India’s unclear neighborhood policy: how to overcome it?
Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said “India is not opposed to the possible demilitarization of the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world and an old sore in relations Indo-Pakistani sides, provided the neighbor accepts the 110 km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) which separates the Indian and Pakistani positions Acceptance of the AGPL is the first step towards demilitarization, but the Pakistani side hate to do this.” He said, “The Siachen situation arose because of Pakistan’s unilateral attempts to change status quo and the countermeasures taken by the Indian Army” (Not opposed to the demilitarization of Siachen if Pak fulfills the precondition: head of the army, Hindustan Times 13 January 2022).
Reacting to the Indian Army Chief’s statement, former Pakistani Foreign Minister Riaz Mohammad Khan recalled that Siachen could not come to a written agreement because India wanted Siachen and Kashmir to be settled. together. India’s “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” approach frustrated the deal. As for Kashmir, “a simultaneous effort has been made through the backchannel…in what is commonly referred to as the four-point formula” (Memories of Siachen, Dawn January 16, 2022). Riaz laments Indi’s distrust that has hindered a solution.
Shyam Saran, a voice in the desert
Shyam Saran, in his book How India sees the world (pp. 88-93) makes startling revelations about how this problem eluded a solution at the last minute. India itself created the Siachen problem. Saran recalls that in the 1970s US maps began to show 23,000 kilometers of the Siachen region under Pakistani control. Thereupon Indian forces were sent to occupy the glacier in a preemptive strike, called Operation Meghdoot. Pakistani attempts to dislodge them were unsuccessful. But they succeeded in occupying and fortifying the lower reaches”.
He recalls how the Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek agreements could not bear fruit for lack of political will or foot-dragging. He says ‘NN Vohra, who was defense secretary at the time, confirmed in a newspaper interview that a deal on Siachen had been reached. At the last moment, however, a political decision was made by Narasimha Rao’s government to postpone his signing until the next round of talks scheduled for January the following year. But that didn’t happen… My defense of the deal became a voice in the desert”.
Saran says, `Kautliyan’s model looks like the options for India are sandhi, conciliation; asanas, neutrality; and yana, victory through war. We could add Dana, the purchase of allegiance by gifts; and bheda, sowing discord. The option of yana, would of course be the last in the world today” (p. 64, Same.).
India’s current first option
It seems that the last option advised by Kautliya,yana, as visualized by Shyam Saran, is India’s number one option these days. Kautlya also talks about koota yuddha (war without limits), and mayan yuddha (war by trickery) in which India is engaged.
By unilaterally declaring Jammu and Kashmir disputed its territory does not solve the Kashmir problem. This step reflects the fact that India has embarked on the policy of “the stronger is the law”. In Kotliyan parlance it would be “Matsy Nyaya, Where mach nyayathat is to say, the big fish eats the small one. What if China also annexes its disputed borders with India? India annexed Kashmir on the assumption that Pakistan is not currently in a position to respond militarily, nor could it agitate the issue in international forums for fear of American annoyance.
The annexation of India smacks of acceptance of the quasi-Dixon plan, except for the mention of the plebiscite and the division of Jammu. . Dixon proposed: Ladakh should be awarded to India. Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (including Gilgit and Baltistan) should remain with Pakistan. The whole Kashmir valley should have a plebiscite without the possibility of independence. Jammu should be divided on a religious basis. The Chmab River should be the dividing line. Northern Jammu (dominated by Muslims) should go to Pakistan and Hindu majority parts of Jammu to stay with India.
In short, Muslim areas should have gone with Pakistan and Hindu-Buddhist majority areas should have stayed with India.
The annexation of India has no legal value. But it could have been sanctified in a mutually agreed solution in Kashmir.
India portrays the freedom movement in Kashmir as “terrorism”. What about Indian terrorism in neighboring countries?
The world is indifferent to the stories of former RAW diplomats and officers about carrying out insurgencies in neighboring countries. B. Raman, in his book R&AW’s Kaoboys: Down Memory Lane does not hide India’s involvement up to the level of Prime Minister in the Bangladesh insurgency.
Will the world take notice of the confessions of former Indi intelligence officers and diplomats?B. Raman recalls that “the Indian parliament adopted a resolution on March 31, 1971 to support the insurrection. Indira Gandhi had then confided to Kao that in case Mujib was prevented from governing Pakistan, she would free East Pakistan from the clutches of the military junta. Kao, through a RAW agent, hijacked a hijacked Indian Airlines Fokker Friendship, the Ganga, from Srinagar to Lahore.
India’s Ambassador, Bharath Raj Muthu Kumar, with the consent of then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, “coordinated the military and medical assistance that India was secretly extending to Massoud and his forces “…” helicopters, uniforms, ammunition, mortars, small arms, refurbished Kalashnikovs seized in Kashmir, combat and winter clothing, packaged food, medicine and funds by the ‘intermediary of his brother in London, Wali Massoud’, delivered in a roundabout way with the help of other countries who have helped in this sensitization’.When New Delhi questioned the benefits of expensive support to the leader of the Northern Massoud Alliance, Kumar explained, “He is fighting someone we should be fighting. When Massoud is fighting the Taliban, he is fighting Pakistan.
Death of the back-channel
In his memoirs In the line of fire (pp.302-303), President Musharraf had proposed a personal solution to the Kashmir issue. This solution essentially envisaged autonomy in the demilitarized regions of Kashmir under a joint management mechanism. The solution required* reciprocal flexibility.
Death of dialogue and diplomacy
Riaz warns of “incalculable” risks resulting from the abrogation of Kashmir’s statehood (August 5, 2019). India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. In the absence of a dialogue on the outstanding issues, war, possibly nuclear, appears to be the only option.
Without sincerity, the only solution in Kashmir is a nuclear Armageddon. Or maybe divine intervention.