Govt’s New Kashmir Initiative
General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
General Studies 3
- Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
- Security challenges and their management in border areas
In news: Former IB chief has been appointed as centre’s special representative in Kashmir. Appointment will be useful to reach out many people who are waiting to be heard. It will be a combination of political process and also it would involve or going back to Hurriat leadership. It would require special effort to address the widespread alienation of student community in valley. It is a difficult and long process but a welcome step..
There was an aggressive stand by government to not have any conversation when internal disturbances were at peak. But talks had to take place in the end. The armed forces have been able to bring the situation under control to a great extent. Many army chiefs who have worked in Kashmir and looked after security related issues have said that army and security forces have done what they could do. Now the political process should begin to have a sustained dialogue. The government has shown that it is concerned about people’s apprehensions.
The significant aspect is the choice of interlocutor. The chief of IB primarily is a significant decision because no one knows the situation better than IB. IB gives all inputs to government of the day and thus IB to the great extent represents the concern and interest of Indian state.
Deciding the nature of problem
If the Kashmir is considered as a political problem because of attitude of separatists leaders, there could also be a team of experienced personnel who have more experience in democratic diplomatic and political negotiations.
But India is looking at Kashmir problem as an intelligence and security problem and not political. If the government representatives are going to improve employment situation, law and order situation, by reducing human rights violations, reducing the losses of people by using pellet gun, limiting use of AFSPA, then only the process of such discussion will become fruitful.
Hurriat leaders have been facing charges under hawala transactions with many behind bars.
Role of interlocutor
The new interlocutor will have to establish his credibility as interlocutor. How does he address the problems of concept of azadi- it is not about secession but for Kashmiris it is different concept has something intrinsic to do with their identity. To tackle it in non-security format is one thing. Kashmiri secession should be seen as a legacy of India’s partition. Religious secession is at the core of the issue and interlocutor cannot be blind to it. The youth have lost faith in the political process. It can be tackled by bringing the disillusioned youngsters in mainstream. India doesn’t want another religious secession attempt.
There have been various interlocutors in the past who have tried to reach the minimum concessions over which there can be agreement between Indian state and secessionist.
In this initiative, Pakistani would like to scuttle the process but Kashmiris may not like the process to be scuttled. This may give space to interlocutor to address the insecurities.
There are working group reports which address Kashmiri concerns which have been half done. Now it may be possible to revive some positive actions, to implement the non-implemented aspects of reports of 2007-08.
The J&K issue is looked upon from 3 angles-
- J&K regional balance- there are regional aspirations apart from aspirations of state as a whole. As J&K is part of India, India has to look after all the socio-economic and regional problem as seen for and addressed in rest of country.
- J&K is integrated through art 370. This is a temporary provision. Either it should be abrogated or made permanent. This is an important step to be taken by central government now as temporary status shall not bring any permanent solution.
- Pakistan is occupying a part of Kashmir which is called PoK. In 1994 parliamentary resolution made its obligatory for India to acquire PoK. Now is the time for India to assert its legitimate claim over PoK in a forceful manner and stop Pakistan’s illegitimate claims on it.
Possible course of action
- Religion has affected the fight in Kashmir. In last 15-20 years, the radical islam has influenced and have militated against the basic concept of kashmiriyat which is inclusive variant of sufism and traditional Kashmiri practices. Steps have to be taken to restore them.
- Seek to establish credibility of interlocutor which matches with Kashmiri mindset.
- Not to expect results in short term.
- Just as all the parts of India have democratic implementation, same should be in j&K.
- Clear consistent integrated policy has to be adopted. Military action and talks approach is difficult to be carried out hand in hand but talks have to be undertaken for the long term solution
Connecting the dots:
- Kashmir is more a political issue than security issue. Critically examine.
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