To hold on to Kashmir, India has to adopt an imaginative approach. India has to learn from history, especially the lessons from its own history. Can India?

These days, the social media is flooded with reviews and advice on how to deal with the Kashmir situation. The overwhelming strength of such advice is in the nature of bulldozing Kashmiris by sheer force into submission. With respect, this is an advice far removed from reality and totally against the currents of history.

kashmir dispute pix The Kashmir Problem By Far Is Not Easy To Solve

Even the mighty USSR, with military arraignments far superior to what India possesses, had to retreat from Afghanistan with its tail between its legs. No territory on the lines & orientation of Kashmir, barring Tibet, has been managed to be held by brute force alone.

But Kashmir is not Tibet.

Aligned on the borders of Kashmir are Pakistan and China; China being one of the fastest rising military forces and even, otherwise an all-round, one of the most powerful nations rapidly emerging on the global canvas. Somewhere behind the scenes – not so discussed and debated maybe because China is not a Muslim nation – is the acknowledged fact that it is considerable aid and help given by China, direct or indirect, which helps fomenting of acute trouble in Kashmir – mostly through the means of Pakistan and at times through means otherwise. History would say that suppressing Kashmir by brute force would bleed India away in just about every possible way.

kashmir issue The Kashmir Problem By Far Is Not Easy To Solve

Then where lies the solution?

To hold on to Kashmir, India has to adopt an imaginative approach. Nothing much when it is advised to be imaginative. India has to learn from history, especially the lessons from its own history.

To begin with, the Indian government has to strive to implement the “divide and rule” policy so successfully implemented by the British in the Indian subcontinent during their colonial regime. “Divide and rule” is not difficult to achieve given the vulnerabilities of human greed and character which the British so successfully exploited in perpetuating their colonial regime. But it requires some clever – read as dedicated & shrewd – administrators to be in place in Kashmir.

The dissenting forces in Kashmir have to be divided through whatever offerings, means & stratagems that the Indian state can muster. Given the extreme cost and price that the Indian government is paying in deploying such massive armed forces in Kashmir; investments in dividing the dissenting forces in Kashmir may be heavy in the short run, but in the long run would pay out very evenly. The “divide and rule”, in re Kashmir dissidents, has to be taken very seriously with accurate planning and intensive efforts.

Second, the Indian intelligence agencies have to pull up their game. Rather than spending time heavily on surveillance of political opponents in the rest of the country, Indian intelligence agencies have to get their act together – a la the British colonial regime – to enable selective strikes with maximum impact on deserving targets rather than an all-out widespread attempted cushioning back by armed & security forces in Kashmir which dissipates energy without significant results.

shikara The Kashmir Problem By Far Is Not Easy To Solve

Thirdly and not less importantly, the Indian government has to invest heavily in the development of Kashmir. Shawl and carpet sellers from Kashmir are still numerous in the streets and mohallas of North India, if not elsewhere in the country, peddling the same. It only indicates that Roti, Kapda and Makan  remain the foremost needs in Kashmir as in all human civilisations and development and progress in the quality of life is the biggest inducement to unity, solidarity and goodwill. This the Indian government would do well to keep in mind, for going by the things worsening, it will be faced with far more investments in terms of military strength in Kashmir and all the aggravations & constantly increasing emblazons on a day-to-day basis that goes along with.

Given the extremely heavy military & security forces presence, the same can be utilised to invest, at whatever cost it may take, in development projects in Kashmir in the long run interests of India – for assimilating Kashmir would be arguably the greatest achievement of modern India propelling it to intractable self-belief in its destiny and endeavour.

Now what the rest of the country can do, despite all provocations and heartburning that the situation in Kashmir may now currently offer, is to display or at least try to display wisdom in achieving the goals of assimilating Kashmir and solving the Kashmir problem, towards which they can help by toning down their aggression on social media and related exhortations of suppression by brute force. Displaying a greater heart, rising over the provocations and heartburning that the Kashmir situation is capable of bringing about, would go a long way in helping the government on the lines indicated above towards assimilating Kashmir and this can be achieved by the citizens of this country if they really care for their country and are eager towards its development, progress & greater destiny.

By Sanjay Kumar Singh

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