Revisiting no-first-use in Kashmir context

It will be a while before Kashmir limps back to normal. Till then, utmost caution must be taken, never mind what the well-cosseted professional advocates of civil liberties and the well-funded NGOs propagate. They will lose their relevance and ‘roji-roti’ if they found themselves without a cause to cry over.

As for the western media, it instinctively tilts against India, especially the British media which due to historic reasons favours Islamic Pakistan rather than a secular India. Besides, British citizens of Pakistani origin have come to wield considerable influence in British politics.

The Paki and Khalistani lobbies often succeed in making quite a nuisance of themselves, as they did on the Independence Day outside the Indian High Commission office in London.

The British may be hypocritical, ignoring the suppression of ethnic and regional aspirations in their own backyard, but their teaming up with China, biggest offender against human rights and civil liberties, in the UN Security Council meeting on Kashmir exposed their complete isolation.

Despite their pressing for a statement after the in-camera meeting, the other thirteen members vetoed the demand. Post-meeting, Pakistan and China briefed the media but their accounts carried no conviction. In other words, India is not friendless in the global fora.

However, the ground situation in Kashmir still continues to be fraught. The relaxation in internet, cellular phones and landlines in the weekend seemed to have resulted in anti-police protests in several places in Srinagar and in adjoining areas.

Though the schools were open and a sizeable teaching staff was present, the student attendance was thin. Despite arrests of ring leaders and known trouble-makers, eruption of popular anger at the unilateral changes in the special status of the State was certain to find expression in protests.

The authorities ought to allow the pent-up anger to find expression, albeit peacefully. With the approach of the apple season the locals will be engaged in harvesting and marketing the fruit.

This will soon be followed by the onset of winter which makes it harder for intrusions from across the Line of Control. The breathing time thus gained ought to allow the authorities to find a modus vivendi for a durable peace.

Hopefully, by then the month-long diversion of the UN General Assembly annual meeting too would be behind us and Pakistan would have run out of its propaganda spiel. Meanwhile, India too is not lagging behind in blunting Pak propaganda, unleashing a verbal barrage of its own to unsettle the Rawalpindi GHQ.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s assertion that India was no longer committed to ‘no-first-use’ of nuclear devices achieved its objective. Pakistan reacted angrily, accusing India of scare-mongering and worse.

The original no-first-use doctrine was revised in 2013 when it was made clear that it applied to known non-nuclear nations. As for nuclear-powered countries, such as China and Pakistan, all options were open anyway.

Again, Singh followed up the aggression by letting it be known that the only agenda for a dialogue with Pakistan was about the illegal annexation of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

How Pakistan had ceded a part of the illegally-occupied Kashmir to China and changed its demographic character by settling people from outside and how the Chinese had built military and civil infrastructure, and how Gilgit and Baltistan were merged with Pakistan would need to be revisited.

The point is that neither Pakistan nor China have a leg to stand on either on human rights or on honouring international treaties.The way China through its surrogates in the Hong Kong administration is crushing pro-democracy demonstrations,

defying legal commitment to abide by a ‘one-nation, two-system’ commitment, denudes it of all moral and legal authority to rake up Kashmir in the UN or at any other forum. Even if it feels obliged to pay lip sympathy to its all-weather client State, it should do so without being exposed as a rank hypocrite.

Both China and Pakistan have their hands full with huge problems of domestic unrest. They should put their own house in order before opening themselves to global ridicule by mouthing Kashmir in multinational forums. India could not have continued to sit on its hands even as Pakistan fomented mischief through mercenaries and barbaric jihadi groups.

Indeed, before Pakistan delivers Afghanistan to the Taliban, it should prove its credentials by ensuring that the barbaric butchers stop killing innocent men, women and children.

And if Trump quits America before taming the Taliban’s appetite for the blood of innocents he would betray all that America has stood for. Winning re-election ought not to trump all human values.

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