South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

Kashmir: The Future Indian Plan
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan

Dr. Singh categorically said that, Pakistan has “not done enough on terror. I still feel they need to do more.” By giving this statement, India tries to equate itself with United States. The way US has been putting pressure on Pakistan to do more; India is now behaving in the same manner in South Asia. More than anything, the statement means a lot for Pakistan at least on three aspects.

In a recent statement, the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has revealed the future Indian designs on the issue of Kashmir. While talking to the editors of the news papers, the Indian Premier said that, he hoped that, Pakistan “will leave Kashmir alone," because “they have their own share of internal problems.” Harping on to the old mantra of terrorism, Dr. Singh categorically said that, Pakistan has “not done enough on terror. I still feel they need to do more.” By giving this statement, India tries to equate itself with United States. The way US has been putting pressure on Pakistan to do more; India is now behaving in the same manner in South Asia. More than anything, the statement means a lot for Pakistan at least on three aspects. First; India feels that, under current environment, Pakistan can do nothing to change the Indian position on Kashmir. This means that internally Pakistan has been made so weak to stand in front of India. Second; Pakistan should think for its own survival under the prevalent domestic crisis in the country, rather asking for a solution of Kashmir. Its internal dissent would compel Pakistan to look inwards, rather outwards. Third; the factors responsible for bringing Pakistan to the current status of internal disturbances, so that it is unable resist on other issues of national interests.

Realistically analyzing, what appeared from the statement is that India has a major role in bringing Pakistan to the current situation of domestic instability, so that Pakistan stops demanding a just solution of Kashmir issue. This statement of Indian Premier is indicative of the fact that Indian top political leadership is in line with its spying network involved in destabilizing Pakistan, especially Balochistan and FATA. This statement speaks of a conspiring mindset, which lacks sincerity to bring peace and stability in the region. It is amounting to sabotaging the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan. For Pakistan and Kashmiris, the Kashmir issue needs an immediate resolution. It is the only core issue between India and Pakistan. As stated very clearly by Ms. Hinna Rabbani Khar, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, “If Kashmir is not core concern, then what is core concern?” Pakistan feels that, through forward movements and engagements at diplomatic level, India Pakistan and Kashmiris should find an amicable solution of the Kashmir issue. She further said that, “It is better to resolve long-standing issues rather than let those issues fester and become larger than life and affect development and peace of the region.”

Earlier, the two-day Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level talks were conducted on June 23-24, 2011 in Islamabad. Pakistani delegate was headed by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, whereas, the Indian side was led by Secretary External Affairs, Ms. Nirupama Rao. Apart from the threats posed by terrorism, the delegates talked about the peace and security including existing series of CBMs and their implementation process, promotion of friendly exchanges, and the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Owing to the complexity of the relationship, and chequered Indo-Pak history, Mr. SM Krishna, the Indian External Affairs Minister, said in a statement that, both sides should not expect too much from the talks as, “this is one relationship that we have been trying to cultivate in the last few months.” Perhaps, this was the revelation by the Indian External Minister that, talks are for the satisfaction of the international community; India has its own agenda to follow.

Despite this, the spokesman of Indian External Affairs Ministry, said, “All aspects relating to peace and security have been discussed and terrorism is an issue which is confronting both the countries and of course it is very relevant to peace and security.” Pakistani side, however, shown its optimism and said that, “They exchanged views on all issues relevant to peace and security including CBMs that exist between the two countries. A number of ideas were discussed and reflected upon. The talks were substantive, held in very cordial atmosphere and were forward looking.”

In connection with the peace and security, the Indian delegate raised the issue of slow pace of the probe by Pakistan on the Mumbai terror attacks. Pakistani side updated the Indian delegate on the progress made so far on the issue and non-availability of authentic evidence against those, India feel are responsible for the incident. Indeed, there are many complexities involved in investigating the issue and India has not shared the details of the incident with Pakistan, as the only survivor of the Mumbai attack (Ajmal Kasab), is in Indian jail. Pakistan, however, conveyed its dismay over the Indian indolent investigation over 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing by Hindu terrorists led by serving Indian army officers, where dozens of its citizens were forced to burn alive. Pakistan is seriously waiting for a positive outcome of the investigations being carried out by India, for the satisfaction of the grieved families, who lost their loved one during this brutal incident.

At the bi-lateral level, Pakistan considers that all other issues can be dealt with side by side; however, the main focus should remain on Kashmir, the only core issue between India and Pakistan, since independence of both countries. This is a reality that, for Pakistan resolution of the Kashmir issue is very important, hence, it would like that the issue to form part of the agenda of all the Indo-Pak talks. To counter this demand, India is emphasizing to make terrorism as part of all the bi-lateral talks. Keeping terrorism at the centre point, India believes on the blame game. Indeed, the biggest problem hounding the Indo-Pak bi-lateral relationship is the trust deficit. By no way, India desires the resolution of Kashmir issue as per the wishes of Kashmiri people in the light of UN resolutions. India feels that, in such a scenario, it would lose its occupied portion of Kashmir; therefore, a status quo would be a better option, one; to starve Pakistan and two; to further maltreat Kashmiris for their non acceptance of Indian rule. Indeed, all the mistrust between Pakistan and India or in South Asia in general is the product of one issue; the disputed nature of the Jammu and Kashmir. If today India agrees to the solution of Kashmir, there would be no worthwhile issue left between India and Pakistan and peace would prevail in the region, giving way to the regional prosperity. Why cannot India buy this reality is a big question mark?

As proved historically, wars, conflicts and promotions of insurgencies, could not solve the issues, rather further complicate them. Negotiations and talks are the only way forward. This is a positive step that India and Pakistan are resorting to the bi-lateral talks for the resolutions of their issues and differences. However, issuing distressing statements by Indian leadership would enhance the trust deficit, rather reducing the gap. The current uncertain situation in South Asia calls for a very mature and dedicated leadership and a positive approach to resolve the basic cause of distrust (issue of Jammu and Kashmir), rather maintaining the status quo. Let there be a consensus resolution of Kashmir issue as per the wishes of its people to bring stability, peace and economic prosperity in the region.

The statement is also a point of concern for International community, who should take a note of it. Pakistan and people of Kashmir consider that, this is statement indicative of the facts that, India has been behind the current instability in Pakistan. By creating instability, India desires to entangle Pakistan in a situation where it is unable to concentrate on issue like Kashmir. Provoking armed conflict within Pakistan by its neighbour (India) would mean promoting terrorism. Should not international community question India for such an act of global concern? After all dozens of resolutions have been passed by UNO, having the backing from international community, all assuring right of self determination to Kashmiris. Therefore, let there be a consensus resolution of Kashmir issue as per the wishes of its people. A just resolution of the issue would bring stability, peace and economic prosperity in the region. It should be clear to India that, neither Kashmiris nor people of Pakistan would ever accept the status quo on Kashmir. India should accept the reality that, Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris, who did not accept its forced rule over the state’s territory, even after sixty-four years of Indian occupation.

Domestically, the mysterious silence over this provocative statement of the Indian Premier by Foreign Office of Pakistan or any senior Government minister for quite some time has added many doubts in the mind of scholars and intelligentsia at large. The people at the helm of affairs should give a befitting response to the statement, lest they would be confirming the contents of the statement, against the wishes of the people of Pakistan and Kashmiris. It should be remembered that people of Pakistan has an emotional attachment with Kashmir and Kashmiris, thus would not allow any compromise or even a soft stance on its future status. Pakistan must assess the real Indian motives and response accordingly, before it is too late. After all we cannot leave this issue to be fought out by our future generation at the cost of promoting commerce and trade with India. Kashmir is the life line of Pakistan and so is Pakistan for the people of Kashmir.