The disputed of territory of Kashmir, lying in the north of the sub-continent between India and Pakistan, does not often feature in the world news media, but recently the little-known yet most sensitive region has received attention, not only because of boundary clashes between the armies of India and Pakistan but because there have been some dramatic incidents in the Indian-administered region. Tension is rising, as indicated by comments from politicians and media in both countries, which have been swinging from casual abuse to extremes of frenzied condemnation.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in India is a right-wing, religiously-based ultra-nationalist political party with a large following which actively supports the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which bases its policies on the aspirations of a strongly nationalistic community. The leader of the VHP, Acharya Dharmendra, declared in a speech on June 2 that «India should drop a nuclear bomb on Pakistan for creating tension at the border. It is a rogue nation and India must teach that country a lesson. It is important for peace in the Indian subcontinent».
So far as can be determined, no Pakistani politician has yet made such a statement, publicly, at least, but the feeling in Pakistan as regards the use of nuclear weapons is much the same as in India: very many citizens of both countries believe that nuclear weapons just make a bigger bang. This is worrying, to put it mildly, especially as these two well-armed nations are squaring up to each other over the Kashmir imbroglio.
Before India and Pakistan became independent in 1947 there were some 560 feudal rulers of princely states, of which Kashmir was one of the few in which a Muslim majority were subjects of a Hindu maharajah. He decided to accede to India but the territory continued to be disputed between India and Pakistan, and remains in such status on the books of the UN Security Council.
The main UNSC resolution about Kashmir is 122 of 24 January 1957. It reminds the governments of India and Pakistan that «the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations».
India has tried for many years to convince the world that the 1972 India-Pakistan Simla Accord following their war of 1971 in some way invalidates UN Security Council resolutions regarding Kashmir. But the first paragraph of the Simla Agreement is «that the Principles and Purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern the relations between the countries». Then it states 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» [emphasis added]. It is obvious that, contrary to Indian claims, there is no legal exclusion of the UN or any third party from mediation over Kashmir, given the covenant to include «any other means» towards settlement.
India, however, seized upon its selective interpretation of the wording of the Accord to unilaterally forbid the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to carry out its duties to «observe and report» on both sides of the line of Control dividing the disputed territory. That Mission has forty uniformed observers who investigate cease-fire violations on the Pakistan side, but are not permitted to operate in Indian-administered Kashmir. This state of affairs neutralises objective UN reporting about the region, and one has to ask the question : who benefits from that?
Indian-administered Kashmir is a scenically beautiful region which is economically self-supporting by virtue of food production, tourism, and export of world-class handicrafts — carpets and papier-mâché and carvings. Its citizens desire only fair governance, but over the years have become increasingly alienated from the Indian mainstream, and the recent increase in anti-India violence in the Valley is an indication of infuriated frustration. The insurgency has settled into a grumbling resentment with occasional outbreaks of forcefulness, and some barbaric incidents such as the recent unforgivable murder of a young man.
On 9 May 2017 a young Indian army officer was kidnapped and murdered. He was aged 22, recently commissioned, unarmed, and home to attend a family wedding in Indian-administered Kashmir when five men burst into his father’s house and overpowered him, took him away and shot him dead after treating him despicably.
Read More Here: Kashmir – The Trigger for Nuclear War
Categories: World at WAR