The most surprising thing concerning the regular crossing by Pakistan’s jihadis of the Line of Control(LoC) largely in the Poonch area in Kashmir is the resounding silence of the United States and China.
Since January 2013 to date, there have been more than 60 (sixty) incidents of border violations by terrorists and there has not been a single word of criticism coming from across continents. Does it mean that both the United States and China are subconsciously supporting the criminality of Pakistan? Let this be emphasised: both the United States and China are Permanent Members of the Security Council. Does one have to quote chapter and verse from the United Nations Constitution to convey what the victorious powers during the Second World War had in mind when the need for a United Nations was debated? Pakistan is openly seeking a war with India if its regular provocative behaviour has any meaning. It has been said of Pakistan’s approach towards its eastern neighbour that its sole aim is to destroy India with a thousand cuts. That number has long been exceeded and India has not only survived, but has unbelievably prospered, while Pakistan is on the rocks.
What are the options open to India at this point? One is to put up with Islamabad nonchalantly. We have been doing that for a long time and one is afraid that the Indian public is now getting restive. A second option is to hit back at Pakistan on a tit for tat basis and keep history going until Pakistan collapses on its own. A third option is to tell everyone – especially Permanent Members of the UN Security Council – that India has had enough and it would rather pay a high price by waging a war against Pakistan and destroying it root and branch. If the Security Council cannot prevent Pakistan’s criminality now, it can never ever do it. It is clear that in the matter of Kashmir, India has no friends. Pakistan has. Barack Obama was clearly talking with tongue in the cheek when he said that the US and India are natural strategic partners. When it comes to Pakistan, Washington’s memory fails. When it comes to taking care of its own interests, the US has no hesitation in dumping friends, and even worse, in ignoring the Security Council and breaking every Human Rights proposition, as we have witnessed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
But what if, in its desperation, India decides to take on Pakistan in a major war? A war is not having breakfast at the Taj. To just mention the Worst Possible Scenario (WPS): India will invade Pakistan, there will be large-scale killing turning Pakistan into a desert. Is this what its friends in Beijing and Washington want? But if all this is because of the unresolved, so-called dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, then what are the options open?
Option One is to continue as in the past, ignoring the separatists as a nuisance, willing to take occasional – even more frequent – border violations with philosophical disdain. Option Two is to go in for full-scale war, with what consequences, has already been noted. Option Three is to divide the present state into three parts, taking over Jammu and Ladakh, leaving Kashmir to its fate, which is easier said than done.
Kashmir is increasingly becoming a liability. In order to prevent any more communal rioting, all Muslims may well have to be asked to quit Jammu, just as jihadis forced Kashmiri Pandits (over 3.5 lakh of them) to leave Kashmir. In all these years, Kashmir has been surviving on aid from Delhi. According to available information for 2011-2012, over 74 per cent of the State’s revenues is aid from the Central government. The Planning Commission, in its own plan outlay for Kashmir, has approved for 2013-14 Rs 7,300 crore, no small amount. One understands that additionally Kashmir will receive more than Rs 3,500 crore under different counts, to turn aid to a hefty Rs 10,800 crore. We can well save that amount; importantly we can live in peace. But that is a chimera. A “free Kashmir” will attract attention from, among others, both the US and China, creating even more headaches for India. As matters stand, India has no option but to accept Kashmir as is, whatever the price. No one will allow Kashmir to become India’s Switzerland, an independent state whose freedom is honoured by all.
India will never take the Kashmir issue to the UN again. It has paid enough for that one folly of Jawaharlal Nehru who naively took the peace role of UN seriously, Time is running fast.
If the US and China – Pakistan’s dear friends – will continue to look the other way, likelihood of Pakistan’s being turned into a tragedy may not be too far away. It will not be a pleasing option for Delhi. It should not be an option even for the US. Washington must think that over.