By Sajjad Shaukat
On June 28, this year, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in an interview that Pakistan should “leave Kashmir alone.” Singh’s statement came after Pak-India secretary level talks concluded on June 24 at Islamabad. Besides other issues, the dialogue was devoted largely to the issue of Kashmir. In this regard, while emphasising the importance of constructive dialogue, both the sides exchanged views on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences.
In these terms, confused in his goals, interview of Singh itself was based upon self-contradiction. In the recent past, he had indicated that India wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan, but at the same time, he accused the latter of sponsoring terrorism. Besides, on Jun 26, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani revealed that as India and Pakistan restored peace talks over pending issues including Kashmir, “our countrymen should know that the Kashmir problem is Nehru family’s special ‘gift’ to the nation.” While blaming Islamabad, he further claimed, “the consequences of this ‘gift’ are Pakistan’s export of cross-border terrorism and religious extremism.”
Meanwhile on June 27, in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) of London regarding “Key Priorities for India’s Foreign Policy,” describing her recent talks in Islamabad as “productive and positive”, India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, “a stable Pakistan which acts as a bulwark against terrorism is in the interest of the region.” But quite contrary to her statement, raising alleged links of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) with Mumbai terror, Rao pressed Islamabad for a “satisfactory closure” of the 26/11 trial.” She also accused Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir.
It is mentionable that on the one side, India wants to promote friendship with Pakistan by continuing the new phase of talks, while on the other; it has intensified anti-Pakistan activities by sending well-trained militants who are regularly committing various acts sabotage in our country, and it is also launching a deliberate propaganda campaign against ISI.
India which has continuously been asking Pakistan to take action against the fugitives of Mumbai carnage has set aside the true story which has been exposed recently by the Indian media which disclosed the name of the terrorist, Wazhul Qamar Khan whose name was included in the list of 50 alleged terrorists given to Pakistan in March. On May 18, 2011, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram also admitted that what the media described an embarrassing lapse, but disowned responsibility for preparing the list. But Times of India reported that Wazhur Qamar “is living in the suburbs of Mumbai with his family” and “is regularly reports to a court that gave him bail.”
Notably, New Delhi has been using delaying tactics and is not serious in settling the thorny issue of Kashmir and is only fulfilling formalities as part of its shrewd diplomacy. We could judge in light of Indian ambivalent policy—also shown by the contradictory statements of the Indian rulers that Indian policy towards the Indian-held Kashmir is marked with self-deception. In this connection, while showing unrealistic approach, New Delhi has totally ignored even the ground realities.
Since 1989, despite crackdowns, massacre, sieges and killing the freedom fighters through fake encounters, Indian Army and paramilitary troops have badly failed in crushing the war of liberation in the occupied Kashmir. In fact, under the cover of various anti-terrorim laws of the country, Indian armed forces have committed multiple brutal crimes such as illegal custody, torture, forced confession, rape of women, corruption, robbing the houses, kidnappings etc. As regards the latest phase of Indian state terrorism, these brutal tactics by the Indian forces have continued against the non-violent mass uprising (Intifada) of Kashmiris. Thus Indian forces have killed more than 100,000 innocent people in order to maintain its alien control on the Indian part of Kashmir.
Despite the perennial employment of various methods of state terrorism on the freedom fighters and the innocent protesters in the occupied Kashmir, Indian armed forces have been demoralised in crushing the war of liberation.
In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of moral force, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralisation. Moral force, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent.
The ongoing different war between the Indian state terrorists and the Kashmiri people has proved without any doubt that such elements like ‘will to fight’ and ‘moral force’ have more been noted in the latter who have exerted psychological impact of causing fear, shock, mental depression and stress, resulting in demoralisation of the Indian military and paramilitary troops. In this context, Indian defence analysts and psychologists including Retired Maj Gen Afsar Karim (who has fought three wars) have shown various causes of suicides and opening fire on their colleagues, found in the Indian military, stationed in the Jummu and Kashmir—attributing these trends to “continuous work under extreme hostile conditions, perpetual threat to life, absence of ideal living conditions, and of course; the home sickness due to long separation from families.”
However, Kashmir dispute has been internationalised. Unlike the past, this time, Indian occupied Kashmir has become a special focus of world’s attention including India itself.
In the recent past, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have stressed on New Delhi to repeal those laws in the Indian-held Kashmir, which provide the armed forces with extraordinary powers to search, detain, and use lethal force, leading to numerous human rights violations. Recently, WikiLeaks have also pointed out the involvement of Indian Army in extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations in the Jammu and Kashmir. The related-cable has urged the US to secretly divert UN attention towards the genocide of innocent civilians at the hands of Indian forces.
When hundreds of unidentified graves with more than 3000 bodies were discovered in the Indian-side of Kashmir, Indian RAW was accused of custodial killings of the Kashmiri people—even the European Parliament had passed a resolution, condemning New Delhi for human rights violations.
Meanwhile on May 11, 2011 a resolution was passed by the European Parliament which has set some conditionalities which India will have to meet to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union so as to assure that New Delhi is not involved in human rights abuses in the controlled territory of Kashmir
It is notable that observing the real situation which has also affected other regions of India, even Indian media have supported the independence of the occupied Kashmir.
In its editorial, The Times of India wrote on August 17, 2008, “On August 15, India celebrated independence from the British Raj. A day symbolising the end of colonialism in India became a day symbolising Indian colonialism in the Valley…we promised Kashmiris a plebiscite six decades ago. Let us hold one now, and let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and armies of India”. It was also admitted that subsequent state elections were also rigged in support of leaders nominated by New Delhi.
On August 16, 2008, Hindustan Times wrote: “Nothing has really changed since 1990s. A single spark can set the whole valley on fire…Indian forces are treated as an army of occupation. New Delhi is seen as the oppressor.” The paper elaborated, “The current crisis in Kashmir is a consequence of Indian establishment, raising the confrontation to a new level.” It realised that during the present demonstrations, “there is active hatred of India, threatening to further internationalise the present crisis. The world looks at us with dismay”. While suggesting a referendum in the Valley, it further indicated, “If you believe in democracy, then giving Kashmiris the right of self-determination is the correct thing to do”.
Nevertheless, since 1989, India has deployed more than 500,000 troops to quell the freedom movement of the Kashmiris, but it cannot eliminate it at present as it could not do so through many years of oppression.
Nonetheless, delaying tactics in connection with the solution of Kashmir dispute shows India’s self-deception, and it wants to divert the attention of the US-led west from the above mentioned ground realties by blaming Pakistan and ISI for infiltration, while Kashmiri’s war of liberation is indigenous as recognised by even Indian media.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations