India’s Longstanding Quest for Azad Kashmmir

Ever since Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) came to power and revoked special status given to Kashmir in Indian Constitution in 2019, the violence has escalated in the valley. Now it has become an isolated dystopia where Indian state has imposed curfew and illegally taking them away on slight suspicion of aiding freedom fighters. These events by BJP government and further legal reforms to shift demographic changes in Indian Occupied Kashmir are indication of BJP government’s agenda to take over the other side of Kashmir as well.

There are many instances where BJP leaders and partisans have expressed their intentions regarding Kashmir under Pakistan. For instance, in a meeting with London-based Jammu and Kashmir-origin students and social groups on 1st May 2023, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said to retrieve Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and make it a part of India is very much on the government’s agenda. He also said that PM Modi has corrected several anomalies of the past that were the legacy of successive governments since 1947. This hardened stance over the foreign territory in modern political ethos is akin to declaring war where international system is built upon accepting the sovereignty of the other state, not to mention that Kashmir is recognized as an internationally disputed territory by United Nations. India’s insistent claim over the territory and their espionage operation undermine the sensitivity of the whole region. The notion that India might successfully capture Azad Jammu and Kashmir is merely a deluding illusion. 

There are various facets to fact that despite Indian rashness and incessant attempts to destabilize the Line of Control, it is an irredeemable reality that India cannot take over Azad Kashmir. Despite the military consequences, international norms do not allow illegal occupation of other sovereign territory. Indian inspiration may come from Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its continued occupation of the territory, India cannot overlook the harsh sanctions United States and other European countries imposed on Russia. India cannot take the burden of economic sanctions when its economy is finally experiencing the boost and development. India has also always played on levelled ground where it has emphasized the importance of good relations with everyone and conflict with none, except of course with Pakistan. In its exceedingly reckless adventures with Pakistan’s security, India often forgets that Pakistan is a nuclear power. With both states locked in a nuclear stalemate and Pakistan’s declared nuclear doctrine of 1st strike, India never seizes with their skirmishes. Despite the fact that Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint between two nuclear-armed powers, India is determined to escalate the situation. Attempting surgical strikes, violating international airspace of world’s most volatile border zone, “accidentally” launching a missile into your neighbor territory are akin to blatant provocation of war. Despite the foolhardiness of India, Pakistan has always acted as a responsible and rational international actor and did not retaliate to India’s incitement.  

It is a known fact that Pakistan has consistently expressed its strong belief in meaningful discussion to find a just settlement to the Kashmir issue in accordance with UNSC decision, despite Indian highhandedness on the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) issue. Pakistan always firmly adherers to international dispute settlement mechanism. Even when an Indian spy Kalbhushan Jadhav was caught with firm evidence for inciting terrorism and cooperating with domestic insurgent group, Pakistan did not unilaterally execute him but taken the matter to International Court of Justice. Pakistan also returned the captive Indian pilot Abhinandan who violated Pakistan’s airspace and was shot down. These instances speak volume of Pakistan’s responsible course of action to vilify Indian arbitrary incitement against another sovereign state. Pakistan has always emphasized to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue and diplomatic settlement. The UNSC resolution on IIOJK was the result of efforts made by Indian Prime Minister Nehru, as India brought the issue before the UNSC on its own and wholeheartedly endorsed its conclusion. Later, the Indian side delayed to implement the UNSC resolution, which expressly asks for a plebiscite and grants the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination. 

The reality that India is the oppressor is evidenced by its hasty deployment of occupation forces and its failure against the ongoing indigenous freedom fight in Kashmir. Following the Simla Agreement, India insisted on a bilateral settlement and after 5 August 2019, in violation of a UNSC resolution and international law, refused to hold talks using the justification that IIOJK is a core issue. Moving further, the government and media are now propagating the narrative that Azad Kashmir, is their integral part and on government’s agenda to take it back. Pakistan has vowed to keep up its diplomatic efforts to bring the Kashmir issue up at all international platforms while firmly retaliating India’s every aggressive attempt to destabilize the region. The whole notion of India retrieving AJK is nothing but an evasive myth and Hindutva brigade has infamous reputation of building myths to justify their superiority like how they have reshaped the whole Indian History.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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