WHILE the world and UN maintains criminal indifference to the plight of the people of Kashmir and resolution of Kashmir dispute in consonance with the UN resolution, India continues its killing spree in Indian Occupied Kashmir and hurling threats of war at Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing military personnel in New Delhi on 29th January boasting about Indian strikes within Pakistan in 2016 and last year said that Indian forces could make Pakistan ‘bite dust’ within seven to ten days in a military combat. He termed his rhetoric as ‘youthful thinking’. Former and current Indian army chiefs have also been talking in the same tone and even annexing Azad Jummu and Kashmir. Indian aggressive posture towards Pakistan testifies to the fact that it had become a war-like state which posed a grave threat to peace and security in the region. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the UN General Assembly had exhaustively expounded the threat that the Indian philosophy of Hindutva posed to peace and security in the region urging the world to take notice of it before it reached a point of no return. His fears and apprehensions are amply being corroborated by the Indian threats to Pakistan.
Foreign office spokesperson categorically condemning the threat by Modi termed it irresponsible maintaining that it would further escalate tensions in the region. The spokesperson rightly reminded India about Pakistan’s immediate and effective response to India’s Balakot misadventure, including the downing of Indian fighter aircraft and capture of Indian pilot last year which she said “should suffice to underscore the will, capacity and preparedness of our armed forces,” India and its leaders need to understand that Pakistan is a nuclear state fully capable of not only defending itself but also punishing the aggressor beyond its imagination. India cannot emerge unscathed from any military confrontation with Pakistan. A full-fledged war could escalate into a nuclear clash with horrible consequences for the region and beyond. UN and the world community must take notice of the Indian belligerence. Peaceful coexistence is an indispensable imperative for both the countries to change the fate of millions groaning under the burden of abject poverty and changing their fate as well as reaping the benefits of the shared economic prosperity in the region. Peace in the region unfortunately has remained hostage to the Indian intransigence to resolve the Kashmir dispute and its somersault on the commitment made to the international community to allow the people of Kashmir to decide their own future through a plebiscite, as also enunciated in the UN resolutions.
Perhaps it would be pertinent to remind the current Indian leaders about the commitment that the Jawahar Lala Nehru made to the international community and Pakistan in regards to settling the question of accession of Kashmir to either of the two countries. In the backdrop of adoption of UN resolutions calling for holding of a plebiscite in Kashmir Jawahar Lal Nehru in several telegrammes to the Pakistani Prime Miniser reiterated “We are anxious not to finalize anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide. In his telegramme addressed to the UN representative for India and Pakistan on 16 August 1950 he said “The most feasible method of ascertaining the wishes of the people was by fair and impartial plebiscite.” In a statement in the Indian parliament on 12 February 1951 Nehru observed “We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.” Regrettably India took a somersault and has been using different tactic to shirk its responsibility and commitment to the people of Kashmir, including an attempt to declare Kashmir as its integral part on the basis of a resolution and constitution that the constituent assembly of IOK passed in 1951 and 1957, which were rejected by the UN through its resolutions 91 and 122, reiterating that the question of accession of Kashmir cannot be ascertained by any means other than a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN.
Kashmir dispute is a test of the much hyped credentials of US and its allies as champions of human causes and the universally recognized principle of self-determination. The people of IoK are fighting for their right of self-determination and as per UN resolutions they are also entitled to adopt any means to win their freedom. They have launched the freedom struggle since 1989 which was initially recognized as such by the world community but come 9/11 the whole scenario changed. The US and its allies forged strategic alliance with India and started equating the freedom struggle in IOK with terrorism. It has encouraged India to persist with her ruthless oppression to subdue the freedom struggle in the IoK as well to adopt a belligerent posture towards Pakistan. The extremist action taken by Modi government to end special status of IOK, bifurcation of the territory into tow and its amalgamation with the Indian Union is also a sequel to the same disposition. India has imperilled security of the region and any escalation could have very serious repercussion for all the stakeholders. USA and her allies need to revisit their strategy before it is too late. Kashmir remains an international issue as is also evident from the UNSC twice discussing the issue in the backdrop of the situation in IOK after revocation of article 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution by the Modi government.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.