Monday, September 19, 2005

Advantage India

Times of India Washington reporter, C. Rajghatta, reports how fiery the discussion had been between Dr. Sing and Musharaff during the last UN meeting period. It is sad that leaders of these two nations cannot have any fruitful discussion.

The plausible theory seems to be that Mushraff cannot make his mind whether to insist ‘border adjustments’ from India or to keep that issue in future. He keeps on vacillating between these so called hawkish or pragmatic positions and that makes life difficult for these talks to go any ahead. As the report in TOI says, if indeed Pakistan is thinking that India is on any soft path; that is surprising. Usual American pressure regarding India’s ties with Iran cannot be interpreted as India in box.

It is probably high time that India makes certain things clear to Pakistan. First and far most is that there is no possibility of India reneging control of any part of Kashmir to Pakistan. Kashmir, whatever area India has control, will always remain part of Indian Union. There is no point playing any ‘game of negotiation tactics’ with this position. What does India get by doing that?

Some would say the price of such manifest position will be increased terrorism in Kashmir. Well, does anyone remember Punjab during the period of 1982 to 1988? At no time Indian Union had suffered so much pressure in maintaining the territorial integrity as was during that period. It is a different matter whether Indira Gandhi created that problem for the purposes of politics or not. That is beside the point. The point is any political union which could withstand that enormous pressure on it’s integrity can surely withstand any increased terrorists threats from Pakistan. Overall we need to appreciate the strength of Indian Union as well as it’s potential to provide legitimacy to larger population of the sub continent. All said and done, it is a historical fact that at the end of the day Indian Union is the best bet to offer peace, freedom and prosperity to such a large portion of humanity. It is not off the mark for Indian State to be totally sure of her moral vigor when it comes to political organization to fulfill aspirations of large sections of population.

Starting from NDA government, India has been showing lot of willingness to sort issues with Pakistan. But if that is interpreted as readiness of India to make concession in terms of border; that is a mistaken reading of the position. In that case India needs to take extra care of clarifying this position and mark that as the complete non-negotiable principle from Indian side. This has the advantage that any subsequent discussion on this background will be with full realization that both parties are talking about rapprochement which does not involve redrawing of borders.

As India prospers and shows that it can compete globally, as well as provides hopes to her subjects that Indian society indeed can have a meaningful place in tomorrow’s world; India’s moral standing gets strengthened too. After all it is important what do you do with what History have bequeathed you. As India’s democracy gets entrenched and it’s economy improves; more and more Kashimiri’s are likely to be inclined to stay with India.

Umesh Patil
San Jose, CA
September 17, 2005.

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