Unaffordable flights of fancy
And now, the Moderate Mirwaiz calls upon NATO to deploy its forces in Kashmir, a process he calls demilitarisation. NATO, he contends, ‘definitely has a role’ for having ‘successfully contributed in Bosnia and Kosovo and is effectively dealing with the situations in Afghanistan and now in one part of Kashmir’. He calls this his ‘new thinking’.
Replacing Indian troops with Western ones cannot be termed demilitarisation. While his thinking on how to ask India to cease counter-terrorism operations is certainly new, he has nothing new to offer in terms of getting the jihadis to renounce violence. It is only after the region is ‘demilitarised’ that his All Party Hurriyat Conference ‘would make the armed fighters hold their actions and get them along to strengthen the peace process’. As usual, the Hurriyat is holding up the end of its real backers.
This apart, the Mirwaiz has not familiarised himself with the conditions that led to NATO deployments in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. NATO forces were deployed in Bosnia to halt a bloody ethnic conflict where Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks were killing each other on a massive scale. After Yugoslavia collapsed, there was a power vacuum that resulted in local militias having a free rein to conduct ethnic cleansing and worse. NATO was deployed to fill this vacuum and arrest the region’s slide into a much bigger bloodbath. The situation in Kashmir is fundamentally different in all these respects: ethnic communities never did fight another, jihadis who continue the violence completed their ethnic cleansing more than a decade ago, and despite the challenge by terrorists and their apologists, Indian authority has not given way to a vacuum. The Mirwaiz’s call for foreign military involvement is nothing but attempt to project a moral equivalence between terrorists and those who are legitimately fighting them.
And why are NATO forces in Afghanistan? Again, because of a collapse of state authority. Why are they in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir? To deliver humanitarian relief that Pakistani authorities are incapable of providing on their own. On these counts too there are no grounds for inviting the NATO to come in to India.
The charitable interpretation of the Mirwaiz’s latest kite-flying routine is that he is naive. A more likely interpretation is that he is throwing about frivolous ideas to provide new cover for terrorists to continue their violent campaign. He is well aware that this new proposal has little chance of being taken seriously by India. That suggests that the main motivation for trying to pass off idle fantasies as ‘new thinking’ is to play to the international media. But the Mirwaiz’s post earthquake performance should effectively rule him out as a bona fide partner in any peace process.
Related Link: There’s more from where that came from. How about the United States of Kashmir?