December 2005 News

Kashmir is not negotiable: BJP

27 December 2005
The Dawn
Our Correspondent

New Delhi: India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government on Tuesday of going soft on Pakistan’s alleged support for “cross-border terrorism in Kashmir”. The National Executive of the rightwing Hindu revivalist party told the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that Jammu and Kashmir was a symbol of India’s nationhood and its status was not negotiable in peace parleys with Pakistan. “Mistakes in the realm of international relations, born of an opaque policy plank, have cost India dear in the past Congress regimes and will surely do so again under the UPA,” the BJP said in a critique of Dr Singh’s foreign policy. “This government’s errors of judgment had complicated our relations with neighbours. It is now compounding those mistakes by repeating them. These failures are on several fronts and are cumulative in their consequences,” the statement said. It said Pakistan had been “strategically buoyed and encouraged” by the UPA’s attitude to “unrealistically strive for strategic parity with India”. Turmoil and conflict persist in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh, today’s ‘crucible of terrorism’, is fast emerging as an alternative base for a proxy-war against India, and as the home of a variety of terrorist groups, the BJP said. By saying that the peace process with Pakistan is “irreversible” and that “acts of terrorism” will not make India abandon this path, what the Indian government has abandoned really is the issue of ‘cross-border terrorism’, an issue that is of critical importance to the nation’s security. “This helps Pakistan, as its infrastructure of terrorist camps can then continue to remain, ready for use whenever needed. Let the UPA and the Congress note that abandoning national interests cannot buy peace.” The BJP is celebrating 25 years of its establishment with a conclave in Mumbai where its current president Lal Kishan Advani will step down in favour of a new as yet unnamed leader. The BJP took credit as initiator of the peace process with Pakistan. The party stands for its positive and purposeful continuation, also for constantly expanding the “constituency of peace”, but certainly not at the cost of India, the party said. “The UPA government must recognize that the Pakistan peace process has had no discouraging impact on Jehadi terrorists; that Pakistan has fulfilled its promise as stated in the joint statement of 6 January, 2004. It must then learn the correct lesson from that and act.” The BJP described as preposterous a recent proposal for the establishment of the “United States of Kashmir” whose sovereignty shall be shared between India and Pakistan. “The UPA government tacitly gives an impression that it is not averse to discussing these. This is destructive for the unity of India.” The BJP said it believes that “the unity and integrity of India is non- negotiable”. It stressed that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India. “The BJP will never allow any compromise with this fundamental tenet of India’s nationhood. Improving ties with Pakistan and strengthening people-to-people relations between the two countries is one thing; bartering away Kashmir or even agreeing to discuss the State’s future status is altogether another matter. “The BJP strongly criticizes the UPA government’s flip-flops on the subject and demands a restatement of India’s resolve not to renegotiate the status of Jammu and Kashmir,” the BJP said. On India’s ties with the United States, the BJP said it believed in a ‘strategic partnership’ between two equals. Any ‘lock- in’ with US strategic relations or accepting an asymmetrical relationship is not ‘strategic partnership’, it would be capitulation. “The events since the visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in July 2005 clearly demonstrate that the independence of decision making is no longer assured.”


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