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Resolving the Kashmir dispute

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The State of Kashmir has always been a bone of contention, an eye sore ever since India achieved its independence

Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit

Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India missed an “golden opportunity” to resolve Kashmir dispute during 1971 war when “under global pressure” it released hundreds of Pakistani troops who were in the custody of Indian army.
Speaking at an election rally Modi said then Congress government signed Shimla Agreement (in 1972) “under global pressure” and released over 90,000 prisoners of war (PsoW) instead of resolving the Kashmir dispute “in lieu of the PsoW.”
Since independence India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads on Kashmir. Pakistan has sponsored secessionist elements in the valley. The establishment of Kashmir and the repressive government of its rulers were of high importance about the following faith of the state.
The Kashmir issue started in 1947 with the partition of the British Indian Empire. The new-formed India and Pakistan were competing for dominance over the state because of religious issues. This became a major cause of the Indian-Pakistani conflict with proactive actions from both countries to become Kashmir`s dominions. India and Pakistan has had conflicts though the years till nowadays but the Kashmir issue remains the most severe one that has remained unresolved.
1947 was the year of the first collapse of the Indian-Pakistani relations, which evolved in two wars (in 1947-1948 and 1965) for Kashmir. Most of their battles ended without a winner being declared.
The State of Kashmir has always been a bone of contention, an eye sore ever since India achieved its independence. The position at that time was that, all the States that comprised India, and had been independent, had three clear options, available to them. The three options were that, either they accede to India, or accede to Pakistan. The third option was that they could remain independent of both India and Pakistan.
While all the States did the needful the State of Kashmir took a unique turn, an eventful and an unprecedented turn. Religion was one of the main causes of the Kashmir issue. More of half of the population of Kashmir is Muslim, which made it the only Indian state with such proportion of Muslims. However, the Valley has its own cultural identity – Sufism and is used to treating both religions equally. The main conflict comes from outside and it is more a religious issue that a territorial.
The so-called Kashmir problem came into being almost with the independence of the country. Though 60 years have passed, the problem still remain unsolved. Kashmir still remains the most important source of friction between India and Pakistan. India is a secular State and there are more Muslims in India then Pakistan. They constitute 13 per cent of the total population of the country of 970 million people.
The position at the present is that the armies of the two countries still confront each other along the cease-fire line. While Pakistan continues to demand Kashmir, India declares that the only problem is that the aggressor should be asked to vacate. Both countries are spending huge amount over their armies in Kashmir. No solution of the problem seems to be in sight in the near future. The relations of the two countries continue to be bitter and hostile. Even the defeat suffered by Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan war of Dec. 1971, has failed to make that country see reason. Efforts were made through the Shimla Agreement to normalize relation with Pakistan, but not too much avail.
The relations are keeping on moving down the ladder of discontent and suspicion of each other, and there is nothing, just nothing achieved. What we need is that the government should ensure to operate within the law and also communicate in words and deeds that those police and paramilitary personnel who do not operate so, will be punished. Let us have negotiations with those persons who wish to talk within the framework of Indian Constitution.

(The columnist is based in Ahemdabad)

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