Kashmir: Cutting the Gordian Knot?


The simmering resentment of the Kashmiri locals, the incompetence of the state politicians, the disinterest of national politicians and the bone-headed blindness of the separatists will ensure the cauldron of hatred keeps boiling and scalding the citizens of J&K and the rest of the nation. The Kashmir problem has increasing become a vexing problem – an open sore festering on the nation’s body (prominently on its forehead).

Will this radical 3-point proposal be the way out:

1) Create a new secular independent nation – comprising India’s Kashmir, Azad Kashmir (or Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) and China’s occupied Aksai Chin & Trans-Karakoram Tract [Area 1, 2 & 3 in map]. Jammu & Ladakh to remain as a state within India and repeal Article 370.

2) Sign a 50 year non-aggression non-occupation treaty between India, Pakistan, China and the new country: None of the neighbouring country can occupy the new country (even by a police action), nor can the new country act in aggression against their neighbours (directly or as a conduit).

3) Since India is giving up an important land mass in the name of world peace, the world community (and the United Nations) should create a Development Fund for the rehabilitation of migrants from Kashmir into India (especially Kashmiri Pandits).

This proposal hits hard at the guts of Pakistan’s foreign policy:

  • If Pakistan objects to the above proposal (and doesn’t let go of POK), it exposes its hypocrisy and two-facedness to the Kashmiris, their “freedom fighters” and the world. It will show Pakistan’s support for the Kashmiri cause is nothing but a way to score against India – that they never truly backed the notion of an Azad Kashmir. [India would get to score a winning goal without even playing the match, by just suggesting the proposal]
  • If Pakistan agrees to the proposal, it loses its main point of negotiation and argument against India on the world stage and most importantly the rallying point for fomenting jihad.

Now, the suggestion to break away from India is a drastic move (even considered seditious). But desperate times calls for desperate measures. Kashmir is burning and is bleeding India at the same time. By letting go of Kashmir*, we get to cut off the gangrene to ensure the rest of the body remains healthy.

1) Kashmir was never realistically a part of Independent India. It had been cajoled to join the Union under duress of Pakistan’s aggressive stance. Soon after the accession, Pandit Nehru had committed to a plebiscite to the United Nations, which never happened (Hyderabad, with a similar demographics in ’47, has not displayed such separatist tendencies)

2) It enjoys a special status in the Constitution (Article 370) – guaranteeing it be treated as different from the other states.

3) Financially it’s the right call in these times of austerity. Jammu & Kashmir as a state receives inordinately more funds from the Center than it contributes to the federal coffers. It’s been independently estimated that the Gross Terror-economy Product (the total expenditure, economic loss & opportunity cost) of Kashmir is about Rs3.5 billion. How long can we keep putting funds into a sinking cause, for which its people remain vehemently ungrateful?

4) India spends a high proportion of its annual $32billion military budget on the security forces in Kashmir (and Siachen). Ideally, with Kashmir resolved, we can also dream of reducing our forces on the Pakistan border and the enormous defence budget (but then, that’s being naïve); and it also creates a land buffer against aggressive entry through difficult-to-defend terrain

5) As part of point (1) of the proposal, the international border between India, Pakistan and China will be formally recognized  – hopefully ending years of uncertainty and boosting cross-border trade;

6) By pulling this rabbit out of its hat, India gains the moral high ground – and can demand its pound of flesh in exchange of the brownie points [including final resolution of Arunachal in (5)]

7) India as a developing country has always supported the justified demands of people’s movements as in Bangladesh, East Timor and Southern Sudan. It’s time to practice what we preach

8) This, however, doesn’t create a precedent for secessionist movements within India. No other region (not even in the North East) has such a historic reason to justify a separate nation. All other movements are fuelled primarily by economic reasons and/or the need for empowerment, which can be resolved by providing greater autonomy and equitable economic development (Sadly not the panacea for Kashmir).

Naysayers and jingoists will shout “How can we?” My response is ‘Why can’t we? Why shouldn’t we?” Our country has spent its first 50 years in a hyphenated existence with its neighbour. Now, due to our tremendous economic growth and democratic stability, we have been able to seek an independent destiny. Why not jettison the problems of the past and this great Albatross on our shoulders?

Paradise it was, not any more. It might have started as a beautiful rose in Nehru’s coat, but the thorns are now digging into the flesh and twisting at the heart of the nation. Is the way forward to find the will in our hearts to wrench it out and caste it away?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*”If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be”.

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About rp71

A Cynic's Eye View: This is my tongue-in-cheek, one-eyebrow-raised, cynical view of the world of politics & the world of sports (and intriguing intersection of the two) by way of written posts and cartoons. All views expressed are my own (nobody else wants them). Follow me by subscribing here or on twitter @rp_71 Looking forward to the bouquets and brickbats in the comments section Cynics of the world, unite. We have nothing to lose, but our disdains…
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7 Responses to Kashmir: Cutting the Gordian Knot?

  1. The most pathetic view I ever heard of on Kashmir. I was wondering what sort of a person this author might be? Let alone Indian I don’t think he is a man enough who could stand up to any situation. I thought his cartoons were absurd, but this article is ridiculous beyond imagination. He not only has bad sketching but also his knowledge on geography, international politics, history, bravery and self-respect seems to be very limited.
    The author clearly fails to see the core of the problem in Kashmir. That Its not a struggle for a barren piece of land, but it is a struggle for power, a rivalry for supremacy in Indian peninsula. The Pakistan has this complex since its birth, which has led both the countries to fight four wars and its wounds only deepened when each time he got severely beaten and finally Bangladesh was liberated. Pakistan wants to get even by severing India’s head from it. And it knows it can’t do so by fighting a direct war. The Kashmir is just a part of its agenda of weakening our nation, just an alibi. Once Kashmir falls, it will target other areas, like in past it backed the khalistan andolan to separate Punjab from india.
    With china entering the scenario the situation has got more critical, given the tendency of china of aggressively encroaching the neighbour’s territory. It has the same policy of bullying throughout south-east Asia. It digested Tibet, then aksai-chin part of india. Now it is using Pakistan as a tool to provoke India. Why? Because it’s a bitter truth that nobody wants a strong neighbor. China and Pakistan will never want to see the india becoming super power.
    Now for the loop holes in the proposed theory, the author doesn’t clear some of the questions he coined himself:
    1. Who will ensure that the new country will be a democratic secular country, its obvious that the new country will have Muslim majority and Muslims don’t have faith in a secular, democratic system. They want Islamic nation on lines of fundamental Islamic traditions. The Pakistan is the best example of being non tolerant, poor democratic nation.
    2. The jammu and ladakh region will almost be impossible to access, govern and protect once the valley (shrinagar) area falls into the hands of enemy or the new country, as proposed by our learned author.
    3. The author doesn’t make it clear that what a no occupation treaty is, who will over-see it and what will happen in case any of the signing country decides to breach it. Suppose china decides to invade the new country, like it did in Tibet? And what about after 50 years? If treaty ends, will they be free to occupy the new country?
    4. My fickle friend’s hope for Pakistan to refrain from the treaty and thus exposing the Pakistan to the world community can be labeled as juvenile. Do we need to expose Pakistan anymore? Doesn’t the world already know about the sinister plot Pakistan hatches in the name of Islam, against India?
    5. Who will ensure that the new country will not play in the hands of the likes of, china, Pakistan or U.S.? And if this happens one can only imagine what does it mean. China sitting on our heads, only a few kilometers away from New Delhi.
    I can go on and on but I think I should address some more childish statements of this cynical (read pessimistic) author. One of them, Kashmir being the fomenting point of jihad. My friend is forgetting that the jihad is the most misused word in modern Muslim history. Earlier it might have had some meaningful meaning but now it has been reduced as to kill the innocents for selfish reasons. Only a fool can hope from Pakistan to stop sending terrorist to India ever. If it does so, how will he garner funds from oil-cash rich Arab countries? How will it beg to US for more aid in the name of fighting terror? The terror has become Pakistan’s main revenue generating factory. That too, foreign currency.
    I have come to an agreement, after all with this spineless writer, that desperate times call for desperate measure. But those desperate measures would be strengthening our forces, sharpening our weapons, modernization of our intelligence, solidifying our foreign policy and fortifying our internal policy. The need of the hour is to look the enemy in eyes and telling him that, “we shall fight till our last man.” Its not an useless part that can be cut off due to gangrene, its our head we are talking about. If we buckle under the pressure once, we will have to do so forever. Today its Kashmir tomorrow the demand for khalistan will be reborn, next separate north-east. China can demand arunachal Pradesh next… and so on.
    And please brush up your historical knowledge a little. Kashmir has been an integral and important part of historical and spiritual India from time immemorial. Even long before the other countries in the world came into existence, including china. Incidentally, Tibet was also a part of India over a long time. Kailash, Mansarovar, Lhasa…. Have you heard of them?
    Its true that in the beginning, the then maharaja of Kashmir hari singh ji, under a great deal influence of sheikh Abdullah and some british diplomats, forgot the harsh reality and dreamt of an independent Kashmir. But as soon as Kashmir was invaded by Pakistan, he awakened to the reality and signed the pact of merger with India. Also note that it was Pakistan that wanted to annex Kashmir forcefully, not India.
    I will conclude with a question to my intelligent (?) friend, what course he will resort to if he came to know that a lowly hoodlum chases his sister every time she goes out to college or market? Will he stop his sister from going out, or will he beat the brains out of that goon, or will he offer his sister to that goon for his mercy? I think you know the answer.
    Even I am a strong believer of the doctrine of non violence. But one should know its limit. We can’t let go our head for the sake of saving some expenses. I know its considerable money that is being spent on Kashmir today, and we could use it in better dimensions. But whats the use of the dimensions…. When the directions, our borders are not safe. And why are you worrying dear, even Pakistan has to spend the same amount of money on siachin and Kashmir. Now only you decide who is capable of sustaining expenses for longer. We are making Pakistan go bankrupt faster.
    Problems are not solved looking away from them. They are solved looking into them. We need to resolve firmly that Kashmir is ours… even on the cost of our dear lives. Jai hind!!

    • rp71 says:

      The art of diplomacy and realpolitik has to be practiced with reason & logic, and not passion.

      I have offered an option of considering a way we can solve the Kashmir issue. I am offering it up to debate whether it is possible to let go a part of the country for the betterment of the rest of the country. Do the the pros of letting Kashmir go out-weigh the cons?
      Such “trades” have happened in the past in other geographies and other eras. I understand it is a very controversial and contentious proposal. Which is why I named it cutting the Gordian Knot.

      Whether Kashmir was always an indelible part of ‘India’ remains a question for history buffs. But India as we know it came into existence only in 1947 – and Kashmir has always been a “special case” as evidenced by its status in the Constitution.

      Frankly, I do not think I need to prove to you, or anyone else, my patriotism and my manhood.

  2. Akhil says:

    I can’t help but applaud the insight brought by Siddhartha though the author has sought to achieve a friendly gesture towards peaceful resolution, strategically and historically siddhartha’s reasoning cannot be denied.

  3. Mahi Raj says:

    Dear Mr.Bhandari, I read the post and your comment too… The “Author” is unidirectional by the way he is thinking… He missed some major points of discussions…. You just underlined the core issue with one line quoting “It’s a bitter truth that nobody wants a strong neighbor.”

    I cann’t judge you… or cann’t comment you… Since I don’t have severe knowledge of the Kashmir issue..
    I’ve read about this issue several times but I have not read such exuburent post yet…
    Your comment is multidirectional… you just swipe the author in every field…

    Accept me as your fan…..
    Your’s Sincerly,
    -Mahi

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