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Inescapable Consequences

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It is about time the people of J&K think seriously about correcting the mistakes made over the past thirty years. There is clearly no real leadership in the UT, with political parties having lost their understanding of grassroots development, and unable to present alternatives to the jihadi pie-in-the-sky on offer. There is no realistic scenario in which the supposed objectives of the insurrection can be achieved. Everybody knows that Pakistan’s use of terrorism is just part of its proxy war against India, designed to keep the Army in its present prominent position, using up the precious resources of a bankrupt nation. The day the people of that country understand there is no threat from India, the Armed Forces would be reduced to one-third of their present size, and their control over many lucrative operations ended – so the ‘Islamic concern’ for Kashmiris continues to be promoted. This is done by keeping the fundamentalist clerics well-funded and allowing them space to spread their venom. Traditionally, the supply of petro-dollars has also played a big role in keeping this balloon inflated.

It also suits China to keep India off-balance, so it provides Pakistan cover on international forums like the UN. In all of this, the Kashmiri Muslims, in particular, have become the most expendable pawns. The social and psychological impact of this has been colossal and has taken a once healthy and vibrant culture into the pits. It may never recover.

Those who look at the Kashmir issue as a scorecard on which count is kept of how many Indian security personnel are killed in comparison to terrorists are missing the point. If that contest had any meaning, it was entirely transcended by the abrogation of Article 370. All the thirty plus years of terrorism succeeded only in creating circumstances that allowed this initiative on the part of the Union Government. Any further pursuit of the separatist agenda will only compel India to go after the main instigator in multiple ways that would be beyond anything the Pakistanis have imagined. It is not that they are unaware of this danger – sections of the media and intelligentsia across the border have a sense of this, but their warnings remain unheard. The force required to stay outside of India’s gravitational pull is now almost unsustainable to maintain. Robust democracy and politics in Pakistan could have shaped the inevitable into a healthy relationship, glimpses of which have been witnessed in the past, but the surrender to fundamentalism has set in motion processes that will have unintended and most unpleasant consequences. If the people of J&K could somehow get their act together, they would even indirectly benefit Pakistan, their supposed well-wisher.