New Delhi: The urge for peace is built into India's psyche and its civilization. An Indian can be heard at any time to be reciting Om Shanti Shanti, as though peace would descend on this troubled planet by the recitation of shlokas. Nevertheless this is what every Indian desires.
It is this Indian urge for peace that is the core problem in the relations that India has with Pakistan. That country is convinced that sooner or later it will be able to get the better of India because of its weakness for peace? There is no scope for peace in Pakistan's ideology of "jihad".
India has fought three wars with its neighbour (1947, 1965 and 1971) all because Pakistan is led to believe that India is a soft state. Even in its defeats the army of Pakistan invariably claims that it can beat India! Thus, it continues to wage a proxy war via terrorism against this country despite having been mauled more than once.
Yes, India wants peace and would like to live in peace with its neighbour, but not at the cost of its territorial integrity. Having made it clear more than once that Kashmir is an integral part of India, what is there to discuss with Pakistan except that the areas of the state still occupied by it - the POK be returned to India. Does India stick to this position firmly?
Where was the need to reopen talks with Pakistan in the wake of its 26/11 commando attacks on Mumbai? That was again a clear sign of weakness by a soft state. It is good gestures like this that make Pakistan more belligerent.
When the Indian leadership keeps harping about its readiness to talk with the separatists or with the stone pelters of Srinagar, what kind of message is it sending to them? India's leadership knows well that it cannot under any circumstances discuss cessation of any Indian territory. Or, are there leaders who think they can do so and be able to face Parliament?
The all-party delegation that is to visit Kashmir gives the stone pelters and seperatists yet another occasion to insult India. You can be sure that none of them are going to take notice of the visit by this delegation to Srinagar. If anything, they will feel encouraged to carry on with their policy of challenging the might of the Indian state.
Yet another issue that messes around Kashmir is the desire of India to seek friendship with the United States. It would be nice to strengthen that, but the US wants to build a strange strategic relationship with India. No one has till today explained to the nation as to what that strategic relationship is supposed to mean.
India's leadership fought hard to protect its independent foreign policy during the era of Cold War. Is India's leadership preparing to compromise that policy while developing 'strategic relations' with the United States? It is time that the people of India are told in clear terms as to what it means.
The mess in Kashmir is partly the result of the pressure that the United States and its allies have been putting on India to get the cooperation of Pakistan in their Afghanistan operations. It is this confusion that encourages the stone throwing mobs and the Hurriyat to defy the authority of the Government. The people who seek independence or separation from India need to be tried for treason and sent to prison for their crimes against the state. In the midst of all this din and stone throwing, it is forgotten that a minority of "Sunni" Muslims in the valley leads the protestors. They do NOT represent the vast majority of the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir who are peace loving and want to carry on with their lives.
The stone throwing mobsters and the Hurriyat leaders observe a stony silence about the plight of the people of Pakistan occupied territories of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There have been massive human rights violations in Gilgit, yet the ongoing agitation there hardly gets a mention in the media. It is because, unlike in Srinagar, the media is not allowed into Gilgit or other parts of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir to report on the unrest there. And now, there are reports of the Chinese Army being present in Gilgit.
The nuclear deal with the United States is very important for India, but we need not get involved with the AfPak policy of the United States. It is time that India's leadership, as it did in the past, tells the United States that it cannot allow Pakistan to meddle in Kashmir.
All this having been said, it is time to restore peace and development in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The current turmoil there has been created by a confused Indian policy, which mixes up Indo-Pak and Indo-US relations with Kashmir. The people of the state must know and be convinced that they are and will continue to be an integral part of India. It is important that this is reiterated to the stone throwing mobsters and the Hurriyat.
It is necessary that the central government begin to correct whatever wrongs have been done in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the past. The state must enjoy every democratic right as enshrined in the Constitution of India. If the people want the restoration of special position that was given to the state, so be it. But protect the rights of other ethnic and religious groups in the state.
The only thing that is negotiable with Pakistan on Kashmir is the return of the territories of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir still occupied by it. Involve the people of the state in getting its integrity restored. They should be as much involved as the rest of India is seeking justice for the suffering people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The Government in New Delhi has many battles to fight elsewhere in the country. Maoists have been allowed to become a big threat to the country only because of a similar confused policy. Yet another disease that continues to plague India is the hydra-headed monster of corruption.
Once the leadership in New Delhi clears up the muddled thinking it has on so many issues, including on the agitation in Srinagar by stone throwers, then we can be sure of peace emerging in the country.
The Government needs to stop being a mute spectator in Srinagar. It is not fair on the security forces to be exposed to the attacks of the stone throwers at will. The policy of pampering or molly coddling the stone throwers and separatists must end now.