Kashmir issue is about restoring Kashmiriyat damaged by terrorists, say experts

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New Delhi | Updated: August 22, 2019 2:35:18 PM

Former Ambassador Rajiv Dogra says, “The issue is not one of religion in Kashmir as Mr Trump mistakenly believes. It is one of Kashmiriyat which was punctured by terrorists. That needs to be restored.”

Strategic experts and former diplomats feel that there is lack of understanding on the Kashmir issue on part of the US leader and the Kashmir issue is internal to India (Representational Image/AP Photo)

Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the forthcoming G7 summit in France, the US President Donald Trump has again offered to mediate over the Kashmir issue and that the problem is more about Hindus Vs Muslims.

Strategic experts and former diplomats feel that there is lack of understanding on the Kashmir issue on part of the US leader and the Kashmir issue is internal to India.

Experts share their views

Former Ambassador Rajiv Dogra says, “The issue is not one of religion in Kashmir as Mr Trump mistakenly believes. It is one of Kashmiriyat which was punctured by terrorists. That needs to be restored.”

On condition of anonymity, a retired senior military officer and a strategic expert has said that “Separatism on the basis of extremist religious ideologies cannot be condoned in the modern civilized world order. The ultimate resolution of territories of Jammu & Kashmir over which there are competing claims would need to be resolved through holistic consideration of historical facts, legal status, established international political mechanisms for interaction between nation-states and without allowing the platform to or any kind of tolerance of extremist religious ideologies. Until then, all parties must display responsible and civilized political conduct by not interfering in one another’s internal affairs and refraining from instigating violence and spreading disaffection amongst communities.”

According to the former military officer, “Mr Trump has two problems and a severe constraint. He neither has historical or legal insights into nor geopolitical perspective of the ‘Kashmir Issue’. His other problem is that he happens to be President of a Superpower and thus feels obliged to arbitrate overall issues brought before him. Combined with these two problems, he has burdened himself with a severe constraint – that of his campaign promise of getting the US forces out of Afghanistan in a hurry which makes him overly dependent upon Pakistani Deep State led by its military and which currently has co-opted its ruling political class.”

Adding, “Under such circumstances, Mr Trump would be best advised to stay out of Kashmir issue by stating unambiguously that the recent development relating to amendments of few constitutional provisions in J&K, is India’s internal matter. He must also direct Pakistani leadership to keep its hands off the issue and concentrate on managing its economy, internal political turmoil and separatism within its own territories.”

Another diplomat held the same opinion. Former ambassador Anil Trigunayat says, “It clearly indicates the lack of understanding of the complexity and historicity of the Kashmir issue on the part of President Trump. Hindus and Muslims in India are part of the same cultural fabric and societal fabric and have lived in harmony for ages. India is the second-largest Muslim nation in the world with exceptional credentials. Fact is having talked to Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday he feels he can mediate without addressing India’s core concerns of state-sponsored terrorism from Pakistan.

“He is also in a hurry to get out of Afghanistan and Pakistan is trying to use it as leverage asking him to go an extra mile. Hopefully PM Modi put his mediation hopes to rest. Talk we must but on our terms,” Trigunayat opines.

Says Prof Rajesh Rajagopalan, School of International Studies, JNU, “What this illustrates is that Mr Trump gets some briefings on issues, but his understanding of the briefings is spotty, at best. Clearly, he’s interested in messing in the issues, because he is clearly seeing this as necessary to get Pak support in Afghanistan. Government of India will have to get used to such unstrategic interference from Trump because he is fully committed to getting out of Afghanistan before the 2020 elections.”

According to Prof Ajay Dubey, chairperson, Centre for National Security Studies, JNU, “The US has no position on Kashmir. The US President is trying to balance. Interest is not on Kashmir and situation there. But how to make both friends feel good. Best to be ignored as Kashmir is an internal matter of India and should be dealt bilaterally when talk like situation prevails between India and Pakistan.”

“Trump’s statement is ridiculous, to say the least. It is bereft of any understanding of the real issues in Kashmir. But it reflects a general mindset of the uninformed people in the West who view this problem as a Hindu-Muslim issue which might culminate into nuclear warfare between India and Pakistan. Trump also seems to have an overwhelming desire to meditate on this issue,” says Prof Rajan Kumar.

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