The recent unrest in Kashmir has raised the issue of Pakistan’s involvement in fanning the flames. Frustrated by its failure to snatch Kashmir by use of the military in 1965, and the loss of East Pakistan in 1971, Pakistan adopted the instrumentality of terrorism to annex Kashmir. It continues to regard Jammu & Kashmir as the core issue between the two countries and made good relations hostage to the resolution of the issue to its satisfaction.
India must also share its part of responsibility for allowing the problem to come to this pass, both internally and externally. It was Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal decision to seek the people’s views and that too through a UN supervised vote, and finally taking the issue to the United Nations, and yet again offering to hold the plebiscite as part of a commitment that internationalised this issue.
The Indian leadership has failed in the last 70 years to resolve the basic issues that had ramifications both internal and external, judiciously and effectively. There were many opportunities, including the one at Simla, to clinch the issue in favour of India, but these were allowed to pass. Mere rhetoric did not and cannot solve the problem.
Of the three parts of the state, both Jammu and Ladakh want greater integration with India and the state cannot be allowed to be hijacked by a group of people in the Valley. While there is need to bring the people of the Valley into the mainstream, a firm attitude has to be adopted towards Pakistan. There can be no scope for any talks on Kashmir’s future with Pakistan.
Today, Pakistan has lost the sympathies of the international community for its role in promoting terrorism, not only in India but also elsewhere in the region. A series of recent statements by the Afghan president; first at the Nato summit in Warsaw in July and in Islamabad in August is the worst indictment of Pakistan for its role in promoting terror. President Ashraf Ghani’s statement in Islamabad that “Pakistan remains a breeding ground from where the mercenaries send us messages of war” needs to be taken seriously.
Pakistan is mired in internal conflicts and has lost the right to speak for the people in other countries after the way it treated East Pakistan then, and treats Balochistan now.
Avtar Singh Bhasin is a retired diplomat
The views expressed are personal