December 2004 News

Options In Kashmir-II India Must Put Its Own House In Order

23 December 2004
The Statesman
VK Madhok

Kolkata: India's stand that the entire state of J&K belongs to it and that the only pending issue which needs to be resolved is the reunification of PoK needs no alteration. But unfortunately, many resolutions passed to this effect by Parliament have remained at the stage of mere rhetoric. These need to be translated on the ground before outsiders get deeply entrenched in J&K. To do so, a clear message must go out to all concerned that India means business. that the country's sovereignty over PoK will not be compromised, that from now onwards, there will be strict counteraction to proxy war. Talk PoK, not J&K Our politicians must start talking of PoK and not Kashmir, or conversion of the LoC into a permanent border and so on. But before that, our own house must be put in order. The President of India must start paying business and not ceremonial visits to J&K, at least once in six months to monitor the situation there. It is his duty to do so. And nothing can stop him from undertaking these official tours. Further, a cabinet minister should be appointed specifically to handle J&K. He should be assisted by an expert committee whose members are drawn from various fields, to assist him in planning, monitoring and for advising the cabinet on all matters concerning J&K. In addition, a peace offensive should be launched with a task force of ex-servicemen from J&K, bureaucrats, economists, doctors, teachers, students and journalists. Keeping in view that their task would be to interact with the masses and to act as a link between the J&K government and the people so as to bring credibility and confidence in governance, this corps consisting of nearly 10,000 or even more will have to be given four to six months' training before being launched. Further, the security apparatus in J&K needs to be restructured. As a first step, the multiplicity of paramilitary forces needs to be rationalised. They need to be reorganised into a BSF and an internal security force. More TA battalions need to be raised so as to involve the people in assisting the regular troops while a two-year compulsory NCC training needs to be introduced for all students. Military option And now the military option, on which everyone including the army has been silent. Why should India not consider this as a last resort and be prepared? Currently, neither Pakistan nor India is militarily capable of taking Kashmir or PoK. India's preparations will have to include a strong defensive position on the Indo-Pak border other than J&K. As the intention would be to confine the conflict to J&K and PoK. India has the potential and ability to do so, provided there is strong political will. However, in the case of India planning to attack PoK, the US will do everything possible to stop India right from the time India starts preparations. It has all the means of surveillance necessary. The collected information will be leaked not only to Pakistan but through it to the OIC and other countries. Besides, Washington will support Pakistan at the UN and initiate measures to deny technology to India, apply economic sanctions and try to force Russia to restrict or suspend arms supplies to India. It is of interest to note that it suits Washington if the Indo-Pak dispute remains unresolved. Or else the US will have no hold over India, Pakistan and the region. It has already engaged them by means of military aid, defence agreements, joint ventures, seminars and joint exercises. However, in its pursuit of this balancing act between the hostile neighbours, the US is finding it difficult to handle New Delhi. But in its scheme of things, Pakistan is more important - to safeguard its oil interests, counter Iran and be in a position to exploit the rich resources of Central Asian Republics. The US is also deeply concerned about the possibility of an India-China-Russia axis and wants to avoid a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. China factor As regards China, it has no reason to intervene either. But it can help Pakistan by not letting any Indian troops move out from the eastern to the western sector, as it had done in 1965. Such then are some of the considerations if India decides to tackle PoK by force. If it does not, Pakistan would prepare to take Kashmir by force, possibly with China's help in another five to six years. Finally, somewhere along the line in the past 56 years, we have totally gone astray. The aim was that the entire state of J&K was an integral part of India. And this has not changed. Further, no nation can call itself a sovereign state, if it is scared of reuniting its territories which are lying under occupation of foreign countries. Accordingly, the timid suggestions and slogans of converting the LoC into an international border, or partitioning or division into three states of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, or creating porous borders and bus services must be erased from the Indian mind. And for a change the nation should take a pro-active stand and get ready to fight, if necessary, to take back PoK. Or, the Americans after installation of puppet regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan will turn their attention to Kashmir - a prize Pakistan looks forward to in return for all it has done for the US.


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