Kashmir is a symptom, not the disease

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by M.Riaz, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. M.Riaz

    M.Riaz Regular Member

    Apr 17, 2010
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    Since Kashmir is the litmus test by which Pakistan judges India’s sincerity, behind-the-scenes channels can be reactivated without difficulty. They can resume their efforts from the point reached before the terrorist attack on Mumbai, when the composite talks broke down. Obviously, Islamabad would have to bring the perpetrators to book quickly because New Delhi seems to have put this precondition on any further dialogue.

    If reports on the work done on Kashmir through back channels are reliable, then 80 per cent of the job is said to have been completed. I was present at the New Delhi reception where the then Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri declared that a settlement on Kashmir had been reached and only a formal announcement remained.

    Only recently, Kasuri repeated to an Indian television channel that the solution had been found and would have been signed but for the diversion of the Pakistan government’s attention to the situation created by the lawyers’ agitation. Kasuri told me more or less the same thing when I last met him, after the polls in Pakistan, but did not disclose the contours of the settlement.

    If the two countries had reached the stage of agreement, they now have only to cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s. They should do this soon so that the dispute is cleared up. The state-to-state relationship between the two countries at any particular time also sets the tone for talks that the back channels conduct.

    My reading, however, is that Kashmir is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is the mistrust which, if not removed, will simply give birth to some other Kashmir. Even so, the present imbroglio has to be sorted out since Pakistan considers Kashmir the main irritant. Yet steps to remove mistrust are equally important because solving Kashmir alone may not normalise relations.

    Islamabad’s contacts with different groups of the Hurriyat are not to New Delhi’s liking, which finds them affected by what the rulers in Pakistan feel at a particular time. This is not necessarily dependent on developments in Kashmir.

    Apparently, Islamabad is not happy over Kashmir’s domestic politics which have attained some equanimity. It is alleged that the pace of infiltration from Pakistani soil into Kashmir has increased. This may be to put pressure on New Delhi to initiate talks on Kashmir or part of the strategy to keep the pot boiling. Whatever it is, talks between the two countries cannot be held hostage to this for a long period.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan has brought up the water issue. Pakistanis are bound to be agitated about a problem that relates to their daily life. My impression is that Islamabad is indulging in rhetoric more than reality. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi indicated recently that India was not to blame in terms of water.

    The Indus Waters Treaty has withstood many pressures, including wars. The rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi were allotted to India and the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus to Pakistan. Neither country can violate the sanctity of each party’s exclusive use of its three rivers. Disputes, if not resolved mutually, have to be referred to the World Bank which negotiated the agreement signed in Karachi by Jawaharlal Nehru and Gen Ayub Khan.

    Some disputes have arisen over the use of water in Kashmir. The Indus Waters Treaty does not allow a drop for Kashmir’s own use, however justifiable. Even the generation of power by harnessing the run of water, allowed by the treaty, is dependent on Pakistan’s approval.

    The Salal project built in Kashmir had to get Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s nod. The Baglihar dam, which generates only power, had to be changed in design: Islamabad referred the matter to the World Bank which appointed an expert and New Delhi had to modify the project accordingly. There is an uproar in Pakistan over the proposed Kishanganga project in Kashmir which is still at the discussion stage, and cannot go through until Pakistan gives its concurrence. Therefore, the criticism of India taking unilateral steps is incorrect.

    However, the fact remains that water in all the rivers is lessening. Climate changes are affecting India and Pakistan as they are the rest of the world. The water problem cannot be solved by politicising the issues. Perhaps both countries should think of jointly developing the entire Indus basin on an integrated basis. In a way, all six rivers will then belong as much to India as to Pakistan. This is a distant prospect but it may be worthwhile for the governments and the people of both countries to seriously consider it. Unfortunately, this cannot be done until the politics of hatred are eschewed and the two countries sit down across the table to tell each other that enough is enough.

    America has now become a mentor for both countries, each of which is trying to assess how much Washington has tilted in the other’s favour. On their visit to Washington, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan reportedly told President Obama to use pressure to convince the other, but did not feel the need to discuss the same point themselves. This is the state of India-Pakistan relations. We have already wasted more than 60 years; let’s not waste more.

    extracted piece of full article
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  3. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

    Apr 21, 2009
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    Finally an article worthy of this forum.

    Even if a settlement on Kashmir had been reached, would the new Pakistani government be able to sell it to its own people? Would the Pak Army accept the terms of the settlement? In the absence of a clear chain of command, how can India be sure that future Pakistani governments/military dictatorships will not renege on the deal? The fact that the Mumbai attack was managed by serving as well as retired Pakistani military officials tells us that the Pak Army may be opposed to any sort of deal on Kashmir between the two countries. I remember the lengths Zardari went to in order to display Pakistani goodwill towards India in the months and days leading up to the attack. All that vanished after the attack, and the farce of a trial that's taking place will probably result in the acquittal of all the terrorists. If a deal on Kashmir was reached, the Pakistani Army would lose the rationale for existence, or at least, existance on such a large scale. The numerous corporations, charities and other organizations controlled by the Army would probably be taken away and there would be arguments to cut its numerical strength.

    I don't think the Pak Army would give up all its power and influence so easily. Unlike India, it is in their interest to keep the conflict alive.
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  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Kuldeep nayar is is diehard peacenick of pre 1947 generation so he has still love left for pakistan.Even he recognize kashmir as symptom of disease called pakistan but then he dont want to annoy its host paper dawn so he just stopped at saying its the distrust.Everything is fine with article untill he says this

    And he call that distrust as pakistan in indirect words.as he says that even if kashmir is solved pakistan will create another kashmir like problem like it did with non existent water problem(which is actually its own mismanagement),which it is trying put responsibility of water on india's door steps.
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  5. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2009
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    Well pointed out ajtr! Yes, the Water Issue will become another Kashmir! I wish Pakistanis would take a look at the Water Theft Fraud thread and atleast try to defend themselves i.e if they can :)
  6. VayuSena1

    VayuSena1 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

    Mar 30, 2009
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    Funny thing that Kashmir is repeatedly raised as an issue after an entire community of Kashmiri Pandits have been ethnically cleansed off the lands of the state. Kashmir remains an integral part of India and therefore there is no question regarding whether Kashmir is a disease or a symptom. To put it bluntly, Pakistani government in Islamabad should focus on retaining just control over the existing Pakistani territories half of the places where the Pakistani Army is no ready to establish military bases such as the lawless Northwest.

    From what is being seen in here in India by us servicemen, Pakistani military and establishment are making a mockery out of themselves though taking the roles of both the donor and the recipient of international monetary as well as non-monetary assistances. While it claims to need money for keeping its economic fabric from tearing apart, Islamabad doesn't hesitate to forward a part of their international loan from World Bank to Afghanistan: that too US$300 million which is a big amount considering the country's fragile economy and volatile social situation. All this while the government at Islamabad is keen to claim the state of Kashmir, blame us for "water theft" (wonder how that is since the rivers are from Indian territory and no international body has the right to dictate us terms), bombings all over their country, and Heavens know what.

    Another theory was reduced to dust recently when the Pakistani Foreign minister Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi accepted that water shortage in Pakistan is not due to India's water theft and instead corruption and mismanagement of water resources in the arid regions of Pakistan.

    A simple solution to all of Pakistan's problems in my humble opinion would be a genuine introspection of self from the root of public mentality to what is being mis-represented by their government in terms of both international as well as domestic policies. This would not only satisfy their hunger for Indian territories under the pretext of common religion, but also solve their internal domestic problems such as water shortage, virtual army rule in spite of an elected democratic government, etc. Also, this could perhaps culminate into the first genuine peace between India and Pakistan.
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