The Orphans of Modernity and the Clash of Civilisations
Khaled Abou El Fadl
The West and Islam: A Return to War?
M. Shahid Alam
US Foreign Policy in the Wake of 11 September
The War on Terrorism: A Threat to Freedom and the Rule of Law
The American Paradox: More Freedom, Less Democracy
‘Terrorism’: The Word Itself Is Dangerous
John V. Whitbeck
Violence, Terrorism and Fundamentalism: Some Feminist Observations
Valentine M. Moghadam
America and the Taliban: From Co-operation to War
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
Iran and the Challenge of 11 September
Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjad-Pour
Mistake, Farce or Calamity? Pakistan and Its Tryst with History
Kamran Asdar Ali
The Convulsions of Kashmir: South Asia after 11 September
British Muslims: Within and between Islam and the West
A Distorted Picture of the Islamic World
Juan R. I. Cole
The Military Roots of Western Hegemony
Douglas M. Peers
Understanding 11 September
The Taliban: An Anatomy
The Black Book of Humanity
Volume 4 ● Number 2 ● Spring 2002—The Impact of 11 September
The Convulsions of Kashmir: South Asia after 11 September
A Regional Barometer
The events of 11 September did not determine the direction of US revenge. Given that most of the men who turned commercial airliners into cruise missiles came from Saudi Arabia, it would have been logical to assume that the United States might put pressure on the kingdom to rein in its radical Islamist groups or bear the brunt of US anger (in line with President George W. Bush’s formula that the United States was not only against terrorists, but also “those who harbour them”). Furthermore, since some of the terror networks that facilitated 11 September were based in Europe, perhaps the Central Intelligence Agency and US special forces could have gone into German, French and British cities to quell the logistical lines and future fedayeen. Instead, the United States went after Afghanistan and inaugurated the fifth Afghan war. Why Afghanistan? Because, it was the base of terror ringleader Osama bin Laden, and because the Taliban regime there refused to hand him over unconditionally.
That the United States and Britain began armed actions in South Asia put the delicate fabric of stability in the region at risk. Afghanistan, for at least a century, has acted as the barometer of subcontinental stability: if the Afghans are in turmoil, then the powers east of the Bolan Pass feel it in their own arrangements, as recent history indicates. When the communist regime of Noor Mohammad Taraki took power in Kabul in the late 1970s, it gave the Indian government a boost since it undermined the Afghan Islamist forces who had already begun to make common cause with the Pakistani military, which itself had begun a gradual shift towards radical Islamism. The CIA and Saudi Arabian alliance with those Islamist elements in Afghanistan provided a natural entry for the Pakistani right, including sections of the military that would come to be fashioned as the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).
The defeat of the Taraki regime in turn emboldened Pakistan against India, and the former then cultivated the most right-wing Afghan group, the Taliban, as a preventive measure against any rumbles by ethnic Pashtun tribesmen for the creation of a Pashtunistan out of southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. In 1993, the hundred-year-old, British-created Durand Line that divided the Pashtuns in Afghanistan from those in Pakistan lapsed, so Islamabad’s support for the Taliban (which began just then) should be seen in light of Pakistan’s fears of further Balkanisation. With the Taliban’s defeat and consequent failure of the ISI’s forward strategy, Pakistan is experiencing uncertainty and dismay, while India (ruled by a generically anti-Muslim Hindu right) seems already to have forged strong ties with the interim government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan.
The fifth Afghan war could not have passed without an increase in tension between India and Pakistan. Pressure on Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, from the United States and from the radical Islamists in his own country meant he had to walk a tightrope: unable to waver in his commitment against bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organisation, Musharraf had also to ensure that he did not act as a US puppet against radical Islamist sentiment or against the ISI’s close links with the Taliban. He deftly moved towards the United States in his aggressive anti-terror campaigns, both in his support for the US war and in his own domestic suppression of Pakistani terror networks, particularly after the 13 December 2001 attack on India’s parliament by suspected Pakistan-backed Islamic militants, in which fourteen people died. Yet he also remained wedded to the radical Islamists through his pro-Kashmir agenda. Musharraf’s retention of power was premised just as much on his unyielding stand on Kashmir as it was on his willingness to withdraw from Afghanistan. As the ISI’s forward strategy unravelled in one place, it was animated in another.
The Bush Doctrine—the stark warning to the world that whoever is not with the United States is against it, and that Washington will act, pre-emptively if necessary, against all whom it identifies as its enemies—has sown instability on a planetary scale. Since 11 September, Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has repeatedly sent tanks and troops into land nominally controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Sharon offers the same logic as Bush: either the PA is with the Israeli government in its attempt to repress all forms of militancy (now labelled terrorism) or else the PA is a legitimate target. If the Taliban can be overthrown to get Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, then so can the PA in Sharon’s own “war on terrorism”. PA chairman Yasser Arafat backed the US war in Afghanistan, and radical Palestinians accepted this posture in the name of Palestinian unity, but the Israeli army continued its onslaught. One Israeli provocation followed another, and we now stand at our current predicament where the PA has been destroyed and Israel holds forth as the foe of global terror.
India and Israel
To bring up Israel in a discussion of South Asia is no digression. Until 1992, India and Israel did not have formal relations, but since then the Sharonist right and the Hindu right have become quite cosy together.1 Just a few days after India announced the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel, Ya’acov Lapidot, director-general of Israel’s police ministry, who had just visited India, announced that Israel was ready to help India in the field of law and order, notably in the suppression of terrorism. Benjamin Netanyahu, then a junior minister in the Israeli government, told the Indian press that Israel “had developed expertise in dealing with terrorism at the field level and also internationally at the political and legal level, and would be happy to share it with India”. In late February, 1992, India’s defence minister, Sharad Pawar, said that the new ties allowed India to draw on “Israel’s successful experience to curb terrorism”.2
When the Hindu right came to power in 1998, the issue of terrorism assumed fresh urgency, since the new government was prone to depict any act of violence by a Muslim as terrorism, and conversely any act of violence by a Hindu as either self-defence or the result of resentment at years of Muslim tyranny. In 1994, the Hindu right’s L. K. Advani visited Israel as leader of the opposition. He has since developed warm ties with the Sharonist elements in the Israeli establishment. When Advani returned to Israel in 1995 he met Netanyahu, who presented him with a book on terrorism. Ever since, Advani has made it a practice to quote from that book when he speaks about terrorism, his favourite citation being: “A free society must reject absolutely the notion that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’.” In other words, the PLO (for Israel) and the various Kashmiri militant groups (for India) are terrorists, regardless of any political claims they may make.
During his visit to Israel in 2000, Advani, now as home minister in a coalition government led by the Hindu right, said he wanted to learn how Israel has dealt with Islamic fundamentalism. “Israel’s Mossad has proved itself to be an expert in this field,” he said, and expressed the hope that the Indian security agencies would learn “some of the finer aspects of intelligence gathering from the Israelis”. He added: “Israel and India have both grappled with [terrorism] during the last two decades … Terrorist organizations are now known to establish and have international linkages. This makes it necessary for the countries which are victims of such terrorism to learn from the experience of each other.”3
Rumours that Israeli agents operate alongside Indian troops in Kashmir frequently circulate among the press corps in New Delhi and Tel Aviv, hitherto without corroborating evidence. But it is certainly the case that Israel offered India support during the Kargil campaign in 1999, after Pakistani-backed forces occupied Indian-held territory in northern Kashmir. It has also advised India on techniques for closing the Line of Control between Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir (similar to attempts by Israel to close its border with the PA). In early January 2002, Israel’s foreign minister, Shimon Peres, declared that Israel was ready to help India deal with Pakistan after the December 2001 attack on parliament, but “it depends on India [and] what it wants … we are available”.4
The first element of instability in South Asia is the new Bush Doctrine, practised by the United States across the planet, by the Sharonists in the West Bank and Gaza, and now by the Hindu right—hesitantly with Pakistan, and aggressively in Kashmir. International norms now allow for vigilante justice.
The Nuclear Threat
In May 1998, the explosion of some five nuclear devices by India and Pakistan transformed the subcontinent’s balance of power. “After our nuclear tests,” said Musharraf (at that time Pakistan’s army chief of staff), “Pakistan is taking on India on an equal basis. We are not talking to India from a weak position.” Before the Indian nuclear tests, India held a large conventional weapons advantage over Pakistan. With the Pakistani nuclear test, the imbalance was rendered useless, since Pakistan could now threaten to use the ultimate weapon if it was put into a conventional bind. In January 1999, speaking at the disputed Siachen Glacier border region in Kashmir, Musharraf announced that Pakistan’s defence had become “impregnable”, a reference to its nuclear capability. The Kargil conflict of May–July 1999, South Asia’s first test after the tests, revealed the instability in the region. Indeed, as events heated up after the senseless murder of thirty people at Kaluchak in Jammu on 14 May 2002, Musharraf responded to India’s troop mobilisation with the threat that Pakistan might use nuclear weapons if attacked; Pakistan then proceeded to test three missiles, sending a message that it was serious about the nuclear option.
Following the May 2002 crisis, things seemed to settle down to normally dangerous levels, both sides retreating from the brink of nuclear confrontation. Yet the danger remains, and millions may be dead from a senseless escalation before this essay appears in print.
By bullet or ballot, the Indian and Pakistani states had by late 1999 committed themselves to the votaries of the right. In India, an election returned a vast alliance dominated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP, while in Pakistan, the generals resorted to a coup d’etat against a corrupt, but democratically elected, regime.
Nuclear bombs enhance the right’s power to dominate society. This was so in the United States, where the state arrogated vast powers to itself in the name of atomic secrecy. The state justified atomic secrecy on the grounds of the need for deterrence against an anti-democratic enemy (this in true Orwellian style). Since an “essential aspect of the theology of deterrence [is to allow] one’s population to be hostage to the nuclear weapons”, argues N. Ram, then those who speak in the name of the people commit an act of immense bad faith in our name.5 If nuclear bombs deter nuclear wars, then why have the bombs in the first place? Why, logically, should two sides need to keep arsenals of things to ensure that those very things are never used?
Nuclear weapons certainly do not deter conventional wars, since the nuclear age continues to be littered with the detritus of conflict. The original sin of Hiroshima produced a theology called deterrence, an opiate to promote an authoritarian and militaristic state. In a speech at the United Nations on 3 October 1960, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India alluded to the tensions of superpower nuclear confrontation: “Coming from a warm country, I have shivered occasionally from these cold blasts.” By 1999, those blasts emanated from the subcontinent as well. The right in India, the military in Pakistan and the democratic authoritarianism of the United States are all examples of the logic of nuclearism. In the midst of this maelstrom lies Jammu and Kashmir.
In 1950, the UN mediator on Kashmir, Sir Owen Dixon (an Australian diplomat), proposed the partition of the territory, so that Muslim-majority districts would go to Pakistan and Hindu-majority districts would remain with India. Dixon’s plan amounted to a division of Kashmir along ethnic or communal lines, a continuation of the 1947 partition of the subcontinent that resulted in the loss of a million lives, the creation of thirteen million refugees and untold grief and suffering. Nothing was learnt from that horrendous event.
Partition, as Radha Kumar notes in her book on the subject, is a “colonial formula”. It “draws on structures of ethnonational negotiation which were developed under colonialism”. Because these structures “were rooted in divide and rule policies, when the shift to decolonise occurred it took the form of divide and quit”.6 The Dixon plan emerged in the heyday of ethnic partitions, from Bengal (1905) to Ireland (1921) and Palestine (1948).
Dixon favoured partition, he wrote in his report, because
Jammu and Kashmir is not really a unit geographically, demographically or economically. It is an agglomeration of territories brought under the political power of one Maharajah. That is the unity it possesses. The interests of the people, the justice, as well as the permanence of the settlement, and the imperative necessity of avoiding another refugee problem all point to the wisdom of adopting partition as the principle of settlement and of abandoning that of an overall plebiscite.7
In those areas where the demographer could not decide outright whether the district should go to India or Pakistan (such as in Ladakh), Dixon recommended that the inhabitants be polled to ascertain their wishes. India rejected the Dixon plan, partly because many predicted that at least eight hundred thousand people would become refugees in a replay of the 1947 partition saga.
By early 1951, even mere discussion of an independent Kashmir had been stymied by the Cold War. Former US senator Frank Graham had replaced Dixon as UN mediator for Kashmir. Graham proposed something resembling the Dixon plan, only to rebuffed by the Soviet Union and India, mainly because they feared that an independent Kashmir might effectively become a US aircraft carrier. This was not a far-fetched delusion, since private documents show that both Britain and the United States were worried that India might “go communist”,8 an eventuality the United States could pre-empt by establishing a military presence in the region, either in Kashmir or Nepal. Another instance of the US imperial agenda is evident in Washington’s disdain for the reforms put in place by Sheikh Abdullah, the leading politician in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Against his land reform agenda, Josef Korbel (father of Madeleine Albright) produced Danger in Kashmir (1954) to warn the US establishment about Abdullah’s “communism” and the need for US intervention.
It is a canard that partition is a human rights solution, as may be seen in the callous disregard for the refugees inevitably produced by the process. The communal partition of Kashmir, given the sorry legacy of partition elsewhere (Ireland, Palestine, Cyprus), should find no takers. But it does, notably among the “Kashmir Study Group” (KSG) based in the United States. An agglomeration of academics and politicians, the KSG was founded and is chaired by a Kashmiri American, Farooq Kathwari (chairman of Ethan Allen). Among its members are stalwarts of the India caucus in the US Congress, Senator Robert Torricelli and Congressman Gary Ackerman; former US ambassadors to India (Harry Barnes), Pakistan (the notorious Robert Oakley, who led the charge for the jihadis in the 1980s), Sri Lanka (Teresita Schaffer, who was also deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia), and Bangladesh (Howard Schaffer, who was also deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia); as well as Phillips Talbot (of the State Department). Established in July 1996, the KSG produced its first report the following year, but it was not until its 1998 report, Kashmir: A Way Forward (available at www.kashmirstudygroup.net/), that it received attention.
The KSG plan suggested that the Kashmir region be turned into a condominium in the manner of Andorra, which is overseen by France and Spain, and (since 1993) enjoys membership in the United Nations as an independent state. The analogy is spurious in several respects. Andorra, since the thirteenth century, has been spared Kashmir’s contemporary history of strife. Moreover, there are only sixty-five thousand Andorrans, whereas there are close to ten million Kashmiris. That the Andorran agreement created a solution is belied by the dispute over tobacco sales and other trade related issues, not addressed at all by the KSG in its report and memorandum. Nevertheless, drawing on the Andorran example, the KSG proposed that the disputed region (that is, the Kashmir Valley) be
reconstituted as a sovereign entity (but one without an international personality) enjoying free access to and from both India and Pakistan. The portion of the State to be so reconstituted shall be determined through an internationally supervised ascertainment of the wishes of the Kashmiri people on either side of the Line of Control. This ascertainment would follow agreement among India, Pakistan, and representatives of the Kashmiri people to move forward with this proposal. The sovereignty of the new entity would be guaranteed by India, Pakistan, and appropriate international bodies.
While the KSG is careful not to use communal language, the proposals in effect mean that Jammu will be divided from Kashmir and the borders will resemble the Dixon plan.
The KSG plan is not far from the aims of the competing communal forces in the Jammu region. For short-term political gain, some leaders of the National Conference called in 1996 for the boundary between Jammu and Kashmir to be redrawn. After the killing of four Muslims in Karara by an extremist Hindu group in 1998, National Conference leader Khalid Suhrawady made common cause with the boss of the right-wing Jam’at-i-Islami, Saiyidullah Tantre. On the Hindu right, the call for an independent Jammu has been strident, and in recent years has been joined even by the son of the last Dogra (Hindu) Maharaja of Kashmir, Karan Singh. Struck by these moves to division, Mehbooba Mufti, one of Kashmir’s few women politicians, told journalist Praveen Swami, “We’ve already had one partition. We don’t need another … [A]ll that successive Governments have wanted to do is impose a military solution. India, and for that matter Pakistan, must decide whether they want Kashmir’s people, or their graveyards.”9
From the right, then, we get talk of partitions as a solution, even as the evidence shows that borders do not solve problems; indeed, they often aggravate them.
Confronted with the intractable problem of Kashmir’s future, liberals indulge in the delusion that “self-determination” is the panacea. If the people can decide their own fate, then so be it. But there is far more to the problem of “self-determination” than is allowed for by its apparent self-evidentness. Of course, people ought to decide their own fate, but how is this to be done? By plebiscite, election, or vote of some sort?
In 1947, Nehru favoured a UN plebiscite in Kashmir. The idea was foiled by an incursion of Pakistani irregulars into the valley and the reaction of the then Maharaja of Kashmir’s forces, soon to be bolstered by the entry of a vast Indian army detachment. By the time the president of the UN Security Council wrote on 28 January 1948, “the question as to whether the State of Jammu and Kashmir will accede to India or to Pakistan shall be decided by plebiscite,” the ground had decisively shifted: India and Pakistan had fought their first war over Kashmir.
Heightened emotions and a military presence on both sides of the border made the conduct of a fair vote impossible. An air of impossibility hung over the question of a plebiscite even as the UN Commission for India and Pakistan resolved, on 13 August 1948 (a year after the partition of the subcontinent), that
the governments of India and Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people and, to that end, … both governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions whereby free expression will be assured.10
It is clear that elections are only a partial way of gauging opinion. An election campaign awash with money and guns will certainly curtail the rights of people to express their sentiments, which in turn may be so charged up by events as to make calm deliberation impossible. When two neighbouring countries are in a state of war, when both states control sections of the disputed territory and fail to provide adequate economic development because of their mutual animosity, when the local liberation movements are constantly fettered by infiltration, when the level of civilian deaths affects almost all the inhabitants of the region, any talk of a plebiscite is simply sophistry. The first task before talk of a vote to decide a people’s fate is to create a situation of calm and peace, and to allow the people to create their own organisations that express their will.
The example of East Timor is instructive here. The East Timorese did not gain independence simply via a UN-brokered plebiscite: they had fought beforehand through their own organisations for almost three decades to create a national-liberation sensibility that wrested freedom from the Indonesian state. Only then did they vote in an election to choose representatives. A mobilised and organised population with a political consciousness highly developed because of the struggle chose the ballot box as the site in which to select their leaders. In Kashmir, both in the 37 per cent held by Pakistan and the 63 per cent held by India, the political parties, by the failure of their platforms to engender development, have reduced elections to a cynical ploy by which to exert their unpopular mandates. The ballot box plebiscite is not, at this time, a useful instrument to solve the Kashmir crisis.
Furthermore, it is imperative that the historical location of the term “self-determination” within the arsenal of imperialism be recognised. Woodrow Wilson is widely regarded as the main proponent of the theory of self-determination via his famous “Fourteen Points” unveiled before Congress near the end of the First World War. The US president hoped that the Fourteen Points would appeal to the peoples of the world and so help counter what was seen as the growing threats of communism and anti-colonial nationalism.
Another impetus for the declaration of the Fourteen Points was a crisis of overproduction in the US economy. In 1912, while on the road to the presidency, Wilson told the Virginia General Assembly that “we are making more manufactured goods than we can consume ourselves”. Therefore, “if we are not going to stifle economically, we have got to find a way out into the great international exchanges of the world.” How could this be done? Wilson urged Detroit businessmen to
let your thoughts and your imaginations run abroad throughout the world, and with the inspiration of the thought that you are Americans and are meant to carry liberty and justice and the principles of humanity wherever you go, go out and sell goods that will make the world more comfortable and more happy, and convert them to the principles of America.
In other words, let people be at liberty to buy US-made goods, let them justly enjoy them and let self-determination mean that newly constrained national economies may come under the sway of the vast US production machine.11
The economic motives for the Fourteen Points did not come under scrutiny, and indeed have not been stressed frequently enough. The call for “self-determination” is often adopted by the Empire to support strategically those regimes that will open their markets to imperial goods (or to transnational corporations). Thus, the United States kept its distance from the people who later formed the Kosovo Liberation Army and the various Bosnian factions (many of which are allied to bin Laden–style networks) until such groups (and their cry for national liberation) became a useful wedge against the refusal of the Yugoslavian region to come fully under the fundamentalist regime of the International Monetary Fund. (This is not to minimise the ruthlessness of the Milosevic clique, but only to point out that the standard maintained by the champions of self-determination is this: to support political independence for those national movements that are willing to submit their people’s economic destiny to the yoke of the IMF.)
Moreover, Wilson had no compunction about leaving the non-white colonies as the white man’s burden. The “interests of the populations concerned,” his Point V declares, “must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.” In the Covenant of the League of Nations, the “interests” of many colonised peoples were curtailed because it characterised them as “peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world” (Article 22, paragraph 1). In other words, the imperial powers, in loco parentis, must tend to the future of the natives. The “tutelage of such peoples,” the League of Nations noted, “should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility” (Article 22, paragraph 2). Self-determination, then, is not necessarily a slogan of anti-colonialism, but, as in the Mandate regime imposed on Palestine, it can mean the continuation of paternalistic imperialism.
Kashmir: An Exploitable Cause
Given the treacherous history of policymaking, how can one approach the South Asia crisis with even a proposal for dialogue? The million troops along the Indo-Pakistan border will not move if there is no guarantee of security. No one trusts anyone else to arbiter the peace, so it seems unlikely that either side will take the first step to demobilise. If the Indian government has over-reached itself with its military deployments in Jammu and Kashmir as well as along the border, the Pakistani government has per capita stretched itself to the limit. Even if the suffering of the Kashmiris is set aside, the economic cost of the current standoff is astounding.
The pocketbooks of both countries are already burdened and war would have sent them to ruin. Pakistan will spend 11 per cent over its current budget to pay for its troop deployment. India’s finance ministry projects that a month-long, non-nuclear war would cost the exchequer $4 billion, or $139 million per day. This is an extraordinary expense for a country with a GDP of $447 billion. If war-mongering can divert attention from class issues, then it is a cheaper way of doing so than an actual war. Peace groups both in India and Pakistan routinely stress the immorality of war, the need for a political solution to disputes and the ridiculous cost of armaments for two countries with high rates of inequality. The richest ten per cent in India enjoy 33.5 per cent of the goods and services produced, while the richest ten per cent in Pakistan consume 27.6 per cent of goods and services (the poorest ten per cent of Indians only account for 3.5 per cent of goods and services, while their Pakistani counterparts take up 4.1 per cent).
Writer and activist Arundhati Roy is right to point out that
For the governments of India and Pakistan, Kashmir is not a problem, it’s their perennial and spectacularly successful solution. Kashmir is the rabbit they pull out of their hats every time they need a rabbit. Unfortunately, it’s a radioactive rabbit now, and it’s careening out of control.12
In the heat of war, the good of the Kashmiris wanes. The first step towards a measure of normalcy for the region is the withdrawal of troops from the border and the creation of means for dialogue. But it is imperative to realise that there will be no dialogue as long as these obdurate and right-wing regimes dominate the region. It is delusion to hope that talks between Musharraf and India’s prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will lead to genuine peace, as great a delusion as the belief that Ariel Sharon is a “man of peace” (so dubbed by President Bush). The task of people around the world is to join with the left-of-centre forces in the subcontinent, give them strength and look forward to the defeat of the right.
After the 1999 Kargil clash, Musharraf overthrew the civilian government in Pakistan and took charge of the country himself. Always concerned about his political legitimacy, he engineered a vote to anoint him leader in mid-2002, just as he moved to the side of the United States and earned Pakistan aid, economic concessions and arms imports. He needed a war, or at least a period of war-mongering, to cement his position among the populace in Pakistan. The Hindu right, led by Vajpayee, failed in early 2002 state elections and was then exposed for its semi-fascist tendencies during the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat. Some two thousand people died when cadres of the Hindu right took to the streets and slaughtered Muslims in an engineered fashion. The shame of Gujarat needed to be erased for the Hindu right to reclaim legitimacy among the electorate, and the rattling of sabres over Kashmir served the purpose.
These domestic considerations, together with the opening provided for the itchy fingers of the Hindu right by the Bush Doctrine, raised the temperature in South Asia for a month (April‑May 2002). The media said ceaselessly that Kashmir had sparked the slide towards war. Certainly, there is tension between the two nations over Kashmir, but that province is not the principal reason for the hostility. The ruling cliques in Pakistan and in India cannot earn the right to rule by their economic programmes, so they turn to jingoism.
So far as India is concerned, there is a constitutional framework for a peaceful outcome. Like other Indian states, Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a constitutional right to a degree of autonomy from the central government (Article 370). But it is not in the interests of India’s current right-wing regime to follow this measured path for the social development and political enfranchisement of the people of the northern state. Indeed, it wishes to abrogate it.
2. I am indebted here to P. R. Kumaraswamy’s crucial analysis, “India and Israel: Evolving Strategic Partnership”, Mideast Security and Policy Studies, no. 40 (September 1998), Begin–Sadat Center for Strategic Studies [www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/publications/40pub.html].
3. Chandan Nandy, “Advani Focus on Israel Terror Tips”, Telegraph (India), 31 May 2000.
4. “Israel Ready to Help If Asked”, Hindu (India), 10 January 2002.
5. N. Ram, Riding the Nuclear Tiger (New Delhi: Leftword, 1999), p. 38.
6. Radha Kumar, Divide and Fall? Bosnia in the Annals of Partition (London: Verso, 1997), p. xv.
7. United Nations Document S/1791; 1950 U.N.Y.B. 310–12.
8. John F. Kennedy wrote that “if India collapses, so may all of Asia”. With China communist and if India follows, he noted, “the Free World would never be the same again.” John F. Kennedy, “If India Falls”, Progressive, 22 January 1958.
9. Praveen Swami, “Trouble Ahead in Kashmir”, Frontline (India), 13–26 March 1999.
10. Cited in Alastair Lamb, The Kashmir Problem: A Historical Survey (New York: Praeger, 1967).
11. See Norman Gordon Levin, Woodrow Wilson and World Politics (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 14–18, and John M. Cooper, Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
12. Arundhati Roy, “War Talk”, Frontline (India), 8–21 June 2002.