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Posts Tagged ‘Kashmir’

India & China – The ongoing spat

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

A war of words between the Asian heavy weights seemed to get out of proportion, with China blaring its thoughts in public domain over Arunachal, Agni, Indian High Altitude Landing Zones and now Kashmir. With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh barely days away from meeting his Chinese counterpart, the bureaucratic and diplomatic machinery is what is ensuring to downplay what both countries have been echoing as opinions and responses to one another’s comments that have been repeatedly emblazoned by the media!

Relations between both countries although not sour, have in no means been warm, something that both nations need to be cognizant of and thereupon workaround to improve the same, if they so desire that is! A war of words is certainly not a formula to extinguish problems that have had long standing contentions in between the two states, particularly when one country feels it appropriate to comment on the domestic matters of its democratic neighbour!

Progressive steps on the part of India to activate and upkeep its high altitude landing bases in regions proximate to the international border is simply a measure of drawing responsibility upon itself to ensure the security of the nation in the face of any untoward threat – much less as a mechanism of offense! History does stand testimony to the misadventures of 1962, which came shortly after India’s commitment to a renewed working relationship between the two nations. China must not view this as a threat and should rather reconcile in the thought that border security is as important an issue to address, as much as one would employ resources to tackle economic and political challenges that a nation may come to face!

That of Arunachal Pradesh is a very serious and committed demonstration by its people with regards to their allegiance, which, even as I write, has been clearly a response favourable to the Indian union. Who visits there and how, is a matter of right possessed and controlled solely by the Indian republic and by no means can be at the whims of a nation that believes it to be in possession of the said territory. Therefore, in this respect, the visit of the Dalai Lama should not be a mention, let alone an issue, to the Chinese, since it is beyond doubt, as it has been all along, that the state of Arunachal Pradesh – despite whatever it’s supposed ongoings of turbulent demographics and politics, remains a sovereign territory of the Indian union!

China’s comments, in the previous days, on Kashmir, calling India to resolve a long standing historical dispute, is uncalled for and unwarranted since it does not have any business to engage in such matters, which are clearly a problem for India considering the repeated sponsorship of cross-border terrorism and the unwillingness to come to the talking table by another nation! Historical or not, the issue of Kashmir is not one that requires interventions by any third-party, much less the Chinese! Calling this an issue left over by history, China has once again demonstrated its desire and frenzy to meddle with affairs of the Indian union, than take cognizance of issues in its domestic area – such as the ones pertaining to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, for instance, better known to the world in the form of the despicable massacres in Urumqi, in the recent past!

Why then should Dr. Manmohan Singh’s comments, to his military commanders asking them to be wary of China, come to be viewed as bewildering, wrong or panicky? Is he not justified in anticipating and thereby wanting to neutralize a threat posed to the Indian sovereign? And more importantly, are the voices of Beijing as a result of desperation? One as a result of the fall of a Maoist government in Nepal, which China attributes to India? And also for India having kept the Tibetan political identity alive?

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Talking points – India and Pakistan

June 29, 2009 2 comments

Following the recently concluded Yekaterinburg Summit where Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed a piece of the Indian mind to the Pakistani President Zardari, there have been calls from the international community urging the two nations to resume talks aimed at sorting the many issues that plague either!

More recently, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Talat Masood, a senior defense analyst and a very respectable moderate voice in Pakistan, stated the need for resumption of bilateral talks aimed at settling long disputed issues such as Siachen, Sir Creek, trade and other aspects while keeping aside Kashmir for ‘a later date,’ to be discussed by ‘a more mature generation’, during ‘a more conducive time.’

In his own words, he was echoing the thoughts of President Zardari who in his interactions with Prime Minister Singh at Yekaterinburg said that both India and Pakistan should not hold each other or their actions hostage in the backdrop of the UN security council resolutions on Kashmir!

Indeed, talks are the way forward towards resolution of all long standing deadlocks that continue to exist as thorns in relations between both nations and India should seize the opportunity to reiterate the need for Pakistan to curb assistance to all anti-India operations that originate on its soil, even if that means reigning in the ISI and its many rouge elements that run deep into a system aimed at constantly perpetrating terrorist activities across the border in Indian territory.

Pakistan which has been extensively bogged down by the ongoing conflict with the Taliban desperately needs to engage in some face saving act involving combating terror and reflecting stability else it risks being thoroughly branded as a failed state! Therefore the onus is on Pakistan to prove that it is a committed ally in the war on terror and does not engage itself in proliferation of terror, which has long blemished its image in the international arena. Recognizing this pressure that it is currently going through, India must engage itself in a composite dialogue with Pakistan aimed at eliciting some concrete and tangible steps from the latter which the world at large can witness and take into cognizance.

If India initiates such a process of dialogue, the burden falls on Pakistan to render unfailing cooperation to tackle the issue of terrorism and aide India in combating the same. India can begin by bringing to the table evidence recovered during the events of 26/11 which US intelligence agencies have also verified and concluded to be legitimate (not that India needs an American endorsement). A demand for killing support to ultra-radical an-India elements can be strongly made as a pre-requisite to negotiate on other issues thus making Pakistan face heat and thereby yield to pressure given its current geo-political scenario.

India on the other hand can state that by initiating such a process of dialogue, it has reaffirmed the need for deeper interactions on many fronts aimed at eliciting cooperation and a much needed trust from the embattled nation, purely as a measure of goodwill. Some tough talking from the Indian side is definitely needed to help sort out issues pertaining to terrorism. Indian commitment to the process will be viewed as a mature action at a time when Pakistan is struggling for its survival given the majorly chaotic and fast-changing socio-political situation in the region which needs urgent attention.

All this needs to be done with an open mind and a result oriented focus which should include a measure of careful optimism, and once the case has been strongly made, Kashmir, like Gen Masood believes, can well be discussed at a later time, under a strong guarantee that it will not be made an issue to hijack any agenda such as witnessed in the past!

Pak lets JUD chief Saeed walk away!

While the Obama administration in the United States may call the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed disturbing, it was very expected of Pakistan, which, in this case, is known for what it does second best – reneging on its promises without any concrete reasons whatsoever, the first being careful and systematic orchestration of state sponsored acts of terror.

Pakistan has for a long time now, with the aid of its intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence, aided radical elements such as the Taliban and a dozen or more others that have been founded on the Kashmir / Anti-India agenda. The elected government, following its predecessor’s alignment with the United States on the War on Terror, maintains that Taliban style radical elements are a severe threat to itself more than any other sovereign. However, the inside story is hideously contradictory!

Several branches from within the Pakistan Army and the ISI continue to regularly collaborate with fundamental elements not only in the perpetration of violence but also in the drug trade which has flourished across the North western Frontier Province (NFWP), thanks to Afghanistan’s vast poppy expanses! It is interesting to note that despite the War on Terror, the United States is yet to announce a concrete program on the War on Drugs in the Af-Pak region, one that is a stark departure from its current policies in the Latin American region.

Knowing very well that the recently concluded Indian elections have ushered in a different climate in the country, and that the heat surrounding the 26/11 incident has died down across the political corridors in New Delhi, Pakistan has now chosen to honor what seems to be a premeditated promise to release elements detained as part of the Mumbai attacks episode. This proves beyond doubt that Pakistan had no intention to collaborate with Indian in bringing the criminals to justice. Merely coming under pressure from India and the United States, it did a sham act of detaining the JUD leader until such time that the nuances of the Mumbai incident would be forgotten. And when the opportune moment presented itself, the government of Pakistan let Saeed go, stating that the case against him was too weak to mandate his arrest. This despite India repeatedly providing unquestionable evidence to Pakistan which clearly indicates that key LeT personnel such as Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a close aide of Saeed, were in direct contact with the Mumbai attackers! Saeed’s statement denying Ajmal Amir Kasab’s links with the JUD is blatantly untrue and is most likely the echo of what the Pakistan interior ministry has told him to throw at the press during the time of his release!

One can therefore conclude beyond doubt that Pakistan not only desires to abstain from cooperating with India in investigating the Mumbai attacks, but has also clearly been the perpetrator of the attacks itself! What else could explain the negligent attitude towards the evidence submitted and now the release of the man who was acknowledged to be the mastermind behind the attacks?

The American Government can do little but issue statements of exclamation at this act, especially considering the prevailing warm bonhomie between the US State Department and the machinery in Pakistan which thrives because of an anti-India agenda. Besides, the United States, by virtue of accepting Pakistan as a ‘committed’ partner in the war on Terror, can do little to persuade the latter to aid India in the Mumbai investigation and many many others!

As a show of support, the US Administration continues to shower Pakistan with huge financial aides meant to augment the Anti-Terror campaign, while being fully aware that a large chunk of these goodies are systematically diverted to a long list of recipients proximate to the ISI.

The perpetually hawkish State Department and its anti-India stance is very well known, as has been witnessed for a few decades now! Richard Holbrooke can do a lot of nay saying in the media concerning this episode, but that does not change the situation in the ground which involves the complicity of the ISI and several other radical factions in their devious agenda of perpetrating terror in the NWFP region, making it, easily, one of the most dangerous places on Earth!