Obama should know Kashmir’s accession is irrevocable
J. N. RAINA
A lot of fuss has been created about Kashmir. It is a deliberate attempt to confuse the international opinion about the ‘ownership’ of Kashmir.The U S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s obfuscatory remarks that “feelings of the people of Kashmir” must be taken into account to resolve the issue, tantamount to interference in India’s internal affairs. She must understand that Jammu and Kashmir, constituting the three regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, is an integral part of India, just like Texas—where feeble voices of secession were heard recently— belongs to US.
The Obama administration has even gone to the extent of ‘admonishing’ India to provide a ‘solution’ to the so-called Kashmir ‘problem’. These tangy observations are made off and on by fusspots, not just to baffle global opinion about Kashmir, but to force another partition of India and beleaguered Pakistan. The latter has already got truncated, following the separation of East Pakistan, to become Bangladesh. The real motif behind these pungent remarks cannot be underestimated. There has been no end to machinations against India, ever since the subcontinent was divided by the imperialists in 1947. The root cause of partition was the “clash of civilization”.
Both Mrs Clinton and President Barack Obama must take a judicious view of the fact that Kashmir ‘problem’ was resolved when Maharaja Hari Singh executed the instrument of accession on October 26, 1947. The accession was formally accepted and signed by Lord Mountbatten on the following day; October 27, 1947, in his capacity as the Governor General of India.
At the dawn of India’s independence, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, like 560 other such states, had a choice to either join India or Pakistan. When the British paramountacy came to an end, the Maharaja had no alternative but to accede to India, in the wake of Pakistan-backed Tribal invasion. However, he consulted then popular leader Sheikh Abdullah, who subsequently took over the reins of the administration.
Any form of ‘secession’, being engineered by Pakistan, in collusion with some foreign forces, can lead to a greater clash of civilization, which can have far reaching consequences globally. It will have a cascading effect in the western nations, which are already on Osama bin Laden’s hit list. Laden has threatened American Christians to embrace Islam. He is acquiring nuclear weapons. It was 9\11 that changed the world, according to Italy’s ambassador to India, Roberto Toscano. “Clash of civilizations has left the sphere of scholarly debate to become a familiar reference”, he says.
Pakistan has been provoking the Kashmiri separatists and misleading the international community that Kashmir ‘is a disputed territory’ and Kashmiris were ‘waging a struggle for their right of self-determination’. Plebiscite is a dead issue. It was buried in the Indian Ocean when Bangladesh emerged, following the 1971 war between India and Pakistan. Now Pakistan is seeking the services of Barack Obama, to get Kashmir on a platter. The U S has a vested interest in Afghanistan. This is why India is being pressurized to obtain Kashmiris opinion while the two countries resume talks. The U S Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs has repeatedly said: “Any resolution of Kashmir has to take into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
Pakistan has been supporting the secessionists in Kashmir, because it is a Muslim-majority state, although the divide between Hindus and Muslims is not so wide. By dint of that very notion, East Pakistan would not have separated in 1971 war. India is united because of its huge diversity. It is the system of governance that matters.
The Kashmir issue would have been non-existent, but for mass conversion of Hindus in the 14th century. Kashmir was a Hindu kingdom till 1320. The civilizational clash, or whatever we may call it, continues even now. The flash point reached when over half a million Hindus were driven out from Kashmir in 1990.
Most member –nations of the UN General Assembly believe that the right to ‘self-determination’ applied only to people under colonial domination by foreigners. India is not a colonial power. Kashmir’s accession is legal and irrevocable. The UN has observed that ‘self-determination’ cannot be allowed to “dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity of sovereign states, conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights…” Some members of the United Nations Committee on India and Pakistan observe “Mere technicality of holding a plebiscite seemed beyond the scope of reality.” Kashmiri Muslims are not being discriminated. In Pakistan, even Muslims are discriminated, not to speak of Hindus. Kashmiri Muslims are being misled by vested interests. They have no right to secede. The Security Council, according to political observers, has recognized the accession of Jammu and Kashmir, while accepting India’s complaint against Pakistan in 1948.
Says veteran journalist and writer M J Akbar, “There is some good news for Hillary Clinton. The Kashmir problem has already been solved. It was solved on January 1, 1948, the day India and Pakistan froze their troops along a Cease Fire Line, recognized by the United Nations”. Kashmiri opinion has been ascertained from time to time whenever elections were held. Only recently, Kashmiri Muslims exercised their franchise overwhelmingly, ignoring the boycott call of the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat Conference and the guns of militants.
When the Shimla accord was signed after the 1971 war, the Cease Fire Line was converted into the Line of Control (LoC). Some saner persons suggested to convert the LoC—de facto border—into the de jure one, making it an international border, although it will be difficult for India to forgo its claim to Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), which is legally a part of India.
The U S as a ‘friend’ of both the countries can play a constructive role in making them to agree to convert the de facto border into the de jure border. But instead, it is provoking Pakistan and the separatists, to keep the Kashmir pot boiling, by making frequent references to the so-called Kashmir ‘problem’, which actually does not exist.
US shows eagerness to develop good relations with New Delhi; yet it has been arm-twisting India on Kashmir. The Obama administration has signalled that it would take ‘markedly a different approach’ to Kashmir from the previous Bush administration. Some time ago, Obama had decided to appoint a ‘special envoy’ for Kashmir. The US might fastidiously pass on some modern technologies to India, as a bargaining factor, but not without attaching strings.
The rub is, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been keeping mum and not reacting to such verbose. India can never bargain on Kashmir. The U S wants to weaken India, asking it to demilitarize Kashmir though it knows Pakistan has a well-established ‘proxy force’ placed across the LOC to bleed India.