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Kejriwal seeks full statehood for Delhi, condemns PM Modi’s media control gimmicks

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One needs not revisit the full story to know as to how a novice in Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal, has created sleepless nights, deliberately or otherwise, for so many national politicians, especially from Congress and BJP by capturing power in the capital city through ballot box, ousting all big stalwarts from Delhi assembly and Delhi state.

People of Delhi elected Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party) or AAP with overwhelming mandate to rule. All media gimmicks by Congress, BJP and their corporate lords to defeat AAP did fail as people know who these parties are and stood by the new party in their name and its leader Kejriwal.

PM Modi seems to be trying for constant media attention by his world tours along with fantasy rhetoric and Delhi CM Kejriwal accuses him of overusing, rather buying media attention. Many scholars in media say PM Modi is entertaining world public, though not many are interested in any kind of political shows.

In politics however, PM Modi is just like any other big leader trying to sell their ‘talent’ for high prices. Most of his top poll promises to the public made in 2014 are not fulfilled.

BJP and Congress meanwhile are keen to get the Delhi government of Kejriwal removed by hook or crook, forgetting that Delhiites have opted for the AAP as the only credible option.

Conspiracy over statehood

After victory, not only AAP is fulfilling all electoral promises he made during the historic poll campaign, but also tirelessly working for the welfare of the state. Obviously, there have been visible mutual concerns between the state and AAP.

One of the pledges the AAP has made to the Delhiites is to obtain full statehood for Delhi and he is determined to get full statehood for his Delhi state, ntowithstading the reluctance shown by the central government of Modi and main opposition Congress party. When they ruled Delhi state as alternative government they wanted its full statehood as India’s custodians but now both raise objections so that the issue could be raised in the next election as AAP failure.

Thus Delhi state is facing what could be called a statehood problem very similar to what the Palestinians seek from Israel or Kashmiris from India, China and Pakistan that jointly occupy alien nations on false pretexts. While Israel occupies Palestine territories, kills the people there and take away even the lands of those that are killed and use them for illegal colonies for criminal Jews, India, Pakistan and China occupy neighboring Jammu Kashmir according to their military, economic and diplo-triclomatic strength.        

Delhi is an Indian state and also is capital city of independent India. Like Palestine, Delhi state has limited autonomy and unless it is made a full-fledged state, the elected government of Delhi cannot pass laws and use police, which is now under central government control, for the state activities.

Indian Union government has played the usual mischief with the AAP governed Delhi state government by using the police to arrest the CM of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal to showcase its power as both the top national outfits BJP and Congress parties were drowned by the “insignificant and very small party“AAP in Yamuna River in the elections for the state assembly.  

It is not for taking credit that AAP is eager to get full statehood for the Delhi but for the proper functioning of Delhi government as a responsible dispensation supported by necessary infrastructure, like police and land that are now with the central government. As the debate on Delhi’s statehood status heats up, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made a draft bill seeking full status. In the draft bill, Kejriwal seeks to bring police, land and bureaucracy under its control, a move that may set stage for another confrontation with the Centre. At a press conference, the AAP chief said that they have uploaded the draft bill on their website and urged Delhi residents to give their suggestions through ‘fullstatehood.delhi[at]gov.in’ and ‘full statehood. delhi[at]gmail.com’, which he said will remain activated till 30 June.

An all-party meeting will be held on the issue, Kejriwal said while urging rivals BJP and Congress to “rise above differences” shedding petty mindedness and he went on to quote from old manifestos of BJP wherein the party had promised full statehood.

The central government and the AAP dispensation have been at loggerheads over the transfer and postings of officers in the past. “The BJP has struggled the most on the issue as Delhi’s ruling party. They have consistently raised it. We are merely taking their resolve forward by inviting public opinion on this draft,” Kejriwal told a press conference here, when asked about the AAP’s action plan if the draft is rejected by the Centre. To buttress his point, Kejriwal quoted from BJP manifestos from 1993 till 2014 and statements made by its leaders including Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju.

AAP push

Delhi CM narrated how the statehood process went on for years; “LK Advani had tabled the Delhi Statehood Bill in Parliament in 2003. It was referred to a Standing Committee chaired by Pranab Mukherjee which had backed the suggestions. But for some reason it got lapsed. Even Congress has spoken out for statehood in the past. Kiren Rijiju spoke in favour of statehood in 2006. VK Malhotra raised the issue in 2011. In its 2013 national executives, BJP reiterated its resolve in this regard. On 24 May 2014, Harsh Vardhan had said that the first issue he would raise with the new Prime Minister would be statehood,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said that he has written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to garner support for the draft bill, which keeps the high-profile NDMC area, out of its jurisdiction. Arvind met the PM on the matter.

Kejriwal said after 30 June, the final version of the draft would be prepared and a resolution would be passed by the Delhi Assembly to this effect. “We will forward the resolution to the Centre which in turn will have to bring Constitutional Amendment,” he said. “The draft has been put on the Delhi government’s website. Through its passage, we seek to fulfill the dreams of Congress and BJP. We should rise above party lines. A special session of the Assembly may also be called for passing the resolution,” the CM said, flanked by his deputy Manish Sisodia. “The draft primarily says that NDMC area will be with the Centre and the rest should come under the elected government in Delhi. It has been prepared after taking into consideration the older ones,” he said.

In the draft bill, the AAP dispensation will ensure that institutions such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Police will be accountable to the elected government of the national capital. Granting full statehood to the national capital is one of the major electoral promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in the absence of which it has frequently clashed with the BJP-led Centre over matters of jurisdiction since assuming office. In its manifesto, AAP had declared that it will push for full statehood acting within the constitutional framework and using its moral and political authority.

The BJP now ruling India has had an ambivalent stance on the issue, although the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had introduced a bill in Parliament in 2003 to confer full statehood to Delhi, which was never passed.

Last year, AAP had planned to hold a referendum on the issue, which was later shelved after many constitutional experts, argued anything of that sort would be “unconstitutional”.

BJP has successfully use media as the most important and most powerful tool to control politics in India and to regulate propagation of Hindutva and Indian image aboard amid Indian brutal occupational genocides in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 28 said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is controlling a large chunk of media, while reacting to a tweet that said no mainstream media has covered Rana Ayyub’s book ” Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up “. “What does that tell us? “It tells us that Modi controls a large chunk of media, especially the owners,” Kejriwal wrote on Twitter.

Gujarat riots haunt Modi

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi became known in the country after the riots in Gujarat killing many Muslims fearlessly as he knew Indian government run by the Congress party would oppose the Hindutva strategy to target Muslims that would benefit Congress party in terms of Muslim vote banks. Even judiciary did not find him wrong in getting the defenseless Muslims murdered at will.

Indian media celebrated Modi brand of Hindutva and tried to link all development the state has made since independence –en before he even became a politician- to his own ability and added to his credit. That was a deliberate RSS strategy to make him a PM candidate in due course. RSS and corporate media succeeded in their joint endeavor to make Modi appear a large size leader just like they do in promoting fixed joint cricketism in India and abroad.  

Those Muslims who died have been forgotten by India, even as Modi moved upward to occupy PM chair in New Delhi to pursue the Congress policies. Congress party is too happy that they found a real replacement in BJP which, many Congressmen think, would make Muslims would be silenced to deny their ownership of Babri Mosque, pulled down by Congress-BJP communal duo in 1992 according their conspiracy.  

It is a known fact that those who commit crimes are very cautious and if they have got some power would use it to its full potential to cover up their crimes. No one is a god but everyone can be criminal in this world and government is capable of protecting you from punishment for your crimes. .

PM Modi has been on world tour ever since he assumed power in 2014 as Indian premier, by visiting countries one by one and some countries more than just once and advanced countries like USA as many times as possible.

A recent book, “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up” brings to light the truth about how the BJP government under Modi organized the Gujarat riots. Bureaucrats and top officials in Gujarat who held key positions in the state between 2001 and 2010 and were involved in the Gujarat riots. The book investigates the alleged fake encounters that happened under Modi’s watch as then chief minister of Gujarat between 2001 and 2010.

Like in Israel, judiciary in India also is under pressure to shield the Hindu criminals and try to fix the Muslim victims. Today, a lot of greedy political Muslims prefer money to Babri Mosque- that is the level of Indian faith.

Hindutva media

Bulks of India media, both print and electronic, including TV channels, are essentially pro Hindutva because that helps them target Muslims in India and neighborhoods. This disease can be explained only as sadistic pleasure syndrome.

India media lords who serve MNCs use their portals to insult Islam and Muslims even while they want better ties with Arab world, particularly on “Islamic terrorism”. In fact when they insult and warn Pakistan, it only thinks in terms of Islam and Indian Muslims. So that Muslims serve the cause of state Hindutva; they want to keep Muslims under duress and tension. That is historic sadism that Indian Hindu rulers are so used to. .

While the BJP-RSS has been on rampage on Indians with its Hindutva instructions to follow as to what to eat and how to think etc, Indian PM Modi teaches Yoga in his world trip in order obviously to make Hindutva only a useful soft agenda.

BJP has a wide ranging world media networking to influence the opinion makers about Hindutva, rather than India, while Indian sources pay huge sum to media lords and editors with instructions not to publish anything that is no pro-Indian stuff and reject anything against Indian policies In fact Indians source keep a close watch on what is happening in world scene and detect anything appearing not supporting Indian causes and quick action follows by sending money to the editor and media lords n the form of advertisement fees and special contributions. So much so, some media deliberately publish and run stories against India so that India immediately sends money to them so as to end that scenario developing further. They know how make money.  

India has enormous success as many editors do refuse to publish anything which is not promoting India or propagating Hindutva. More than that, many newspapers abroad also churn-out pro-India stuff on special requests from Indian embassies functioning in the capitals.

The negative mindset of RSS-BJP and allies is evident in making Muslims Islam, Pakistan, Bangladeshi workers, and Babri mosque as their prime target to garner Hindu votes. Along with these, now the RSS-BJP has added the India’s prestigious higher educational institution JNU by calling it anti-national. What s shame? India media support the RSS claims though it has yet to showcase its own real patriotic activities. Anti-Islam or anti-Muslims or anti-JNU or anti-Pakistanis is not a really a patriotic premise. Positivism is important as much as tolerance of other languages religions and cultures.

RSS wants to control humans and their mental and physical activities in entirety so that every Indian behaves exactly how it envisaged for India and world. Ghar wapsi was the beginning of that mind conversion phenomenon. BJP also makes animals their gods and humans as their slaves; they want Indians to worship their favorite animals as neo-gods. However, unfortunately they are unable to apply ‘black magic’ – generally used for possible wins in cricket- to make every Indian a Hindutva person in mind and soul. The black magicians do the ‘magic” and use the network to make that happen so that they get the charges in plenty of money. Their government agencies use remote technology to make many things appear to be happening.

Observation

Why Arvind Kejriwal and AAP are rare phenomenon in Indian as well as global political and governmental scene? None needs a crash course on contemporary Indian politics here to show dirty Indian political scene has been for decades.

As it is well known, one cannot discuss Indian political scene without disclosing the shameful Hindutva communal politics targeting Muslims, harming their legitimate concerns, just for Hindu votes.

AAP made fundamental departure from the usual Hindutva politics by refusing to take shelter under the so-called ‘Muslim threat’ (the theme has been fully exploited since the Sept-11 hoax) or targeting Hindu or Muslim vote banks. AAP brand politics is very simple: it did not pamper the Muslims like the Congress and other so-called secular parties do just for fun nor did it woo Hindus for votes as BJP led Hindutva outfits do deliberately. Instead, Kejriwal’s team focused on real politics and forwarded to the public the real problems the Delhiites face. AAP clearly showcased that in order to get Hindu votes a party needs not to target Muslims, insulting or injuring or killing Muslims as this happens in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.

In order to loot the nation’s resources and promote bribery-dowry system, Indian politicians have done away with what is very dear to a nation: honesty and truth. That is the crux of negative predicaments of Indian nation. A parliament of rich and agents of corporate lords cannot be honest. The rich lawyers, who become judges by immoral means and after playing all sorts of mischief with the common people that approach them with genuine problems for help, cannot honestly decide the fate of Indian nation, either.

How can a corrupt and dishonest lawyer become a honest and lawful after becoming a judge or justice? No wonder corruption has become a part of Indian justice delivery system and jurisprudence

When dishonest lawyers become judges they continue to mint money and this explains as to why many judges are being caught across the globe in bribery scandals.

Won’t there be murder of judgments in courts? Why politicians and top bureaucrats boldly take bribes and make illegal wealth so openly?

When corrupt and greedy lawyers are the judges in courts, people cannot expect real and honest judgments

Can thieves and criminals become police and judges? But that perhaps is happening. The judiciary and jurisprudence has fallen a mute victim (Your lord!).

Politicians and government functionaries take undue advantage of this disastrous lacuna, detrimental to the honest upbringing of a society. .

Of course, no suggestion is made here that Indian system would be fair and honest if judges are trained right from the beginning after their excellent degrees in law (unlike the shameful practice of undergoing a law course just for obtaining degrees without proper attendance, at times on payment basis to practice law) especially as future hopes of Indian honest and fair judiciary judges. Much more is required to make the system work honestly.

That is cause of all problems Indians suffer for too long – created partly by politicians, partly by the governments and elected representatives of people, partly by the parliament and state assemblies, partly by the media lords, partly by mafias, partly by illogical police, partly by the judiciary and partly by the helpless people of India.

Judiciary can do a lot for the benefits of people and nation of India.

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Pakistan, Quo Vadis?

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Pakistan’s place in a new world order is anybody’s guess. Recent policy moves suggest options that run the gamut from a state that emphasizes religion above all else to a country that forges a more balanced relationship with China and the United States.

The options need not be mutually exclusive but a populous, nuclear-armed country whose education system is partially anchored in rote learning and memorization of the Qur’an rather than science is likely to raise eyebrows in Washington and Beijing.

Pakistan has long viewed its ties to China as an unassailable friendship and strategic partnership China but has recently been exploring ways of charting a more independent course.

Relations between Islamabad and Beijing were bolstered by an up to US$60 billion Chinese investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a cornerstone of the People’s Republic’s infrastructure, transportation, and energy-driven Belt and Road Initiative.

Deeply indebted to China as a result of the Belt and Road that has significantly contributed to electricity supply and transportation infrastructure, Pakistan will have to tread cautiously as it explores the margins of its manoeuvrability.

Nevertheless, suggesting that CPEC may not live up to its promise to significantly boost the country’s position as a key Belt and Road maritime and land transportation hub, Pakistan recently agreed with Saudi Arabia to shy away from building a US$10 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in the port of Gwadar, long viewed as a Belt and Road crown jewel. The two countries are looking at the port city of Karachi as an alternative.

Gwadar port has been troubled for years. Completion of the port has been repeatedly delayed amid mounting resentment among the ethnic Baloch population of the Pakistan province of Balochistan, one of the country’s least developed regions. Work on a fence around the port halted late last year when local residents protested.

Building the refinery in Karachi would dent Chinese hopes of Gwadar emerging as a competitive hub at the top of the Arabian Sea. Doubts about Gwadar’s future are one reason why landlocked Tajikistan, as well as Afghanistan, are looking at Iranian ports as alternatives.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan initially agreed on building the refinery in Gwadar in 2019 during a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A Saudi-funded feasibility study has since suggested that Gwadar lacks the pipeline and transportation infrastructure to justify a refinery. The refinery would be cut off from Karachi, Pakistan’s oil supply hub.

In a similar vein, Pakistan has been discussing a possible military base in the country from which US forces could support the government in Kabul once the Americans leave Afghanistan in September under an agreement with the Taliban.

Washington and Islamabad appear to be nowhere close to an agreement on the terms that would govern a US military presence in Pakistan but the fact that Pakistan is willing to entertain the notion will not have gone unnoticed in Beijing.

Pakistan borders on China’s troubled province of Xinjiang, home to Turkic Muslims who face a brutal Chinese attempt to squash their religious and ethnic identity.

China fears that Pakistan, one of the few countries to have witnessed protests against the crackdown in the early days of the repression, could be used by Turkic Muslim militants, including fighters that escaped Syria, as a launching pad for attacks on Chinese targets in the South Asian country or in Xinjiang itself.

The notion of Pakistan re-emerging as a breeding ground for militants is likely to gain traction in Beijing as well as Washington as Pakistan implements educational reform that would Islamicize syllabi across the board from primary schools to universities. Critics charge that religion would account for up to 30 per cent of the syllabus.

Islamization of Pakistani education rooted in conservative religious concepts contrasts starkly with moves by countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to de-emphasize religious education and ensure that it is more pluralistic. The two Gulf states have positioned themselves as proponents of moderate forms of Islam that highlight religious tolerance while supporting autocratic rule.

“Pakistan is an ideological Islamic state and we need religious education. I feel that even now our syllabus is not completely Islamized, and we need to do more Islamization of the syllabus, teaching more religious content for the moral and ideological training of our citizens,” asserted Muhammad Bashir Khan, a member of parliament for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling party.

By implication, Mr. Khan, the parliamentarian, was suggesting that Pakistan was angling for a conservative leadership role in the Muslim world as various forces, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Iran and Indonesia compete for religious soft power in what amounts to a battle for the soul of Islam.

The educational reform boosts Prime Minister Khan’s effort to be the spokesman for Muslim causes. The prime minister has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of peddling Islamophobia and demanded that Facebook ban expressions of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Critics warn that the curriculum will produce anything but a society that is tolerant and pluralistic.

Said education expert Rubina Saigol: “When the state aligns itself with one sect or a singular interpretation of religion, it opens the doors to sectarian conflict, which can turn violent… There is lip service to the ideas of diversity, inclusion and mutuality but, in reality, an SNC that is gender-biased, sectarian and class-based, will sharpen social differences, undermine minority religions and sects, and violate the principles of federalism.” Ms. Saigol was referring to Prime Minister Khan’s Single National Curriculum project by its initials.

Former Senator Farhatullah Babar warned that “The SNC…opens the door for… (religious) seminary teachers to enter mainstream educational institutions… It is well known that a majority of the education of seminary students is grounded in sectarianism. Imagine the consequences of…seminary teachers trained and educated in sectarian education entering the present educational institutions.”

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Why successful mediation efforts could not be employed to resolve the Kashmir conflict?

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Friday prayers in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. © John Isaac

Mediation is a process in which a dispute between two parties is resolved effectively with the help of a third party. It helps to resolve international conflicts peacefully because in mediation the third-party mostly has no direct gains from it and cannot have coercive policies, rather it discusses win-win situation for both parties and helps them resolve the issue. Unfortunately, Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan for almost 74 years, and yet all mediation efforts have failed.

Kashmir is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan in the South Asian region. The issue dates back to 1947 during the partition of the sub-continent when India and Pakistan were formed and were liberated from the British colonialism. At the time of partition, there were more than 500 princely states and they either had to accede to India or Pakistan or choose to stay independent.  Moreover, they had to keep their geographical and religious contiguity in mind before acceding to any of the state. Many states made quick decisions but the Maharajah of Kashmir delayed the decision because he was a Hindu and wanted to join India but the majority of population was Muslim and they wanted to be a part of Pakistan. During his contemplation, the Indian forces entered into the state of Jammu and Kashmir to illegally occupy the state. As a result, tribal groups from Pakistan entered into the state to help their Muslim brothers and Pakistan also backed them actively. Realizing the sensitivity of the matter, India took this issue to the United Nations. The UN helped in establishing a ceasefire line that divided the state into two parts, one controlled by Pakistan called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) while the other is under Indian occupation and is called Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Since then, the UN has passed several different resolutions to resolve the Kashmir conflict for good but India is not willing to accept the propositions of UNSC and other mediators. Kashmir still remains an issue to this day and the people of Kashmir are still waiting to get their right to self-determination and accession to Pakistan. India on the other hand has heavily militarized the territory and is trying to change the demography of Kashmir to reduce the Muslim majority.

Efforts of Mediation in the Kashmir Conflict

United Nations formed a special commission for the resolution of the Kashmir conflict known as the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). UNCIP and United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have passed a number of resolutions after the 1947-48 war for Kashmir, one of the principal resolutions being the one of 21st April, 1948 by the UNSC that stated: “Both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”. This resolution focused on the basic human right of Kashmiri people to choose to live with whoever they want and they have the right to form an independent state.

The UNSC resolutions that came after that also focused on the point of plebiscite and the principles for the conduct of plebiscite. The UNCIP focused on the conduct of free and fair plebiscite for Kashmiri people in both parts of Kashmir and let the people vote for either India or Pakistan. UNCIP also passed some resolutions in this regard. The resolutions passed by UNCIP on 13th August, 1948 and 5th January, 1949 also reinforced the self-determination and plebiscite resolutions of UNSC. In July 1949, India and Pakistan established a ceasefire line through the Karachi agreement that was to be supervised by the military observers. The military adviser had the command of these observers and they all made the main group of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). 

After the termination of UNCIP, the United Nations Security Council further passed a resolution no. 91 on 30th March, 1951 affirming that the constituent assembly and any action taken by it for the future of Kashmir would not constitute a disposition of the state and that the future would be decided through a plebiscite. It also decided to continue the working of UNMOGIP and continue the supervision of ceasefire in Kashmir. The other functions of the UNMOGIP were to observe the condition of ceasefire and report it to the UNSC. They were also supposed to investigate the complaints of ceasefire violations and give a written report of findings to each party and the Secretary General.

On 24th January, 1957 UNSC passed the resolution no. 122 regarding the determination of future of the part of state. It reaffirmed that the actions taken by constituent assembly would not satisfy its earlier resolutions and again called for a plebiscite. Later during the 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan, the UNSC asked both states to cease fire and follow the UN resolutions for Kashmir dispute. It maintained that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved by free and fair plebiscite and not to be taken militarily.

All the efforts made by the United Nations in order to resolve the Kashmir conflict have failed because of India’s assertiveness in the state of J&K. India never agreed to taking out her forces from Kashmir and neither to hold a free and fair plebiscite that could help in determining the future of Kashmir. Mediations cannot be forced and both parties need to consent on a given solution by the mediators but India has never agreed upon the stance of the mediating body and keeps adding military in the region.

Some examples of arbitration tried by the United Nations that failed are as follows:

  • The first effort made in March 1949, where UNCIP convinced both parties to withdraw forces and asked for submission of their plans for the withdrawal, Pakistan submitted the plan but India refused.
  • Then in August 1949, another effort was made by President Truman and PM Attlee where they asked both parties to submit to the arbitration of Admiral Nimitz, Pakistan accepted this proposal but India rejected it again.
  • Then in December 1949, the president of UNSC General McNaughton proposed that the withdrawal should be in a such way that it does not impose fear in any party, Pakistan again accepted the Proposal while India rejected it.
  • In July 1950, Sir Owen Dixon’s proposal about the exact sequence of withdrawals from Jammu and Kashmir territory were accepted by Pakistan but India rejected them.
  • In January 1951, the Prime Ministers of common wealth suggested that Indian and Pakistani troops in Kashmir should be replaced by neutral troops from Australia and New Zealand, Pakistan agreed to this; India did not.
  • In December 1952, the security council defined the number and character of the forces on both sides of ceasefire line present in Kashmir before the plebiscite, the rest were to be withdrawn. Pakistan accepted this resolution but India rejected it.
  • In early 1958, the UNSC again deputed Dr. Frank Graham on a mission of mediation between India and Pakistan for the solution of dispute. Frank Graham made five recommendations all of which were accepted by Pakistan and rejected by India.
  • The ceasefire violations by India time to time also show how India does not care about International Law and Human rights and keeps the torture going without holding a plebiscite do decide the future of the state.

The US supported the composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan which came to an end after the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and since then every time US hints at mediation, Delhi reacts with hostility. The reason is that Kashmir issue is not merely about a piece of land, rather it is more about nationality and political ideology. The Modi government stands tough on militancy in the Kashmir territory in order to enhance its claim and use it as a tool to instigate the notion of Nationalism in the Indian population to give legitimacy to his actions.

One of the major reasons for the failure of UNSC in bringing a peaceful and permanent solution for the Kashmir conflict is that it views the conflict as a political issue rather than a legal one. The Indian aggression and occupation should be seen as an issue of humanitarian intervention and should be dealt according to the international law in the International Court of Justice rather than an issue of political differences between India and Pakistan. The instrument of accession by India is the core issue which the UNSC consistently failed to point out in its resolutions.

Conclusion:

Many efforts of mediation have been made in the earlier days of the conflict by the United Nations in order to convince both India and Pakistan for a solution of the Kashmir crisis. Although UN has passed several resolutions in order to mediate between India and Pakistan but the drawback of mediation is that it is not coercive, it needs the consent of the parties in conflict upon a certain point. In case of Kashmir, India’s assertiveness and extremist policies is a major reason why mediations have failed in resolving the Kashmir conflict. The international community needs to realize that this is not an issue of political differences rather an issue of violation of the international law.

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India’s multi-alignment: the origins, the past, and the present

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rouhani-iran

In the initial two decades following India’s independence, India’s foreign policy was heavily determined by the personal predilections of its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his protégé VK Krishna Menon, both influenced by British socialism. Nehru himself handled the external affairs portfolio until his death in 1964.

The policy of ‘non-alignment’ which the duo initiated in India’s foreign policy gained world-wide attention since early 1950s, which later became a full-fledged movement and forum of discussion in 1961 (NAM) that consisted of developing and newly decolonised nations from different parts of the world, primarily from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

But, the policy never meant isolationism or neutrality; rather it was conceived as a positive and constructive policy in the backdrop of the US-USSR Cold War, enabling freedom of action in foreign and security policies, even though many of the individual NAM member states had a tilt towards the Soviet Union, including India.

However, the lofty Nehruvian idealism of India’s foreign policy in its initial decades was not successful enough in integrating well into India’s security interests and needs, as it lost territories to both China and Pakistan during the period, spanning 1947 to 1964.

However, when Indira Gandhi assumed premiership, realism had strongly gained ground in India’s political, diplomatic and military circles, as evident in India’s successful intervention in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Even at that point of time, India still sticked on to the policy of non-alignment until it was no longer feasible in a changed international system that took shape following the end of the Cold War, which is where the origins of a new orientation in India’s foreign policy decision-making termed as ‘multi-alignment’ lies.

Today, India skilfully manoeuvres between China-led or Russia-led groupings such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), along with its involvement in US-led groupings such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or the Quad), in which Japan and Australia are also members.

Militarily though, India is still not part of any formal treaty alliance, and is simultaneously part of a diverse network of loose and issue-specific coalitions and regional groupings, led by adversarial powers, with varying founding objectives and strategic imperatives.

Today, non-alignment alone can no longer explain the fact that recently India took part in a US-chaired virtual summit meeting of the Quad in March 2021 and three months later attended a BRICS ministerial meet, where China and Russia were also present.

So, how did India progress from its yesteryear policy of remaining equidistant from both the US-led and Soviet-led military blocs (non-alignment) and how did it begin to align with multiple blocs or centres of power (multi-alignment)? Answer to this question stretches three decades back.

World order witness a change, India adapts to new realities

1992 was a watershed year for Indian diplomacy. A year back, the Soviet Union, a key source of economic and military support for India till then, disappeared in the pages of history, bringing the Cold War to its inevitable end.

This brought a huge vacuum for India’s strategic calculations. Combined with a global oil shock induced by the First Gulf War of 1990 triggered a balance of payment crisis in India, which eventually forced the Indian government to liberalise and open up its economy for foreign investments and face competition.

India elected a pragmatic new prime minister in 1991 – PV Narasimha Rao. The vision he had in mind for India’s standing in the world was quite different from his predecessors. Then finance minister and later PM, Dr Manmohan Singh announced in the Indian Parliament, “No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come”.

This was during his 1991 budget speech and it marked the beginning of building a new India where excessive control of the state on economic and business affairs seemed no longer a viable option.

At a time when Japan’s economy was experiencing stagnation, China was ‘peacefully rising’, both economically and industrially. The United States remained as the most influential power and security provider in Asia with its far-reaching military alliance network.

As the unipolar world dawned proclaiming the supremacy of the United States, PM Rao steered Indian foreign policy through newer pastures, going beyond traditional friends and partners like Russia.

In another instance, 42 years after India recognised Israel as an independent nation in 1950, both countries established formal diplomatic ties in 1992. Indian diplomats accomplished a task long overdue without affecting the existing amicable ties with Palestine.

In the recent escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict, it is worth noting that India took a more balanced stance at the United Nations, which was different from its previous stances that reflected an open and outright pro-Palestine narrative.

Today, India values its ties with Israel on a higher pedestal, even in areas beyond defence and counter-terrorism, such as agriculture, water conservation, IT and cyber security.

Breaking the ice with the giant across the Himalayas

China is a huge neighbour of India with which its shares a 3,488-km long un-demarcated border. Skirmishes and flare-ups resulting from difference in perception of the border and overlapping patrolling areas are a regular occurrence in this part of the world.

For the first time after the 1962 war with China, which resulted in a daunting defeat for India, diplomatic talks for confidence-building in the India-China border areas were initiated by the Rao government in 1993, resulting in the landmark Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the defacto border between India and China.

The agreement also provided a framework for ensuring security along the LAC between both sides until a final agreement on clear demarcation of the border is reached out. The 1993 agreement created an expert group consisting of diplomats and military personnel to advise the governments on the resolution of differences in perception and alignment of the LAC. The pact was signed in Beijing in September 1993, during PM Rao’s visit to China.

Former top diplomat of India Shivshankar Menon noted in one of his books that the 1993 agreement was “the first of any kind relating specifically to the border between the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China … It formalized in an international treaty a bilateral commitment by India and China to maintain the status quo on the border. In effect, the two countries promised not to seek to impose or enforce their versions of the boundary except at the negotiating table.”

The 1993 pact was followed by another one in 1996, the Agreement on Military Confidence-Building Measures. The following two decades saw a number of agreements being signed and new working mechanisms being formalized, even though two major standoffs occurred in the Ladakh sector in 2013 and 2020 respectively and one in between in the Sikkim sector in 2017.

The agreements served as the basis upon which robust economic ties flourished in the 2000s and 2010s, before turning cold as a result of Chinese aggression of 2020 in Ladakh. However, the 1993 agreement still was a landmark deal as we consider the need for peace in today’s increasingly adversarial ties between the two nuclear-armed Asian giants.

Integrates with Asia’s regional architecture

Before the early 1990s, India’s regional involvements to its east remained limited to its socio-cultural ties, even though the region falls under India’s extended neighbourhood, particularly Southeast Asia. But, since 1992, when the Look East Policy (LEP) was formulated under the Rao government, India has been venturing into the region to improve its abysmal record of economic and trade ties with countries the region.

New Delhi began reaching out to the ASEAN or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1992 and was made a Sectoral Partner of the association in the same year. Thus, India kicked-off the process of its integration into the broader Asian regional architecture.

In 1996, India became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a key platform for talks on issues of security in the wider Indo-Pacific region. India became ASEAN’s summit-level partner in 2002 and a strategic partner in 2012.

A free trade agreement (FTA) was agreed between ASEAN and India in 2010. And in 2014, the erstwhile LEP was upgraded into the Act East Policy (AEP). Today, the ASEAN region remains at the centre of India’s evolving Indo-Pacific policy.

Bonhomie with the superpower across the oceans, the United States

1998 was an important year, not just for India, but for the world. Until May that year, only the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council possessed nuclear capabilities. That year, ‘Buddha smiled again’ in the deserts of India’s Rajasthan state, as India under PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee successfully conducted a series of underground nuclear bomb tests, declaring itself a nuclear state, 24 years after its first nuclear test in 1974 code-named ‘Smiling Buddha’.

The move surprised even the US intelligence agencies, as India managed to go nuclear by bypassing keen US satellite eyes that were overlooking the testing site. Shortly after this, Pakistan also declared itself a nuclear state.

India’s nuclear tests invited severe international condemnation for New Delhi and badly affected its relationship with Washington, resulting in a recalling of its Ambassador to India and imposed economic sanctions, which was a big blow for India’s newly liberalised economy.

But, a bonhomie was reached between India and the US in a matter of two years and then US President Bill Clinton visited India in March 2000, the first presidential visit since 1978. The Indo-US Science and technology Forum was established during this visit and all the sanctions were revoked by following year.

Bharat Karnad, a noted Indian strategic affairs expert, notes in one his books that, “Vajpayee’s regime conceived of ‘strategic autonomy’ to mask its cultivating the US, which resulted in the NSSP”.

The Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) between the US and India was launched in January 2004 that covered wide ranging areas of cooperation such as nuclear energy, space, defence and trade. This newfound warmth in Indo-US relations was taken to newer heights with the conclusion of the landmark civil nuclear deal between 2005 and 2008.

Today, India is a key defence partner of the United States, having signed all the four key foundational pacts for military-to-military cooperation, the latest being the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial cooperation, signed in October 2020. The two countries are key partners in the Quad grouping and share similar concerns about an increasingly assertive China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Like his predecessors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to cultivate this special relationship with the United States, reinforced by cooperation in the Quad grouping and also by constantly engaging a 4.8-million strong Indian diaspora in the United States.

The leaders of both countries, from Vajpayee to Modi and from Clinton to Trump have reciprocated bilateral visits to each other’s countries. And, India looks forward to the Biden-Harris administration for new areas of cooperation.

But, a recent military manoeuvre in April, this year, by a US Navy ship (which it calls a FONOP or Freedom of Navigation Operation) in India’s exclusive economic zone, off Lakshadweep coast, casted a shadow over this relations.

The US openly stated in social media that it entered the area without seeking India’s prior consent and asserted its navigational rights. This invited mixed reactions, as it was highly uncalled for. While some analysts consider it humiliating, others think that the incident occurred due to the difference of perceptions about international maritime law in both countries.

Today, along with the US, India skilfully manages its ‘historical and time-tested’ ties with Russia, a strategic foe of the US, and moves forward to purchase Russian-made weapon systems, such as the S-400 missile defence system, even after a threat of sanctions. But, in the past several years, India has been trying to diversify its defence procurements from other countries such as France and Israel and has been also promoting indigenisation of defence production.

A BRICS formula for responsible multilateralism

India is a founding member of the BRICS grouping, formalised in 2006, now consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – the emerging economies of that time with a potential to drive global economic growth and act as an alternate centre of power along with other groupings of rich countries such as the G-7 and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

India always stood for a responsible global multilateral system and rules-based order. Indian leaders have attended all summit-level meetings of BRICS since 2009 unfailingly. Last year, the summit took place in the backdrop of India-China border standoff in Ladakh, under Russia’s chair, a common friend of both countries, where the leaders of India and China came face-to-face for the first time, although in virtual format.

The primary focus of BRICS remains economic in nature, but it also takes independent stances on events occurring in different parts of the world. The grouping also established a bank to offer financial assistance for development projects known as the New Development Bank (NDB) based in Shanghai, China, in 2014, with an Indian as its first elected president.

BRICS also became the first multilateral grouping in the world to endorse the much-needed TRIPS waiver proposal jointly put forward by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to suspend intellectual property rights on Covid vaccine-making during the duration of the pandemic to provide developing countries that lack adequate technologies with means to battle the virus.

As India gears up to host this year’s upcoming BRICS summit, there is no doubt that being part of the grouping has served the country’s interests well.

Manoeuvring the SCO, along the shores of the Indo-Pacific

The SCO or the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a regional organisation consisting of eight Eurasian powers, largest in the world both in terms of land area and population covered. It stands for promoting mutual cooperation and stability, where security issues can be freely discussed and conflicts are attempted to be resolved.

India is not a founding member of the SCO, which was created in 2001. Both India and Pakistan were admitted as full members in 2017. The grouping’s members also include Russia, China and four Central Asian countries, excluding Turkmenistan.

Sharing a common platform with Pakistan and China and the presence of a long-term friend, Russia, has helped India diplomatically in key occasions. Using the SCO platform, the existing differences between member states can be discussed and prevented from escalating into major conflicts.

This was evident most recently visible in 2020 when the foreign ministers of India and China agreed on a plan for the disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops from the LAC, as a major step in the diffusion of tensions in Ladakh that had erupted since May that year.

But, Russia and China collectively oppose the usage of the term ‘Indo-Pacific’, something that surfaced into political discourse with the famous speech delivered by the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in August 2007 in the Parliament of India, calling for “the confluence of two seas” and hinting at a new maritime continuum of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

It is in this context that the grouping of India, Japan, Australia and the United States gained prominence. The four Quad countries came together to offer humanitarian assistance following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the ambit of the grouping’s co-operation ranges from maritime security to cooperation in Covid vaccine production and distribution.

After a decade since the first joint naval exercise of the four Quad countries took place in 2007, the ASEAN’s Manila summit in 2017 provided a platform for the four countries to connect with each other and enhance consultations to revive the four-nation grouping.

The Quad has been raised to the summit level now with the March 2021 virtual summit, and has also conducted two joint naval exercises so far, one in 2007 and the other in 2020. This loose coalition is widely perceived as a counterweight to an increasingly assertive China.

India is the only country in the Quad that shares a land border with China. At the same time, India is also the only country that is not a formal security ally of the United States, meaning if India quits, the Quad ceases to exist, while the other three countries can still remain as treaty allies. However, setting the US aside, cooperation among the other three Quad partners has also been witnessing a boom since the last year.

India and Japan have expanded co-operation in third countries in India’s neighbourhood such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar to improve connectivity and infrastructure in the region and offer an alternative to China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which is perceived as having implications of a potential debt-trap aimed at fetching strategic gains.

Amid the pandemic, both the countries have joined hands with Australia to launch a Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) to diversify key supply chains away from China.

However, India doesn’t perceive a free and open Indo-Pacific as an exclusionary strategy targeted at containing some country, rather as an inclusive geographic concept, where co-operation over conflict is possible. This was articulated by Prime Minister Modi in 2018 at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore.

Various additions were made to this view in later stages, as the concept evolved into a coherent form, representing New Delhi’s expanding neighbourhood. This vision aligns well with related initiatives such the Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), aimed at improving maritime security, trade, connectivity and management of shared resources.

The future

For India, this is an era of complex multi-alignment, different from the Cold War-era international system, where multiple centres of power exist. At different time periods in the past, India has adapted well to the changing circumstances and power dynamics in the international system.

India’s strategic posture today, despite being aspirational, is to have good relations with all its neighbours, regional players, and the major powers, to promote rules-based order, and in the due process to find its own deserving place in the world.

In July, last year, India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar has made it clear that India ‘will never be part of an alliance system’, even though a tilt towards the US is increasingly getting visible, taking the China factor into account. Jaishankar also stated that global power shifts are opening up spaces for middle powers like India.

As the world tries to avoid another Cold War, this time between the United States and China, the competing geopolitics of the Eurasian landmass and the Indo-Pacific maritime region is poised to add up to New Delhi’s many dilemmas in the coming years.

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