The five nuclear weapon nations, made no secret of their desire to "CAP, ROLL BACK AND ELIMINATE" Indian unclear capability. Talks are on, at this very moment , behind closed doors , the work out a treaty on freeze in production of fissile material. It appears that taking a cue from the CTBT debate in India, where despite the `appeasement lobby's'desire to do sign away India's option to ever make thermonuclear weapons for defense, the plans came unstuck due to public outcry. Wiser this time, the negotiations in Geneva have been kept totally under wraps. There is nothing wrong in India accepting control over fissile material production, provided IT IS UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE . Also clear is the fact that should India wish to continue with the nationally accepted policy of keeping options open, it has no choice but to declare its arsenal, define it in terms of minimum quantity and quality and also take the measures to carry out the technical tasks necessary. Without this the talk of `options open' will be a lie.The CTBT is today a fact of life and a symbol of Indian diplomatic failure. Rhetoric is no substitute for success. The authors of `Nuclear Menace the Satyagraha Approach' , have raised some very important questions that need answers from a nation that is preoccupied with internal political problems.
Pune Initiative for Peace and Disarmament (PIPD),(now Indian Initiative ) in its second research book has tackled these all important issues. The nuclear age did not (fortunately ) bring about the destruction of earth but it has however virtually flooded the market with books on the subject. It will not be an exaggeration to say that this has possibly been the single most prolific subject , specially in the West. Then why another book ? is the obvious question ! There are several very pertinent reasons for this effort. Firstly, most of the literature of the cold war era dealt with the central confrontation between two super powers. Most of it was also clearly ethnocentric (concepts like `responsible behaviour' were defined in purely Eurocentric cultural context) and advocated some cause or the other. Indian output on this very vital issue affecting the mankind was meager and what exists is dated. A unique Indian civilisational perspective is absent in most Indian writings on this subject. In the post cold war era, as the world has made elimination of nuclear menace a priority item, India must be able to contribute to the ongoing debate in meaningful manner. This is one such effort.
India faces a major dilemma, on the one hand it opposes the very notion of making and using nuclear weapons, on the other hand, it cannot wish away or ignore the fact that five major nations of the world not only have nuclear weapons but have asserted their right to use them. It is ironic that a nation like India that despite having the technology to make nuclear weapons since 1966, showed commendable restraint, is the one that is being pressured today to give up even the option to make these , if threatened and purely for self defense. That there are many Indians ( ? ) who would want India to be totally at the mercy of the big five, is an uncomfortable fact that one has to live with. Partly these Indians take shelter behind the Gandhian concepts of non violence, deliberately distorting the Mahatma's legacy. Gandhi advocated satyagraha from a position of strength and moral conviction and not fear of `economic sanctions' as some of the present day `followers' of his want. This book is an attempt to clear that conceptual fog , at least to some extent.
In the operative part of this book , India's and world's dilemma is examined. Relevance of Gandhian approach of Satyagraha and Indian policies are examined in some details. Application of trusteeship concept to security is another new idea whose time has probably come.
The most important singnificnace of this work is however, the need to communicate. For far too long because of the inefficiency of Indian establishment and pseudo Gandhians, India's very reasonable three pronged approach has been under sever attack. As the world approaches the stage of being a global village, perfect communication between nations, peoples and civilization is absolutely necessary, as it exists in any village community. Domination of media, specially the electronic one, has tended to stop real communication. This powerful tool is presently being used more to propagate `the' way of life rather than promote understanding. This is a personal communication to the people of the world from people of India.
This is a combined effort of Lt. General Eric Vas , Major General Keshav Pendse and Anil Athale. The intelligent reader therefore may notice some divergence of views and even repetition. This was unavoidable and the editor felt that it was best to leave the discretion to reader rather than artificially attempt to harmonize views and nuances. It will be fair to state that the whole work was possible because of intensive interaction between the three authors spanning a period of five years. The joint effort began with an `Appeal to the Citizen's of India' issued in December 1992, well before rest of the country and media woke up to the arms twisting of India that was to follow in 1995 and 1996.
On 18 May in 1974, with the code word `Buddha is smiling', world came to know of India having joined the nuclear club. Indian Satyagraha began that day.
ANIL A. ATHALE
PUBLISHED BY ADITYA PRAKASHAN, MUMBAI.
For PIPD (now INPAD) PRICE Rs. 200 or US $ 10/-.
The Book was released by Governor of Kashmir, General KVK Rao (Retd) on 5 April 1997 at Pune at a special function.
The author of this book , Colonel Anil Athale is an ex-infantry officer who after 22 years of active service has devoted himself to defence and disarmament studies. His analysis and approach to Kashmir problem is both personal and comprehensive. He covers the inter-connection of diplomatic , social, economic, political, psychological and military issues; a factor that makes this book different from other. The polls held in J&K towards the end of July 1996 mark a political thaw that could herald significant changes. Barring some unfortunate eventuality , we are witnessing the end of seven years of militancy in the state. This is the time for innovative statesmanship, magnanimity and understanding. From that point of view this book is well timed and may serve as a guide to those in power. The author warns that it would be naive to imagine that insurgency or terrorism has ended. It is certainly in decline but could revive if the promise of new beginning is belied. The tide has turned as a result of disenchantment with militancy and militants, with mindless bloodshed, with the destruction of Kashmiriat, with the brutalities by Afghan and other non Kashmiri mercenaries, with growing disillusionment with Pakistan and a yearning for peace and normal family life . Undoubtedly none of this would have happened if the armed forces had not acquitted themselves with credibility in a messy situation. Recent events in fractured Yugoslavia emphasise that azadi, defined as autonomy within India , seems a far more realistic alternative to mirage of plebiscite or independence. Mass killings of Bengali Muslims in erstwhile East Pakistan in 1971 and the bloody events in Karachi are a poor advertisement for secession to Pakistan. The author, having been in action in wars against Pakistan and in counter-insurgency operations , rightly draws a distinction between the military operations against insurgents and dealing with terrorists; the former are misguided fellow citizens who have to be won over with appropriate action on political , economic, psychological and military fronts. Terrorists are criminals and have to be treated as criminals and dealt with as killers. This distinction is often overlooked by well-meaning critics. The author emphasises this point when he states: " The death of a Kalashnikov -wielding terrorist in a fire fight is hardly a violation of human rights." He has wisely dedicated a whole chapter to human rights aspect of the problem. The book explains why the Kashmir problem is far more complicated one. He states ,"The Naxalite problem, the insurgencies in the North East and even the Punjab violence , were all essentially home grown affairs. This is not to deny that there was no external interference or aid- there was. But it will be fair to say that the internal dimension was dominant. Kashmir is as much an international dispute as an internal one."
The book has discussed the real possibility that like Sant Longewal and Beant Singh in Punjab, Dr. Farrok Abdullah may be assassinated by Pakistani agents. The author has analysed the likely consequences as well as measures that India must take to prevent the event from taking place.
The author concludes :" In the interest of peace in the subcontinent and the world, India has a duty to destroy the illegitimate child of British colonialism....like East Germany.... Pakistan needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history." However the author has gone on to explain that he is not advocating a military conquest of Pakistan. Many political observers have come to realise that the mini cold war that has prevailed between India and Pakistan, will end just as the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West ended: with the sudden internal collapse of the irrational militant theocratic elements ruling Pakistan. No one should doubt that when true democracy returns to Pakistan, the people will realise that it is meaningless to continue fighting a proxy war with India. Then perhaps with soft borders with safeguarded procedures for free movement, commerce and cultural exchanges across the line of actual control may evolve without either side losing honour or their respective sovereignties; these ideas have been mooted and find a response on both sides. Anil Athale's book does not claim to have all the answers, but it may help those in power to at least understand the problem.
The problem of civic unrest in Kashmir is basically rooted in the lack of economic development. It is true that one does not come across the kind of grinding poverty that one sees in some of the other Indian states , yet the fact is that despite the natural resources , a vast number of Kashmiris are poor.
It is in this situation that some politicians sold the dream of an 'independent ' Kashmir while some claimed Islamization as the solution. With help from across the border the armed struggle began.The problem of civic unrest in Kashmir is basically rooted in the lack of economic development. It is true that one does not come across the kind of grinding poverty that one sees in some of the other Indian states , yet the fact is that despite the natural resources , a vast number of Kashmiris are poor.
Unchecked population growth, currently running at 5% per annum with declining death rate has tremendously increased the population pressure on land. Article 370 and in the internal isolationist policy that it engenders, xenophobia instigated by the petty leaders and ineffective administration has resulted in a situation wherein there is a total lack of industrial development. The combined result of these two factors has been that AVERAGE KASHMIRI HAS SEEN HIS STANDARD OF LIVING DECLINING OVER THE LAST TWO GENERATIONS.
The state of J & K is divided into three distinct parts, the Srinagar valley, Jammu division, and Ladakh. It is only in the valley that there is considerable unrest today while the rest of the state barring minor exceptions like Doda, is peaceful.
This does not mean that conditions do not exist in parts of Jammu division that can lead to valley like situation. In order to forestall this possibility and act in a proactive manner rather than reactive that RPOJECT HOPE was launched.
During the last four years this author has been regularly visiting Kashmir, writing on it in the media and also giving inputs to the government. Out of this effort was born the idea of PROJECT HOPE that essentially envisages the army acting as a catalyst to spread modern technologies to the remote border areas in order to make a visible difference to the lives of the people living there.
The Indian Army as a part of its policy has been carrying out civic action in these areas. PROJECT HOPE expects to give the technological inputs to these efforts. To make this a worth while exercise some Pune based institutions/individuals were brought together,
The Army headquarters operations branch was approached in Nov 94, which gave its approval for the project. The army has promised to provide the infrastructure as well as administrative support to this venture.
The short term aim is to concentrate on the selected areas in Rajouri Poonch and Doda districts and later to the valley as conditions improve there. The main reason to select army as the catalyst for this effort was that the army is extensively deployed in these areas and can reach the remotest places. The civil administration in these areas leaves much to be desired and also there is the problem of leakage's. Both do not exist in the case of the army. On the side of the Indian army, there is a clear and widespread realisation that the problems of internal security can best be solved through development.
As a long term aim, it is hoped that through the army that is mainly rural based, some of these techniques will spread in the entire country, specially the backward states of UP, Bihar and MP. Once a viable model is developed , with suitable modifications , it is hoped to replicate it in the entire Himalayan region , including the turbulent North East.
There is indeed hope in Kashmir as a farmer when told that we will not give dole or subsidies remarked " Sir we do not want to beg- we only want help and guidance!"