In a recent interview to The Wire, former RAW chief A.S. Dulat suggested that the only way to solve the Kashmir imbroglio is through dialogue, not aggression.
I submit that Mr. Dulat's statements in this context are meaningless clichés and platitudes. They are totally superficial, and reflect little understanding of the realities of the Kashmir problem. Those who think that mere political dialogue can resolve the Kashmir problem are living in a fool's paradise. They do not know what is really happening. So, let me explain.
According to Mr. Dulat, we should open the border with POK and let more militants walk in...
Kashmiri militants are using sophisticated weapons and other supplies. Where are these sophisticated weapons and supplies coming from? Such sophisticated weapons and supplies do not fall from the sky. Obviously, some outside power is supplying them and training the militants to use these weapons. But more on that later.
As for the demand for Azadi, I have already explained why I think it is misguided and reactionary in an article published on HuffPost. Such Azadi will be against the interests of Kashmiris, as it will result in the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and take the Valley back to the Dark Ages. Moreover, Azadi, even if achieved, will not last long. Kashmir will soon thereafter be swallowed up by Pakistan, and come under the Pakistani military jackboot.
The demand that Kashmiris should be making is for the reunification of India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) under a strong, modern-minded secular state which while guaranteeing freedom of religion to all does not tolerate religious extremism of any sort, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crushes it with an iron hand. This reunited state must then rapidly industrialize the country and ensure a high standard of living to all. Such reunification will not be easy, of course, and will take 15-20 years. Until then the Kashmir pot will keep boiling, however sad and unfortunate that may be.
Now, to return to the points that Mr. Dulat makes in his interview.
1. The Indian government should engage in talks. But with whom?
Mr. Dulat says we should begin with the Hurriyat. But the Hurriyat is a separatist organization which wants Kashmir separated from India, as its leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has repeatedly said. What is the point in talking with them? As for talks with Pakistan, they will keep harping on Azadi for Kashmir. Moreover, Pakistan is a fake, artificial entity (I refuse to call it a country) created by the British on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory to ensure enmity between Hindus and Muslims even after their departure. So what is the point in talking with them either?
The militants demanding Azadi are only brainwashed pawns. The power which is behind these pawns, the real chess player, is China (through Pakistan).
Mr. Dulat completely misses a key point. As I mentioned, militants are using sophisticated weapons that are clearly being supplied by outside powers. Moreover, militants demanding Azadi, such as Burhan Wani, are only brainwashed pawns. The power which is behind these pawns, the real chess player who is using them, is China (through Pakistan), as I have explained in a previous blog. Please do read it in order to understand the real game of China.
2. We should follow "Vajpayee's way", but what exactly is that?
Mr. Dulat says the BJP-PDP alliance has angered the Kashmiris and that we should follow "Vajpayee's way". Again, a meaningless platitude. He says that Vajpayee is revered in the Valley. I have not heard a single Kashmiri of today saying we want to follow "Vajpayee's way" (whatever the expression may mean). And to blame the BJP-PDP alliance for the mess in Kashmir is overlooking the underlying realities. There is a strong foreign power, China, acting through its new surrogate, Pakistan. It's true that a large section of Kashmiris have joined the agitation, but I want to emphasize again that they are being used by China and Pakistan. They are like mindless pawns used by unseen chess players. I've outlined China's motives in this blog.
If Kashmir becomes Azad, will the Kashmiris really be free? No, of course not. The power which has supplied sophisticated weapons, etc to the Kashmiri militants will then demand its pound of flesh, and make the Valley its neo-colony, and exploit it for its own benefit, and not the benefit of Kashmiris.
3. "Insaniyat, jamuriyat and Kashmiriyat"
Mr. Dulat invokes these concepts. But they all are meaningless moral platitudes, conveying nothing, and overlooking the underlying realities, as explained above.
4. The Musharraf "four-point formula"
Mr. Dulat talks favourably of the "Musharraf four-point formula" which, according to him, was acceptable to all the Kashmiris, including the separatists. It was peace on the line of control, with going and coming and open borders and more interaction between the two Kashmirs, trade, armies pulled back.
The demand that Kashmiris should be making is for the reunification of India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) under a strong, modern-minded secular state...
So according to Mr. Dulat, we should open the border with POK and let more militants walk in. The army should be pulled back so that the militants may have a field day, bringing the entire Valley under their grip, imposing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law, which will drag Kashmir back into the middle ages. Obviously neither Mr. Dulat nor the Kashmiri agitators for Azadi understand this.
Azadi can only be a means to an end, and not an end itself. The end must be raising the standard of living of the people. I have repeatedly said that if it can be demonstrated that Azadi will raise the standard of living of the people of Kashmir -- i.e. provide large scale employment, provide healthcare, tackle poverty -- I will support it. But neither Geelani nor Burhan Wani nor any of their cohorts and associates have ever spoken or even thought of that.
It's now hopefully clear why I say that Mr. Dulat's analysis is totally superficial, and entirely overlooks the realities of the situation in Kashmir.
A version of this post, "Prepare for the long haul in Kashmir", appeared on Justice Katju's blog.