The Government of India’s decision to revoke Article 370 has happened through the Indian Parliament which debated, discussed, voted and then ratified the decision. The demand for abrogating Article 370 has been raised in the past by leaders cutting across parties in India, demands for its removal have also been made even in the Valley and in Kashmir.
Over the years Article 370 itself has been much watered down and the Congress governments in power in the past had done this. More than guaranteeing autonomy, Article 370 is discriminatory in nature. Both the Houses of the Indian Parliament saw these issues being discussed threadbare in course of two days – 5 & 6 August. It has clearly emerged that the Article has prevented the fruits of development, growth and opportunities from reaching the people of Jammu & Kashmir in an equitable manner. The people of the Buddhist region of Ladakh have also been discriminated against because of this Article, which prevented the inflow of opportunities in the region. Its abrogation will now bring in an era of possibilities, development and opportunities for the people. Grassroots democracy is also now thriving in the region, with elections held at the Panchayat levels. There are now about 44 thousand village chiefs working to effectuate democracy at the grassroots. For seven decades this system had not been put in place. It is natural that separatists elements and cross border terrorist proxies functioning in the region will try and create disturbances, but the majority of the people in Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh have welcomed the decision.
As I write, Eid celebrations are on full swing in the Valley as well. The ordinary people want investments and jobs in the Valley, they want opportunities and other facilities, they want access to better health-care and education, they want better infrastructure, they want better utilisation of federal funds, and the future opens up all these possibilities. In his address to the nation on 8 August, Prime Minister Modi spelt out a detailed vision for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and spoke of the huge possibilities of growth and prosperity that the abrogation of the Article opens up for the people of the region. The continuation of the Article had also denied equal opportunities to the marginalised communities in the region, it had denied them political rights, it had denied them rights of livelihood and opportunities.
The abrogation of Article 370 is an internal matter to India and what Pakistan says or does hardly matters. Pakistan, as state, in fact continues to be a principal player in generating instability in the region. It spawns terrorist groups which continue to create instability. Kashmir is an internal matter to India and in fact, India also seeks to re-possess the rest of Kashmir which continues to be under illegal occupation of Pakistan. Any problem with Pakistan is a bilateral issue which must be resolved among the two without any international mediation. The international community must realise that the threat of terrorism emanates from Pakistan and it future it is going to pose a serious challenge to the globe as a whole in future. Hence Prime Minister Modi has repeatedly called for an international convention on terrorism which will effectively enable the international community to face this threat.
Interestingly, in order to try and falsely report and portray the situation a section of the international media – such as the BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters particularly – have resorted to fake images and news to try and tell the international community that Kashmir is exploding due to this decision. On the contrary Kashmir is stable, people have gradually started going back to attending to their normal work and are yearning for normalcy.
Kashmir will never turn into a crisis spot. India is a matured democracy. Mr Narendra Modi is one of the most experienced statesman of our times and is a responsible major power which knows how to handle challenges. The world community is increasingly perceiving India to be a responsible, democratic and strong power conscious of her strength. While Pakistan comes across as a vassal state, dependent on doles, with its basic parameters and infrastructure collapsing, India is emerging as a resilient and mature democracy which has the capacity to contain terrorism.
India’s decision is justified since it is a democratic decision based on the aspiration of the people and support from various parties and their leaders. Pakistan does not possess the capacity to resort to an armed conflict. Any attempts on its part will further isolate it internationally and will also create greater internal instability for it. At this point in time, Pakistan is merely resorting to grand-standing without any capacity to diplomatically or military address this issue.The Russian MoFA’s statement on the situation is welcome, Russia has rightly read the situation when it said that the move was made within the “framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India.’ This is exactly what India has been saying. There is no scope or necessity for mediation, the issue does not require any mediation. All that the international community can do is to instill some sense into Pakistan and never consider it as a dependable ally.