Is it Washington’s nudge?

February 8, 2010

In the course of his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama had remarked that “working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve the Kashmir crisis in a serious way” would be among the critical tasks of his administration if he was elected. Talking to Joe Klein of Time magazine, Obama elaborated :

“Kashmir in particular is an interesting situation (that) is obviously a potential tar pit diplomatically. But for us to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this? To make the argument to the Pakistanis, look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep on being bogged down with this particular (issue) at a time when the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan border? I think there is moment when potentially we could get their attention. It won’t be easy, but it’s important.”

New Delhi’s sudden announcement last week that India was willing to hold foreign Secretary level parleys with Pakistan has naturally made many political analysts in the country ask : is this the consequence of Obama’s above assertion being put into action?

The question people have been asking in a more straight forward manner is : After the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, India had been steadfastly refusing to resume talks with Pakistan until Islamabad brings those behind the Mumbai attacks to justice and cracks down on terrorist groups operating on its soil; is its latest U-turn on dialogue the upshot of a powerful nudge from Washington?

Little wonder, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, speaking in Pak-occupied Kashmir last Friday boasted gleefully that it was international pressure that had forced India to return to the negotiating table!

No Government in New Delhi can disregard the unanimous resolution adopted by the Lok Sabha in respect of the state of Jammu and Kashmir on February 22, 1994.

At a point of time when Pakistan seems to be gloating over the UPA Government’s volte face on the issue of Indo-Pak Dialogue, it would be pertinent to recall how categoric and unambiguous this parliamentary resolution has been. The text of this resolution (declared adopted unanimously by the Speaker) reads as follows:

“This House notes with deep concern Pakistan’s role in imparting training to the terrorists in camps located in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the supply of weapons and funds, assistance in infiltration of trained militants, including foreign mercenaries into Jammu and Kashmir with the avowed purpose of creating disorder, disharmony and subversion;

Reiterates that the militants trained in Pakistan are indulging in murder, loot and other heinous crimes against the people, taking them hostage and creating an atmosphere of terror;
Condemns strongly the continued support and encouragement Pakistan is extending to subversive and terrorist activities in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir;

Calls upon Pakistan to stop forthwith its support to terrorism, which is in violation of the Shimla Agreement and the internationally accepted norms of inter-State conduct and is the root cause of tension between the two countries;

Reiterates that the Indian political and democratic structures and the Constitution provide for firm guarantees for the promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens;

Regards Pakistan’s anti-India campaign of calumny and falsehood as unacceptable and deplorable;

Notes with deep concern the highly provocative statements emanating from Pakistan urges Pakistan to refrain from making statements which vitiate the atmosphere and incite public opinion;

Expresses regret and concern at the pitiable conditions and violations of human rights and denial of democratic freedoms of the people in those areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan;

On behalf of the People of India, Firmly declares that-

“The state of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means;

India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity; and demands that –

Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression; and resolves that –

all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely.”

The country, the Government as well as the world would do well to keep the above resolution in mind.

L.K. Advani
New Delhi

February 08, 2010

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