It is obvious that India-Pakistan relations are going from bad to worse by the day. The terrorist attack of November 29 at Nagrota army camp in Jammu is the latest in the series of such attacks from Pathankot to Uri from Uri to Nagrota and one does know what is in store in the coming days. Noamount of hard talk, diplomatic maneuvers, and surgical strike across the LOC has worked to stop and deter Pakistan from its nefarious designs to bleed India. What should we do? The question is engaging the government and the opposition, the intelligentsia and the public at large and rightly so. The loss of life and property, both military and private, is resulting in undue and inflicted trauma on the families of the shaheeds and also common people. No easy and early solution is in sight. But the situation has to be tackled and met with determined and dispassionate response.
Pakistan, from day one, is hell bent to create problems for India. It is all well documented in history. There is no need to repeat it. Now the situation is such that Pakistan is virtually on an undeclared war with India by other means i.e. proxy war. Their main weapon in this war is terrorism through human exploitation i.e. Fidayeen mode. Nobody has any effective shield to counter such ways. But it is for certain that the terror outfits operating in and from Pakistan cannot survive without support and involvement of Pakistan’s armed forces, intelligence agencies and the government. We need to deal with a cunning enemy. The idea is not to provide detailed facts and figures but come straight to the question. How should we deal with Pakistan from a lay man’s – Aam Aadmi’s perspective?
There is no easy solution, given the ground realities and international situation. It is also getting increasingly clear that nobody else can help in solving the problems between the two counties. India and Pakistan themselves ought to do it, the sooner the better. An out-right war is a dreadful option and both sides will think a hundred times to consider that to settle the matter, given the nuclear power status of both India and Pakistan. Let the war be a last resort, if we both want to finish ourselves.
There can be a two pronged approach to address the security situation and overall settlement with Pakistan:
Immediate and short term option –
· Increase the border security and the cost to Pakistan for their mischief either by their armed forces or state sponsored terrorists.
· Adopt “Tit for Tat” policy not in equal measure but with strong and loaded response both at the international border and the line of control (LOC) with the intention to inflict heavy and visible losses to the enemy.
· Conduct surgical strikes on the training camps, launch pads and support mechanism within Pakistan territory to hit the terrorists and their masters. There is no point in giving any proofs, justifications to Pakistan or any other country. The only explanation is to ‘teach them a lesson’.
· Covert and Overt operations to neutralize terrorist outfits, their assets and their leadership in Pakistan. The fear of such an action should always linger in the minds of the Aaqas of terrorists.
· Exploit, support and encourage, without inhibition, Baloch and Sindh separatist movements in Pakistan by all means.
· Exploit and support the up-risings in POK against the Pakistan government and people.
· Unleash the propaganda war in the media – print and electronic and also the social media to educate and convince the people – Awaam of Pakistan of the wrong policies of Pakistan army and the terror outfits and also of the government.
Long term options –
· Intensify diplomatic offensive against Pakistan in international and regional fora both bilaterally and multi-laterally to isolate Pakistan on the issue of cross border terrorism and nuclear blackmail and clandestine commerce.
· Put in place ‘Track Two Diplomacy’ with Pakistan by identifying suitable and potent interlocutors within or outside Pakistan.
· Engage diplomatically with the Pakistan government, army brass and intelligence agencies and also the intelligentsia in whatever way or means possible and feasible. Diplomacy has to remain on track as ultimately there is no option but to sit and talk. There is no other way.
The Final option “Out of the Box” settlement –
· What is the solution? It seems both the sides are feeling fatigue. Something drastic has to be done with a dispassionate approach as an “Out of the Box” solution on the principles of give and take. It would amount to put in considerable efforts to create conducive atmosphere and public opinion on both the sides in favour of status quo. It is a huge task but there is no other option. I wrote about this about a year ago on December 31, 2015 in this blog of mine under the caption “Out of the Box Diplomacy” – India-Pakistan relations. It is a difficult decision and many people may not like to voice it. But somebody has to do it. As I said in the preceding paras, this write up is in no way a detailed analysis of the issue but a humble and feeble attempt to generate a debate in approaching the solution through ‘Out of the Box Diplomacy’.
· The Give and Take approach was suggested by a visionary leader, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in 1949 itself. He said and I quote from an article written by Dr. K. Jamnadas ‘Kashmir Problem from Ambedkarite Perspective’, “Even about Kashmir, the issue on which we are fighting, who is in the right and who is in the wrong. The real issue to my mind, he said, is not who is in the right but what is right and he observed: "... my view has always been that the right solution is to partition Kashmir. Give the Hindu and Buddhist part to India and the Muslim part to Pakistan as we did in the case of India. We are really not concerned with the Muslim part of Kashmir. It is a matter between the Muslims of Kashmir and Pakistan. They may decide the issue, as they like or if you like, divide it into three parts; the Cease-fire zone, the Valley and the Jammu-Ladakh Region and have a plebiscite only in the Valley. What I am afraid of is that in the proposed plebiscite, which is to be an overall plebiscite, the Hindus and Buddhists of Kashmir are likely to be dragged into Pakistan against their wishes and we may have to face the same problems as we are facing today in East Bengal."
· Dr. Ambedkar was a genius. The solution given by him was pragmatic and was not based on misplaced emotions. Had PM Jawaharlal Nehru listened to him, both the newly independent countries would not have suffered the economic burden of defense of the long border and also the subsequent full blown wars and often repeated border skirmishes resulting in constant hostility between the two neighbors. Even after 68 long years, the solution still lies somewhere close to Dr. Ambedkar’s thinking. PM Indira Gandhi and PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, it is said, agreed in 1972 at the time of Simla Agreement to convert the Line of Control (LOC) into international border and settle the core issue of Kashmir. It could not happen. The Nobel Peace Prize eluded them. PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was interested in making history and he tried with PM Nawaz Sharif and President Pervez Musharraf but failed. PM Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf picked up the threads and thought of making the LOC and International border between India and Pakistan “irrelevant” and become the contenders for the coveted peace prize. But again it was not to be. Somebody else is destined to make history. Will they be PM Narendra Modi and PM Nawaz Sharif? Only time will tell.
· We all know that the Kashmir issue cannot be solved by either side by force. Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. The stakes are too high. Nobody will be interested in making it a flash point for the unimaginable holocaust. The leaderships of both India and Pakistan and the people on both the sides and also the international community are not oblivious of these ground realities. The international scenario is changing fast in view of cross border terrorism and regional conflicts. The challenges of development and environment are needed to be addressed to save humanity. The “Out of the Box” solutions and approaches are needed. The festering problem of Kashmir and the emerging situation in Afghanistan needs immediate attention. Both India and Pakistan are required to rise to the occasion to ward of the imminent dangers of allowing the situation to worsen. Given the background of PM Narendra Modi, he has an image of a hawk in Pakistan. It becomes all the more difficult for him to do business with Pakistani leadership particularly that of the Pak army and Islamic fundamentalists. On the other hand, it appears that PM Narendra Modi intends to steal the show and make history by adopting an “Out of the Box” approach. He invited PM Nawaz Sharif to his swearing in ceremony in May, 2014 along with his other SAARC counterparts, registering diplomatic deftness on his part. In spite of usual ups and downs in relations with Pakistan, PM Narendra Modi kept the diplomatic routes open. From Ufa to Paris, he did not leave any opportunity to engage Pakistan in constructive dialogue. Addressing the army commanders recently, PM Modi said, setting the agenda, “We are engaging Pakistan to try and turn the corners of history, bringing an end to terrorism, build peaceful relations, advance cooperation and promote stability and prosperity in the region.” The NSAs of India and Pakistan, Ajit Doval and Nasser Janjua respectively met in Bangkok followed by the visit of EAM Sushma Swaraj to Islamabad in December itself to pave the way for “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue” which was stalled due to the vicious bitterness and mistrust existing in the relationship with Pakistan. PM Narendra Modi’s unscheduled visit to Lahore on December 25 on the birthday of PM Nawaz Sharif, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a diplomatic masterstroke to engage Pakistan in the process of creating history. Let us hope, the process continues and the desired results obtained.
· It is not an easy task. Pakistan has to tone-down the rhetoric of “Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan” and shed and shun the policy of exporting terrorism. India being a big country in the region should be more accommodative and magnanimous in dealing with its estranged brother. The government of PM Narendra Modi, with a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, should create political and diplomatic consensus on the issues of conflict and contention within the country. The civil society should be prepared to engage with Pakistan by encouraging people to people contacts. Cultural bonds should be nurtured. The opportunities for the two way trade between the two countries should be explored, identified and exploited. The likes of Ram Madhav, the votary of ‘Akhand Bharat’, should be asked to shut up. The forces of understanding and friendship should be unleashed to create a conducive atmosphere for meaningful dialogue to solve the vexed problems to mutual benefit and advantage.
· It is easier said than done. But there is, it seems, a growing feeling of tiredness on both sides. There is a growing realization that force andundiplomatic methods cannot solve the problems and challenges generated by history. Let us consider and opt for the policy of ‘give and take’ as advised by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, of course, with necessary adjustments which may be required to address the current situation. Let us wish the leaderships
The Final Solution –“Out of the Box” Settlement as stated above is a repeat of what I said a year before in December, 2015. I may be excused, if there are some repetitions. Subsequent to that Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Uri and now Nagrota attacks and loss of unprecedented life and property have provoked me to write this again. Kashmiri leader Farooq Abdullah has also expressed his opinion recently when he said that in 70 years Pakistan could not get Kashmir from us and similarly we could not take back POK from Pakistan and it will be difficult to do that by either side. Let us understand this and engage ourselves to settle all outstanding issues peacefully.
शक्ति भी शांति भी भक्तों के गीत में है;
दुनिया के बासियों की मुक्ति प्रीत में है !