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HVK Archives: If Kashmir goes to the UN, so will other ethno-nationalist conflicts

If Kashmir goes to the UN, so will other ethno-nationalist conflicts - The Economic Times

K Subrahmanyam ()
June 9, 1998

Title: If Kashmir goes to the UN, so will other ethno-nationalist
Author: K Subrahmanyam
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: June 9, 1998

For some inexplicable reasons, the mention of Kashmir in
international fora generates panic in India. The latest P-5
statement from Geneva exhorting India and Pakistan to enter into
a direct dialogue on root causes of tension including Kashmir has
cast a pall of gloom over Delhi. This is considered the first
step in bringing Kashmir before the Security Council.

India needs to highlight that Kashmir is not the core issue as
Pakistanis project, but only a symptom of a deeper issue namely,
the two-nation theory which Pakistan maintains is its ideological
basis. The two-nation theory is, in fact, a predecessor of what
it is today widely known as the thesis of lash of
civilisations" popularised by Professor Samuel Huntington. A
similar two-nation thesis is being propagated in Cyprus to divide
the island state into Islamic and Christian states. The two-
nation theory is also being propagated in Bosnia, Chechenya and

Ethnic cleansing first took place in Pakistan when the entire
Hindu minority was driven out. It was subsequently attempted in
East Bengal when 10 million Hindu refugees were driven out by the
Pakistan army. There has an attempt to do the same in Kashmir in
respect of Pandits.

Under the Indian Independence Act which created Pakistan, the
rulers of princely states were given full and unfettered rights
to join India or Pakistan, and this was insisted upon by Mohammed
Ali Jinnah. So the accession of Kashmir to India is as
unquestionable as the creation of the state of Pakistan under the
same Act.

Today, ethno nationalism is a major disruptive force which has
created instability in many multi-ethnic states. Turkey has the
Kurdistan problem, Pakistan has the Shidh problem, Russia the
Chechenyan issue, China, Tibet and XinJiang. Any attempt at
reopening the Kashmir issue, which has not been considered in the
UN for the last 33 years and which the Secretary General wanted
to remove from the UN agenda altogether, will give encouragement
to secessionism elsewhere in the world. The US will find it will
complicate the Bosnian and Cyprus issues and secessionists the
world over will receive encouragement.

India has been remiss in allowing Pakistan to get away with the
description of Kashmir as the core issue. The Indian stand has to
be that the core issue is the two-nation theory of which the
Kashmir issue is only an offshoot. Pakistan's claim to Kashmir is
based only on this theory and not on the Indian Independence Act.

The Pakistan which claimed Kashmir on the basis of the two-nation
theory no longer exists. The majority population of that Pakistan
had seceded and become Bangladesh. The minority portion of the
Pakistan of 1947 is not the homeland of all Indian Muslims and
cannot claim Kashmir on the two-nation thesis since it has lost
its own majority to Bangladesh. Since India has more Muslims than
either Pakistan or Bangladesh, the Indian claim to Kashmir is
undisputable on any count.

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