What is behind the Kashmir conflict?


During a joint news briefing with US President Donald Trump in France recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged that there were 'many bilateral issues between India and Pakistan'. Asked to comment on President Trump's offer to help resolve the Kashmir dispute, Modi said that 'we don't want to trouble any third country as we can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally'. Maryam's Uncle Modi was stretching the truth here, it was he who decided to solve the Kashmir problem unilaterally on 5th August this year. He conveniently forgot that it was India that had taken it to the UN in 1948 asking for help. Help came in the form of umpteen UN resolutions all advising different ways of plebiscites to solve the problem but none of them ever satisfied India.

What they were asking from the UNSC was not a resolution of the conflict but a rubber stamp from the UN of their annexation of the princely state. In 1972 Indira Gandhi made Bhutto sign the Simla agreement trying to get the UN out of the matter by declaring the conflict a bilateral matter. That didn't help much because apart from this legal nicety neither side changed its stand. Despite Pakistan's efforts Jammu and Kashmir's division between India and Pakistan had acquired a certain permanence. The recent step of the BJP government under PM Modi to scrap the autonomy articles of Kashmir in the Indian Constitution and bring it under direct rule of Delhi means rejecting UN resolutions and scrapping the Simla agreement by enforcing a single-handed solution for Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) without giving up the claim on all of Kashmir.

The question is why is there no solution possible to a seemingly territorial dispute? One could divide the territory or exchange it for another part or just recognize the outcome of a war? The Kashmir conflict has many a time been considered the main 'apple of discord' in the disturbed relationship between India and Pakistan. But this is only a very superficial view of the history of the subcontinent. The real bone of contention is the fact of partition itself and the very existence of Pakistan. The two leading forces, the India National Congress (INC) of India and the Muslim League (ML) of Pakistan, saw in partition and the creation of Pakistan much more than a territorial arrangement. It is an issue of highly ideological significance and regarded as existential for both countries. The Indian National Congress, despite its claims to be a secular...

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