In Kashmir we have terrorism, not a freedom struggle

By K.N. Pandit

Of late discordant notes come from US official circles which give an impression that Washington is not averse to politicising global terror when it comes to handling it in the case of India.  The US top military brass at CENTCOM and other regional command levels has subtly expressed that the Kashmir dispute has a link to terrorism.

The British foreign secretary, Mr. David Miliband, recently joined his voice with that of American Generals when he wrote in The Guardian that not resolving Kashmir dispute was the cause of rise of terror in India. One would ask that by the same token what were he causes of 9/11?

Terror unleashed by religious extremists is not unknown to the US or UK. Both have taken measures aimed at ensuring maximum security to their nationals and institutions of the state. Obviously, other counties afflicted by same scourge would also exercise their right to protect their citizens and sovereignty of their state.

India has signed an agreement with both, the US and UK according to which the signatories will collaborate closely to fight global terrorism. Sometime back when the US hinted that she expected India to join NATO forces in their fight against Taliban-Al Qaeda combine, Washington was, in fact, invoking the spirit of the Indo-US anti-terror agreement. How come the yardstick changes when the event of 26/11 is under focus?

If the Anglo-American bloc wants India, or for that matter any other country in India’s position, to compromise her territorial integrity through a deal with the terrorists, then there appears no logic in either the US calling the world powers that they “were either on his side or on the side of the enemy” in the wake of 9/11 or signing anti-terrorism agreement with India or other countries.

The land and the territory of India are as much sanctimonious to the Indians as is the land of the US to the Americans.

BY reviving Kashmir rhetoric, the US is not actually serving the feelings of Pakistan — her close ally. It has its strategic interests and wants to produce an answer to Islamabad’s threat of withdrawing her warring troops from NWFP and Waziristan where they, in tandem with Pakistanis, are engaged in fierce and deadly gun-battles with diehard tribesmen.

Pakistan is in a precarious position in terms of war strategy against Taliban. On the one hand she has to fight her own nationals, viz. Pakistani Taliban in conjunction with the American troops, and on the other hand, she has to fight vast Punjabi population that is deeply involved and emotionally glued to the philosophy of radicalism. The perceived threat from her eastern neighbour comes handy at a time when the civilian administration and the army for long at loggerheads are intensely involved in a ludicrous power game.

By pressurising India to make territorial concessions in Kashmir, Americans envision killing two birds with one stone: keep Pakistan happy with the Kashmir windfall and secondly let Pakistani troops engage themselves in a fratricidal war in distant bleak mountains leading to the annihilation of both.

We know that the much hyped Track II diplomacy veered round one and only one objective, and that is unhinging India from status quo position in Kashmir. Various plans were proposed and also discussed in the course of Track II diplomacy. The patent rhetoric on both sides was that “steady progress was being made.”  However, in reality those parleys never moved beyond several formulae of dividing the state in one way or the other but reserving the valley as a gift to Pakistan.

America’s designs for a division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir along religious/ethnic and linguistic lines have been expressed explicitly as well as implicitly ever since India  took the Kashmir dispute to the UN Security Council in 1948, albeit out of her naivety. We have had Dixon Plan, Kathwari Plan and lately Musharraf Plan all rooted in the fundamental idea of division along religious and ethno-linguistic lines.

Security Councils recent resolution listing Jamaat-al-Dawa, the front of terrorist organization called Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, and recognition of LeT as an organization engaged in anti-state armed insurgency in Kashmir emphatically notify that what is going on in Kashmir is terrorism naked and open and in no way does it deserve to be recognized any thing like “freedom struggle”. Those who support the so-called freedom struggle in Kashmir are actually on the side of terrorism and not peace. The Indian State has the right to protect her citizens and ensure perpetuation of a secular-democratic dispensation as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

India has the will and power to fight terrorism and to liberate her civil society from the looming threat out to rent its fabric asunder.  It is US who needs Pakistan to fight her war in Afghanistan; India does not need anybody to fight her war.
(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University).

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