The Kashmir bus

The solution is bizarre

One of the things Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and General Musharraf agreed upon, at least in principle, was how to get the international bus service get off the ground in Kashmir.

The problem that has dogged the issue of bus and train links also seems to have been resolved. India insisted on passports for Pakistanis crossing the LoC. Pakistan retorted that to do so would be to treat the LoC as an international border, something it is committed to denying.

The agreement reached by National Security Adviser Mani Dixit and his Pakistani counterpart is that both sides will check the passports of its own citizens. That is to say, Pakistan will check Pakistani passports on its own side of the border and we will then allow its citizens in without stamping their passports. And India will check Indian passports on our border, before our citizens go to the Pakistani side.

Such a scheme can only work in an atmosphere of trust and Singh and Musharraf agreed to try and create that climate. They agreed also to go ahead with various nuclear confidence-building measures to ease tensions in South Asia. [HT]

Surely the trust required to allow such semi passport-free travel does not come from nuclear confidence-building measures! The reason why Pakistan’s intentions are distrusted in Kashmir is because of its dispensation to inject virulent jihadis into Indian Kashmir and its refusal to dismantle the terrorist training camps and infrastructure on its side.

Insisting that Pakistan dismantle ‘forward’ jihadi camps in the portion of Kashmir it controls would have inspired greater confidence for this specific move than linking it to nuclear confidence building. Concievably, this linkage allows Pakistan to hold the nuclear confidence-building measures hostage to the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus.

Building an expensive high-tech fence to keep out infiltrators while relying on Pakistani immigation officers ‘check’ the passports of the bus passengers crossing over to India does sound bizarre.

Tailpiece:

“I am much misunderstood in India,” the General told the Prime Minister, rather plaintively.

10 thoughts on “The Kashmir bus”

  1. The bus is actually a brilliant idea. Once Indian kashmiris see the plight of POK denizens, the condition of their infrastructure, education and employment opportunities, Islamabad’s blatant interference in POK affairs ( so much so that Delhi’s alleged rigging of the ’87 J&K elections will seem trivial in comparision) and quality of life in general is so pathetic and these stories filter back and forth across the border not thru any media lens but through trusted word-of-mouth of first-hand witnesses…. man-o-man Pak will ahve trouble on its hands, eh?

    After all Pak has as much to fear from the truth getting out as we do from jihadis getting in! 🙂

  2. Even if both sides have agreed ‘in principle’ to check the passports of their own citizens … there is no need for us to panic. The Indo-Pak relationship can only move forward if we are ready to trust the Pakis (even somewhat). Also .. what good would the checking of passports by us done? Those who do now wish to be identified, would have taken adequate care already.

  3. Hey, Nitin, I resent your continous censorship of my messages, why not try to adopt some democratic procedures on this blog.

  4. Shikhar,

    The intention of allowing comments on this blog is to enrich the discourse and discussion.

    You are free to express your opinions, whatever may be persuasions they belong to. As you may have noticed, instead of deleting them outright, I have only cleaned up the language.

    And by no means is this blog a democracy. I reserve the right to keep or delete comments, or to censor them.

    Note (18 April 2006): On 17 April 2006, Shikhar Chauhan requested that all his previous comments be deleted from this blog. I have acceded to his request and expunged all his comments.

  5. Nitin, I admire your commitment to your blog! Your selection of topics, the embedding of an impressive set of links, and now, the very fact that you “screen” the comments – that’s good man. Again I am not saying anything you have done with your blog is right or wrong – that remains out of the domain I would call my business! 🙂 But it shows that you maintain your blog very well in the manner you want it – and that is really appreciable.

  6. Look whos talking about democracy. Isnt this the guy who is holding out for a dictator in the mould of Hitler to rule India so our “Muslim problem” can be taken care of?
    Shikhar is this a change of heart?

  7. I wonder what the mechanics of this measure is going to be.
    Imagine, if I was a Paki militant, all I would need to wreak havoc in any part of India is to get my passport stamped at the immigration office at the LoC.
    This is a recipe for disaster. I can’t understand what the Home Ministry is thinking.
    While talking about the Home Ministry, I dont understand what there is to talk about with the Pakis. We can probably talk about holding the next set of talks etc. etc. but J&K, nothing to budge from our position that the entire J&K is an integral part of India. No amount of terrorism is going to change our resolve which was reiterated in the Parliamentary resolution in the late 90s.
    I dont understand why the peace-niks make such a big deal about how the Pakis are almost like us. Actually, pardon my French, I dont give a shit about “how they are like us, how they eat like us, defecate like us and how they like Bollywood”.
    I am willing to build my guns and butter at the same time and bide my time. If something hasn’t been resolved for 50 years, another 10 years will not make a big difference. We should be willing to
    a) Invest more in Counter Insurgency in J&K
    b) Invest more in funding RAW, IB etc to ensure terrorist attacks are detected and the perpetrators eliminated
    c) Invest more in giving moral, diplomatic support to the liberation struggles in Balochistan, Sindh and Baltistan etc.
    d) Invest in ensuring democracy takes root in our near-abroad
    My 2 cents

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