Deep, Low & Messy: Diplomacy!
The core issues between India and Pakistan are very much there for quite some time… the Kashmir issue can well be considered as an example… Indians usually blame the then Governor General Louis Mountbatten for creating the crisis in 1947-48. However, Mountbatten was not supposed to be the first Governor General of Independent India. The Englishman, himself, wanted to become the Governor General of Pakistan! Muhammad Ali Jinnah served as the first Governor General of Pakistan, after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister, requested Lord Mountbatten to take the charge. According to various sources, Nehru did not possess the confidence to handle the administration of a large and diverse country, like India! He even requested Mahatma Gandhi to convince Lord Mountbatten to stay in India after the Independence. Mountbatten agreed, but with a condition… he should enjoy the absolute power so that he could be able to govern the state during the crisis period. And, Nehru accepted the condition!
Moreover, Pandit Nehru appointed three Englishmen as commanders of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, although there was no shortage of efficient Indian generals. As a result, the three Britons – Roy Bucher (Chief of the Army), Captain H C Ranald (Chief of the Navy), and Sir Thomas Elmhirst (Chief of the Air Force), had led the Indian Armed Forces during the First Kashmir War (between India and Pakistan) in October 1947. They conducted the war in such a fashion so that Pakistan’s interests could be safeguarded. And, Pakistan managed to occupy nearly one-third of Jammu & Kashmir (despite the marked superiority of the Indian Armed Forces).
India is still suffering from the consequences of that blunder. From the Pakistani politicians’ speeches, one may feel that Jammu & Kashmir had always been an integral part of Pakistan. However, it is not the fact. Ignoring the objection of Dr B R Ambedkar, the main author of the Indian Constitution, the Article 370 was included to the Constitution. This Article was totally unfair… because it allowed the people of Kashmir to enjoy all kinds of rights in all provinces of India, but basic rights were denied to the people of other Indian provinces in Jammu & Kashmir. Furthermore, the scope of justice available in other Indian provinces was missing in Jammu & Kashmir. For instance, if a Kashmiri woman married a man from any other Indian province, then she would not enjoy the Right to Property in Kashmir! The Balmiki community had arrived in Kashmir long ago. Unfortunately, they had no right to engage in any work other than removing garbage! With the abolition of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, this injustices came to an end…
It is to be noted that Indian Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament on August 5 to convert Jammu & Kashmir’s status of a province to two separate Union Territories, namely Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir was proposed to have a Legislature under the Bill, whereas the Union Territory of Ladakh was not proposed to have one. By the end of the day, the Bill was passed by the Upper House with 125 votes in its favour and 61 against. On August 6, the Bill was passed by the Lower House with 370 votes in its favour and 70 against it. The Bill became an Act after it was signed by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan had strongly criticised India for making such a move, and discussed the issue with a number of world leaders! PM Khan even threatened to use nuclear weapons against India. However, he failed to garner support in his favour. It seems Khan forgot that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan still demands a referendum in Kashmir! Interestingly, one of the pre-conditions of holding a referendum prescribed by the UN was: Pakistan would have to withdraw its Army and Paramilitary Forces from the entire territory of Jammu & Kashmir (including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir). Islamabad is yet to accept this condition…
Since the late 1950s, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan – has been active in Jammu & Kashmir, as it has always maintained close ties with several militant outfits. The main aim of these outfits is to destabilise India.
Pakistan’s foreign policy can be termed as opportunist. Pakistan, in spite of being an Islamic Nation, stays silent on China’s persecution of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Province! The Pakistani State is also violating the Human Rights of Baloch and Pashtuns within its own territory on a regular basis, apart from helping militant groups violate Human Rights in Jammu & Kashmir. The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering, has already taken action against Pakistan for providing terrorists with financial support.
However, Pakistan is not interested in amending its (anti) India policy, as it violates the ceasefire on Kashmir border every day. Till 2016, India did not respond with a proper counter-attack in order to avoid a nuclear war with its neighbour. Pakistan’s only intention was to irritate India so that New Delhi retaliates… then, it would have been easier for Pakistan to use nuclear weapons against India. This strategy had been effective for many years, as it left India confused. However, the Government of India changed its strategy in 2016 and carried out a Surgical Strike inside the Pakistani territory to destroy militant hideouts.
India has initiated a drastic change in its foreign (read Pakistan) and defence policies in 2019, after terror attacks in Pulwama killed 40 Indian soldiers on February 14. India not only gunned down the terrorists in Pulwama, but also conducted air strikes on a militant base in Balakot, a town in Mansehra District in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, on February 26. It became important for India to ignore Pakistan’s nuclear threat in an attempt to ensure its national security. The Defence Analysts congratulated the Government of India for taking a tough stand on the Kashmir issue!
After the abolition of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the status of Jammu & Kashmir was converted to two separate Union territories. Of course, Pakistan is not happy with the Indian Government’s decision. However, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is also divided into two parts: Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (Muzaffarabad-Mirpur). Although Pakistan wants referendum in (India administered) Jammu & Kashmir, the demand for a referendum or self-control is strictly prohibited in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir!!!
At home, Pakistan is also not interested in accommodating Kashmiri people political rights. It has targeted pro-independence group, like Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, many a times. In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, no political parties can contest the General Elections if they do not agree to an accession agreement to Pakistan. Because of that, only Pakistan-based political parties end up participating and winning elections in that region!
To maintain peace with its neighbours is essential for a country in the modern world. However, the psyche of Islamabad is so polluted that if New Delhi takes any initiative for maintaining peace, the former will come to the conclusion that the long shadow of war makes India tired. There are many dimensions of Pakistan’s jihadi mentality. The Sunni Muslims, who are a majority, are often seen attacking the minority Ahmadiyya and Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. Pakistan is politically an unstable state mainly because of its Armed Forces, which have always influenced politics, economy and society. Islamabad argues that it maintains a strong and powerful Army due to its eternal enmity with New Delhi! Indeed, this is a very effective argument to safeguard the interest of the Army. The Pakistani Army will never allow the top political leadership in Islamabad to abandon this sort of argument for its own sake. In that case, there is no room for the betterment of India-Pakistan relations. Therefore, the prospect of development of bilateral ties is poor in the near future!
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