New Delhi seems to have intensified its campaign to defend its view point on Kashmir and, in its latest move, has been able to persuade US to declare Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist. Indian TV Channels enjoy every night abusing Pakistan and seeking every Kashmiri to be deported to Pakistan. However that night they believed they had a strong reason to celebrate after the US statement on UJC supremo was out.
The political class and ultra-nationalist analysts were praising Modi’s wisdom for getting this unique gift from the US. But, unfortunately for them, Indians forget many bitter basic facts related to the whole issue. Americans have their own priorities and they do amend, change or frame their policies keeping in view their strategic national interest. Americans have been following the universal law that ‘might is right’ and they change their priorities with the changing times. Indians forget the universally deep rooted perception that ‘the boss is always right.’ It hardly mattered to Americans when Indians sided with USSR during Afghan war. Who doesn’t know that United States had become epicentre of all those activities, which are today being interpreted as Islamic terrorism, when Afghans were fighting Russian aggression. Before celebrating Modi being first leader to be hosted a dinner in White House by Donald Trump, Indians should not forget that it were Americans who were not giving Modi visa for years. When Trump became President, Indian media celebrated claiming that Muslims now would find it difficult to live in America, but the bitter fact is that many Indians have lost their lives at the hands of racists after Trump took over. Who knows what would have been in the minds of Americans while declaring Salah-ud-din a terrorist. Despite being Israeli’s most loyal and trustworthy ally Americans have not been forgetting to bring both Palestinians and Israelis on table constantly. On more than one occasion, Americans had very tense times with Israelis for the reason they wanted things to move much faster for a durable settlement. What I want to say is that Indians are celebrating just for the part of the story which surfaced in public domain but what Donald Trump must have advised Modi will remain an untold story. It is not possible that Americans could annoy Pakistan for India’s appeasement. The strategic location of Pakistan gives it much more significance as compared to India during all times. India, despite being a much larger country, has a big disadvantage on that front. Any connectivity between India and rest of the world, barring some of its immediate neighbours, is dependent on China and Pakistan, but unfortunately there is no chance of co-operation with either of them till foreseeable future. In contrast, Pakistan has an access not only to central Asia but to Europe. With CPEC becoming a reality, a bus service between Azad Kashmir and UK is on the cards and the day it happens it would have a big psychological impact on both sides of the LOC. New Delhi has not much to show in Kashmir except strikes, protests, pallets and bullets and despite all its propaganda the people on the other side of LOC enjoy comparatively better amenities. What one needs to learn from all this is the fact that, in future, the gap between New Delhi and Srinagar may increase further and as such putting restrictions on militant outfits may not be of any significance. It’s a sure concern for US the way Russia is coming close to Islamabad now, much closer than one could have anticipated. Americans can’t digest it for more than one reason. The strong worded response of China over the issue and appreciating Pakistan’s role in fighting global terrorism is a strong message to Washington and New Delhi that Pakistan can’t be isolated. Modi has nothing to cheer over his US visit other than the statement on Salahuddin.
It is not possible that Americans could annoy Pakistan for India’s appeasement. The strategic location of Pakistan gives it much more significance as compared to India during all times. India, despite being a much larger country, has a big disadvantage on that front. Any connectivity between India and rest of the world, barring some of its immediate neighbours, is dependent on China and Pakistan.
CIA and ISI are known like twin sisters and what Indians are revealing and claiming day in a day out doesn’t add anything fresh to the information of Americans about covert or overt operations executed by Pakistan from time to time. One cannot rule out if Americans might have taken Pakistanis into confidence over Salahuddin issue so as to give them a reason to intervene for resolution of Kashmir dispute sooner or later. Is it possible that if Salahuddin is really a threat to US interests, the superpower found it out overnight?
After 9/11, when Americans bombarded Afghanistan, there were credible and reasonable rumours that Pakistan’s willingness to support Americans was subject to the condition that US would help in resolving Kashmir dispute to the maximum satisfaction of people of J&K. Indians also need not forget that America’s most wanted man Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan but still his getting killed there didn’t have any adverse impact on US-PAK relations. Every incident and evidence leads to the conclusion that Americans have deep rooted interests in Pakistan. New Delhi knows better that it doesn’t make a difference at ground by declaring Salahuddin a terrorist. Salahuddin and his colleagues are outlaws as on date and the underground organisations operate only to break the law of the land for good or bad reasons. They don’t take permission from any individual, state or organisation to operate and as such, declaring Salahuddin a terrorist may be nothing beyond a symbolic gesture. New Delhi should understand the fact that till recent past Pakistanis were always circumspect and jittery while supporting resistance movement in Kashmir but this time they responded without any confusion or ambiguity by openly owning the resistance movement.
New Delhi needs to understand things in right the perspective and a broader sense. Given the fact that power comes with responsibility, America, as superpower, has to fulfill its duty towards resolving Kashmir which is a potential threat to global peace and needs to be settled before it’s too late. Americans do also know that the sub-continent would never have become a nuclear zone had there not been a dispute between India and Pakistan over Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistanis also have been successfully using nuclear card by creating a perception of a nuclear war in the sub-continent, if Kashmir dispute is not resolved and this version has many takers including Americans. There is every reason to conclude that Kashmir dispute being mother of all disputes in the entire sub-continent, declaring Salahuddin a terrorist may add more to the problems of India than Pakistan as the pressure would certainly mount for the political resolution of dispute which New Delhi has been avoiding since 70 long years.
Tailpiece: My pick from the US statement on Sallahuddin is the usage of the phrase ‘India-administered Kashmir’. That tells you something.