ASIAINTL CONFLICTSOPINIONPOLITICS

Abandoned Kashmiri people

By Rameez Raja

APJ Abdul Kalam once said: “Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”

In the contemporary world, if not all but majority of states focus on security. People love security both inside and outside of their places. The politics even revolves around security. The elections are now manifested on the basis of security and people cast votes to secure themselves without actually knowing who is the real threat to world peace and security?

For security, states are channelizing their resources for military purposes, intelligence and technology. However, we witness that there is no state in the world which can claim that it has achieved all elements of security for their people.  For instance, the powerful state like the US is also victim of terrorism. The 9/11 is one such an example from where states reshaped their security policy and enough money were spent on control, command, communication and intelligence. At the international level, states meet to discuss about security and newest policies were implemented for security purposes. Surveillance is another example for security, in all public places, CCTV cameras were placed to check any security breach.

People deserve security and state is responsible to provide security to its people. However, despite money is spent on security, there is always news in the magazines, newspapers about the several types of incidents of the security breach in the states. The question arises, despite all the necessary security arrangements, why states fail to provide the total security to their people?

The technology is believed as the best alternative for security. However, technology is not only confined to states. The people involved in security breach incidents are also using latest technologies and modern skills to achieve their purposes. It seems that the technology is not the key solution for security breaches. For instance, the Snowden case, he easily managed to escape from the CIA departments (which is believed as the highest security zone area) where he was working as undercover agent after stealing important information from the computer.

We know about the several incidents of plane hijacks and kidnapping of persons in high security zone areas. How such events happen is the source of alarm, however, these incidents happen either with the help of insiders or some kind of failure in X-ray machines. Who is trustworthy, and who is not? is not an easy task to identify. The security departments provide enough training to security guards to protect the nation. However, the case is dissimilar, despite high security, top politicians to low politicians were assassinated. We remember the case of Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi. Not only politicians, religious leaders or military officers were assassinated in the day light in the high security zone areas.

States do everything to protect its people. However, deadly wars were fought to destroy each other by powerful to weak states. In the contemporary world, nukes are believed as the best option for national security. But unfortunately, crisis still exists and nukes have a battle field role is clearly confirmed by the United States. The nuclear states are reluctant to accept some areas as nuclear free zone area because they have alerted nukes there for battle field use. The US has provided nuclear security to several states and this is clear sign of instability. Recently, South Korea stated that it may build nukes too for its own security against North Korea. The states initiated several confidence buildings measures but unfortunately failed to bring stability in the conflict zones. The military intervention or nukes is regarded as the best option to settle disputes in the conflict zones rather than by peace processes.

In the name of security supported by intelligence and technology, money is spent inhumanely and large section of poor people’s basic needs are ignored. The prospects of peace and stability in the world in general and South Asia in particular are primarily depend on ushering harmony into relations between the states. There is nothing like security-insecurity paradox or stability-instability paradox, one can only see the instability-instability paradox in South Asia.

The intractable question of Kashmir has proved to be the central cause for the ongoing disharmony between India and Pakistan. India-China relations has always remained in between good and bad. Currently, China has played its hegemony card to pressurise India to withdrew its troops in Doklam. China is the major nuclear power in the region and has shaped the contours of interstate ties in the region. India’s disparity with China have compelled India to withdrew its troops from the Doklam. In addition, the CAG of India has raised serious concerns over defence preparedness of India. Is India ready for the war is the question to be analysed? Indian nukes failed to stop cross border infiltration and 1999 Kargil skirmish was fought under the nuclear shadow between India and Pakistan.

For security, states need a peace policy rather than intelligence and technology. Recently, India intentionally did not support that the SAARC meeting to be held in Pakistan after the Uri incident. The SAARC is the best way to sort out problems in South Asia. The first and second track diplomacy should be adopted again to settle the disputes. The more India and Pakistan alienate themselves, the more problems they will kiss. The more money they will spent on security, the more instability will arise. The unresolved crisis, sub-conventional conflicts and finally nukes will decide the future of South Asia.

Recently, the Indian Express published an article where it is reported that Indian pilots during 1999 Kargil skirmish crossed the LOC and were close to trigger the button to drop a bomb on Pakistan’s army base at Gulteri. Pervez Hoodbhoy in response to such report argued in his article published by Dawn that at that moment Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf were addressing the Pakistani troops at Gulteri. It is clear that any minor mistake from any side may kiss the mushroom cloud in the subcontinent.

If India is really worried about the instability in Pakistan and to settle the disputes, India should then offer a table for talk to Pakistan. However, ‘my gain your loss’ is the only game played so far by both states. India has to adopt twofold approaches to deal with the crisis in the region: one is to start the process of talk with Pakistan and second is to win the confidence of Kashmiri people through peace process rather than military tactics. Reciprocally, Pakistan has to change its tactics towards Kashmir.

The separatist leaders in Kashmir has to adopt such policies that will not alienate the people in Jammu and Kashmir. The civil resistance movement so far is visible in Kashmir division only, the other divisions (Jammu and Ladakh) are more or less outside of the movement. In addition, the migrated pandits are totally against the state autonomy of the valley and are busy in organizing seminars like “why Article 35-A is discriminatory”.

The media and press should support the truth and highlight the projects of peace and cooperation in both India and Pakistan. The inter-societal organization has to come in front to bring together the people of both sides. For instance, the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) have done an extraordinary job to remove hatred against each other.

Nevertheless, the Kashmiri people should think in terms of peace and not revenge. The Kashmir as predicted may be the raison d’etre for nuclear war between India and Pakistan. The assumption is that both India and Pakistan has failed to resolve the issue, however, where 100 doors get closed, there is still one door for exit. The movement should represent all sections of the people in the state. Interestingly, there is bifurcation regarding the movement among the inhabitants in Kashmir.

Some demand restoration of state autonomy, some Azaadi, some merge with Pakistan, some integrate with India, and some ask for Union Territory. This bifurcation will hardly guide the valley to the peace rather than it will alienate the Kashmiri more and more. The driver of the cart chooses one direction to complete the journey, if there were four horses assigned in four directions in one cart, the driver will fail to move a single step. Let the four horses fix in one direction and share the burden of one among the four horses to complete the journey.

I am worried if people in Kashmir were not united for a single cause/solution and if Kashmir remained unresolved, the valley may kiss a deadly civil war. From the last year especially after HM Commander, Burhan Wani was killed by the security forces in the valley, the tussle between the militants and security forces has increased, since then innocent civilians, militants, Kashmiri policemen and Indian security forces were killed. It is worldwide accepted that ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’ and it is also largely debated that “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist”, Both the proverbs have ground in Kashmir whether innocent civilian is killed or militant/Indian security force/Kashmiri policeman, all are declared martyrs from their supporters.

Very sadly, there is no order in the valley and peace is an imaginary truth for Kashmiri people. Both nuclear states have their own perspective regarding Kashmiri people. One dislikes Kashmiri as a supporter of resistance movement, while other dislikes Kashmiri as a devotee of the central or the state government.

Rameez Raja is a Ph. D Scholar at the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

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