At least 4 times, Trump said that he would be glad to mediate and help India and Pakistan resolve the so-called J&K issue
US President Donald Trump will be in India on February 24 and 25. He will visit Delhi, Ahmedabad and Agra. He will have a couple of one-on-one meetings with PM Narendra Modi. Leave aside what they will discuss during those meetings. Because we don’t know what precisely is on their respective agenda. We have only been given to understand that the coming visit of Trump would be a big diplomatic event and it would further strengthen the India-US strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people. Hence, I will only reflect on what Trump said on Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) from time to time while meeting with Pakistan’s army-controlled PM Imran Khan and Indian PM Modi, who has the people’s mandate behind him. It’s also time to reflect on what Imran Khan wanted from Trump as far as J&K is concerned and what Modi emphasized and did to clearly tell the world community that J&K was legitimately Indian and shall remain Indian, come what may. Another partition of India on religious basis utterly unacceptable as such a partition would mean balkanization of India and a grave threat to world peace has been the PM Modi’s upshot.
What Trump said about J&K from time to time to placate Imran Khan and promote US interests in Afghanistan/Central Asia and elsewhere? At least 4 times, Trump said that he would be glad to mediate and help India and Pakistan resolve the so-called J&K issue. At the same time, he admitted in so many words that J&K was a complex and big issue. To be more precise, he has kept Imran Khan on his side by telling him that he was prepared to mediate and help settle the Kashmir issue and, at the same time, tried to give New Delhi to understand that he would take the plunge only if there was no objection from any side (obviously New Delhi). For example, on August 26, 2019, after his meeting with PM Modi at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump took a step back and said: “We spoke last night about J&K and PM Modi really feels he has it under control. I know they (India) speak with Pakistan, and I’m sure that they will be able to do something that will be good”. It needs to be underlined that it was the third occasion that Trump talked about mediation in J&K.
There are potent reasons to believe that the Modi Government has been able to put across its point of view in an effective manner
It needs to be underlined that Imran Khan has, among other things, made abrogation of Article 370, division of J&K into Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, imposition of restrictions on internet, detention of many Kashmiri Muslims, including the three former CMs – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -, and the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir the cornerstones of his provocative statements. He has met Donald Trump thrice in a short span of time. He has been trying his best to rope in the US and urging the UN to intervene so that the so-called Kashmir issue was resolved. He has been able to enlist the support of OIC and its members like Turkey and Malaysia. But it was expected as the countries like Turkey and Malaysia consider J&K a Muslim issue.
As for the Narendra Modi Government, it has repeatedly said that J&K is a bilateral issue as per the Shimla Agreement of 1972 and that terror and talks couldn’t go hand-in-hand. But more than that, the Modi government has defended its actions in J&K and on J&K both within and outside India, saying J&K was an integral part of India and all the actions it took in J&K and on J&K after June 19, 2019, were taken for the betterment of the people of the state and to end the menace of Islamic terrorism. On June 19, 2019, the Modi Government had brought down the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government in a dramatic manner. Ever since then, J&K has been under the Central Rule.
There are potent reasons to believe that the Modi Government has been able to put across its point of view in an effective manner. India’s Minister of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has been touring different parts of the world to tell the international community that it would be only diplomatically prudent if it holds itself aloof from the internal affairs of India. As a matter of fact, the Modi Government has told the international community in clear terms that it meant business in J&K and that it will not allow Pakistan and secessionists in J&K to play their nefarious games. PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and MEA Jaishankar have all spoken in one voice and cleared all the cobwebs of confusion by taking a clear stand on J&K and taking solid actions with the approval of the parliament, the supreme lawmaking body of the country. It’s no wonder then that J&K has been very peaceful after August 5, 2019, when the Modi Government changed the constitutional status and political map of J&K springing a big surprise.
That the Modi Government means business and that it will not kneel under any circumstance became clear on February 14, when Jaishankar made a pointed correction to US Senator, Lindsey Graham, after the later suggested the Kashmir issue should be resolved between two democracies. “Do not worry, Senator. One democracy will settle it, and you know which one,” Jaishankar told Lindsey Graham. Graham had said: “When it comes to Kashmir, I don’t know how it ends, but let’s make sure that two democracies will end it differently”. And what Jaishankar told Graham should clinch the whole issue and establish that the Modi Government’s stand on J&K is firm and that New Delhi would take all the required legislative, executive and other actions to establish peace in J&K.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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