China-Pak Corridor: Time Kashmiris behave

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When during  his Pakistan visit Chinese President XI Jinping announced $ 46 billion assistance to Pakistan for building China-Pakistan economic corridor which will pass through Pakistan Administered Kashmir, some discordant noises were heard in India. But the central government assuaged the concerns by reasoning that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take up this issue during his visit to China. Modi is expected to have raised the issue that India’s claim on PaK is not compromised by this corridor. 

But the Joint Statement between the India and China during Prime Minister’s visit to China is for anyone to see. There is nothing specific about PaK. The only mention in Joint Statement reads:  “The leaders agreed that the process of the two countries pursuing their respective national developmental goals and security interests must unfold in a mutually supportive manner with both sides showing mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations”.  This is meaningless as it is no where near addressing the concerns of India especially on PaK.

Because PaK was not seized by India militarily hence first Pakistan became party to Kashmir dispute and then with the confused policies of Government of India for the past 67 years Kashmiris through separatists have become at least half party in this dispute.  Thus so far there were only two and half parties in Kashmir dispute – India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. Now with acquiescing to and condoning the Chinese virtual control of PaK there are three and half parties in Kashmir dispute.

It does not require a genius of strategic & economic affairs to know that China-Pakistan economic corridor is going to become a matter of life and death for China for the simple reason that for access to  markets of Middle East, Africa etc this corridor will not only save  ten thousand K.M. of navigation  and  transport but will also avoid sea route which has potentially hostile countries of Pacific and India. Moreover if needed with Pakistan consent (which will come gladly) China can place formidable naval power in front of coastline of Gujarat and Maharashtra in Arabian Sea.

In a nutshell India, including people of J&K, should now forget PaK. Worst comes worst for China it can always say that India can keep Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as its territory and forget PaK and some more strategically important territories of India.

To be fair to China, India is responsible for this mess solely because in any case Indiawas not doing and is not likely to do anything to retrieve PaK from the official – and now unofficially increasingly a part of China –  possession of Pakistan. 

The main impact of this increasing control of PaK by China will be on Kashmiri Muslims and they will face greater problems and will have to make intelligent choice, if they want to lead peaceful and honorable life. 

Without unification of J&K there is no Kashmir solution. Due to said China factor the solution to Kashmir problem is now nowhere in sight. Because, as per media reports, one hundred thousand people have died during Kashmir struggle. Hence Pakistan will never forget Kashmir and the attacks by militants will never stop in J&K and even in other parts of India. Hence India will continue to keep its military and paramilitary forces along with AFSPA etc in J&K forever. This will make the lives of the people of J&K, especially of Kashmiri Muslims, a virtual hell.

Now Kashmiri Muslims have only three alternatives. If Kashmiri Muslims want to live as third class citizen of India then they need not do anything and may continue to live in Kashmir as it is.

If Kashmiri Muslims, like Muslims of rest of India,  want to live as second class citizens of India then should demand the abolition of Article 370 of constitution so that Hindus may come and live with them which will reduce excesses of military, paramilitary and AFSPA etc on them). And they could leave Kashmir and start living in other states of India like other Muslims, read second class citizens, of India.

Hem Raj Jain

Bengaluru, (Karnataka) India

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