Divided at United Nations

Pointing to the “regular violation of ceasefire by the neighbour” in J&K, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Pakistan was not showing any interest in improving relations with India. He said that India will create such conditions that Pakistan will be forced to stop ceasefire violation today or tomorrow. He didn’t elaborate what the government will do. On the other hand,  India and Pakistan once again sparred at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, trading accusations and allegations over human rights violations and violence in J&K. While Pakistan’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Farukh Amil,  accused India of human rights violations in Kashmir, Sumit Seth, a First Secretary in India’s UN Mission in Geneva, said the “the present situation in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir is the direct result of sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan”.  He reiterated that “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inseparable part of India and will always remain so”. The bitter exchange brought into sharp relief the current abysmal state of relationship between the two countries.

India and Pakistan have again positioned themselves rigidly on the opposite sides of the divide, ratcheting up their old rhetoric on the state. Pakistan has also returned to its historical stand on the dispute, making the UN resolutions as the bedrock for the Kashmir solution. This is a far cry from the former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s radically flexible position on the settlement of the state. His four point proposals which envisaged a Kashmir solution without any radical geographical modifications and New Delhi’s gradual warming up to the ideas have all but vanished from the discourse.  UN resolutions are back in vogue. And the prospect of the talks look bleaker than ever before.

There is also a widening  difference over the agenda with Pakistan seeking a return to the composite dialogue process and meaningful discussion on Kashmir. India , on the other hand, wants a thrust on terrorism. India also wants a demonstrative action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot attack  as a pre-requisite for  resuming and expanding the scope of the dialogue. With this serious difference of opinion persisting on a  range of issues, the fate of the the attempts to resume dialogue looks predictable. Even if the dialogue is resumed at some future date, the challenge for the two countries would be to not only carry the talks process forward and protect it from the usual treacherous turns in their relationship but also to take steps to bridge their differences on the talks agenda itself.  Ever since Musharraf exited from  the scene, both countries have struggled to get back to productive dialogue. There has been an out and out drift in their relationship and it is time both countries make a renewed effort to bring back trust in their engagement and seek accommodation of each other’s concerns and sensitivities. Only such an approach holds hope of a positive outcome. Peace in the region needs the two countries to step up to this challenge without outside pressure. And Kashmir as a major bone of contention will need to be tackled head on.


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