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Convert Crisis into Opportunity!
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Government should not overspend effort to undo the political damage inflicted by the recent leaked allegations by the Ministry of Defence and General VK Singh. The damage to India’s case in Kashmir cannot be undone. Just days after the recent disclosure terrorists have struck in Jammu to kill army and police personnel. More attacks should be expected by terrorists emboldened by the disclosures vindicating their allegations. Politics is about perception of facts and not about facts themselves. The recent disclosures have confirmed in the public mind all the perceived truths about India’s relationship with Kashmir repeatedly articulated by separatists and many other foreign powers. The government should instead seize the moment to convert a setback into opportunity and settle once and for all the Kashmir dispute that has bedeviled the subcontinent’s peace since Independence.
What is the truth?
One need no iterate the oft repeated facts relating to the Kashmir dispute. Kashmir is not the problem but the symptom of the problem. The problem is the Partition. Kashmir was a state with contiguous borders with both India and Pakistan. The Hindu ruler of this Muslim majority state wanted independence and good relations with both nations. The attack by Pakistani raiders backed by its army to forcibly seize Kashmir forced the ruler’s hands. He acceded to India in order to obtain the Indian army’s help to repulse the enemy.
In 1959 President Ayub Khan offered joint defence that would have automatically led to a confederation. But the same President Ayub Khan rejected Nehru’s proposal of a confederation presented by Sheikh Abdullah which Jinnah had accepted at the time of the Cabinet Mission Plan. In other words, both India and Pakistan had wanted confederation. But they had wanted it at different times. Therefore they cannot agree. Is this not shocking diplomacy? The absence of statesmanship displayed by leaders of both governments and their readiness to serve foreign interests could not be more glaring.
Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh should bluntly tell Mr. Nawaz Sharif on September 29 that enough is enough. Unless the armies of both nations cooperate there cannot be peace and stability in the region. If even now, when both nations are besieged by terrorism and instability, their governments cannot act rationally, they never will. Without joint defence the trust deficit cannot be removed. If there is joint defence it must inevitably lead to some form of confederation. Both leaders should read the writing on the wall. They should forget what their critics might say today. They should focus on what historians will say tomorrow.
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09/27/2013 19:31 PM