InternationalVOLUME 15 ISSUE # 06

Trump-Modi multibillion dollar embrace and the Kashmir imbroglio

What an embrace it was! None could deny that this profoundly warm embrace between the heads of two major business partners and strategic allies, the US and India, and their strongly clasped hands on the mammoth stage set up at the rally of around 50,000 people, held at the NRG Stadium, Houston, on September 22, 2019, conveyed a very strong and lucid message to Pakistan in particular and the world in general how close the two countries were to each other.

Strategic interests of the two countries apart, the basic reason why this unequivocal demonstration of warmth and affection between the two leaders, US President Donald Trump and Indian Premier Narendra Modi, was termed a “multibillion dollar embrace” is because of the extremely strong economic bond that the US in particular has with India. It is a known fact that India is a huge market for the US for sale of sophisticated military hardware and other advanced technology. The US has sold billions of dollars worth of military hardware to India, not in the too distant past; it is gearing up to sell yet more, worth billions, in the immediate future.

The Trump-Modi meeting in Houston on September 22 and on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session on September 23, 2019, if one may equitably conclude, should be ominous for Pakistan, particularly in the backdrop of the ongoing occupied Kashmir imbroglio. To be more specific, the signals emanating from both sides during the meet were very strong and lucid. Should Pakistan still pin hopes for strong and concrete support from the US vis-à-vis resolution of the hopelessly nerve-wrecking Kashmir problem? Does Pakistan have the choice to think otherwise? Apparently, it doesn’t. This then leaves Pakistan with the only option of making sustained efforts to convince the UN and the US, in particular and the world in general, that occupied Kashmir is a serious flashpoint which, on getting ignited, could potentially engulf not only the region but, perhaps, the entire world into a catastrophe beyond the figment of imagination of all and sundry across today’s peace-starved, turmoil-ridden world.

In the backdrop of the hideous fact, the situation tends to become more desperate when others also join the ranks, for economic reasons, and shy away from unequivocally supporting Pakistan on the IoK tragedy; a tragedy that perhaps has no parallel in recent world history. Unfortunately, very strong “economic relations” of Muslim countries with India seem to have taken precedence over what is known as “principles.” It has become abundantly clear that for purely economic reasons the response of these countries to Pakistan’s clarion call for support to the Kashmir cause was extremely subdued and, therefore, highly demoralizing. The UN and the US in particular and the world community in general seem to have failed to appreciate that there is something else, as well, which is equally significant as economic interests of any nation, and that is “principles.” Any nation that compromises on its principles, for self-interest or whatever reasons, is bound to lose its respectability in the comity of respected world nations, in the long run.

The Kashmir imbroglio should be of vital interest and concern to the entire world. Why should it be so? Because Kashmir is a dangerous flashpoint that could potentially lead India and Pakistan, the two globally recognized nuclear powers of the region, to a catastrophic nuclear war. And, God forbid, if this happens it would devastatingly engulf not only the region but, perhaps, the entire world eventually. It is this vitally important factor that apparently hasn’t yet crossed the minds of the world powers. The world community remains totally insensitive to the developments taking place in IOK. Doesn’t their silence speak about their hypocrisy in dealing with issues of international interest and significance?

Under the circumstances, one is compelled to ask the self-proclaimed civilized world and the propagators of peace, justice and democracy, would they have demonstrated the same apathy and insensitivity had any European nation, or people belonging to any other religion, been subjected to such unparalleled atrocities as being unremittingly committed by the treacherous Indian forces on the innocent people of IoK? No, certainly not. They would have not only profoundly condemned but also taken immediate cognizance of the issue and adopted stringent measures for its immediate and permanent resolution. In these columns, the scribe had explicitly mentioned the names of two countries which emerged on the map of the world as independent states in the not too distant past; East Timor and South Sudan. With unequivocal support of the United Nations and equally strong support of the world powers, East Timor got its independence from Indonesia in 1999 and South Sudan gained independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011.

Over two months have passed by with no remission whatsoever in the human rights abuses and brutalities being audaciously committed by the ruthless Indian forces on the innocent people of occupied Kashmir. While the incumbent Indian government of Narendra Modi is seeking world support against terrorism, India itself is overtly involved in committing state terrorism in IOK. The UN, the US and majority of the world nations continue to harp on the same tune for the past over seven decades; India and Pakistan should resolve the issue of occupied Kashmir through bilateral negotiations. The world community must realize that the perilous Kashmir dispute can never be resolved through dialogue between India and Pakistan; time has also proven this. This grave world issue must be resolved in accordance with the charters of the UN and the UN Security Council Resolution of 1948; the resolution that cogently declares IoJ&K a disputed territory and guarantees its right to self-determination to the people of the occupied territory.

Wouldn’t it then be justified to ask the UN, the US and the other world powers to exercise their influence on India, as it did in the case of East Timor and South Sudan, and compel it to implement the UN resolution vis-à-vis occupied Kashmir in letter and spirit? They must press India to hold a plebiscite in IoJ&K, under the supervision of the UN, forthwith and let the people of occupied Kashmir decide their own fate.