The best thing to come out of the all-party delegation that went to Jammu & Kashmir a few days ago is that it had egg on its face.
J&K can simmer down with talks, but its core issue will never be “settled” as long as Pakistan exists.
To deal with the Pakistan problem, we have to think (and out-think) the Pakistani army – its Deep State which includes the ISI and jihadi elements beholden to the army - and meet it measure for measure.
The best thing to come out of the
all-party delegation that went to Jammu & Kashmir a few days ago is that it
had egg on its face, with the separatists either refusing to meet them, or
meeting them to tell them their visit served no purpose. This should end the
opposition’s bluster and unstated assumptions that the Modi government somehow
mishandled the crisis that erupted after the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani,
and they could have done better.
The statement released by three
separatists, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, makes
this clear. It said: “These methods of crisis management through parliamentary
delegations and track-2 can’t take the place of a genuine transparent
agenda-based dialogue to address the core issue…that has been our consistent stand…”.
Since the “core issue” has always
been plebiscite and/or merger with Pakistan, the so-called “transparent agenda-based
dialogue” is essentially about the Indian state accepting the separatists’
terms of surrender on Indian sovereignty in J&K. No Indian government can
do this, even if headed by the Congress or even the Left. The Congress had 10
years to sort out the issue, but got nowhere despite talks. So it’s
holier-than-thou posturing is just political nonsense.
Is there no peaceful way out?
The blunt answer should be a big “No”.
J&K can simmer down with talks, but it will never be “settled” as long as
Pakistan exists. This means we have to fix our Pakistan problem first before
J&K can be dealt with, though talks to defuse tensions should always be on.
But strategically we should not lose sight of the Pakistan problem. That is the
core issue for us.
To deal with the Pakistan problem, we
have to think (and out-think) the Pakistani army – its Deep State which
includes the ISI and jihadi elements beholden to the army - and meet it measure
for measure. Narendra Modi made a good start by talking of human rights issues
in Balochistan. He now needs to back their fight for independence.
We need to keep the Pakistani general
focused on his own backyard, and for this Balochistan is important.
It is worth asking ourselves: how
does the Pakistani general think? The answer is simple: his existence is driven
by permanent enmity to India, and the need for revenge.
The Pakistani army has two goals –
both related to India. They want to retain the real levers of power in
Pakistan, especially when it comes to defence, national security, and foreign
policy when it pertains to India, China and the US. Here civilian
governments have no say.
To retain this power, the other goal
is to defeat India somewhere, or maintain a perpetual state of enmity and
bitterness. Unfortunately, Pakistan has never won a war against India, despite
the army’s claims that one Muslim equals 10 Hindus. In 1971, Pakistan was
actually comprehensively defeated by India. Humbled generals have thus been
fantasising about revenge in order to redeem their honour and clout. They will
not accept peace.
So, when some civilian governments
occasionally try to reduce the tensions, the generals ensure that it is nipped
in the bud. Thus Vajpayee’s bus trip to Lahore was followed by Kargil, and Modi’s
invite to Nawaz Sharif for his inaugural and impromptu visit to Lahore brought
forth another J&K crisis.
Gen Zia ul-Haq’s Islamisation was
intended to end any possibility of a civilian government-led patch-up with “Hindu
India”, and successive generals have tried to introduce the virus of Islamism
in the Kashmir Valley too, and have now partially succeeded.
Of course, the rise of Islamic State
has allowed some Muslims in India to self-radicalise, and this could be
happening in Kashmir too. The Pakistani generals will be happy, for once the
cries of “azaadi” are subsumed by jihadi Islamism, the fires become more
difficult to put out.
The ground reality today is that the
Hurriyat has been left behind by more radicalised youth. This is why even
so-called moderates speak the language of extremists and Islamism. When you are
likely to be bumped off (the Mirwaiz’s and Minister Sajjad Lone’s fathers were
killed by Pakistani-backed extremists when they started talking the language of
moderation), you have no other choice. The Hurriyat is thus scared for its
life. So what will you get by talking to them?
Coming back to what the Pakistani generals will be plotting next, here what could be on the anvil:
First, assassinations of one or more of the remaining moderate leaders of mainstream parties so that no one then ever speaks of Kashmiriyat;
Second, spreading the Islamist virus to the quieter areas of Jammu’s Muslim enclaves;
Three, try and restart the Khalistani movement, especially if the Akali Dal-BJP coalition loses the next elections.
Four, set more fires in Bangladesh, using Sheikh Hasina’s efforts to bring the butchers of 1971 to justice. Bangladeshi Islamism is already spilling over into some districts of West Bengal, and weak-kneed leaders like Mamata Banerjee, who depend on the Muslim vote, will allow the problems to fester.
This is the way Pakistan’s general will think, for they do not want peace. They want victory, and they are prepared to court self-destruction for this.
The US may not been keen to play
Pakistan’s game anymore, but the Chinese are not averse to it. Pakistan is
China’s attack dog against India.
Clearly, we have to help Pakistan self-destruct.
There is no escape from this reality. Self-destruction is key to free the
Pakistani people from the yoke of its army, and India from the menace of