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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Picking Up The Threads

The failure of the summit in Agra was rooted in India's failure in Kashmir, which had brought back cynicism and despair there.

Picking Up The Threads
Picking Up The Threads
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
illustration by Saurabh Singh The Agra summit exposed the vast gap that exists between the way India and Pakistan perceive the Kashmir problem. Pakistan does not accept the legal validity of the Instrument of Accession and considers Kashmir a disputed territory. It's also unwilling to accept the Simla agreement as a starting point for a solution. India considers the legal issues settled and is adamant that the Simla agreement can't be brushed aside.

What the summit did therefore was to remind New Delhi that the solution to the Kashmir issue doesn't lie in Islamabad but in the Valley. It also exposed, in pitiless relief, the fact that the government had no policy whatever for restoring peace and democracy in the state, except to continue giving blind support to a government whose unpopularity has scaled record heights in the Valley, if not the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. It was this lack of any worthwhile policy towards Kashmir that allowed a dictatorship in Pakistan to claim that it, and not India, was the true champion of freedom and democracy in Kashmir.

The lack of a policy towards Kashmir has been painfully apparent during the past 14 months. The low turnout in Kashmir during the 1999 parliamentary elections had convinced the Vajpayee government that the National Conference had lost much of its support base in the previous three years. This had been underlined by the manner in which the Abdullah government had jailed the leaders of the Hurriyat for advocating a poll boycott and left them there long after the elections.

In May 2000, the Central government, or to be more precise, the PM, decided that the policy of putting all of New Delhi's eggs in one basket bore too great a similarity to the policies followed between 1987 and 1989, which had led to the Kashmiri...
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