Modi, listen to Guterres
FEBRUARY 17, 2020
Even though India has rejected the statement, United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres has called for an end to the Kashmir conflict by following UN Security Council resolutions. He has also offered to mediate. India’s response to every meditation offer from any part of the world has been only ‘no’. The valley has been under lockdown since August 5, with all means of communication severed and several thousands of people and leadership detained. On the other side, people in Azad Kashmir are enjoying all fundamental rights and freedom of movement. This is what the UN secretary general also noticed and called for withdrawal of draconian restrictions from India-held Kashmir. His pleas are likely to fall on deaf ears in Delhi as the Indian government has frustrated all international pressure on the Kashmir issue. Guterres’ efforts will also have a limited impact as diplomacy works well to bring peace and stability when accepted by both sides. India rejects any offer that involves a third party, while it is equally rejectionist about direct talks with Pakistan.
In the next few days, US President Donald Trump is visiting India, and despite India’s best efforts, the visiting president is likely to offer to meditate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. The blunder the Modi government committed on August 5 is going to haunt it in the days to come. Also, according to a US Congressional Research Service report, Trump’s suggestion to resolve the Kashmir dispute through his meditation might have prompted Modi to revoke the special status of the occupied valley. For the first time Trump, while addressing the press on July 22 last year along with Prime Minister Imran Khan, said Modi had asked him to play a mediator’s role to resolve the Kashmir issue. Modi faced a fierce backlash back at home, especially in the lok sabha, and to make up the loss in the wake of Trump’s statement, the Indian government came up with the August 5 action. The best bet for the Modi government is to accept the hard realities of the modern world, as no community can be suppressed and cornered. India has militarised the occupied valley at a huge cost. It is time to give up bloodshed and listen to the call of Guterres. *