modi in kashmirBy Brig Samson S Sharaf

This article must be read as follow up of Kashmir: Lines Drawn with Blood published in Opinion Maker 6 Feb 2011

Narendra Modi has deliberately escalated the Line of Control and Working Boundary in Kashmir. India, an imperial state by nature has extended this heat to China by building a road along the Tibetan Border. The roots of this forward policy lie in Hindutva and religious edits describing a glorious past in antiquity. In order to reclaim this, what was done in recent past has to be undone. Invaders from North are a historical experience and must be blocked. In the Kautylian Mandala, Bharat must exist as a hegemon. The notion is akin to Zionism and Daish.

In the past 67 years Indian neighbours have been at the receiving end of this creeping policy camouflaged by pacifist notions of Secularism, Fabian Socialism, Panchsheel, Non Alignment and Shinning India. These countries include China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, Goa, Hyderabad and Jundagarh and Kashmir. The Strong Indian economic growth makes it convenient to exercise other instruments of coercion, placation and subjugation. Major international actors with eyes on Indian markets look the other way when India flexes its sinews. Political economy and not geo strategy dominate international politics.

Kashmir, the land from where the sacred waters originate was occupied with fictitious documents. Sardar Patel and VP Menon made illegal amendments in Section 6 of 1935 Act to write the Instrument of Accession carried by Manekshaw to the Kashmiri Raja. Enlightened Indians were left aghast. In the case of Madhav Rao, the Supreme Court of India found it strange that India inherited any aspects of the British paramountcy. The Indian Supreme Court in Premnath Kaul and the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, in Magher Singh, observed that with the lapse of the paramountcy, the princely state became an independent and sovereign. These two legal observations remain a barrier to Indian intentions.

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But intentions to limit Pakistan were clear. The division of Punjab provided India a land route to Kashmir, controls of rivers and important head works in East Punjab. Bikaner, the State with biggest ammunition depots ceded to India because of head works. With the slogan of Hind Chini Bhai Bhai, Nehru-Patel traded off Tibet as quid pro quo for Kashmir?

Forward Policy is innate psyche of imperial India. East Pakistan had to seal its border to develop Chittagong. West Pakistan nearly went to war in the 50s when rivers were blocked. The Indus Basin Water Treaty is beyond riparian rights. The instrument was crafted by United Nations and World Bank to ensure a cooperative mechanism in a conflict prone zone. India’s moral ground on Tibet is an afterthought. In 1971 Pakistan was cut to size. Sir Creek, SiaChin and escalations on the Line of Control and Tibetan border accrue from motivations of Akhand Bharat and Bharat Versha. With the rise of the Hindu right and Modi, this confrontation appears to be assuming new levels. Changing the demography of Kashmir, buying off or placating Kashmiri leaders, Amarnath Yatra, plans of a road along the Chinese Border, a 135 feet high concrete barrier along the Line of Control and Pakistan are a continuation by other means. The conspicuous absence of a control mechanism and relief during the recent floods is seen by Kashmiris as warning shots by a trigger happy Modi. In quest of his celibate purity, he is obsessed by his strong beliefs.

The Indian plans to finally digest IHK revolve around the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Earlier, India put its stranglehold on IHK through illegal extension of Articles 356 and 357 that allow Indian writ in IHK and weakened Article 370. Abrogation will entail a possible sellout by the National Conference led by Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party of Mufti Sayeed and others in the IHK State Assembly to garner a two thirds majority. The amendment will then be put before India’s Constituent Assembly for abrogation. But legal questions will still stand in the way. Will the second generation of National Conference and PDP become sellouts like their elders are a question mark? Both parties are isolated from the people following the recent manipulated flooding.

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Therefore, as a prerequisite, India must quarantine IHK from Pakistan through an Indianisedversion of Barlev Line. A pliant and discredited Pakistan with weak armed forces and no nuclear capability is a pre requisite. The present government in Pakistan is facilitating with its warmth towards Modi. This includes MFN Status, easy transit to Afghanistan, bilateral trade and investments and putting Kashmir on the back burner. Simultaneously, the Government of Pakistan is keen to appease USA by accepting India as a lead players in the region, undermine the armed forces of Pakistan under the pretext of Civil Military relations and control high cost consumer monopolies that curtail sustainable development. The government is also prepared to sell off household silver and introduce high cost consumer services like electricity to control Pakistan’s domestic industry and export potential. Privatizations, Reko Dik, Saindak and Thar coal are all part of this Economic Hitman policy.

But international obligations also stand in India’s way. Much depends whether Pakistan will have the spine to invoke them. With no foreign minister and a part time defence minister, it is most likely that the government’s premier intention is to appease India. But in all likelihood, before this government reaches a point of departure, it will be curtains for them.

Bilateralism cannot exclude the will of the people of Kashmir. Pakistan’s Kashmir policy and aspirations of the people of Kashmir are hedged by at least 10 UN Security Council Resolutions numbers 38, 39, 47, 51, 91, 96, 98, 122,123 and 126. These also outlaw Indian legal position to absorb IHK as its territory. UNSC Resolutions 91 and 122 invalidate elections in IHK as substitute to plebiscite. They declare that acts such as J&K Constitution and by implication amendments in the Indian Constitution do not make for a final settlement of Kashmir.

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24 January 1957 marks the point when India stopped pretending it was interested in the plebiscite and began a manoeuvre to block international arbitration on the Kashmir issue. Similar bad moves by Pakistan facilitated this.

As International dynamics tilt in India’s favourintransience has grown. But dynamics back home and inside IHK are rapidly changing. The movement for Naya Pakistan and a Naya Kashmir is rising like a phoenix and will defeat such designs. Sellout Pakistani and Kashmiri leaders will soon become the debris of history. A badly mauled and blood-shedding Modi will have to withdraw to his retreat in Gujarat