ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Some Critical Issues

Ceasefire in Kashmir

The ceasefire in Kashmir can only be seen as a beginning of a long process that will have to be based most importantly on a comprehensive understanding of the political aspirations of the people of the entire state. The need of the hour is to acknowledge and sincerely attempt to involve the other forces that have a legitimate say in the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Internal wars sap the energy of the people, divert resources, encourage chauvinists, undermine democratic rights, threaten regional stability and economic cooperation, all of which is detrimental to the country and region’s interests. In this sense freedom of Kashmiris is intricately tied up with the survival of democracy in India, if not the entire region. Consequently, waiting for things to happen in the belief that time is on their side is the preference of those who lack concern for the life and liberty of the people at a time when seizing every opportunity is the demand of the day.

The extension of ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir is a necessary step but not a sufficient condition for setting into motion a peace process essential for reaching a democratic solution to the Kashmir problem in its entirety. But the ground work for dialogue is not prepared simply by proclaiming partial ceasefire after 11 years of relentless military crackdown on a movement. The ceasefire means scaling down the offensive against the movement. It does not mean that violence has ended or that it cannot be scaled up since the 4,75,000 troops continue to be present in J and K; there is talk of ‘pruning’ the army while increasing the paramilitary deployment. If spokespersons of the security forces are to be believed, they have been able to ‘reorganise’ themselves on the border, ‘beef up’ intelligence and anti-insurgency ‘grid’ in J and K. However, the ceasefire’s main achievement has been that for the first time in 16 years the heavy guns have fallen silent all along the Line of Control (LoC). Not only has shelling ceased but the chief of the army staff was categoric that ‘infiltration’ too has sharply declined. This is a ceasefire achieved between two of the three parties, namely, India and Pakistan, and only the ‘Armed Forces of the Union’ have stopped ‘combat operations’.

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