India’s political leadership at apex levels of different political dispensations that have governed in New Delhi have consistently displayed a starkly discernible “political bankruptcy” in its policy approaches on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir.
The latest manifestation of Indian political bankruptcy on the Kashmir issue was evidently on display during the last week of India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s Meet in New Delhi. India stood outsmarted by Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Kashmir is “non-negotiable” as per the unanimous Special Resolution of the Indian Parliament. No Indian political party has ever won a General Election mandate on the plank that India’s Kashmir policy should be changed and that a new Government in New Delhi coming into power would feel politically empowered to “negotiate” Kashmir’s future. Not only consistently making Kashmir a negotiable issue, every Indian Government has permitted Kashmiri secessionist leaders - who in average Indian public perceptions are disloyal Indians - to have meetings with Pakistani dignitaries in the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi, it also is a preposterous display of supine political attitudes unbecoming of the Indian Republic.
Surprisingly, the Indian media and especially the TV channels normally so hyperactive on other political issues, to the best of my knowledge, have ever focused prominently on the issue that Kashmir is “non-negotiable” and that no Indian Government has the mandate to undo India’s sovereign decision reflected in the unanimous Special Resolution of the Indian Parliament.
Similarly no Indian newspaper or TV channel highlighted that once again the Government in New Delhi permitted Kashmiri hard-line secessionist leaders to meet the Pakistani Foreign Secretary last week within the premises of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
Why is the Indian media becoming complicit in perpetuating the political bankruptcy of Indian Governments on their Kashmir policy formulations? The Indian media has aroused Indian political opinion in the country on a variety of political, economic and social issues and at times been successful in policies being changed.
With a Congress Government in power in New Delhi currently, should the Indian media not been focusing that negotiating on Kashmir amounts to a blatant repudiation of their illustrious leader Jawaharlal Nehru’s perspectives, policies and formulations on the Kashmir issue? Should not the Congress President be stepping in to end this political repudiation of Nehru?
The BJP as India’s main political opposition party has also to make recompense for its own acts of commission and omission on the Kashmir issue while it was in power in New Delhi for eight years. It is never too late to apologize for its past political mistakes. The BJP swore that it would repeal Article 370 but failed to do so. The BJP Government too exhibited political bankruptcy when its Prime Minister continued to make Kashmir a “negotiable issue” by agreeing to sit on the table with General Musharraf and talk about it. And if one is not wrong in the BJP Government’s tenure Kashmiri secessionist leaders were permitted to meet Pakistani leaders and officials within the Pakistan High Commission premises.
What sort of a nation is the Indian Republic which permits this wanton disregard for India’s Sovereignty and National Honor? The problem is that like India’s foreign policy, the Kashmir issue today has become a captive of successive Prime Minister Houses bureaucracies.
Kashmir may be an emotive issue for the Pakistan inspired, instigated and manipulated Valley Muslims but Indian political leaders must recognize the strategic reality that it is an equally emotive issue for the rest of India.
At a time when India’s political and other institutions stand devalued by their own infirmities, it is beholden on the Indian media and particularly the Indian TV channels, to uphold and maintain that Indian political leaders must not continue to perpetuate the Kashmir issue. As far as Indians are concerned the Kashmir issue was irrefutably and irreversibly resolved in 1947 and no Indian Government is politically empowered to negotiate on it.