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Why Kashmir deserves discussion

Publication Date : 27-08-2014

 

Apart from winning elections, does the BJP have any other goal? Responding to Pakistan's cross-border attacks BJP President Amit Shah criticised Omar Abdullah’s stand. What about the Central government’s own responsibility?

Does government have the guts to adopt this writer’s prescription to defeat Pakistan’s “proxy war” as defined by the PM? If not, the government must devise steps to achieve a diplomatic settlement on Kashmir.

The government is neither tough nor conciliatory. It makes hollow statements.

External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddun rebuffed Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit for meeting Kashmir separatist leaders. Basit stated: “We need to engage with all stakeholders.”

Akbaruddin responded: “After 1972 and the signing of the Simla Agreement by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, there are only two stakeholders - the Union of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

The Indian spokesman was wrong in logic and in emphasis. The High Commissioner ignoring the formal demand of the Indian Foreign Office to not meet with the separatist leaders was objectionable. Describing inhabitants of Kashmir to be stakeholders in the talks was not. If not separatist leaders, are not elected representatives of the state stakeholders in the Kashmir dispute?

Commitment to bilateral talks in the Simla Agreement excluded foreign governments, not citizens of both countries. Even separatist Hurriyat leaders are citizens of India and part of the Indian Union. That is the government’s prime argument by which their separatist demand is debunked.

Need one remind the Ministry of External Affairs that Pandit Nehru had stated that the accession of Kashmir to India was “subject to the approval of the people” of Jammu and Kashmir?

The Indian public is frequently told that there is no Kashmir dispute therefore there is nothing to discuss. Really? The British in 1947 gave the right to princely states to either merge with India or Pakistan or remain independent The State of Jammu and Kashmir had a Hindu ruler, Muslim majority population and contiguous borders with both India and Pakistan. Therefore J&K ruler Maharaja Hari Singh sought independence. Pakistan launched an attack on Kashmir by so called raiders. Unable to defend the state Maharaja Hari Singh acceded to India.

Due to the preceding events Prime Minister Nehru accepted his state’s accession on the precondition of it being “subject to the approval of the people”. India’s constitutional position is that the whole of Kashmir belongs to India. In fact half is occupied by Pakistan. Does that leave nothing to discuss?

The UN passed a resolution for plebiscite subject to preconditions wholly unfavourable to Pakistan demanding all its army and citizens to vacate the state. But the resolution was non-enforceable. It relied on mutual agreement of India and Pakistan.

Subsequently Pakistan continues to demand plebiscite and India continues to stonewall the demand without propagating that preconditions are unimplemented by Pakistan. In global perception Pakistan becomes the victim and India the exploiter. In the light of the above record should not India discuss Kashmir?

 

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