent elections, stressed, "Ignoring Kashmir is no longer an option". But in case India fights shy of resolving it, the paper endorses the proposal of South Asia observer Stephen Cohen that the dispute could be approached through first tackling the environmental and water issues, which have a bearing on it as well. It is a pity that New Delhi has been turning a deaf ear to such wise counsel. However, one would like to hope that, if only for the good of the poor teeming millions of the Subcontinent, it sees reason. There is need for world powers to come forward and exercise their influence with India. Candidate Barack Obama, who correctly visualised Kashmir's input in the dark regional scenario while on the campaign trail, appeared to have backed down on entering the White House under pressure from the Indian lobby. He should reflect on the implications of leaving this "sore" unhealed for the US policy objectives and seriously take up the matter.