The BJP has long had revocation of the special constitutional status awarded to Kashmir on its agenda and Modi showed every intention of doing away with it. In his first tenure, Modi skirted this issue since he had to pacify his coalition partners. Now that his party has the majority in the congress, he can do as he wills.
To many of us, India’s upping the ante in IHK was clearly ominous and headed to this end. But, this is not the end in itself; this too is still a means to the real end. Modi was clearly heading in this direction and creating the environment for it. Since Imran Khan’s return from Washington India was steadily but quickly increasing the intensity of its military actions in IHK and along the LOC. Now Delhi has sprung its trap but, very cleverly.
To keep the international community assuaged, India has not revoked the entire article but only selected clauses of it. But that isn’t all. Vladimir Putin is making up to India again and has given Modi the highest Russian award, China needs India now that it has retaliated to the first US salvo of their trade war, by allowing the Yuan to plunge to an all-time low. Netanyahu has always been Modi’s staunchest ally. And Trump? Considering the role US has assigned to India in Asia-Pacific, it should be no surprise that the US spokesperson quoted the Indian view, describing these developments as “an internal matter”. For the past few years, whispers have grown louder announcing that ultimately, Modi’s India is going to impose a Palestinian-like solution on IHK. Now that is clearly on the table and the world seems prepared to accept it.
It is already late and, therefore, more than overdue that we review our alternatives; considering that, politically [and figuratively speaking], India is firmly located on the high ground with massive mobile reserves and we are in the valley below it. And, we must consciously realize that the international community is no longer interested in a just resolution of issues like Kashmir and Palestine. Any solution that keeps the conflict contained will be satisfactory for the world.
In military parlance wherein wars are envisioned as alternating between manoeuvre and battle; Delhi has begun by outmanoeuvring all opposition. To continue in military parlance: the implication is that if we engage in battle now, we will have to fight against superior forces, which are advantageously placed. Alternately, we could engage in another manoeuvre so as to be better placed if battle is joined.
So far our politico-diplomatic response is childish, feeble, and futile; exactly what Indian analysts must have predicted. But, by our standards, we claim great success. The toothless OIC has condemned India. That should be of great satisfaction. But, any initiative in the Security Council will surely be vetoed. India has plans of imposing a Palestine-like situation in IHK; and will soon do so. A demographic shift of the Kashmir population will follow. We will have to think of some out-of-the-box solutions or accept failure and forever hold our peace on IHK. Since I have no access to any intelligence information, I can merely quote again two precedents in case they, or a derivative there from, might help.
In 1956, when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, UK and France decided to go to war with Egypt. All initiatives in the Security Council were obviously vetoed. Eisenhower, Ike, then US President took the matter to the UN general Assembly. I am not sure of the number of member countries of UN at that time, but the resolution condemning the joint declaration to war was unanimously condemned, with two abstentions; UK and France.
In the 1980s, Reagan, the US president, wanted to assist the Nicaraguan Contras who were in revolt. The US president is the most powerful leader in the so-called “Free World” but he can’t spend money without congressional approval or he can assume emergency powers to spend money. In the event of the latter option, when the emergency ends, he will have to justify the imposition of emergency. Congress was denying Reagan the money which resulted in the Iran-Gate scandal; but that’s another story.
Nicaraguan government went to the ICJ. According to its charter, the ICJ can only give a judgment if, before the hearings begin, both countries agree to accept its judgment. If one country doesn’t, the ICJ can only give a non-binding “opinion”. US obviously refused to accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction.
The ICJ heard the case and, in its opinion, condemned the US. Congress never approved Reagan’s demands for money to support Nicaraguan Contras and, after the Iran-Gate scandal broke, not only did Reagan scapegoat his staff up to Poindexter, but he had to refrain from further interference in Nicaragua.
Can we do something akin to either [or both] and succeed? I don’t know. But, this I can say for sure, we are approaching a water-shed on IHK. Useless meowing will not help. Unless we do something intrepid and act with ingenuity, the Kashmir case will close or continue festering like Palestine.