Is Independence


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Is Independence

  1. 1. GD Issue Read on ................................... Is Independence a Solution to the Kashmir Problem? - K Sriraj T he K-word, which has so long bedeviled Indo- cited to refute all contentions that an independent Pak relations, has now added a new alphabet to Kashmir is not a viable option. When it came into its lexicon - 'I'- an Independent Kashmir. There being, Henry Kissinger felt Bangladesh was an is a feeling that a quot;Swiss solutionquot; wherein a neutral, international quot;basket case.quot; But the country has independent, multiethnic, multilingual, proved its critics wrong and has in fact outperformed multireligious state, its borders guaranteed by the both India and Pakistan in many areas. Kashmir has United Nations and by covenant other added advantages like tourist between India, Pakistan, and China potential and good literacy rates. is the solution to this festering An independent Kashmir is likely to problem. Is it or is it not? Let's change the current geo-political analyse. situation of the sub-continent. Apart A section of the Kashmiri people feel from India and Pakistan, that is sure that instead of the two given options- to oppose the move, in the words of joining either India or Pakistan, a third option of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, President of the Jamaat-e- independence should also be included. A similar Islami, quot;…China and Russia will not accept it, because opinion was expressed in a gallop poll conducted by it might become the footstep and base camp of an Indian weekly, Outlook, in 1995. 72 per cent of the America.quot; people interviewed in Kashmir Valley stood for The unique demographic pattern in Kashmir also goes complete independence. As Amanullah Khan, against the possibility of independence being a lasting chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, solution. Sunni Muslims, the predominant residents says, quot;Kashmiris in the heart of their hearts want of Kashmir alone favour a union with Sunni Pakistan. reunification of their divided motherland and To add to this there has been a sea change in the complete independence with democratic secular character of the so-called quot;freedom-fightersquot; in federal system of government and having good Kashmir. Since the 1990's a third of the quot;freedom- relations, friendly relations with both India and fightersquot; in Kashmir are guest freedom fighters. They Pakistanquot;. He views such an arrangement to be hail from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan or other advantageous to both - India and Pakistan as quot;… the Islamic countries. These foreign elements have now national ego of India is not disturbed because India taken over the movement from the traditional doesn't have to handover her part of Kashmir to Kashmiris, who are by nature more secular, and Pakistan. The national ego of Pakistan is not disturbed infused fundamentalism into Kashmir. This aspect because we don't ask Pakistan to handover her part was highlighted by a report prepared by the US of Kashmir to India.quot; An independent Kashmir has Congressional research service. The report states, been, according to its proponents, supported by the quot;There is the real danger that an independent Indian representative Mr. Gopala Swami Ayengar at Kashmir, given the Jihadi nature of some of the the UN Security Council on Jan. 15, 1948 and later by insurgent groups, could end up as another permanent Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on August 9, 1951. Both of sanctuary for Islamic extremist terrorist operationsquot;. them reportedly said that India fully recognised Moreover a viable independent Kashmir has to be Kashmiris' right to complete independence. This secular in character, given the fact that there are Shias, sentiment has also been expressed by the father of Hindus, Sikhs among the population and the recent Pakistani nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali changes go against this. India's creed of secularism Jinnah in his policy statements of June 17, July 11, gets a tremendous boost if Kashmir, a predominantly and 30 of 1947. The example of Bangladesh has been Muslim area, stays with her. Kashmir is like a crown Advanc'edge MBA / January 2004
  2. 2. GD Issue Read on ................................... on India's secular polity. Many sections within the politico-military decision was taken (by Pakistan) in Indian society view partition as something that was 1989. The view was that low-intensity operations forced on the majority by the colonial power. …section would help focus attention on Kashmirquot;. This still dreams of an quot;Akhand Bharatquot; as it existed prior statement supports the Indian contention that the to 1947. Any move towards an independent Kashmir Kashmir problem has been the creation of an external can surely raise much opposition from this section agency (read Pakistan). Also, it makes Kashmir a non- with still unknown results. There are genuine fears issue, for if the support were to be withdrawn in India that independence for Kashmir would lead Kashmir would regain normalcy. to the breakup of the Indian union into various ethnic In conclusion, an independent Kashmir is like a and linguistic entities. More than India, Pakistan has pandora's box, which can create more problems than more to fear from an independent Kashmir. It strikes solving the existing problems. It will only help in at the very raison d'être for its existence, as the adding to the present confusion in the subcontinent. creation of Bangladesh had done in 1971. Pakistan, to A more lasting solution would be for the two countries say the least, was the end result of the belief that the to sit across the table and discuss the issue under the Muslims in the subcontinent are different from the Simla Agreement which states: quot;That the two rest. Islam was supposed to override ethnic, linguistic countries are resolved to settle their differences by and geographic differences. An independent Kashmir peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by can also end up altering the geographical boundaries. any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon India would naturally demand that non-Muslim areas between them. Pending the final settlement of any of around Jammu in the extreme south and Buddhist the problems between the two countries, neither side parts of mountainous Ladakh be kept out from an shall unilaterally alter the situation and both shall independent Kashmir. prevent the organisation, assistance and Recent remarks made by the now exiled former encouragement of any acts detrimental to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto has given maintenance of peaceful and harmonious a new twist to the issue. Addressing the Hindustan relations.quot; Times Leadership Initiative conference on December 13 at New Delhi, she acknowledged that Pakistan had taken a conscious decision to launch a low-intensity The author owns and heads the high-end BPO division proxy war against India in the late 1980s to draw the of Integral Business Solutions, Bangalore world's attention to Kashmir. She said, quot;A joint Advanc'edge MBA / January 2004