Indian Obstinacy on Kashmir
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
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.”
Regarding the peace and security, 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, 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?
During the current round of the Foreign Secretary level talks; though Kashmir was included and discussed as an agenda of the meeting, however, just a few days later, Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh gave a very distressing statement on Kashmir issue. Indian Premier while talking to the editors of the news papers 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 emphasizing Pakistan to do more, throughout the global war on terror; India is now behaving in the same manner. This means 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 infamous spying network; RAW, that is deeply involved in destabilizing Pakistan, especially Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkha. The statement is immature, seems to be of a half-fed and mystified leader. This statement speaks of a conspiring mindset, which lacks sincerity to bring peace and stability in the region.
For Pakistan and Kashmiris, the 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. After meeting the Indian delegate, Ms Rabbani 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.” Pakistan desires that, we must get rid of status quo on Kashmir, contrary to Indian desires of maintaining that.
While tracing the history, one would know that, wars are not the solution of issues, rather wars and conflicts further complicate the issues. Even after wars, issues have been resolved through negotiations and talks. 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. 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. International community should take a note of the aforesaid statement of the Indian Prime Minister. Pakistan and people of Kashmir consider that, this statement indicative of the facts that, India is behind the current instability in Pakistan. By creating instability in Pakistan, 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?