Can India, Pak afford another war over Kashmir?
Since independence, when accession of 556 princely states with union of India took place tension has escalated every now and then between nuclear armed neighbors, Indi and Pakistan. Although, J&K preferred to remain independent state Maharaja Hari Singh later joined India as there was a attack from tribal militias of Pakistan. Maharaja made a plea for assistance to government of India. The help was offered, but it was subject to his signing the instrument of accession to become part of India. From that time J&K became the centre of raging escalation between India and Pakistan.
J&K is important for both countries as nature has bestowed this region everything and its geographical location is important to all its neighboring countries. Till now, both countries have fought three wars over Kashmir in which both countries have suffered a lot of casualties, damage to property and much more. This has resulted into a massive hatred among citizens of both countries. For many people in both the countries the word revenge is the only solution to end the decades old problem. Recently on February 14, Pulwama attack happened in which more than 40 CRPF personals were killed in a deadly suicide car-bomb attack. This resulted in escalation of situation between both the countries. India blamed Pakistan for the attack as Jaish-e-Mohammad militant out took the responsibility for the attack, the deadliest on the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir during past three decades of militancy in the Valley. On its part Pakistan denied all the charged leveled against it by India. The Indian government led by BJP threatened Pakistan and in response Pakistanis Prime Minister Imran Khan made a press conference in which he said “If you think you will carry out some kind of attack on Pakistan, Pakistan will not think about retaliation, but Pakistan will retaliate.” Ultimately on 26 February at 3:30 am, Indian jets struck at a major militant camp across the Line of Control and claimed to have eliminated the camps completely [IAF sources]. India called it surgical strike 02. Since then war like situation is going on between India and Pakistan. Now a series of ceasefire violation have taken place across LOC and both the countries are blaming each other.
It is easy to start a war but difficult to end it. If war was the solution in Afghanistan then, this time, both USA and Taliban would not have been forced to come on the table. Everyone in Jammu and Kashmir is in panic thinking about what will happen next since people of the state suffer a lot every time there is escalation in the situation between the arch rival countries. It is quite puzzling that no one comes to the fore from either side to talk about starting a dialogue process. Is war only a solution to overcome all problems between both the two countries? When will this hatred between the two nations come to an end? Can Kashmir issue be ever resolved? Or it will continue to be a toy in the hands of both countries. Presently, both countries are facing inner problems like poverty, corruption, unemployment, health and sanitation, education infrastructure and much more. The money which both the countries spent on buying modern ammunition, like jets from USA, Russia and France, what would happen if this amount is spend on addressing the core problems rather than both the nations becoming a market for these outside countries. Media has a crucial role in it but unfortunately, this fourth pillar of democracy is biased on both the sides. Who are the victims in unending war between the two countries? This is clear that poor people suffer a lot and there is no doubt that it is people of J&K who become victims. Adding havoc to this grave situation, Kashmiri politicians are adding more salt on our injuries. When they are in power they forget the Kashmir issue and when they are out of the power they remember the problem which continues to make life of people a misery.
If we will talk about the state administration and its delivery, it has failed in all aspects, whether socially, economically and politically. Whenever, state government received any grant from government of India it directly goes in the pockets of these failed administrators and politicians. Just have a look at our education sector, from last 70 years, our state government has been unable to build enough universities with adequate infrastructure so that a large population of youth is able to receive quality education and not face any harassment outside. Here education sector is in complete mess. Researches taking place in these educational institutions are minimum if we compare with other universities around the world. If we take the example of health sector, the condition is worse. If we compare different sectors like health sector and education sector with other Indian states J&K occupy has the lowest rank in terms of delivery despite J&K getting fatty grant from the center annually for pushing through the developmental agenda. Coming back to the core issue of Kashmir it is a political problem and it has to be addressed politically, otherwise consequences will be there for both the countries to face. Time has come when both countries should keep their personal interests aside and work towards resolved this problems which is pending for more almost seven decades now. Over the years of political churnings and establishment of new regimes after the conduction of the elections, the people have attained a political maturity .The double dose of autonomy and self rule proposed by National Conference and PDP have found very little take from the mainland of India. Although, the political establishment at New Delhi appointed three interlocutors in the past, but, what transpired after the provision of their reports is still shrouded in a political mystery. Since its inception, both India and Pakistan have been on the war path over Kashmir. A number of bilateral negotiations have been initiated at different levels to settle the protracted issue but they haven’t yielded any results. Kashmir problem dogged with near perpetual instability, posing a grave risk to the peace and stability of South Asia in particular and the whole continent in general. Time is testimony to the fact that an environment of peace and reconciliation has been a sine qua non for the redress and resolution of the issues, be it local or universal. The parties to the problem at stake, that is India and Pakistan cannot remain mute spectators to this imbroglio.
Let’s keep the difference aside for the time being so that there is complete end to the bloodshed and people of this region breathe freely and are allowed to live a harmonious and decent life which they deserve! The Author is a former student of Jamia Hamdard and can be mailed at