The General’s “simple” solution

Just hand Kashmir over to Pakistan, it’s really that simple

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf sees a “simple” solution to his country’s long dispute with India over Kashmir: New Delhi should pull troops out of the Himalayan territory and agree to a compromise over its status.[Reuters]

Is that because Pakistan beat India in a cricket match?

He also calls for India and Pakistan to now climb down from maximalist positions, but what exactly does he mean by the ‘maximalist’ position? India abandoned its maximalist position of seeking the return the portion of the erswhile Jammu & Kashmir state illegally occupied by Pakistan a long time ago. Most recently Dr Manmohan Singh abandoned the maximalist position of seeking an end of Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism at the ‘historic‘ meeting in New York. In contrast, all Pakistan has abandoned nothing, not least its brazenness.

Dialogue with Gen Musharraf — beginning with Vajpayee’s trip down to Islamabad — has achieved nothing but a gradual whittling down of India’s position on the Kashmir. Thanks to this process of dialogue, Musharraf can claim that India’s maximalist position is indeed converting the Line of Control into an international border. Creative alternatives abound, almost all requiring giant leaps of faith in Pakistan and its dictators. But getting caught up with creative solutioning misses one important point — is giving special rights for people of Kashmir in tune with the principle of equality of all citizens? The current constitutional arragement according a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir is already abominable, if expedient. Any further expediency is indefensible.

Indeed, it appears that Pakistan may win by sweet-talking lofty-softy Indian leaders what it could not win by overt wars or proxy war. Indeed, peace on the subcontinent will never be possible until Pakistan and its ambitious generals realise that they will never, in any circumstances, be able to achieve their territorial ambitions. The solution, in the end, is really quite simple.

13 thoughts on “The General’s “simple” solution”

  1. In your simple solution, you are making two fundametally shaky assumptions: comparing India to the US, and comparing Pak to the Soviet Union. India could match the US for being responsible, and in this context powerful, but we do NOT have a history for being assertive. The NDA set our foreign affairs on a dream path and took a hard line with terrorists, but they too had their Kandahar. Second, Pak is nowhere near to being as responsible a nation as the Soviet Union. That being the case MAD does not apply as a deterrent in this case (as you have often reiterated yourself). But that is not my point. The bogey that Pak presents is that in the event of a Paki implosion, someone could just press the nuclear button, or smuggle out some nukes, with a “Well what the heck!”. Maybe we are giving too much importance to these “possible” scenarios, but that is what drives India and the US into treating the Pakis with kid’s gloves to a certain extent.

  2. Kiran,

    I’m not sure how the US and USSR could be described as responsible after having invented a structure called mutually assured destruction. Describing the US as responsible and India as somehow irresponsible is a mythical construct of the American non-proliferation ayatollahs.

    But I agree that India is less resolute than the United States in the handling of its external relations and adversaries. Though Carter’s handling of the Iran crisis finds a mirror in Jaswant Singh’s trip to Kandahar, overall, the United States was more resolute, especially in the endgame (thanks to Reagan).

    Why I say the situation is similar is because India, like the United States, is a fundamentally good idea. And because it is a fundamentally good idea, it can stand down threats coming from a country like Pakistan. It is for India’s leaders to recognise this (as Reagan did) and act accordingly. That’s why succumbing to Musharraf’s nuclear blackmail is both unnecessary and counterproductive.

  3. Could not agree with you more on India and the US with the caveat that Reagan’s record on standing up to threats is more chequered than is often presented – his caving to the terrorists bombings in Lebanon in ’83 being the low point. he had others such as doing nothing for Leon Klinghoffer of Achille Lauro fame. But at any rate, his ability to define terrorism and evil on his terms was largely responsible for the defeat of the USSR. India is unfortunately losing that in assuming that it can negotiate with the murderous thugs in the Pakistani army – Musharraf being just the proxy-du-jour. The truth is there can never be peace with Pakistan for two fundamental reasons – the army and more importantly the idea of Pakistan – an unsustainable proposition.

  4. We should let the War on Terror continue to its end while continuing to support the humanitarian gestures such as free treatment to Pakistani kids and old folks.
    On Kashmir, there is absolutely nothing to talk about to Musharraf. If there is something to talk about, its got to be about the rights of the repressed folks of Gilgit, Baltistan.
    Pakistan is in a state of major flux and there is no guarantee that whatever the current dictator will agree to would be implemented when he is dethroned or assasinated.

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  6. Nitin:

    Mush may talk of a “…ray of light…” and the PM’s “…body language…”, but he’s revealing only his fondest hopes for the present GOI. After all, he prefaces his remarks by noting that the current GOI is on a “…maximalist…” path.

    If Salman Khurshid’s remarks on the Irish model are anything to go by, the PM isn’t likely to satisfy the General. The Irish model amounts to autonomy-plus, I think. And since that autonomy will be w/i the Indian constitution, the General will be a very unhappy man.

    The Hurriyat stance on the Irish model–which isn’t likely to have any takers in India–will infuriate the General even more. They want to include POK in any such agreement. It’ll be interesting to see what Mush will do afterwards, especially after his armory fortified by American F-16’s.

    Kumar

  7. “I see Mani Shankar Aiyar’s face on the news talking about peace and brotherhood with Pakistan. I hope he and people who think like him die a slow,cancerous death.”

    LOL…u will then have to see his face daily in the news as his slow death will become news for our stupid news channels. u will have to bear their daily updations.

  8. seems you people have got too emotional and loosing track.its a game play it with whatever we have including medical treatment.detoxification takes a long time.be patient.

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