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Blunder into the Kashmir Dispute

  • Zahid Majeed
  • Sep, 2019
  • 546
  • Editorial

IMPACT OF INDIA’S UNILATERAL DECISION TO WITHDRAW KASHMIR’S AUTONOMOUS STATUS

The disharmony between India and Pakistan has a turbulent history. The relations between the two countries have been tumultuous, primarily, on the Indian occupied Kashmir since 1948. Recently, relations between the two countries have taken a nosedive because of Modi administration’s new Kashmir strategy and repealing of Article 370 depriving Kashmiris, as a people, to reside in their homeland with dignity, liberty and freedom. Does it mean that democracy dies in darkness? The mala fide intent to gain access to Kashmir surreptitiously over the decades and to control the affairs of Kashmir with a red tape by the Indian government is out in the open now but it is not going to fly in the long run. India’s contentious move to pull the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir reflects a critical moment in regional politics including Afghanistan, and the India-Pakistan rivalry is likely to compound the problem. It is also likely that certain militant groups see this as an occasion to inflame public fears. Moreover, the United States and China will undeniably be involved.

India’s contentious move to pull the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir reflects a subtle change in the regional politics of South Asia. After Partition, India claimed that Kashmir’s ruler had ceded Kashmir valley to India. Pakistan came up with a different argument, insisting that the Muslim majority region’s accession was the product of a long stratagem. In effect, the rivalry over Kashmir involved the indispensable interests of both Pakistan and India. These started off from the state’s strategic location atop the plains of Punjab, cross wised the trade route from Central Asia, adjoining Afghanistan and China. For Pakistan, Kashmir was and still is vital from economic standpoint, because its agriculture is carried on by the rivers flowing through the state. In the murky dimness after Partition, Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi regarded Kashmir’s accession as a commanding avowal that Kashmir would not come under Pakistan’s control. However, in 1948, the first war between India and Pakistan split control of Kashmir between the two. Following a U.N intervention mandating a plebiscite on the status of Kashmir, Pakistan unswervingly wanted to get India to recognize it on merit and to keep in view that its disputed status was an acceptable baseline.

Kashmir is currently divided between India, Pakistan and China. India claims the largest portion known as Jammu and Kashmir state-while Pakistan has command over two areas called Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. China controls a territory called Aksai Chin to the east, although India has long claimed this area as well. China has expressed its deep concerns about the present situation in Kashmir and also opposed the move to make Ladakh a separate Union Territory as Ladakh borders with China. China said the decision was unacceptable and undermined its territorial sovereignty.

It is to keep in view that India’s residents were non-residents to Kashmir before the over-turn of Article 370. Now they can buy property in the disputed region and can do trade without restrictions. Reaction of Buddhist community from Ladakh favors Indian action too as they feel it would spur tourism and help in building new infra-structure.

On Indian government’s topical action to revoke Article 370, Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic relations with its neighbor and has called on international allies to take its side. As of today, the United States is on a point of transition of a settlement with the Afghan Taliban, set off by Pakistan. This settlement will be beneficial for the United States in facilitating the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. This may lead to prevent rebels, activists and international terrorists from using Afghan territory. Pakistan might remind the United States that it has played its part in Afghan peace process in the hope that the United States will reprimand India over revoking of Article 370.

In the final analysis, Modi government’s decision was motivated by Indian domestic politics, but its implications will reach beyond India. It will force a number of countries including Pakistan, China and the United States to shift their policies and other key players like al-Qaeda, will watch developments with a keen eye. The present situation delineates that Kashmir conflict needs the engagement of international mediators to negotiate terms that result in abridged warmongering. One possible solution is UNO Plebiscite.UNO Plebiscite is not for Pakistan or India or any other country. It is only for Kashmiri people on both sides of the region. Both Pakistan and India can refer to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, adopted on 21 April 1948 with a three-step process of the resolution of the...

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