The independence declared by the British government through India Independence Act 1947 will remain incomplete if the problem of Kashmir persists. Kashmiris have been fighting against the Indian occupation and sacrificing their lives. The bleak aspect of the problem is that the United Kingdom, the United States and other champions of human rights and justice are silent over the barbarism being perpetrated by the Indian forces. The United Nations has also failed to implement its resolutions on the issue. Kashmir has been bleeding for the last seventy years, but world conscience is still blind, deaf and dumb.
The British government passed India Independence Act, 1947 in June, 1947. It permitted the Princely States to join either Dominion. According to a report, Lord Mountbatten, last Governor General of Indo-Pak sub-continent, thought that if the princely states remained independent within the dominion, it may lead to chaos and thus made their accession a necessity of the Indian Independence Act. The people of Kashmir were never allowed to exercise their option of deciding their future as provided in the Act. Since then, the United Nations have passed resolutions on different occasions accepting the Kahsmiris’ right of self-determination. India first agreed and then turned away. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a telegram to his Pakistani counterpart, Liaqat Ali Khan on October 28, 1947. He stated, “In regard to accession also, it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of the State and their decision.” India did not stick to their words and denied and deprived the people of Kashmir from their right of self-determination. India has been projecting that after signing Simla Agreement in 1972 and Lahore Declaration in 1999, the problem of Kashmir is not an international issue but bilateral between India and Pakistan.
It may be appropriate to examine aforementioned two agreements in the light of the issue under discussion. The Clause 1 and 2 of the Simla Agreement provides “That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the two countries. 2) That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them. Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation nor shall both prevent the organisation, assistance or encouragement of any act detrimental to the maintenance of peaceful and harmonious relations.
“The agreement clearly mentions that differences shall be resolved through bilateral or any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon, but such arrangement shall be subject to the UN Charter. Clause 6 of the Agreement provides, “That in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, they will refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other.”
The Lahore Declaration was signed on the end of visit of Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpae to Pakistan in 1999. The Declaration affirms to implement Simla Agreement in letter and spirit and both the governments agreed “[they] shall intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.” It further provides “[Pakistan and India] shall refrain from intervention and interference in each other’s internal affairs”.The aforementioned two agreements do not restrain the United Nations from making efforts of resolving the Kashmir issue.
India has continuously been threatening territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan by opening firing on Line of Control (LoC), using the land of independent and sovereign country of Afghanistan against Pakistan, employing bilateral and multilateral channels to build up pressure on Pakistan and making tacit alliance with various countries like Israel etc to project India as spokesman of the region of South Asia and power of the Asian continent.
The increasing closeness between India and Israel may be witnessed from the fact that since its diplomatic relations with Israel, Narendra Modi was the first Prime Minister of India who visited the friendly country in August 2017. Subsequently, Israeli Prime Minister paid a six-day visit to India in January. The Israeli prime minister paid six days long visit to India in January 2018. He was the first Israeli leader to visit India. This closeness between the two countries is due to the following factors. Firstly, the US, India and Israel strategic partnership in South Asia is aimed at containing increasing influence of China in the region. Secondly; the United States and its allies view their interests in jeopardy if China prevails in South Asia, Central Asia and South East Asia regions. It may influence the trade routes near and around the Persian Gulf. Currently, the United States imports 20 per cent oil of its requirements from the Persian Gulf. Its other allies still depend upon the oil of the Persian Gulf to cater to their domestic requirements. Thus, interests of the US and other countries lie in containment of China.
Thirdly, the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent was partitioned on the basis of the so-called two-nation theory. Kashmir is the Muslim majority territory. The Intifada launched by the Kasmiris is last part of fighting initiated on the basis of two-nation theory in the British Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. India and Israel think that decision of Kashmiris shall be against Indian occupation and it may reinforce the faith of the Muslims in two-nation theory.
Pakistan is nucleus of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China and Pakistan have invited all the countries to participate in it. The US, India and other countries look at CPEC with suspicious. Probably they are afraid of increasing influence of China on trade routes of the Indian Ocean. They want to contain Chinese influence and develop counter strategy.
Lastly, India and Israel want to cooperate with each other to make their defence strong vis-à-vis neighboring countries. India does not have any danger from Pakistan as it possesses superiority in conventional and non-conventional weapons over Pakistan. Same is the case with Israel vis-a-vis the Muslim countries. However, after defeat in 1962 Sino-India war, India has been continuously building mountains of arms and ammunition.
Pakistan had arrested RAW agent Kulbhushun Jhadav who is serving commander of the Indian Navy. International community is silent on this evidence of Indian involvement in internal affairs of Pakistan. Other regional countries of South Asia also accuse India of its involvement in their internal affairs. But the ‘great’ global powers are silent due to their interests in the region of South Asia and Asian continent.
It is positive and healthy sign that government of Indian occupied Kashmir has stated that the problem may be solved through talks with Pakistan. Former Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) chief minister Farooq Abdullah has also held the same opinion. War may increase or reduce the bargaining position, but solution to the outstanding problems lies in dialogues. Latest global example is withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1988. The indirect talks under the auspices of the United Nations made it possible. It was after a dialogue that the Tamil rebels surrendered.
The permanent members of UN Security Council must put pressure on India to take steps for the resolution of the longstanding Kashmir issue. India must also be stopped from using force against the innocent Kashmiris demanding freedom.
Kashmir: the subcontinent’s unfinished dispute