J&K: When is the final solution?
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

J&K: When is the final solution?

Revisit Simla Agreement and take the final call

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who famously declared that in his dictionary there was no word called ‘impossible.’ Today, for we Indians too, it is imperative to forget the existence of the word ‘impossible’ in our lexicon in relation to the problems arising out of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

I was born before independence. I was told that India was divided to provide a separate country to Muslims following their demand, accompanied with violence, under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Hindus and Minorities like Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis thought this would bring peace to our country, the truncated India. Sadly, No.

Reason: The then Maharaja of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh, failed or delayed in taking a firm decision in exercising his right under the Partition Plan. His right to either join Indian Union or Pakistan by executing the Accession Treaty. This gave an opportunity to Pakistan to launch a military attack in the pseudo name of ‘tribal attack’ and occupy a part of Jammu and Kashmir now known as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) 

When the ‘tribal attack’ began and was seen marching towards Srinagar, Raja Hari Singh panicked and sought the help of the Indian Union to throw the Pakistani forces out of Kashmir. While the Indian Army was being sent to the war-front, the Indian Government got the Maharaja to sign the Accession Treaty in order to legitimise sending  the armed forces to fight the Pakistani  Army.

Under the then Lt. General K.S Thimayya, Indian forces were successfully pushing the Pak forces back. But, unfortunately, our Prime Minister Nehru took the advice  of his friend and the First Governor-General of Independent India Lord Mountbatten and went to the United Nations (UN) with a complaint. Apparently, UN had no experience in dealing with such situations.

To India’s bad luck, the whole of Europe, England and America were wanting to pacify and please the Muslim world which was angry over the division of Arab-Palestine and creation of Israel, a Jewish country. 

 As a result, the UN without proper discussion and application of mind asked the warring Pakistan and India to ceasefire immediately, simultaneously converting India’s complaint into a dispute (territorial dispute) ignoring the Treaty of Accession signed by the Maharaja with the Indian Government. Both the countries, like frightened school boys obeying their headmaster, declared ceasefire

In the meanwhile, Pandit Nehru, wanting to become the world messiah of peace, got hold of some newly-independent countries from Colonialism and propounded the policy of ‘Non-Alignment.’ In his exuberance, he also made an unsolicited promise to the people of J&K to hold a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people — to either join India or Pakistan. This is one of the historical blunders any sovereign country could make to its disgruntled section of the people. To use Mahatma Gandhi’s phrase said in some other context, this was a Himalayan blunder.

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Nehru and his colleagues in the Government should have known that the UN did not have a role in the partition of British-India as it had with British-mandatory Palestine. The UN role was, therefore, limited to that of a peace-maker, not an arbiter. Sadly, India allowed the UN to convert India’s complaint into a dispute and we are carrying this as a painful albatross around our neck for the last 70 years.

India must remember that when the British Government published a plan for the partition of the Indian sub-continent on June 3, 1947, Pakistan was established on the basis of the idea that its Muslim population constituted a distinct nation, whose rights could be guaranteed only in a Muslim State. However, when it came to what remained as India after partition, the rights of majority Hindus were forgotten. It became a secular nation that guaranteed the rights of its religious minorities like Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and also millions of Muslims who chose to stay back in India. As a result Muslims got two ‘homelands’ — one Pakistan and another India.

According to a panellist in a TV discussion, many Muslims who were fighting for Pakistan along with Jinnah surprisingly chose to stay back when the partition took place. This was a paradox.

Be that as it may, Nehru was just 58-years-old without experience as a head of a huge democratic country that India was. However, his persona was a combination of an idealist, philosopher and a visionary. History records that at a meeting with US President Harry S. Truman in Oct. 1949, exactly two years after the ‘tribal attack’ from Pakistan in Kashmir, Prime Minister Nehru frankly told the American President that determining the fate of Kashmir “on a religious basis” would lead to destabilising India because that “would have a deeply unsettling effect upon  the Muslims living in India.”

This clearly shows that Nehru recognised that if Kashmir was excluded from India simply because it had a Muslim majority, then Indian Muslims all over India would think if Kashmir Muslims doubt the secular  character of India, why not they?

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Unfortunately for India, the UN did not direct Pakistan to withdraw its ‘tribal’ raiders and vacate POK as Lord Mountbatten had hoped. Incidentally, Nehru agreed for a plebiscite not in the truncated Kashmir but only when Pakistan vacates the POK. But Pakistan never withdrew from POK and naturally now to ask for the 70-year-old plebiscite promise is irrelevant and ridiculous. If Kashmir is excluded from India, as Nehru told Truman “on a religious basis,” then it would be difficult for India to remain Constitutionally a Secular State in its present form. India might prefer a Qualified-Secularism instead to protect other minorities.

We have to realise that following Simla Agreement the ‘anti-multilateralist clause’ in it has effectively kept the UN out of any post-war diplomacy. The clause is as follows: “The two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means, mutually agreed upon between them.”

The Simla Agreement gave India right to reject any Pakistani move to bring in any other multi-lateral forum in the matter of J&K, including the UN. It was the Simla Agreement which transformed the previous ceasefire line into a more permanent Line of Control (LoC). Thus India no longer recognised the authority of UN to monitor the ceasefire line under 1949 Karachi Agreement.

In the circumstances and the changed geo-political situation, the Pulwama terrorist attack on Feb. 14, 2019 should be considered the provocation and the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back. Decisively challenge the constant terrorist attacks and also Pakistan Army firing across the LoC in violation of Simla Agreement.  India’s tolerance, except for meek retaliation and occasional surgical strikes of late, are no deterrence to Pak plan of inflicting a 1000-cuts on India till its mission is accomplished.

Therefore, if India fails to settle J&K issue this time or in the next five years, then we will have to wait for an Indian avatar of Vladimir Putin for the resolution of J&K issue. I remember, former Congress Prime Minister outside the dynasty, P.V. Narasimha Rao, saying, ‘The day Pakistan vacates POK, J&K problem is solved.’ Anyway, for now it is best to integrate J&K with India by removing the two obstructionist Articles in the Constitution — 370 & 35A. India does not need either Pakistan’s or Hurriyat’s permission for this.

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate,” said John F. Kennedy. Therefore, let not India fear the “Islamic Bomb” of Pakistan and fear to negotiate. Negotiate fearlessly, despite the abortive planned talks between NSA of two countries by ISI of Pakistan in 2015. And then take the final call.

Jai Hind

e-mail: [email protected]

February 25, 2019

12 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “J&K: When is the final solution?”

  1. Bhamy V. Shenoy says:

    Appreciate your timely article on how to begin the process of solving Kashmir problem. It was accident of history that the Indian constitution included articles 370 and 35 A. All these years there were some feeble attempts made to remove them. Now the time has come to remove them. As you correctly argued that India does not need the permission of any one to change its constitution. It is we the people who need to debate and change the way we have brought about several changes to our constitution. Like you many have started to demand for these changes. I will not be surprised if some political parties with vision will include this in their platform.

  2. Syed says:

    It is because of these articles , millions of Hindus , Muslims , people from Kashmiri origin, soldiers are killed or displaced! But these articles are benefiting a few families in holding their control on Kashmir , seperatists and of course Pakistan! So, to bring back peace we need to wipe these articles off from our constitution and any opposition must be dealt with iron hand! If we have to execute every single person who wants to preserve it, it is a smaller price to pay, instead of killing thousands of people every year in the game of preserving them!

  3. What a World! says:

    First, I would correct a couple of misunderstood facts which the author repeats from the previous article.
    1. “To India’s bad luck, the whole of Europe, England and America were wanting to pacify and please the Muslim world which was angry over the division of Arab-Palestine and creation of Israel, a Jewish country.”
    a)The UN through a majority vote gave nationhood to Jews in the British Mandated Palestine territory: It was called Israel. The UN did not divide the Palestine territory When Israel was born, the neighbouring Arab states declared war on it , and although they were defeated, small patches of land was removed from Israel, where a few Palestinians settled, looking like a partition of Palestine. But UN did not sanction the British mandated Palestine.
    b)It is gross misunderstanding to assume that all Palestinians are Muslims. A sizeable percentage of them are Christians.
    c) It was not “England”, but “Britain” which included 4 regions: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island.
    d) There was no bad luck,but the personality of Nehru, which did not attract friendship. The American President at that time did not like him, as he noticed there was a streak of anti-Americanism in Nehru. JFK years later remarked that how Nehru simply sat looking at the roof of the Oval Office, not responding to the President properly. But, he was too close Mountbatten , rather Mrs Mountbatten, that he heeded Mountbatten’s advice, which was just what it was-an advice, and Nehru as the PM could have with his cabinet’s collective decision, ignored it, even though it was advice from the Governor General. This J and K fiasco was purely Nehru’s making.
    Second, The term ” Final Solution” are not the appropriate words, as they are used to refer to Hitler’s Final Solution, that is to exterminate the Jews, by gassing them in camps.
    The J and K problem will continue to be bleeding wound for India, and I cannot see a solution even in the long term. If those 2 articles are removed, it appears as a simple constitutional exercise to many except for Pakistan; it will lead to another war between India and Pakistan-this time, the outcome will be very nasty.
    There was a clear solution at that time suggested by Gen Thimayya,, that is to drive out Pakistanis totally from J and K.
    I have met Nehru , with my classmates, when we the final engineering students assembled in Teen Murti Bhavan. When he talked, he came over not merely as an idealist, but as some one which did not understand the real world.

  4. What a World! says:

    Just an explanation : Britain , short form of Great Britain ( now usually the United Kingdom) was the term then used to refer to the 4 regions of England , Wales, Scotland and Northern Island. In Atlee’s government then ( Atlee was the British PM who agreed to give Independence for India), had ministers from all of the 4 regions. Hence, it is not correct to refer to as “England”

  5. Bhamy V Shenoy says:

    It is unfortunate leaders like the former Chief Minister, Mehabooba Mfti is warning against the dropping of article 35A. According to her such an act is playing with fire. She feels that such a tempering with 35 A will nullify the accession of J & K with India. What a twisted logic. As most have realized that it was a blunder on the part of Nehru’s government for having included such an Act. Environment at the time of accession is vastly different from today. We need to change with the time and consider J & K like any other state in India. It should be of no consequence as Mehabooba argues that some part of J & K has muslim majority and some other part has buddhist majority.

    • Manava says:

      The removal of the said articles as a poster above suggested will not solve the J and K problem, as it simply will declare that J and K does not have any more special status ,and is part of India. But the blunder of Nehru cannot be retrospectively fixed. Ir will be inviting the wrath of the permanent members of the Security Council, where Russia many not support India with its veto;it will surely increase tension in the area, and will eventually result in another war between Pakistan and India. In this situation, a fellow Permanent member of the Security Council, France,pressurised by the US, will be hesitating to conclude Rafale sales.
      Yes,the time has moved on as now China is a superpower with an emphatic say on international matters, and has territorial dispute with India. Hence, it supports Pakistan which too has territorial tension with India.
      The latest bombing of insurgent camp in Pakistan may trigger Pakistan’s request of arms and China will readily supply them as US cannot put pressure on China, like it does with France, a NATO associate, if not a member.
      It is a mistake to say UN divided British Mandated Palestine,as it did not. If it did, there would have been two states: Israel and Palestine,instead the current Israel only. This is no parallel to the division of India then into India and Pakistan,which was carried out with the Indian leaders like Nehru agreeing to it, given Jinnah’s intransigence to have a separate Muslim state.

  6. Manava says:

    People who are suggesting the removal of those 2 articles, should realise the wider ramifications of it. India, has a very large Muslim population.
    I recollect that during the last Indo-Pakistani war, many prominent Indian Muslims were ambivalent in supporting India. I noticed , even the Mysuru Tonga Wallahs then, who were mostly Muslims cursing India for the war against Pakistan. A Muslim doctor in Mysuru who had a thriving practice was arrested for ” spying activities”, and whose trial was held in camera so as not to enrage the Muslim community into rioting.
    Yes, the time has moved on since 9/11 atrocity, and current terrorist activities taking place in Western Europe , Australia and USA, are from the native Muslim citizens. This kind of terrorism on a large scale in India could be worrying if the articles are removed,which is a stupid suggestion to fix another stupid act of Nehru decades ago, given the current elevated tension with Pakistan.
    J and K dispute with Pakistan, like the Israel- Palestinian dispute will continue to elude a solution for decades to come.

  7. Better later than never India under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi should effect the much needed damage control by abolishing Article 370 to fully integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India.The Congress and other leaders of the so called national parties should extend their full support to stem the rot set in by Himalayan blunder committed by late Nehru which has left Kashmir as a festering wound right since independence.

    • Hanuman says:

      @Srinivas Chakravarthy must have posted this nonsense, by sitting comfortably in his home with a bowl of puliyogare!
      When Nehru went to the UN, without driving the Pakistani insurgents out of J and K completely, the J and K territory became a disputed territory. The UN considered J and K as the disputed territory as a result. It is no longer a simple exercise of removal of these 2 Articles by India alone without facing the consequences that follow.
      Trying to undo this by abolishing those 2 Articles is a red rag to Pakistani bull, and hence, a full-scale war between the 2 countries will ensue, where thousands of Indian soldiers will die , and thousands of Indian civilians will too perish in a collateral damage. The UN will intervene. India has to finally obey the UN Security Council resolutions drafter by the Permanent Members there, to undo the removal of the 2 Articles and keep the territory as a disputed territory until negotiated settlements are reached. Modi has to agree to this with the huge loss of his credibility.
      In the end, nothing would have been achieved except the loss of thousands of Indian lives.

  8. Subramaniam says:

    “Right said, Fred.” As the saying goes, the article puts forth the author’s view point and way forward considering the history. As long as J&K remains special status, we will be facing this problem. We need to integrate the J&K state like any other states of India. Let it be multicultural state with majority being Muslims. Let a strong leader free the shackles of the J&K State and make it similar in character to all out other states. With this first step we might just see a flourishing J&K finally. Thanks.

  9. Rahul says:

    If Nehru felt that article 370 and 35a need to be revoked then why is Congress is protesting agaist removing it? Also, if we have the guts, SC should grant immunity to army to take action agaist stone pelters just like inbtge rest of the world! So, if we shoot down 50 of them, nobody will have the courage to pick a stone!
    THE beneficiary politicians of these draconian articles should be eliminated so that they don’t support Pakistan! Yesterday one of the JK politicians insulted the Indian flag by siding with the separatists can’t we do anything?

  10. Hanuman says:

    @Subramaniam and Rahul are again 2 posters suggesting the nonsense of removing the 2 Articles and integrating J and K with the rest of India. Most of these posters do not have the concept of why this cannot be done. When Nehru went to UN, after observing the ceasefire stopping the war then between India and Pakistan in this J and K region, UN labelled J and K as the disputed territory. Which means this issue of J and K is internationalised at the UN, and hence , India alone cannot act to abolish the special status of J and K and integrate it with India. The Security Council will intervene, and its resolutions cannot be ignored.Pakistan meanwhile will not sit and look at this integration doing nothing.
    Like posters said above, the consequences of this stupid act now to undo another stupid act of Nehru, will be a severe condemnation by the Security Council and a massive war between India and Pakistan,

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