INDIA, PAKISTAN AND THE ISSUE OF JAMMU &KASHMIR
Anil A. Athale
Steps Towards Peace
J&K issue that began in 1947 as a residual conflict of partition of India into two countries has over the years turned into an ideological conflict or between the 'two nation theory' of Pakistan and belief in India of secularism of its pluralist society. The late Pakistani leader, Z. A. Bhutto had complained , 'Even while agreeing to Pakistan, Nehru, Gandhi and Patel and others never really conceded the two nation theory. Partition was accepted as a matter of bitter expediency.' It is this basic disagreement that fuels Pakistani suspicions about Indian motives. From the Indian point of view Indian acceptance of the two-nation theory could put the future of not just Muslim citizens but Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains , Zorastrians and Jews of India in jeopardy, and therefore untenable. Secularism is central to Indian existence as a home of pluralistic society. There is considerable opposition in the political parties and intelligensia to BJPs dogma of Hindutvwa (despite B.J.P.s innocous explaination of its thesis), precisely because it evokes images of horrors of millions of Muslims whom are rightful citizens of India, losing status and crossing borders as refugees creating a continent size Bosnia in Asia.
Honesty in Dialogue
The rhetoric and less than honest dialogue between India and Pakistan has made it appear as if there can be no solution to the Kashmir problem. It must be noted that in on April 1, 1960, India and Pakistan signed the Indus Water Treaty It is remarkable that despite two wars fought, the Indus treaty continues to function smoothly. In contrast, within India there is a simmering dispute over river water between the provinces.
Mutual Acceptance of 'No Win Situation'
While Pakistan cannot get Kashmir by force, India will continue to bleed defending it. Parenthetically there must be a clear realisation that War or the language of War will only make the matters worse.
Accept that both sides have legitimate logic to back up their claim.
Both the countries must agree that each has a 'legitimate' logic to claim Jammu & Kashmir. Once this is mutually accepted, it should be made clear that any measures taken to mitigate the hardship of the people or other adjustments do not dilute their respective claims.
Interests of Kashmiris on top of the Agenda
Role of Legislature
As a first step in the conciliation process, India and Pakistan should agree to provide unfettered access to the legislators of Pakistan Occupied or Azad Kashmir to Indian part of the state and vice versa. This will foster people to people contact as well as counter hostile propaganda about mis-treatment and atrocities.
They should form a joint committee to solve the human problems of a divided population.
Open up Border Crossing Points
Peace and de-escalation along the Line of Control
In order to calm the situation on the line of control, a joint Indo Pak group of cease-fire monitors needs to be constituted that can replace the UN observers. This group should essentially carry out the same function as the UN observers but report to a joint parliamentary committee of India and Pakistan.
Solving Siachin Issue
This area that lies at the height of over 21000 feet, is of no strategic significance to either side. India and Pakistan should agree to set up a monitoring force IN EACH OTHERS AREAS at the locations that can easily ensure that no military movement is taking place.
De-militarisation of line of control.
In order to reduce the chances of frequent clashes, both the sides to should agree to withdraw a fixed distance behind the line of control.
-Exchange of Students. -Free flow of journalists, artists and intellectuals.-Support to sports exchanges.
Many of the suggestions can be classed as 'small steps'. But even if some of these small steps are only partially implemented and successful, it will represent 'giant leap' towards welfare and peace for the people of the sub-continent.
India's Gandhian Approach to Nuclear Question!
by Lt. Gen Eric A. Vas
India appears to have settled for a nuclear posture that seeks to keep her options open by developing an `across the board' capability in thermonuclear and nuclear weapons as also fail safe and 'survivable' delivery vehicles. Since India is not a signatory to the NPT she is under no treaty obligation to desist from development of nuclear weapons. In this respect her position is different than Iraq or North Korea, both being signatories of NPT. The negotiations on comprehensive test ban (CTB) posed a dilemma as not having tested a thermonuclear weapon , Indian claim to retain its option appeared meaningless. The test of a thermonuclear trigger device on 11 May has rectified this.
India recognises the necessity for a weak Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of deterring superior Indian conventional armed strength. But India will build confidence in Pakistan that while she will not be the first to use these weapons, should Pakistan use even a single one , India will carryout complete and total destruction of Pakistan with a guaranteed 80% kill.
In this posture Indian strategy of 'ambiguity' will be confined only to our 'intentions'. There would be nothing ambiguous about Indian capability (not just potential). To rescue Indian ambiguity from being reduced to a 'bluff' , India needed to carry out a 'diagnostic' thermo- nuclear test. This Indian position does not threaten any one and yet safeguards long term Indian interests.
NPT is a selective arms control measure that does not address many issues. But these issues need to be clearly defined by India. Whole world agrees that the earth should be protected from the weapons that threaten all. Control is possible through world government, but all agree that it is not likely to take shape too soon, unless there is a dramatic change like an extra terrestrial threat et al. Therefore planning must be based on realistic possibilities. What can be done then ?
- Nuclear weapon powers should drastically reduce their weapons to show that they are serious.
- Universal regime of fissile material accountability-neither freeze nor cap but transparency.
- transparency in missile production .
- same about aircraft.
- in a ten years time frame if the above takes place then the threshold powers should declare their assets and join the club.
The time frame may well appear unduly optimistic. It can well be streched to even two decades. The proposal also offers flexibility as the process can linger on at any one phase without detriment to any one. The two most important points are , a it forces the nuclear haves to make a commitment and pay a price and secondly it attempts to tackle the whole gamut of use of force and not merely nuclear weapons. Piecemeal approach is unlikely to work as the arms race will merely shift into other areas.
The fact is that while India is opposed to the nuclear weapons,she has built up a formidable nuclear capability. A creative Indian response to the nuclear question has been lacking.This is an attempt to provide an Indian alternative to the discriminatory, partial and ineffective NPT.
Most Indians agree on the issue of India keeping her options open as long as nuclear weapons exist anywhere in the world. But since she has not provided an alternative, there is a danger of India being isolated.
Ideas and alternatives that have been thrown up in this discussion have one singular aim, how do we create the restraint of the cold war era without the nuclear terror. Undoubtedly this restraint was one aspect of the cold war that is missed much today. Recreating this to control nuclear weapon menace is the real challenge before us. Even the nuclear weapons powers should welcome this as nuclear threat has never worked. Even when it appeared to have worked against India in 1971, the real reasons were weaknesses in the Indian decisionmaking structure or Indians having second thoughts on the course of action rather than the threat itself. So when the nuclear weapon powers give up the option to use nuclear threats except in self defence, they in reality give up nothing. National arsenals can remain but an international force to be subscribed to by Japan , Germany, India , Sweden et al can be created that can act as the global nuclear policeman. A limited world consensus for control of nuclear menace is the only realistic remedy to rid the world of this perpetual menace to humanity.
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