Detrimental status quo
With the international community becoming increasingly critical of the prolonged lockdown, India must take steps to restore normalcy in Kashmir
Indian government's organised euphoria over its huge diplomatic success in isolating Pakistan is over by now with the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs demanding that India's Prime Minister immediately lift the sanctioned curfew in Kashmir. The members further said that the European Union and European Parliament should issue a reactionary statement on the situation in Kashmir as soon as possible.
This stance of European Parliament as also the sentiments expressed by most of the British MPs who took part in discussions on Kashmir situation on Wednesday is a major setback to India and this shows that all the so-called magic touch of our PM to diplomacy given at the recent G-7 meeting, has made no impact. The continued lockdown in Kashmir valley and the restrictions on civil liberties for nearly a month have been costing India's image heavily. The European Parliament's committee has requested the European External Action Service, the EU's foreign ministry, to submit a full report comprising a violation of human rights and international law in Kashmir.
In fact, government leaders in India depended so much on Modi's personal chemistry with the US President Donald Trump, they forgot that Trump also has his limits and in his last meeting at the sidelines of G-7, he only said that Modi is a good friend and he has promised that things will be under control. Only a few days after that, the US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi said that the US was very concerned over detentions and restrictions in Kashmir and hoped that J&K would soon return to normal political status as committed by the Indian PM.
That way, the EU Parliament statement was an affirmation of its understanding that the Indian government has taken no follow-up step since the G-7 meeting for restoring normal conditions in the valley as per the PM's commitment. The fact has been noted that all the political leaders of the mainstream parties are in detention and the communications blockade is still in full force. The international media is reporting developments in the valley on a day-to-day basis and the western embassies are also monitoring developments in J&K. The mainstream national media may go by the government press notes due to their compulsions but the embassies are sending their own reports based on the information provided by their own sources.
If the government still continues with its policy of not to have any effective dialogue with the mainstream political leaders by releasing them from the detention, the tone of the so-called friends of Modi will be harsher in the coming days. For the Europeans and the American senators, human rights is a major issue and they will continue to monitor the day-to-day developments in the Kashmir valley in the coming period. Pakistan will have to do nothing now in international diplomacy. The continuation of the lockdown and the restrictions on civil liberties including the detention of the senior political leaders will do the job for them.
In the US, the foreign relations committee is seized of the issue of human rights in Kashmir and a report is being prepared. The Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has just said that the US government must speak out boldly in favour of international humanitarian law and in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the people of Kashmir.
More importantly, PM will be addressing the UN General Assembly in the last week of this month. That period will be crucial for Indian diplomacy as another 24 days will pass and if in Kashmir, no initiative takes place to start a political dialogue with the Kashmiri leaders, PM Modi will be faced with a very embarrassing situation. He will be held guilty of not acting as per his commitment to Trump. Pakistan PM will naturally try to take maximum advantage of this failure on the part of India in his address to the UNGA.
The Modi-Shah duo has to take a thorough review of the situation in the valley and take some steps immediately which can at least show that the political process has been initiated. Otherwise, PM will have a tough time during his visit to the UN this month. IPA
(The views expressed are strictly personal)
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