Kashmir-A simmering Volcano & Chinese efforts of neutralization

China has yet again blocked the move at UN to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. India is highly disappointed at China’s stand which had the support of other permanent members of security council- US, UK, France Russia and many other non-permanent members like Germany, Poland & Belgium etc. A security council diplomat, not happy with the Chinese move, has said that responsible member states of the security council may be forced to pursue other options, if China continues to block Azhar’s designation. On a personal note, I share the Indian disappointment.

There was a time in Fifties & Sixties when America & other permanent members of Security council would pilot unending motions in the UNSC to press India for implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir but USSR, the then sole protector of India, would use its veto power to thwart such attempts. Indians better learn that history repeats itself and more often than not, as a tragedy. Had India respected international community’s wishes at that time, probably we wouldn’t have witnessed the colossal human tragedy, unending mayhem and bloodshed unfolding in Kashmir since then.

Defending its action to block Azhar, China’s Foreign Minstry spokesman Lu Kang has said that it will help the two countries to find a lasting solution to the problem and also also urged the international community to focus on the Kashmir dispute. Latest reports suggest that England & France are in talks with China to find a mutually acceptable solution.

China is spot on to urge the international community to focus and find a durable solution to Kashmir dispute which is the root cause of much of what is happening today . Its own position on Kashmir is known. It considers Kashmir a disputed region to be settled bilaterally between the two Countries. Not very long ago, it issued stapled visas to kashmiri nationals travelling to China on Indian passport making clear its stand that it does not recognize Kashmir an integral part of India. On the eve of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s first ever visit to the India & Pakistan in May 2013, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan said that his country is ready to act as an arbiter in Kashmir dispute ? China must have repeated this offer of mediation times without number since then.

Stapled visas or stamped visas, no country in the world, for that matter, recognizes Kashmir as India’s integral part. It is only the huge commercial & economic interests in India & the general Islam phobia prevailing in the world which keeps these countries silent. Post 9/11particularly, India has been using the terrorism template to reinforce its hold on Kashmir by employing a brutal repression of its people.

It is instructive to know the stand of other countries, currently in fray over the designation of Azhar incident. Take the case of America. In Feb. 1957 its Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said “US continue to believe that unless India & Pakistan are able to agree upon some other resolution, the solution which was recommended by UNSC should prevail-which is that there should be a plebiscite”. In fact US vehemently protested Indian Govt’s move in 1964 to apply Indian laws to Kashmir with a view to integrate it further into the Indian Union. A year later Dean Rusk – US Secretary of State, said that the US supports a solution to the Kashmir problem through the United Nations. Robin Rafeal & Madeline Albright, two top officials of US Govt. have publicly acknowledged the disputed nature of Kashmir and the former even going to the extent of disputing the instrument of accession itself. Former Presidents Bill Clinton & Barrack Obama have time & again emphasized on the need for two countries to solve the dispute bilaterally or through mediation terming Kashmir as nuclear flashpoint. Infact in August 1949, American President Harry Truman also offered to mediate on the Kashmir dispute. On behalf of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan accepted the offer but Nehru rejected the proposal

Take the case of UK. In March 1996, Margaret Thatcher, former British PM said that ‘The question of plebiscite is still valid in Jammu and Kashmir and can be invoked for a permanent solution of the issue, which is bone of contention between Pakistan and India. This was followed by Tony Blair, another former British PM saying on September 13, 2005 that the world has been reluctant to recognize the insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir as terrorism and Pakistan and India should hold “proper, meaningful” dialogue aimed at resolving their dispute over Kashmir. Another former British PM, David Cameron has publicly owned the responsibility of his country for Kashmir dispute & apologized to those suffering from its effects. Tom Cox, the British MP is on record having said that the UN resolutions on Kashmir are as relevant today as they were when they were adopted in 1948-49.

As far as Russia is concerned, its one time PM & Four times president, Valdamir Putin said in December 2004 that Kashmir is the root cause of dispute between India and Pakistan and they should resolve it in the interest of peace in South Asia and the rest of the world.

France may be today interested in not antagonizing India as it is desperately trying to save Rafale Aircraft deal with Indian Govt which has been subject to much criticism by Indian opposition parties but its stand is clear from the statement made by its representative on 18th May 1964 before 1117th meeting of the Security Council which clearly acknowledges the disputed character of J&K State to be resolved either in accordance with UN resolutions or mutually by India & Pakistan .

Kashmir is like a simmering volcano.  You can ignore the volcano, but the volcano won’t ignore you. It is in the interest of every country, every person who matters to extinguish & neutralize this stewing volcano.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com)