Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kashmir “Problem”, an Anglo-American conspiracy!

The recent statement of the American President that the Kashmir problem cannot be solved from the outside, represents the tip of an iceberg of a conspiracy entered into by the British with the Americans more than 60 years back. The basic controversy has been the initial accession of the state to the Indian Union. A number of articles have been written on the instrument of accession, the document which is claimed to be the basis of the accession of the state of Jammu & Kashmir to the Union of India following the partition of the sub-continent. Some have disputed the very existence of the document while some others question the genuineness of the Maharaja’s signatures and the date of its signing. The events of 1947 relating to the creation of the most intractable Kashmir “Problem” have always been shrouded in mystery. However, the declassification of certain secret documents in the west and the revelations made by some important personalities in their books go beyond the apparent causes of those unfortunate events which have not only plagued the sub-continent but the entire South Asia for last 65 years. The British not only authored the partition of the sub-continent but also created the Kashmir “Problem”because of their obsession to block the Russian and the Chinese access to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean! It has often been said that the British partitioned the sub-continent to keep their hold on the area to further their aims of economic colonialism after losing the physical hold on the colonised people. The new revelations belie that theory. On the contrary, it is the long term strategic considerations which now appear to be the real basis for the events of 1947. The same considerations are in fact at the present moment ensuring the continuance of the “Problem”! Rakesh Ankit wrote a detailed research paper on the subject, “The Cold War and its Impact on the Evolution of the Kashmir Crisis, 1947-48” which appeared in the Journal of the Oxford University History Society in 2009.According to him, “‘Power Politics’ made a large contribution to the evolution of the Kashmir crisis. While the dispute emerged for local, regional and religious reasons its evolution and eventual ‘internationalization’ bears the stamp of concerns which had nothing to do with the individuality of the crisis and the merits of the cases of the two protagonists. In other words, while the events in and around the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir from August 1947 to January 1949, a period which saw an entire range of conflict, from local skirmishes to full-fledged invasion to pitched defensive warfare, were manufactured by a set of circumstances, personalities and concerns, which were all essentially local or regional and sub-continental or religious in nature, once the crisis erupted it was manipulated by the British-led Western Block, as far as possible, in the pursuit of its own vital interests stretching from the Middle East to Central Asia to the Far East. These vital interests can be broadly categorised as defensive, strategic and geo-political (aimed at the former Communist USSR) and ideological or religious (aimed at the Islamic Middle East).” In fact, Rakesh has quoted extract from Bevin’s letter to Marshall which states, “Kashmir was on the Soviet frontier. Russia might well intervene as she had in Greece and China, playing on the tribes and on communal feeling. Whoever controlled the valley of Kashmir controlled the strategic and commercial communications between India, Pakistan and Central Asia.” The main western interest was the access to Central Asia and containment of the Communist Russia. A number of American and British strategists opined that Pakistan would be more useful to them than India as they could manipulate its rulers easily. In fact, it was decided in a meeting in Paris between Bevin and Marshall that the Anglo-American interests would be best served by keeping the Kashmir corridor passing through Gilgit with Pakistan as India could create problems. The ceasefire and the extent of areas under each country too were decided by the western powers as both the armies at that time were controlled by the British Officers. As per the research paper and according to some documents de-classified sometime back, the American and British strategists were advising their respective Governments that Pakistan would be a better choice for them to back. They were also apprehensive that India could wipe out Pakistan unless the West came to its assistance in a big way. All the subsequent military alliances like SEATO and CENTO were a result of this advice. Pakistan was fully supported as their interest demanded such an action. They were scared that in case they failed to help Pakistan, it may fall in the Russian or the Chinese hands. Unfortunately for them, the same is happening now. India was already doubted by them to be leaning towards the Russians. The most ideal way to keep the Gilgit corridor was to let this area remain under the control of a dispensation not only friendly to them but rather totally dependent on them. For this it was essential to divide the sub-continent and this necessitated the introduction of the idea of partition. They introduced the idea through Mohammad Ali Jinnah whom they fully patronised and supported. It is they who very subtly motivated him for claiming a separate country for Muslims. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru fell for the game as he loathed the idea of making Mohammad Ali Jinnah the Prime Minister of the undivided India. Even though Mahatma Gandhi was against the partition, he too was persuaded by certain elements to fall in line. The most intriguing part is the short duration in which the country was to be partitioned. Just two and a half months. If the process had been delayed by few more months, there might have been a possibility of reconciliation between Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Undivided India had the possibility of becoming a major super power and an economic giant. In fact, it could have been as colossal as China because at the time of the independence of India, China’s Mao Tse Tung was just finding his feet. However, there was the possibility of the undivided India becoming friendly both to the erstwhile Soviet Union and China as it had the possibility of leading the entire South Asia. \ After having succeeded in partitioning the country, their next move was to create a dispute in Kashmir which would ensure that the Gilgit corridor remains with Pakistan. If they had gone by the general principles followed in the partition plan, then Kashmir would have automatically become part of Pakistan because of its being a Muslim majority area contagious to the newly created religion based country. The Maharaja was finding it difficult to go against the wishes of the majority of his subjects. However, then there would be no dispute! The first step was the creation of a corridor in Punjab to give access to India to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The Muslim majority Gurdaspur district was awarded by Radcliff to India. This manipulation was done by him on the persuasion of Edwina Mountbatten who was quite friendly to Pandit Nehru. The Maharaja was in two minds and would have opted for a sovereign independent state of Jammu & Kashmir. To click the deal of his opting for India, tribal raid was engineered. Interestingly, the army chiefs of both the countries were the British officers. There seems to have been some understanding between the two chiefs? As mentioned by David Devadas in his book, “Kashmir, in search of future”, the Indian army chief knew three days in advance about the tribal raid. He did not inform even his Prime Minister! Probably, even Lord Mountbatten too was kept in the dark? Once the two newly created countries went to war, the real manipulations started. The Indian army could have taken entire state including the erstwhile northern areas but were deliberately halted at the present Line of Control through a ceasefire brokered through the UN Security Council. Had India gone all the way, the Gilgit corridor would have been under their control but Bevin and Marshall had already decided otherwise in their meeting held in Paris. Kashmir had to be divided and the Gilgit corridor had to be kept with Pakistan! The attitude of the creators of the Kashmir problem has been continuously changing with the passage of time depending upon their own strategic requirements. In the initial stages, they had given unconditional support to Kashmiris and were pleading for the grant of right of self-determination to Kashmiris. Then they started becoming neutral and indifferent. Now they are opposing it and advocating a bi-lateral dialogue to sort out the problem. In reality, they are trying to put the problem in deep freeze because larger issues related to the sub-continent and South Asia has become their priority. The most worrisome aspect is what after 2014 when the Americans leave Afghanistan? What would be the role of Taliban? Already China and Russia are interested in coming closer to the emerging set up in Afghanistan. Chinese have already forged a very strong relationship with Pakistanis. They are planning a railway line from Sinkiang to Gawadar. The Karakoram Highway is being widened and improved. Most interesting has been the Chinese move to get observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). While as the western powers are getting more and more alienated from the Muslim block, the Chinese and the Russians are coming closer to them. The western powers seem to be now banking on Hindu India to be the bulwark against the fast growing and expanding China. Obama’s missive is a step in that direction. Well, someone needs to tell him that instead of giving advice to us he should introspect and apologise for the unilateral actions of the American global super cop which have brought destruction and misery everywhere! On our part, our leaders too must stop looking at west especially, the Anglo-Americans to solve our problems. We need to demolish the sub-continents Berlin walls of mistrust and suspicion which have in fact been erected by our so called western mentors who are interested in continuing the status quo rather than sort out these problems. We must remember that these people created the problems, became the investigators for these and are now passing judgements on the same! There can be nothing more hypocritical than this!

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