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Published On:22 February 2020
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

OPINION: India’s Kashmir policy is an expressway ride to nowhere

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

India’s exercise to ferry a group of EU members to visit Kashmir to assess the situation on the ground is a calculated risk or a diplomatic miscalculation is a talk in the country.

Modi government after arguing that rescinding Article 370 and 35A is an “internal matter” of India is now engaged in public relation exercise ferrying International delegation to Kashmir.

The buffoonery of India’s Kashmir policy is at splendid display when after saying India would brook no third party interference, now for the second time is hosting a large number of foreign delegation to assess the situation in Kashmir

Now given the political affiliations of these European visitors, what does this exercise is going to achieve for India is another talking point in the country?  Will these European delegation report will put Kashmir in India’s kitty or will it have adverse impact India on India’s claim over Kashmir. 

Why India is doing this PR exercise to influence international opinion. Do not by doing so India covertly acknowledges that Kashmir has an international dimension which it cannot wish it away.

Modi government on August 5, 2019 by rescinding Article 370 and 35 A has removed the ambiguity that prevailed in India’s stand over Kashmir since 1948.

The Modi government did a game changer act on August 5 and essentially made three statements altering the classical view of India’s stand on Kashmir. 
First, Modi government claimed that the people of Kashmir have no role to play in deciding their future. Since the territory in question is inalienable part of India, the views of the people do not matter.  In other words a new definition of democracy was dished out on August 5, and democracy is of the state, for the state and by the state.

Citizenship of India was up for grabs for the Kashmiri people, while rest of India had to reel under new citizenship laws under CAA, NPA and NRC. It’s another matter, there were no takers for Indian bait and on the contrary it funneled anti India sentiments among the people living there.

Second statement India made on August 5, 2019 that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir. The bilateral talks with Pakistan can only be held if the adversary wishes to talk on the modalities of vacating its occupied region. This gave a huge impetus to Pakistan claim over Kashmir and it ascended on the moral ground to canvass of India’s culpability.  

The third statement that Modi government made on August 5, 2019 was that India will not tolerate any third party intervention/ mediation on Kashmir issue.

All these three statements made on Augusts 5, 2019 was to fix up the Kashmir problem in India’s favor with the assumption India will have its way and by doing will set the Kashmir house in order.  

If Kashmir is an integral part of India and India will not tolerate any third party intervention/ mediation on Kashmir issue, then why India is inviting foreign delegation to Kashmir where common Indian’s are forbidden to travel?

India on one hand says it does not want international mediation or involvement in Kashmir, but at the same time wants a ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) from some handpicked European delegates to blunt the international criticism building against India with regard to its Kashmir policy.

Modi government is also faced with another criticism as to why it prefers EU delegates over the US members. It is assumed that India can manage the EU delegation in a much better way than the US delegation. This in other words means US delegation may be difficult customers than the EU members.
India is taking a calculated risk. It may work or may not work in its favor. These very delegates whom the government is courting now may turn its back and target India for violating international laws in Kashmir. In such case what India may do, does it have a plan B.? 

Complication of India’s Kashmir policy is getting compounded with the visits of foreign delegates to Kashmir.

Modi government by taking the foreign delegates to Kashmir valley is self-contradicting its stand on Kashmir. It is deliberately internationalizing the Kashmir issue after saying it does not want any third party to interfere in the internal matter of the country.

As such, Modi government has fallen into Pakistani trap of internationalizing the Kashmir issue. It looks instead of strengthening its position on Kashmir Modi government has further weakened its grip over Kashmir. The visit of foreign delegations has compromised India’s new stand on Kashmir.

This public relation exercise that the current government is engaged in is nothing but a figment of imagination of that if it can get an NOC by some foreign delegates, and the international community will be pacified and support India’s wrong doing to the people of Kashmir.

India’s second statement made on August 5, 2019 was by rescinding Article 370, it has closed the dialogue with people of the Kashmir and have accept India’s diktat as fait- accompli. 

If this is so then the policy maker want to make Kashmir an Indian colony and they have to do the cost – benefit calculation to keep such colony under India’s suzerainty.

The second statement on August 5 India made was that Pakistan has no claim on Kashmir. In the new narrative Kashmir is inalienable part of India and in the talks to be held between New Delhi and Islamabad only the modalities to hand over the territories occupied by Pakistan can be discussed.

This again is highly contentious proposition and fraught with innumerable consequences. Instead of playing peace makers, India is openly war mongering challenging Pakistan claim on Kashmir. India’s this policy on Kashmir has many spin offs and may require full time occupation to plug in any fall outs from any such designs.

The last statement that the Modi government made on August 5 was that as statecraft it will use state terror to contain terrorism in Kashmir. In this new face of terrorism some nine lakhs guns is being used to hold hostage some 90 lakh people to maintain peace.  Can such state terrorism be de-linked with anti-state terrorism? In the context, can state terrorism be condoned to restore peace in Kashmir? Needless to say terrorism is terrorism, whether it is by anti-state actors or by the acts of state indulging in terrorism.   

To conclude, all the three statements made by India on August 5 rescinding Article 370 and 35 A are flying like muck on the Modi government’s face.

In fact, Modi government’s Kashmir policy has triggered several struggles at several levels against India.  The first one is it has triggered the Kashmiri’s people to struggle against India from the position of despair and total alienation. 

The second struggle it has ignited is Pakistan to take on India at every international forum. Indian officials in such case have no clue how to silence such voices when it has got moral ascendancy from India

Third, India’s Kashmir policy has incensed global community. The denial of human right, freedom of speech, internet and mobile access and the extra ordinary deployment of large number of Indian security forces in Kashmir has made the international community is too much worried about Indian state power abuse in KashmirIndia is finding it hard to counter this international struggle that it has ignited through its Kashmir policy.      

The fourth struggle India has ignited is within the peace loving people of this country. A large number of countrymen are at pain to see the trial and tribulation and sufferings of the common Kashmiri people. India’s ill-conceived Kashmir policy has anguished and saddened many Indians.   

The responsibility of triggering all these struggles solely rest on the Prime Minister of the country. Many feel that he has got away with his ‘demonetizing act,’ but his ill-conceived Kashmir policy may have a price to pay.

With all these struggles germinating against India, the only summery that can be made is; India’s Kashmir policy is an expressway ride to nowhere.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on February 22, 2020. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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