Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Essay on Kashmir Conflict for UPSC and SSC CGL

Essay on Kashmir Conflict for UPSC and SSC CGL

The India-Pakistan slugfest dates back to 1947 and the Line of Control (LOC) is perhaps the most dangerous place in the world. With both India and Pakistan having their own political reasons for continuing the fight, Kashmir has converted not to a conflict but a symptom of conflict. This mutual grandstanding by these two nuclear armed South Asian neighbors has been fed with enough of opinions but all were in vain. Kashmir stands divided between India and Pakistan and neither wants to cede control to the other, nor will do so. Also, there is no good faith between the two which will make them withdraw and let Kashmir be an independent country. The level of mistrust and suspicion has grown to such a level that even if one country pulls out, the other will move in to occupy it permanently. So, full Kashmiri independence never seems an option to be thought of, when ending the Kashmir crisis is considered.

Essay on Kashmir Conflict
The military misadventures and non-state actors' route have been the main elements chosen by Pakistan to play its part. Amidst all these, the Kashmir cause is long forgotten as a human struggle. To what India can argue to be fomentation of trouble and terrorism in Kashmir, Pakistan can call it to be freedom fighting. While Kashmir and its people desperately need a better life, there is no feasible political solution for Kashmir. To find out more flexible solutions to end this crisis, we must focus on why is Kashmir a vexing problem.

Problems that have stayed behind partition:
  • Kashmir has 3 sub-regions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Muslims are predominant in Kashmir valley and in Jammu and Ladakh, non-muslims and Buddhists dominate. While many Muslims would like to join Pakistan, all non-Muslims would like to stay with India.
  • The Muslim part lies in between the Hindu part and Buddhist part, which implies cutting them away and merging with Pakistan which is not an easy task as it's very vague and non-clear as to how many Muslims actually want to be a part of Pakistan.
  • With some of the coldest temperatures and some of the tallest mountains in the inhabited world, the region is extremely cold, snow-bound, land-locked and hilly. Cutting it up is not as easy as it looks on the map, given the geography and the terrain.
  • Indus water flows through this region which is extremely crucial for both the countries. Any solution involving the Hindus ending up in Pakistan is far worse than a solution involving Muslims ending up in India as the status of Hindus in Pakistan is far worse than that of the Muslims in India.
  • The region adjoins extremely troubled regions such as northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Xinjiang of China and central Asia which implies that an independent Kashmir will become a breeding ground of terrorists.
  • The hills hold strategic importance for both the countries as the hills of Kashmir slope into the crucial region of Pakistan on both sides of border and both the armies have to be vigilant in controlling the hills.

The highly heterogeneous nature of India is critical to balance already and after removing Kashmir, there can be rise and emboldening of other separatist groups all over the country. This is in fact, one of the major reasons why India has to be inflexible at times while dealing with the problem.

Feasible scenarios which can be seen as solution:
  • A bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people as well as the desires of both the countries needs to be worked out between the two countries. Both nations need a face-saving peace plan where the governments of each country can equally take credit for resolving the Kashmir dispute.
  • One of the feasible solutions to the Kashmir dispute is to make the line of control separating the two Kashmir sections the border between India and Pakistan.
  • Article 370 allows trade and travel across the LoC. The restricted trade across the LoC needs to be expanded through a currency arrangement.
  • Both the governments should commence new road, rail, and air links to different towns on the two sides of the border.
  • Pandits who want to return should be enabled to do so, unconditionally. It is their legal right; Kashmiri Muslim clusters have come up in Jammu city without interference from its Hindus, the same principle applies to the Pandits.
  • Indian political leaders need to develop a political consensus to resolve the issue. Finding a solution to the Kashmir issue should become the aim of all parties.
  • A road map needs to be taken into account the dignity and legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Problems in adopting the solutions:
  • The idea of an independent Kashmir seems unpalatable and difficult to adopt as this would require both the parties-India and Pakistan to give up territory, which they would never want to do. A majority vote for independence would require a plebiscite or referendum and that would be opposed by both India and Pakistan.
  • Army stays as the most powerful force in Pakistan. This means that even after solving the Kashmir issue, they will raise another issue to fight over and stay powerful.
  • Either radicalization of Pakistani population or pushing for secular Pakistan can be the ideal solution for ending the game for Pakistan.
  • Since Jammu and Kashmir is a border state, it should be handled more delicately and New Delhi should have a consistent dialogue with all shades of opinion in the state.

Views on current crisis
  • Civilian casualties should be avoided at any cost, as they are critical in changing the mood of the people overnight.
  • Not all the issues can be resolved by working a package for the state as it may hold back other positive actions.
  • Some of the 'do-able' should be done right away and others can be negotiated at leisure.
  • Genuine dialogue between Delhi and J&K would surely be appreciated by the international community and would bring Pakistan to a silence state where they would be at radar of any further tricks which would rupture their future reputation.

 India's strategy in dealing with the crisis
  • A well deliberated retaliation both militarily and diplomatically should be followed.
  • Well documentation and publicizing of each action of Pakistan before any retaliatory counter action.
  • India should be firm about Pakistan having no say and role in Kashmir's affairs. It should also maintain that India would not negotiate with it on this issue.
  • A stick for the Pakistan and consistent policy of conversation with the Kashmiri people would prove effective and productive in the long run.
  • New Delhi should be ready for a quiet and effective counter-diplomacy.

We can be optimistic about the potential for peace between India and Pakistan. Both governments should display maturity in approaching the peace process. The Composite Dialogue seeks to resolve numerous bilateral issues between the countries including Kashmir. People to people ties have increased, which will surely undo years of hostility, although this will take time. Perhaps there is no other place in the world where people share common cultural bonds than between Pakistan and India. There should be an open border policy to reunite families and to increase trade in the region. Both New Delhi and Islamabad have to accept that there is no go from a wider people-to-people contact to remove the mistrust which has got ingrained because of acts of omission and commission of the two governments.



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