Connect with us

South Asia

Why Peace Building Is Now Difficult in Kashmir

Published

on

The turmoil since 1989 has established uncertainty and chaos as the new normal in the valley of Kashmir. Undoubtedly Kashmir that was so proudly called as the paradise on earth is now full of inconveniences. It is the place where everything is politicized now but never resolved.

The decades of mass alienation and unaccounted violence has shaped up mass anger and that collective rage has slowly led to distrust against the government and also torn the social fabric. Amid the suffering masses, the constant blame game and labelling is the norm and those who talk of oppressors forget that they have themselves been guilty of committing the same atrocities when in power. The masses have always felt suppressed and the prolonged conflict has thus shaped a gory history, a bitter memory and a life of indignity, hopelessness, and exploitation. Standing witness to half-revolutions, vested interests and unmet promises, the state of Jammu and Kashmir seems to be reeling under a severe crisis, collective anomie and alienation. Thanks to the leadership crisis and lack of vision of the contemporary power regime.

It is not that Kashmiris don’t want peace, today every Kashmiri cries for peace and calm and the whole valley is yearning to grow and longing for Peace but instead of building peace and displaying practical seriousness and interest in peace process, ‘Give a damn policy’ continues and delaying tactics prevails. Consequently, normalcy is a luxury and peace is fragile, the calm is a deceptive calm which keeps waiting for a trigger to blow up every summer. The governance is not treated by masses as pro-Kashmir and there still exists a major sustained lack of effort towards enhancing credibility and social justice on the ground. Whereas, every committee or Human rights group suggests restoration of social justice but till date no report has been respected or paid any serious heed to. The feel secure psyche has vanished long before and getting rid of ambiguous and invisible control seems an impossible task. Amid a plethora of suppliers of instability, there exists an urgent need for a leadership that fully comprehends the Kashmir case and understands that there invariably exists a relationship between the equations of peace building and the forces of the sustenance of uncertainty which needs serious intervention. Akin to the nature of politics, where one party’s action invokes a quick reaction from the opposition, every action today in Kashmir has a reaction purely because of the prevailing dichotomous social realities and massive enemy perception! From the governance side, the constant crisis mishandling and bad conflict management besides violent crimes against the civilians have shattered people’s faith in the concept of democracy and the trust deficit is too high to be abridged now. The inhuman incarcerations have inevitably become the order of the day and the bitter and painful past and narratives of torture and suffering are becoming the motivating reasons behind young Kashmiris’ choosing the path of violence.

On the social intervention front, the chief stake holders need to see whether the target population interfaces well with the problems addressed in the programmes launched for them or is there an acute sense of discredit due to the political nature of the Kashmir problem. Why does this discredit exist and how can it be addressed in the first place remains a big question and simultaneously a big task to accomplish? The answer is simple, address Jammu and Kashmir politically first and foremost and the development and all other discourses will follow and will definitely get mass recognition later. This is what people in power though know but never acknowledge. It is also important to make a note of those still left out and understand why, with regard to the overall welfare interventions, much still remains undone despite tall claims to the contrary, since 1947. The single most significant prerequisite to overall development is the restoration of human dignity and safety in Kashmir, the rest can come later but the power elite always talks about the rest and ignores the fundamental. An empathetic approach therefore needs to be incorporated in a broader perspective, realizing the grave magnitude of the prevailing situation and that primarily needs willingness to deliver justice and restore Kashmir’s lost glory, without further delay.

On the security front, there is a dire need of strict discipline, human sensitivity and especially gender sensitivity while tackling the conflict. The important is to see to what extent working ethic or SOPs while operating are maintained and why have lapses continued for so long? What is the actual work done through WHAM (winning hearts and minds doctrine) and beyond encounters or killings what are the genuine peace efforts in-built into the existing system, what are the new peace friendly and mass friendly models of peace-building developed and most importantly to what extent is the Soldier-Civilian gap abridged over the years, etc,. Why is the enemy perception graph so all time high in the valley now? Why are even cops not safe? Unfortunately, policy and planning on Kashmir seems to be dismally lacking in vision and practicality so far resulting in civilian killings in every major or small uprising whereas the tactics to handle uprisings outside Kashmir are always different. The enemy perception continues to grow and peace building as a project continues to remain as a mere idea. Whose fault is this and who will take the responsibility? Who is responsible for pellet killings and pellet blinded victims? Also the security apparatus has to ensure principles like honesty, transparency, quick action against HR violations, internal transformation of the Jawan, understanding the local ethos, sensitivities and vulnerabilities are taken care of and followed with due respect and regard to maintaining their sanctity. However, from a mass perspective, the whole security apparatus resorts to putting things only in black and white as far as probes are concerned. What is clearly visible is the lack of strong evaluations, decentralisation in judgements, lack of clear statements and open documentation of their and others operations. The security apparatus including the local police in today’s Kashmir needs to think beyond the big brotherly attitude that has actually contributed to alienation and unrest, even the young and educated home-grown militancy. It also needs to be seen to what extent poor local participation, randomisation and generalisations destroy security calculations that got reflected so vividly in the 2016 uprising once again seeing slain militant commander Wani’s Funeral. It is also important to know that perspectives on peace practice and strategy need some theoretical frameworks and know-how, which demands vision and able leadership. Further understanding Kashmir’s changing society, social and political preferences, emerging new social dimensions and extent of social inequality amid the conflicting situation, etc, needs to be understood by all the significant stake holders properly and strategies to be framed accordingly. An effective social participation will go a long way in building a new political consciousness and ultimately a new peaceful Kashmir. Is anybody really interested in Peaceful Kashmir?

Another question that has to be answered satisfactorily, is to evaluate how well do the masses understand what they are consenting to or what they are heading towards, what principles and precepts they are following and why? Why are stone pelters even attacking vehicles and why mob violence and mentality has become a new craze and so much of legitimacy? In the recent past my vehicle was almost destroyed completely at Mochu-Budgam despite being a media person. The same Kashmiri youth were abusing us and hitting our vehicle all around. I am still wondering what our fault was and how will such treatments and violence against same Kashmiris or anyone else contribute to Azaadi? Sane Kashmiri minds especially youth have to disown such violent groups who attack even people for fun and see stone pelting at vehicles as a fight for freedom. Even the local community where such miscreants create such horror scenes have to intervene to discourage such rowdy behaviour.

It needs to be found as to why even the effective and intelligent change makers couldn’t completely curb the volatility and transform Kashmir into a peace zone? Why every Kashmiri feels demonized and insecure outside the valley and why still Kashmiri students are beaten even in universities and colleges in the country? The nation has to embrace Kashmiri if it loves Kashmir.

The need of the hour is to develop effective and functional links between local sentiments, embedded social problems and governance via policy-making in a range of contexts. Just continuing with and extending the learning summaries of key issues, closed door discourses, back door diplomacy channels, futile interlocutions, delaying tactics, ego clashes, oft repeated useless strategies, irresponsible political statements, insecurity hype for politics, and political provocations are not going to work, especially in today’s Kashmir which has a youth bulge that is highly aware, articulate and living amid a high political culture. At this juncture when so much of waywardness prevails, the desired actions and good and visible governance is much needed to make intervention efforts more inclusive. Actions which are politico-military and environmentally conscious need to be designed and made public friendly and practical. For instance, fair and faster probes in all past human rights abuse cases, issuing clear statements on sensitive issues from local/regional security headquarters unlike the central hegemony, a people friendly stand of AFSPA, immediate steps to heal the bruised environment of Kashmir valley, addressing water issues, power projects and financial loss of the J&K, respecting the resilience and suffering of innocent Kashmiris’ and fast delivery of justice in pending cases and innocent killings, etc,. It is important to rehabilitate the victims and deliver justice in a fair manner and is quite possible. Kashmir obviously and altogether needs a different policy and sensitive tackling at the central level along with a media that represents true Kashmir and only then peace in the region can be aspired. In addition, the task of sociological or psychological handling as well, needs to be assigned to good brains and astute minds. Kashmiris’ need space of all kinds and a friendly platform to give vent to their suppression and unheard grievances. In Kashmir the desired social change can be achieved if Kashmiris are empowered to exert influence and make decisions about their own social collective without any fear. The time has definitely come when the Centre needs to think out of the box for a new Kashmir! Time has come when the half-widows of Dardpora and the rape victims of Kunan-Poshpora and parents/kins of the disappeared need to be given justice. The time has also come when the Gawkadal,Kupwara, Pathribal, Chhatisingpora and Wandhama massacre culprits need to be suitably punished for their crimes and firmly put behind bars.

Last Word

The time has come to love the Kashmiri first and then Kashmir! Time has come, above all, to negotiate the venomous dichotomies of Us vs Them, skilfully and in a manner commensurate with the prevailing situation, so as to ensure a progressive way forward rather than talking rising wahabism, radicalism, ummah vs nationalism as responsible for all the mess in Kashmir! I also do not buy the argument that the discourse in Kashmir is shifting to primacy of Islam also. It is definitely shifting to more resolve for Azadi and the graph of dissent is constantly increasing. It is adding more young angry minds and it is not just the spirit of jihad but in most cases the hunger for revenge and resistance against the unaccounted atrocities. There has to be some end to this chain reaction. Till date, hardly a serious debate has been initiated by the institution of politics on such issues baring a few useless interlocutions. Kashmir needs to be delivered with humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat what has so far only been a slogan. Understanding Kashmir requires an in-depth and empathetic understanding of its sociology, history-a history of suffering, deceit, oppression and continuing conflict. The fact remains, that peace can be achieved in Kashmir by understanding Kashmir and going through the path of social justice and political solution.

[A version of this article first appeared in Kashmir Pen-A prestigious weekly based in Srinagar]

Continue Reading
Comments

South Asia

India’s Stance on the USA-China Cold War

Sirat Bhalla

Published

on

Amidst the USA and China’s tussle encompassing trade war and COVID-19 blame game, India and the other Asian countries consequently have to sustain the damage. It is manifest by India’s current strategies that it is all set to establish alliances with the West which is contrasting to its past reaction of staying neutral.

The country took the neutral path in 1961 when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru signed the Non-Alignment Movement. It continued to foster its cordial ties with both the power blocks – USA and Soviet Union, presently Russia. For many decades it has managed to balance its relations with major powers of the world. India had conceived the notion that it wasn’t the right time to crush between other’s agendas and it found the conflict-ridden situation lucrative for itself which was discernible from the support gained from the USA and allies as well as China and Russia. However today’s world scenario demands for the nation to take a stand. China, India’s neighbour, is exhibiting fast and aggressive growth. It is hostile in doing so and is manoeuvring to change the world order while expanding its territories and its imperialism. India and other countries are at threat and thus must act together to curb its rigorous policies. 

China’s Escalating Pressure on the Asian Countries 

China has been persistently exerting military pressure on many Asian countries including India. The Galwan Valley standoff which emerged on May 5 managed to take a violent turn on June 15 when 20 Indian soldiers died in the scuffle. Since then there have been several diplomatic talks between the two opponents but all in vain so far because the troops disengaged marginally. China’s hostility nevertheless is not only restrained to India, it extends to other Asian nations – Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. 

Foreign Ministry of Vietnam claimed one of their fishing boats was ambushed on April 2 by two Chinese ships close to the Paracel Islands which China claims of its own. On April 14, Haiyang Dizhi ship was spotted in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone according to Marine Traffic’s report. Haiyang is the same ship that was recruited to explore Vietnam’s oil-laden parts of the sea. The tension between Beijing and Hanoi are on rise ever since in the South China Sea. 

Malaysia faced China’s wrath on April 16 when Haiyang Dizhi 8 survey ship, flanked by more than 10 armed China Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels, commenced shadowing a drillship, West Capella, contracted by Malaysian oil firm Petronas to comb for oil off the coast. This Chinese action engendered reaction from the USA as it sent its warships to the area.

The Philippine Foreign  Secretary Locsin informed that a “radar gun” was pointed at a Philippine navy ship off Commodore Reef in the Spratlys in the month of February. This radar aims weapons on a target prior to an actual attack. He added these actions were both violations of international law and the country’s sovereignty.

A worrisome event that jolted Taiwan was intrusion of Chinese bomber and fighter planes in its air defence identification zone, not once but eight times in the past two weeks. The country became wary immediately and has deployed its patrolling jets to chase away Chinese’s. Taiwan and China’s clash dates long back when Taiwan acquired its de facto independence from China but with the current inclement international relations climate China bas been subjugating the neighouring country evermore. 

Ishigaki in Okinawa, Japan has passed the bill to rename Senkakus island chain which is a disputed area between Japan and China. In April, Japan kept silent but worriedly watched Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning along with its strike group making the first trip through Miyako Strait.

Above listed incidents are some of the very recent ones. China has bolstered and showcased its military, air force and navy prowess in the Asian region to allegedly divert world’s attention from the pressing demand of pandemic’s investigation. The USA and China have meshed their horns in this indefinite brawl but the countries in Asia have to pay its price. India has leaped towards the West in its reaction to the Chinese blitzes. 

India’s Alliance-Build Up with the West 

USA and allies have yearned for India’s partnership in their collaborative efforts to mitigate China’s expansionist conducts. For many years India had played neutral in their conflicts but only recently it has started taking side. The Western powers want India’s involvement because it is the world’s largest democracy countering the largest autocracy and because of its proximity to the Dragon. 

With China encountering allegations over the pandemic, India has taken steps that have filled West with the confidence that their goal is near to completion. The  friction between India and China has swayed the Elephant into discreetly shaking hands with the Western allies. This push has led to various deals and alliance-build up between the two. 

India-Australia defence deal signed on June 4 allowed them to nurture a comprehensive strategic partnership. This deal meant access to each other’s military bases that will bolster their military exercises and exchanges in the Indo-Pacific region. This will also pave way for Australia’s comeback to the Malabar series of naval war-game and thus succour its involvement in the Quad. 

India-USA too have deepened their defence cooperation. On November 26, India and the USA carried their first sea, land and air exercises, Tiger Triumph, which was inline with the 2018 pact between the two that bestowed them to share sensitive information and strengthen their military partnership to counter China’s growing maritime influence in Asia. In February this year, Donald Trump announced they would ink a $3 billion arms deal in the near future. Both the nation’s commitment is conspicuous from their cooperative military exercises and deals to deter the Chinese malign activities. Siemon T. Wezemen, Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute stated, “India is now at that level where it’s basically like a NATO partner even if there’s no alliance.” 

India-France too enjoy collaborative defence undertakings. In February, India-France joint patrol was conducted from the Reunion Island. For this venture P-81 was deployed with a French Navy personnel on board. Furthermore 36 Rafael fighter jets will be delivered to India soon. It is obvious that India-France’s military-to-military engagement and defence deals have shown an upsurge. 

India has recently secured the chance to play a central role during the pandemic as Dr. Harsh Vardhan took the seat of WHO’s Executive Board Chairman in May. In addition, India has bagged the support of 184 nations for United Nations Security Council’s non-permanent chair. 

From May 3-9, India joined the USA, Japan and the Philippines in the South China Sea which trumpeted its warning to China. Donald Trump has proposed to expand G-7 by giving membership to India, Russia, Australia and South Korea. It is an attempt to unite allies against China. The Dragon is not the member of this alliance even though it has the world’s largest population and is the second largest economy. Russia being an ally of China has shown interest in membership but also called it biased. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “I believe that the G7 as presented by the American side reflects a somewhat one-sided view of problems, if only because China is not among those invited to that group.” It is gauged that the West is trying to manufacture new alliances to sideline China. 

With a similar motive, D-10 got proposed by Boris Johnson, he conveyed his wish for India’s membership to discourage 5G Huwawei Company’s expansion. This alliance would be exclusively of 10 democratic member countries to engineer an alternative source of 5G technology as they suspect China’s 5G dubious and involved in cyber-espionage. Additionally, there is prospective revival of the Quad which is generally compared as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) of Asia that will counteract China in the South China Sea. 

From the above discussion the deduction is that India is sailing with the West. The Elephant is eager to build stronger relations with them to get assistance to deal with China. However, China has been sensitive about India’s growing ties with the West, particularly with the USA.

Conclusion

India’s stride towards tying friendship knot with the West has become a reality. Its aim of securing larger profile in the international organisations has moved a step forward. India’s stand on the Cold War between the USA and China is noticed and realised by the world. More multilateral ties await India, but India must stay wary of others agendas and safeguard its own interests in signing off various deals and accepting membership of alliances. 

Continue Reading

South Asia

Pakistan’s endorsement of Osama Bin Laden may harm relations with Beijing

M. Abdul Basit

Published

on

A cricket star turned politician, Imran Khan, called Taliban a terrorist group in UpFront on Al Jazeera in 2016. Answering Mehdi Hassan’s quick question “Do you consider Taliban to be a terrorist group”, he answered in an assuring manner that “Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, they are. Anyone who kills innocent people is a terrorist.” In an interview to Fox News, he said “And yet it was ISI that gave the information which led to the location of Osama bin Laden. If you ask CIA it was ISI which gave the initial location through the phone connection.” Imran Khan changed his stance now and considers Osama Bin Laden to have died for a noble cause – a cause that is considered terrorism in the civilized world.

Recently, in the National Assembly session, he made a controversial speech in which he explicitly called Osama Bin Laden a martyr who was killed by the Americans. While the extremist segments in Pakistan may welcome the gesture of Imran Khan, Beijing will certainly see it as a potential threat even if the Prime Minister takes his words back for it was not a slip of tongue but the gesture showcases an ideology. A confused response to the most important issue pertaining to stability in Pakistan by the national leadership sends signals of mistrust to Beijing. To Beijing, stability matters the most.

China is a prisoner of its geography. The China-Afghanistan border was enacted as a result of the 1895 agreement between Russia and England – a deal involving neither the Afghans nor the Chinese. The thin strip that separates Pakistan from Tajikistan meets with Xinjiang. The western region of China lacks development and Beijing views the activities in Xinjiang autonomous province with keen eyes. China is blamed to disrespect human rights there in re-education camps. The separatist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is frowned upon by the Han Chinese. Andrew Small writes in his book “The China Pakistan Axis” that a leaked Chinese government document in 1998 listed Uighur independence movements as the main threat to the stability of the Chinese state.” With Xinjiang having border with eight countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan, any religious instability that can destabilize China enrages Beijing.

The extremist segments in Pakistan are accused of having links with Xinjiang’s internal instability, though at a limited scale. During the Operation Silence at the Red Mosque of Pakistan in 2007, twelve Uighars were killed. This operation was launched because the Red Mosque students, considering themselves as the ultimate custodians of Islam, took the responsibility to impose a self-hypothesized version of sharia in Islamabad and abducted Chinese women accusing them to spread vulgarity. As a consequence of that operation in which the Jihadi proponent Abdul Rashid Ghazi was killed, Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was formed. Pakistan had to bear a huge cost protecting the lives of Chinese from religious extremists. The damages done by TTP are hitherto unseen in Pakistan’s history.

Pakistan has always enjoyed the support of China with the only exception of the former’s sympathy toward the religious militancy. The abduction of Chinese workers and engineers from Pakistan over the course of time had given sleepless nights to many in Beijing. When the ideology of sympathizing with terrorists revive, it gives setbacks to peace efforts by the civilian and military leadership to curtail terrorism in the war against terrorism in which seventy thousand lives have been lost in Pakistan. The opposition lambastes PM Imran Khan for his callous statement of applauding Bin Laden. Trivializing a highly sensitive issue puts question mark on the role of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in countering terrorism. China looks forward to a perpetual peace that Pakistan officially claims to achieve by combatting terrorism.

For China, “it’s the economy stupid”. To drive the economy, China looks forward to stability. Zhu Rongji, the then premier of China, advised Pakistan’s president General Musharaf in 2001, “Investors are like pigeons, when a government frightens them with poor decisions, they all fly off together”. China needs a stable Pakistan and a stable Afghanistan to rise peacefully. It aims to complete the Belt and Road project by 2049 – celebrating 100 years of creation of the People’s Republic of China. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is its flagship project. Pakistan relies heavily on CPEC for economic growth. It is equally important for both the states. With the revival of fresh air of militant ideology, a single spark can start a prairie fire in Sino-Pak relations. Pakistan needs to think twice before appeasing extremists for it can lose the only friend in the region.

Continue Reading

South Asia

India Playing Double Game

Published

on

India is playing the double game smartly. On the one hand, India is projecting that his soldiers were killed by China and occupied its territory in the Ladakh region. Nepal has issued a new Map and included Indian occupied territories. And China is at the back of Nepal for all its actions against India. Bhutan has cut-off water entering India, and again it is due to Chinese back. Bangladesh disputes are also linked to China. Confrontation with Pakistan is also backed by China. Myanmar is creating problems with India due to China. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are also against India due to China.

India wanted to prove that China is aggressive and increasing its influence in the region to victimize India. India is a victim of China and needs support from the international community, especially from the US, EU, and anti-China block. India is playing over-smart, and Indian media is over-engaged in spreading anti-China sentiments.

However, it is India, who is the aggressor and cause of instability and epic center of all evils in the whole region. Indian philosophy of “Greater India,” which includes all states in the region of Arabian Pennisula to Australia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and New Zealand. India is progressing its agenda silently and occupying its neighboring states.

India has illegally annexed: Travancore, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Junagadh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Naga Land, Sikkim, Juna Garh, etc. India is illegally occupying Nepali territories, West Bengal from Bangladesh, some areas of Myanmar, Pakistan, and China.

India has almost colonized Bhutan, a land lock small country in the Himalayan region. Nepal was coerced and penalized in the form of sanctions and cut-off supplies of basic necessities of life like food, fuel, medicine, electricity, etc., during the worst hit-disaster times.

The recent increase in terrorist attacks in Pakistan is also linked with India; there is sufficient evidence.  As a matter of fact, India has no capacity to confront its neighbors directly, so it is involved in terrorism. Indian notorious Intelligence agency “RAW” is involved in cross border terrorism, espionage, and insurgencies.

Pakistan is a very liberal, democratic and open society. Pakistan enjoys the highest degree of freedom of expression. It is very convenient for India to penetrate into our community and conduct any terrorist activities. Corruption is also one aspect in Pakistan, facilitating India for terrorism. Some Indian agents in Pakistan are posing Pakistani citizenship cards (CNICs) or Passports, as a corrupt official issue them against hefty bribes.

Furthermore, just like any other free country, there are disgruntle Pakistanis or destitute Pakistanis, identified by Indian Intelligence Agency, picked and chosen for terrorism. They are brainwashed, trained, armed, funded, and exploited against Pakistan. Many international intelligence agencies are operating in Pakistan, some of them are cooperating with India too.

The sudden increase of terrorism activities in Karachi and Balochistan are witnessed, and it is feared that India might assassinate high profile political leaders in Pakistan to destabilize Pakistan. Indian evil-design and over-ambitions must be checked before irrecoverable damage is caused to Pakistan.

India is also trying to revive its relations with Russia. India was a partner with the former USSR in the era of the cold war era but turned its face in 1991 at the time of transformation of the USSR to the Russian Federation. India was of the opinion that Russia can not revive and has become impotent, can not help India anymore. Then, India hired politicians, Senators, Congresswomen in the US for lobbying. As a result of intensive marketing, finally, India joined the American Club and prevailed benefits from all Western World. The Recent attempts to come close to Russia is also a double game, on the one hand trying to gain sympathies from Russia and, on the other hand, sending a signal that if Western World does not extend undue help to India, it might be slipped to Russian block again.

As a matter of fact, Indian is an opportunist nation. It milked USSR in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and got benefits as much as possible, as long as possible. When Russia was no more beneficial for India, it turned its face toward America and the Western World. Today India is the largest beneficiary of American help after Israel.

India is not sincere with any other country in the World and just taping the opportunity to milk as much as possible and as long as possible. But India has been exposed already, and the World has seen the real face of India. Indian propaganda to show itself as a victim, to gain world sympathies is no longer accepted by the World. India is the aggressor and carries evil designs and epic-center of all evils for the regions as well as globally.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending