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Even the birth of Bangladesh could not change Pakistan

by endroar
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Srinath Raghavan: The security issue between India and Pakistan has been territorial—from the moment of the creation of these two states, over Jammu and Kashmir. There was also a kind of competition over national identity, with Pakistan being created as a Muslim home in South Asia. India very consciously did not want to make the country Hindu based. How the internal political system would be in India also depended on that spirit.

Pakistan's problem was not having a centralized constitution. When they got the constitution, military power took over, and with it all the consequences. Actually the problem was the military claiming national territory. It was also linked to differences in national identity and internal political systems. I think, even after the Bangladesh crisis in 1971, nothing has changed fundamentally in Pakistan. The people of Bangladesh wanted the right to self-determination. They wanted to build their own country. But the way it was done, it dragged India into yet another conflict with Pakistan. The root cause of this conflict was not in India's interest. Look back to the 1965 war, 6 years ago. India did not invade the eastern region.

After the 1971 war, in the Shimla Agreement of 1972, India and Pakistan agreed that the issue would not be resolved by force. Still, many people in India think that India should have solved all these problems immediately. I think what Indira Gandhi thought then was right. Such a solution by humiliating Pakistan after losing a large chunk of territory and people, will leave a wound in them. That will sow the seeds of further conflict in the future and that solution will not last.

Another thing is that we Indians have completely forgotten that Kashmir is a Kashmiri problem. Ask the Pakistanis that too. Because I cannot speak for them. Kashmiris will decide who will be their leader, decide how things will happen, like in India and Pakistan. I cannot say that the Government of India has decided on a solution. It is not clear to me whether the people of Kashmir have accepted the government's decision or not.

So I think Mrs. Gandhi made it clear at the time of the Simla Agreement that she did not want the return of military power to Pakistan. He ensured that India gets time to recover from the crisis and focus on domestic and economic affairs. India-Pakistan security relations have not improved due to nuclear tests and various crises. The status quo remains. The intensity of the insurgency in Kashmir may have abated somewhat. At the same time, the attempt to forcibly join Kashmir with India by overturning Article 370 of the Constitution will cause various political problems. In fact, it is a political problem. It will not be solved constitutionally, only by force or state power.

With so much conflict between Kashmir and India, will the people accept the suspension of their rights or India's allegiance forever or for a long time? I think the answer is no. I think the Indian government also knows that. For this they say that they want to return its state status. There will be no solution to the India-Pakistan problem unless the interests of the people of Kashmir are protected holistically.

Famous American political scientist Professor Steven P. Cohen is his last book Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum He predicted that relations between India and Pakistan will not be normal even in 2047. Unfortunately, his predictions are proving to be very true. This is because we lost our way again. The aspirations of the vast population there have to be fulfilled. It cannot be avoided because no one in India or Pakistan talks about the independence of Kashmir.

Currently there is a 'frozen' politics on both sides of the massive military presence there. If there is no negotiation between the two sides, the future will not be very good. What seems to be calm and stable for a short time now, can become explosive. The states of India know it better than those whom we have helped in the internal troubles and rebellions of the Allies. So hopefully, we learn from experience.


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