Islamabad’s utter failure to enlist international support has further rattled Pakistani civil and military establishments and its notorious spy agency, Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)
It’s now abundantly clear that the Narendra Modi Government had meticulously done its homework before taking the boldest steps in Jammu & Kashmir – abrogation of Article 370, removal of Article 35A and bifurcation of the state into Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh – on August 5. It’s also clear that it had prepared a comprehensive roadmap calculated to holding its ground firmly at national and international levels and countering with solid arguments the opposition to what it will do in Jammu & Kashmir post-370 abrogation.
To be more precise, it had geared up its foreign office to tell the international community that what India did in Jammu & Kashmir was its sovereign decision and an exercise aimed at defeating violent jihad and ensuring its all-round development and that it will not tolerate interference in the country’s internal affairs. It had also geared up its law and order machinery to tackle the trouble-makers in the tiny but highly pampered Kashmir Valley.
The manner in which the Prime Minister’s Office, the Indian Foreign Office, the Home Ministry, the Defence Ministry and the Law Ministry have been conducting themselves after the complete integration of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh all serve to demonstrate that New Delhi means business. It’s no wonder then that the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Japan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Australia, Nepal, to mention only a few nations, have endorsed the New Delhi’s new line on Jammu & Kashmir. The most remarkable aspect of the whole developing situation is that even the bulk of the Islamic world, including the UAE, have appreciated the abrogation of Article 370, saying it was India’s internal matter. Influential members of the European Union and even some very prominent lawmakers in Britain have openly supported India and hailed its efforts to defeat terrorism. And this could be described as India’s splendid diplomatic victory.
The silver lining is that the people in Kashmir, like the people of Jammu and Ladakh, want peace. They want development. They want to lead a dignified life. They are fed up with the 70-year-old dance of death and destruction.
Pakistan, China, Britain and Turkey are the four countries which have been opposing New Delhi’s Jammu & Kashmir policy. But it was not altogether unexpected. The policy planners in the South Block knew it. However, it’s Pakistan, which has been crossing line after line in its desperate bid to foment troubles in Kashmir and doing everything under the sun to enlist international support so that it could corner India.
It’s a matter of great satisfaction that Islamabad has failed to garner international support. It has suffered defeat after defeat at the international forums, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Its oft-repeated accusation that India violated the UN resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir by altering its political map and removing its special status has failed to click. Even the use of controversial statements of the Congress, the Left, the TMC, the JDS and the NCP has not helped the Pakistani propagandists at international forums, United Nations General Assembly included.
Islamabad’s utter failure to enlist international support has further rattled Pakistani civil and military establishments and its notorious spy agency, Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). The spectacular diplomatic successes of India, the near normal situation in the otherwise restive Kashmir and the New Delhi’s stand that the talks with Islamabad will be held only on Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) have so rattled Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that they are threatening India that Islamabad could use nuclear weapons. It’s a different story that while Qureshi himself has admitted in public print that there is hardly any country that is with Pakistan. Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah has gone to the extent of saying that the international community is with India, and not with Pakistan. As for the out-on-the-limb and frustrated Imran Khan, he has on occasions more than one said that PM Narendra Modi could take a bigger action than Balakot in PoJK. Not just this, he has visited POJK twice after August 5 to provoke the people against India but with no result. On the contrary, many in PoJK have unleashed an anti-Pakistan movement and accused the Pakistani Army of unleashing a reign of senseless brutalities against the people of PoJK. The fact of the matter is that Imran Khan has accepted his defeat.
The short point is that the South and North Blocks knew that a handful of trouble-makers in Kashmir at the behest of Islamabad would create trouble following the abrogation of the state’s separate status and its bifurcation and it placed under detention around 1,400 of them, including three former Chief Ministers. Earlier, it had brought down the government of Mehbooba Mufti, arrested many under the charge that they were involved in hawala business, suspended undesirable cross LoC trade, banned JKLF and Jamaat-e-Islami and put in Tihar Jail several separatists and killers, Yasin Malik, Masarat Alam, Aiysa Andrabi included. These were indications that the Narendra Modi Government was planning some sort of surgical strike in Kashmir to undo the past wrongs and promote mainstream politics in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Jammu and Ladakh were never a problem for New Delhi. In effect, they all through championed the cause of the nation in the state. Besides, they all along stood for what the Narendra Modi Government did on August 5 and 6. These two regions, which constituted 85% of the state’s land area and housed over 50% of the state’s population, were 100% peaceful before August 5 and they have been 100% peaceful after August 5, leave aside a few disgruntled persons here and there. As a matter of fact, the people of these two regions have been in a celebration mode ever since August 5 for obvious reasons and one of the reasons, in their own words, is that “they achieved independence from the oppressive Kashmir only on August 5”. “We achieved political emancipation only on August 5,” they have been saying.
However, to say all this is not to suggest that all is well in Kashmir. It’s not. There are elements who would always like to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir to promote their own selfish interests and interests of Pakistan and other hostile nations. Reports emanating from Kashmir should leave none in any doubt that Pakistan-trained, backed and indoctrinated terrorists can play mischief anytime. In fact, they are already warning the common Kashmiri Muslims of dire consequences if they resume normal activities, open their business establishments and shops and send their wards to educational institutions.
The silver lining is that the people in Kashmir, like the people of Jammu and Ladakh, want peace. They want development. They want to lead a dignified life. They are fed up with the 70-year-old dance of death and destruction. They know that their future is safe and secure only with democratic India. It’s heartening to note that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 19 at Nasik, Maharashtra, made public his roadmap on Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and urged all Indians to help build a New Kashmir under UT dispensation, embrace people of the state, who suffered for 70-long years and turn the Valley into Jannat (heaven) again. His statement that the “Central Government’s decisions on Jammu & Kashmir were aimed at freeing the people from the vicious circle of violence, terrorism and separatism” must induce one and all in Kashmir to come forward to achieve what the Prime Minister explained in great details at a massive public rally. They must remember that terrorism is not an elixir to live; terrorism is a deadly poison; and that Pakistan is a rogue state. At the same time, the BJP would do well to avoid any comment or statement that could be taken to mean that it cares more for Kashmir.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.