T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue IX

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

January 2003

I N S I D E


 

Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Editorial     

TKT Says......

 

GuestColumn     Krishnamoorty       

 

Big Fight      

Romeet K WATT

 

On Track     

Romeet K WATT

 

Opinion

T R Jawahar

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Romeet K WATT

 

Report

SAT Feature

 

Last Word

Romeet K WATT

 

 


 

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S P O T L I G H T

New Delhi & Islamabad: The end game   

Romeet K WATT


KASHMIR has been, time and again, portrayed in the Western media as the ‘nuclear flash point’ between India and Pakistan in Southeast Asia, and the International community, by and large, has had the propensity to concur with the belief. In the post 13/12 state of affairs, amidst heightened tensions between the two neighbours, the Western media went into an overdrive to paint a picture of nuclear holocaust that was in the making should India launch pre-emptive strikes against the terrorist infrastructure across the Line of Control (LOC).

 

This was done, and you would pardon me for saying this, with the singular objective of putting India on the back-foot, which coupled with the travel advisories for its citizens by the Western countries (and other friendly allies) did have an adverse impact on the actual outcome in terms of limited war, or may be full fledged war between the two states. Such campaign, unleashed by the Western nations with the tacit support from its media fraternity, if one may further the argument, emboldened Pakistan, in actually stooping to a level, wherein they nuclear blackmailed New Delhi. Rest is history.

 

New Delhi, has on its part has not been able to capitalise on many of the opportunities that have come its way; the failure can be mainly attributed to the U.S interests in protecting its client state, Pakistan, come what may. New Delhi should have adopted a more hard-line deportment in exposing the clandestine transfer of nuclear know-how by Pakistan to North Korea in lieu of missile technology.

 

One can understand that U.S, who has been aware of these activities all along, wants to keep things under wraps, at least for the time being, but what one fails to comprehend is what stops India to expose this nexus, and consequently share the information with the International community. Do not tell me, U.S is arm-twisting New Delhi to keep mum on the issue. That simply will not do, and what the Indian leadership can explore is a mechanism of “alternative pressure on Pakistan, not just limited to the United States.”

 

Much publicised, January 12 speech, of General Pervez Musharraf, as one has time and again said, was a damp squib, and it was nothing but a pack of lies, which he wanted us, and them (West) to believe. And, now our apprehensions have come true with the release of first, Hafeez Sayeed, chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba, and more recently Masood Azhar, Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Not that there were any kind of restrictions on these two organisations, even after Islamabad banned them in the aftermath of attack on Indian Parliament.

 

“For these battle-hardened and well armed Islamic militants,” who continue to do their dirty work of bleeding India through cross border terrorism, “the jihad in Kashmir is part of a worldwide religious crusade, not an effort to secure Kashmiris' political right of self-determination” and in this endeavour of theirs, they have, and are being supported by ISI, through and through. Moreover, contrary to what Musharraf has led us to believe; state sponsorship to these ultra-fundamentalistic outfits was never ever withdrawn. No wonder they are still as lethal, and ugly as they were in past.

 

Cross-border terrorism is an issue, which involves two features: One, which involves the actual infiltration of terrorists across the borders; and two, the terrorist infrastructure, which is an essential and integral part in the whole scheme of things. Now as far as the former feature is concerned, there have been fluctuations in the levels of the actual infiltration-taking place from time to time across the LOC and International borders between India and Pakistan. However, to take that as a parameter to arrive at the deduction that Pakistan has dealt with terror groups with iron hands would be too simplistic and naive. Islamabad can at will, increase, decrease or maintain the level of infiltration depending upon the given situation. This aspect can, and should never be taken as a parameter to arrive whether Pakistan has in reality taken measures to curb cross border terrorism or not.

 

The latter feature should and must be the yardstick with which the sincerity of Islamabad can decisively be measured. The ground reality is that Pakistan has not dismantled any of these terrorist camps, U.S pressure or not. They have just maybe shifted some of them from here to there, but that is the end of it. Now to expect that New Delhi would reciprocate to Islamabad, while Pakistan has not taken any measures whatsoever to dismantle the terrorist camps, and has not, as was promised, put an end to state sponsorship of terrorism, would not be a prudent argument. ISI and a large section of its defence forces continue to provide patronage to these ultrafundamentalistic groups. Islamabad has all along been treating symptoms, leaving aside the actual disease, the terrorist infrastructure, which is the root call of all-evil. 

 

New Delhi has merit in the argument, which calls for talks with the separatist elements in the Valley, detached from any talks with Pakistan. Moreover, in this endeavour of theirs, PDP-led coalition has been rendering able support through its ‘healing touch’ policy. The tripartite talks as has been the demand of APHC –- which remains deeply divided on goals, means, and strategies, including whether to continue the armed struggle or participate in the political process -- presumably at the behest of Islamabad, is something which does not hold merit or warrants any further comment. “Delhi realizes that terrorism in Kashmir has domestic, not just Pakistani roots,” and hence it is even more crucial that the present policy of the state government works, and works well.

 

We have to reach out the masses in Kashmir, and as the Chief Minister of J&K has rightly pointed out, the need to set our own house in order first, to arrive at some kind of a consensus on the larger Kashmir issue. Nevertheless, let us not be under any delusions, Islamabad would try its level best to scuttle this holistic initiative of the PDP-led government. Islamabad is the epitome of hypocrisy with which all comparisons could be made. To expect that it not to make use of its territorial army of Jihadis to foment trouble in the state in future would be to overlook the obvious. Pakistan, a defunct democracy, has had the audacity to term the October elections in Kashmir as farce, conveniently turning a blind eye to its own sham which has installed Musharraf’s poster-boy Jamali as the new P.M.

 

As far as talks with Islamabad are concerned, they have to commence sooner or later. However, having said that, it is imperative to understand that for any negotiations to move in positive direction, sincerity and objectivity of purpose are of paramount importance, something, which Islamabad lacks, and if the stiff-upper-lip attitude of its establishment is any indication, the very rationale of sitting across the negotiating table loses its purpose. In addition, the stand that New Delhi has taken against engaging Islamabad in talks stems from the belief that “India can tolerate current levels of tension and violence,” hoping it does not escalate further and in the mean time, “work out a settlement with the leadership in Srinagar.”

 

Islamabad is under an impression that they can actually piggyback Washington to arm-twist New Delhi on the Kashmir issue. Now, that is something, which is beyond the realms of pragmatism in the post 9/11 scenario; Washington cannot be seen supporting a regime, which has state sponsorship of terrorism as an instrument of its state policy. U.S is preoccupied with other more pressing matters like Iraq, North Korea, and even Iran; the result - she and “the international community have little appetite for re-mapping borders, and may well support the option of preserving the status quo by converting the Line of Control into an international border, an option unacceptable to Pakistan's ruling elites.”

 

U.S, moreover has learnt a few harsh lessons in the past, and to expect that it will negotiate on the Kashmir issue, against wise council and given the fact that 50 years of its diplomacy “whether pursued through the UN or unilaterally, has not produced any progress toward a settlement of the Kashmir dispute, let alone resolution,” would be too naïve and simplistic. U.S policy makers do realize that the onus of responsibility lies on the people of India and Pakistan, and they alone understand each other well; and should the political establishments demonstrate a little more flexibility, India and Pakistan can make a good start. U.S has wisely restricted itself to the role of an initiator and facilitator of talks between the two neighbours.

 

Islamabad’s singular obsession of annexing Kashmir by hook or by crook has to be given up eventually. The sooner they realize that its “continued support for the insurgents is a dead-end option,” the better for the peace and prosperity in south-east Asia. The Pakistani military establishment, and more importantly, ISI, which does all the dirty covert work, has sooner or later to realize that “violence will never lead to international intervention in ways helpful to Pakistan; in fact, the opposite is probably true.” The problem with the mindset of policy makers in Pakistan is that “they do not want to normalize until Kashmir is resolved; and to make matters worse, neither has the “country a domestic constituency pushing for better relations.” Moreover, to expect Islamabad to alter ‘ground situations’ to make ‘solutions possible,’ under present circumstances, does not seem to be forthcoming, nevertheless least to say, would be a welcome change.

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