‘Soft’ borders are absurd as long as terrorism continues
The talk in India now is of a ‘soft‘ line-of-control in Kashmir, allowing a greater interaction between the Kashmiri people on both sides of the border, of course with deathly silence on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits who were subjected to ethnic cleansing by Pakistan-supported jihadi outfits. Unfortunately, this idea is ahead of its time.
With minor changes to the jihadi formations on the ground (anti-Musharraf Jaish-e-Mohammed is out of favour), Pakistan’s terrorist campaign in back in full swing. Taking advantage of the military ceasefire, the Pakistani army has already set up a Lashkar-e-Taiba position north of the Pir Panjal range. This is very similar to the manner in which the Pakistani forces had seized the Hill Kaka post during their Kargil misadventure in 1999. Indian forces will have great difficulty in regaining this post without suffering severe casualties or provoking a wider confrontation.
Pakistan has been quick to seize the opportunity created by the schmooze fest of the peace process by getting its diplomats and officials to directly engage the Kashmiri separatists – hence the marginalisation of the moderate Hurriyat and the strengthening of the pro-Pakistani Geelani factions. The jihadi terrorists come in handly to ‘persuade’ the moderates to line up behind Geelani, or else…
The peace process is a means to an end. Pakistan has delivered nothing so far – India’s 72 proposals for confidence-building measures remain just that, mere proposals. Dawood Ibrahim and the other wanted terrorists remain very much in business in Pakistan. Musharraf has time and again said that terrorism will stop only after Pakistan gets a slice of Indian Kashmir, for status quo will never be acceptable.
So what’s left in the peace process for India, other than negotiating under Musharraf’s gun-point and a constant weathering of its negotiating position without anything at all in return?
Related Link: The jihadi gun remains pointed at India’s head.