Kashmir on edge

Shafqat Bukhari

Shafqat Bukhari

Though the offer of US President Donal Trump for mediation over Kashmir is a big opportunity for both the Imran Khan Government in Islamabad and Narendra Modi led BJP Government in Delhi to enforce restraint on borders and push for the resumption of bilateral talks but unfortunately the Modi government in Delhi instead of signaling a shift in its position over dialogue with Pakistan tends to pursue the policy of diplomatic hostility with Pakistan and excessive militarization in Kashmir. The fresh deployments triggering a row over the renewing speculations about the Modi government’s plans to scrap article 370 and article 35-A shows that talks with either Pakistan or the separatist leadership in Kashmir is neither a priority nor an option with the Modi government at the beginning of its second term in office with a brute majority in parliament. While the fact remains that restoring peace on borders through bilateral dialogue with Pakistan and furthering the process of conflict resolution through a process of political engagement in Jammu & Kashmir with focus on security situation in the state are the only two viable routes to restoration of peace in Kashmir, the diplomatic war mongering and the military confrontation on borders with Pakistan does not seem to be heading for any dead end in the coming months. Experiences of last three years of continuing hostility narrate the tale of unending troubles of the people living in border areas on both sides of the divide in Jammu & Kashmir.
Neither the drum beating on cordon & search operations (CASO) in Kashmir plains nor the central government’s tall claims on the LoC cross over operations against Pakistan have changed the ground reality in Jammu & Kashmir. Even now the people recall and recount the good days the erstwhile Vajpayee led NDA government had brought with the inking of historical ceasefire agreement in the year 2003. Though the incumbent BJP government controlled and commanded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invoking Vajpayee doctrine both for the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan and as well as restoration of peace in Kashmir, but the tough posturing of the incumbent central government shows it’s deviation from the Vajpayee doctrine both on India-Pakistan relations and as well as restoration of peace in Kashmir . Bigger issue of concern is the Modi government’s dilly delaying policy on the restoration of popular rule in the state and intensification of a vicious campaign against article 35 A and Article 370 already challenged by several individuals and groups in the supreme court of the country. Unless and until the Modi government by virtue of its actions does not shun the policy of military confrontation on borders and diplomatic stand off in the bilateral relations with Pakistan, the people in Jammu & Kashmir both on the borders and plains won’t get respite from the military chaos and the diplomatic war mongering between New Delhi and Islambad.

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