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Kashmir: Hugs, neither abuses nor bullets, missed on Indian Republic Day

On the Republic Day, President of India Ram Nath Kovind highlighted pre-independence struggle, expressed concern over increasing rapes, violence on women and focussed on eradicating poverty in the country. President Kovind touched every other issue facing the country but missed out on Kashmir as perhaps the K-Issue is beyond any repair now.

Just about five months back Prime Minister Modi on Independence Day from Delhi’s Red Fort dais pleaded with the nation that "Kashmir needs hugs; neither abuse nor bullets and embracing Kashmir can solve the Kashmir issue". However, he did not spell out the details of a solution to solve Kashmir politically. Mr Modi showed his disappointment at the treatment meted out to India’s Dalits and sensing the implications made it known that his heart bleeds.

Soon after prime minister´s emotional speech showing concern for Kashmiris, another 110 expendable souls perished as Indian army´s licence to kill with impunity is used freely and at will. BJP Member Legislative Assembly Ravinder Raina while justifying the killings by army minced no words saying "Registering as many FIR´s as you (Kashmir police) want is meaningless as army did the right thing because it enjoys impunity under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Kashmir police has charged Indian army unit headed by an army major with murder for killing civilians in Kashmir´s Shopian district, reports The Hindu (January 29, 2018).

Indian Congress Leader P Chidambaram slammed Indian govt´s muscular militaristic approach in Kashmir and has been critical the way India handles Kashmir situation. The Congress leader reminded BJP government saying "we broke the faith and promises and therefore paid a heavy price". He further emphasised that Kashmir is not an issue of land but a problem of people instead. "Let Kashmir frame its laws within the ambit of their own constitution and we must assure that we will respect identity, history, culture and their religion".

In today´s world, a conventional war is considered an obsolete idea and at the same time, no country can afford to fight a nuclear war as that would be perilous for the humanity as a whole. The Telegraph reported (January 06, 2018) That Donald Trump says he is ready to talk to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader by phone amid a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

In his first ever interview with an international broadcaster Piers Morgan of ITV, President Donald Trump said "we would never have been in Iraq or Syria with the previous administration" and when asked "are we winning the war?" the President mentioning the economic situation said "United States was (then) heading in a wrong direction". So the international community seemingly has matured and understands the nitty-gritty of the confrontational approach to the world problems.

Afghanistan is getting from bad to worse and NATO forces already called it a day; US is having second thoughts and is looking for an exit strategy. Pakistan under the circumstances has become indispensable and US, as it seems, can´t afford to leave it to forge alliances with powers that US is allergic to. The only way to go forward is to find solutions to existing political problems and give the world a chance to live in peace. Mother Nature has provided more than enough for the world to share to allow and follow a policy of live and let live.

On a positive note, as reported by The Hindu (January 14, 2018) that Indian and Pakistani National Security Advisers Ajit Doval and Lieutenant General (Retd) Nasir Janjua have had several meetings and speaking on the phone more regularly to discuss security issues of their respective countries. Also at least, in the three meetings held in Bangkok and Russia sensitive issues apparently needing particular attention were discussed.

A large percentage of people in the sub-continent voice their concern about deteriorating human right violations in Indian held Kashmir going on for the last seven decades. Respective Indian governments tried using brute force to win over local population but faced alienation with enhanced resilience. The loss of life has been colossal on both sides with no end in sight.

Kashmir being the stumbling block, a solution has to be worked out as per the wish of people of Kashmir. Much talked about back-door diplomacy; be it UN sponsored, Indo-Pak parleys or any other players on international level offering to mediate and carve out a solution would be meaningless unless the real stake-holders the leadership of Kashmir is involved in such discussions leading to a permanent solution.