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OPINION

Need for a new Kashmir policy

The door to innovative thinking has been shut
Syed Tassadque Hussain
Srinagar | Posted : Aug 23 2016 1:08AM | Updated: Aug 22 2016 10:57PM
Need for a new Kashmir policy
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Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s premeditated Association by Indian security forces in Kashmir (according to the research conducted by Mr. A.G. Noorani the decision to eliminate him was taken at Delhi on 8th of March 2016) and the electrifying instantaneous mass protests in Jhelum Valley Floor Area is in reality an instant expression of alienation of Kashmir Muslims from mainstream India that happened instantly with horrible consequences; we have to consider the aftermath. Instantly till 8th August 2016 according to local daily Greater Kashmir from 9th July till 8th August 2016) fifty six civilians i.e. 54 and two cops killed” and over 5000 injured admitted in hospitals and near about fifteen hundred sustained pellets injures in the eyes, an unprecedented phenomenon in the Jammu and Kashmir State. The breakup is even more ghastly. According to official sources 493 persons were hit by bullets, 410 with pellet injury in the eye 27 person with head injuries due to bullets or shells and 1558 surgeries conducted in one or both eyes. In just one month, thirteen hundred youth arrested from valley districts and 1030 FIRs registered against youth in valley district police stations. Yet the 401 filed an affidavit in Supreme Court of India informing the august judicial body that conditions in the valley were gradually showing improvement. There has been sustained curfew for full one month and the unrest now is entering second month (while this essay is being penned down). We have to understand the response of the central govt. to the disorder  in the valley. The valley is resounding with reverberating slogans for Azadi. Why has mainstream politics proven insubstantial? That is a real jug-saw puzzle and we are not in a position to locate the rubes in a jug saw puzzle. Prime Minister Modi’s silence is ominous as a feeling has obsessed the ruling junta in Delhi that the real issue is not Kashmir but Pakistan, Nehru’s 15th August 1947 peroration that: “We have kept tryst with destiny we have redeemed our pledge substantially, and not fully” etc. are not mere ringing words not mere expression of rapturous wild emotional enthusiasm, but a demonstration of the view that India at its own institution refused to accept the reality called Pakistan. Mod’s sustained silence on Kashmir turmoil affirms India’s policy on Kashmir, namely;

a. to retain Kashmir with the consent of the people to be obtained by promises of development if possible.
b. If this is not possible to retain Kashmir without the will of the people, by manifestation of strength to be exhibited in a limited war within Kashmir with Pakistan.
The doctrine of limited war with Pakistan is not feasible in view of Sino-Pakistan collaboration; and yet this is the role that guides the Indian dispensation in Delhi.
The strategic location of Pakistan is its greatest weakness and it is also its greatest strength. According to Munir Akram (a former Pakistan Ambassador to UN) has succinctly described the situation: (his thesis is quite popular amongst Kashmiri intellectuals). He asserts in unconcealed terms, and to qoute his own words):
The strategic evaluation has also complicated Pakistan’s relationship with unity govt. in Afghanistan. The Obama Administration has accepted the Pentagons proposal for an indefinite military presence in Pakistan. Assured that American and NATO forces will stay indefinitely and prevent its collapse Kabul has shifted from seeking reconciliation with Afghan Taliban to demanding that Pakistan join in crushing them militarily. Fighting rather than reconciling with the Taliban, has always been India’s preferred option.
Pakistan with China co-operation can meet India’s security challenge and maintain credible deterrence, nuclear and conventional. Pakistan has no compulsion so long as New Delhi refuses to address the fundamental issues of Kashmir and peace and security.
What Pakistan does need to reverse at present is, first, India’s long standing attempts to sow domestic discord and destabilize Pakistan, including in Baluchistan, rural Sindh and Karachi and second, the attacks against Pakistan civilians and security forces conducted by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militants and Baluchistan Liberation Army insurgencies form the territory of Afghanistan with sponsorship of Indian and Afghan intelligence. I have quoted this longish text from his article published in daily Dawn, a leading opinion maker in Pakistan only to show that most people in Kashmir believe that the gross and rank failure of Indian intelligence agencies to de-stabilize Pakistan is because India now is financing both the Afghan Taliban and the Baloch rebels. Prime Minister Modi has to realize that the real situation in Kashmir due to China’s new financial diplomacy has become a quagmire. USA is also caught in a difficult situation and can only use India in a very limited manner to contain China and soon India will be put through its paces in South China Sea imbroglio which is developing into a volcano, about to erupt. So Modi’s silence on Kashmir affairs shows lack of any clear cut theory and total paucity of ideological thinking on Kashmir. Ruling party is suffering the consequences of brain drain in India. The door to innovative thinking has been shut. 
The people in Kashmir realize that centre govt. may again have to depend on the old formula of allowing the Congress and National Conference to form the next coalition government leading a new polarization within the state. The immediate effect of this polarization is the complete elimination of Congress in Jammu. In next elections Jammu will vote for BJP leading to the revival of the demand for Dogra Desh. This possibility cannot be foreclosed. The coalition agenda between PDP and BJP has facilitated the imposition of doctrine of parity by treating the two wings of J&K state as separate entities within J&K State. So if the situation is not handled with great adroitness the compulsions of ethnic composition of Jammu regions would become the driving force for a demand for Dogra Desh by the Hindu population of Jammu region in coming years.
The common speculation in Kashmir valley region is that the die hards in BJP are also seriously loving this idea, as other options for India in J&K are fast even in its diminutive version of a limited war in Kashmir in view of China factory and if the same factor has made it virtually impossible for India to even marginally destabilize Pakistan and if the Afghan situation compels USA to rely more on Pakistan than India. Prime Minister Modi is being misguided by his cohorts In BJP. He will be well advised to evolve a coherent policy on Kashmir. Maintaining silence on public issues suited Gandhi but Modi alas is not Gandhi.
In sum I would conclude the discussion with one commutative remark that the very fact that the present turmoil in the valley is being spearheaded by separatist alliance of Hurriyat (G), Hurriyat (M) and JKLF led by Yaseen Malik corroborates the fact that Indian intelligence agencies led by Ajit Doval have proved a colossal failure in Kashmir. They have failed to destabilize the separatist alliance their hob-nobbing in Kashmir is sheer moon-shine, waste of public money and a display of incurable ineptness. Their ineptitude is enhanced considerably by their megalomania fueled by the doctrine of infallibility. New Kashmir policy can only emerge if the central government instead of being depended on these intelligence agencies, tackles the problem by an innovative, out of box solution, politically reaching an understanding with Pakistan. Otherwise India will be led towards another gory war in South Asia. The options for India are getting limited. This is the only tangible dimension of the Kashmir problem, all other are imperceptible and vague. Modi should take lesson from the precepts of Baloch Nationalism. The Baloch are only 3% of Pakistan population yet the ethnic mobilization of Baloch rebels who constitute less than ½ % of the populations have become radicalized and a real headache for federal govt. of Pakistan. Kashmiris are not radicalized but better organized and have a moral right to claim distinctiveness of a political character. Kashmir remains a dispute to be settled, and an imperative need for a new Kashmir policy is clearly discernible.
Author is Senior Advocate J&K High Court
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