There are several views on why Pakistan has been fomenting trouble in the Kashmir valley. Some say that this is part of a strategy to ‘bleed India by a thousand cuts’ that was initiated by General Zia-ul-Haq; while others say that it is an attempt to do a “Bangladesh on India’, that is aimed at creating a huge uprising, and when it become unmanageable for New Delhi, it’ll create an opportunity for a direct military intervention by Pakistan (like that of India in Bangladesh, in 1971). And of course by keeping Kashmir on the boil, the Pakistan army can continue to justify its pre-eminent socio-political position. However diplomatically, the stated positions of India and Pakistan, based on two documents: the UN Resolution over Kashmir, and the Shimla Accord. But both these have achieved little.
The UN Resolution of 13 August 1948 calls for
(b) Pakistani withdrawal from all of Jammu & Kashmir, before
(c) India can ‘determine the future status of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the will of its people’ (ie, a plebiscite). For almost everyone in Pakistan, this resolution is an article of faith. But Pakistanis will not withdraw – as mandated in the second part of the resolution – saying that they do not trust India to hold a fair plebiscite. They see the resolution purely as a path to Kashmir’s accession into Pakistan. India says that the resolutions cannot be implemented without Pakistan’s withdrawal and more importantly, half a century later the resolutions have lost their validity. As UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, had said that the UN Resolutions on Kashmir are now irrelevant.
The other document is the Simla Agreement of 1972, and one that India swears by. It essentially talks of bilateralism being the key to India-Pakistan relations and for any solution over the Kashmir issue. Realistically speaking, there are two reasons why successive Indian governments have hung onto the Shimla Accord. One is, that having taken the Kashmir issue to the UN, India was unable to effectively contest the Pakistanis there, and since then New Delhi has been fighting shy of stating its case – which is a perfectly legitimate one – in world forums. The other is Mrs Gandhi’s huge diplomatic blunder of handing back over 90,000 PoWs to Pakistan, on ZA Bhutto’s false promises that he’ll settle for a border over the Loc. (Remember the CFL was converted into the LOC, just after their meeting in Shimla in 1972). Therefore, the Shimla Accord provided the perfect fig leaf for Congress led governments to hide behind diplomatically. But over the last 25 years Islamabad clearly has shown little respect for the Simla Accord. It wants to desperately internationalize the Kashmir issue
However as diplomatic debates continue, there is now a need to find another way forward. India must address the many issues that continue to linger, and are used as a rallying point by anti-India separatists. Insurgencies always thrive and remain alive on a ‘cause’, and in Kashmir it is the anti-New Delhi sentiment reflected by the counter-insurgency drive and the lack of development, that is exploited to the hilt by Pakistan, whose involvement in the first place was a consequence of Delhi’s failures. To solve the problem ‘of’ Kashmir, New Delhi must therefore address the problems ‘in’ Kashmir. Elections are only a means to that end. The best way to do that is by giving Kashmiris an honest and effective administration, massive development, first class infrastructure, and the opportunities to enjoy the benefits of being completely integrated with ‘shining India’, as seen by them daily on Indian television. This New Delhi must do, and not leave it to corrupt state governments. India shouldn’t worry about what the world says. The world salutes progress. As for Pakistan, it has nothing to offer Kashmiris now
Maroof Raza is a strategic affairs commentaror. Visit: www.maroofraza.com