Why India is already a loser in NSA talks

Iqbal Sonaullah
Iqbal SonaullahAug 23, 2015 | 12:14

Why India is already a loser in NSA talks

When India demonstrated its resentment against Pakistan’s commitment to meet Kashmir’s resistance leadership in New Delhi ahead of the national security adviser (NSA) level talks, little did it know about the consequences of this political miscalculation. Over the years, probably since the summer uprising of 2010, the Kashmiri resistance leadership has never been too significant in any political process concerning Kashmir. Such political obstinacy further delegitimises the authenticity of India’s idea of Kashmir.

India emphasises that NSA level talks are only meant to deal with the issues related to security and terrorism. True. But the main cause of "terrorism" between India and Pakistan is the unresolved political dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. If there was no unresolved Kashmir issue, why would the non-state actors from Pakistan be interested in crossing the line of control (LoC)? India calls it Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Also, what interest would India have in creating trouble in Balochistan (as claimed by Pakistan) to destabilise the neighbouring county? Pakistan calls it India-sponsored terrorism.

Pakistan, as a country, has its own political idea and its foreign policy; so when Pakistan chooses to talk to India, it definitely has to make sure that the goals of its foreign policy are met. Kashmir is a part of Pakistan’s greater foreign policy initiatives and for it, Kashmir remains the main issue related to the security of the two countries. It, thereby, becomes essential for Pakistan to have Kashmir on its agenda for the NSA meet.

For India, the only way out of the Kashmir dispute, without compromising its position, has been its attempts to make the resistance leadership irrelevant on the broader political paradigm. But Kashmir’s struggle is not because of the leadership that represents the idea. Alienating them would not actually make much difference: a person or a face could be made irrelevant, but the idea itself will remain there forever.

One of the important issues that India is demonstrating its ignorance about is the understanding between Pakistan and the Hurriyat. If Pakistan has to set a political agenda for the talks after consulting the Hurriyat, what makes India think that Pakistan could not do it without calling the Hurriyat leadership to New Delhi? India keeps on saying that Pakistan is a country run by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Why would it, in that case, be difficult for Pakistan to seek the viewpoint of the resistance leadership without letting India even know about it?

Over the years, Pakistan has been too busy dealing with its internal problems. As a consequence, several issues, including Kashmir, could not get due attention. So it is especially important for Pakistan to take a stand on Kashmir, particularly when an impression is being formed that owing to Pakistan’s internal problems, it seems to have given up its stand on Kashmir.

To put things simply, in this political game, talks may or may not be successful, but Pakistan has already scored a diplomatic point, while the Indian political leadership – divided under different names and ideas – remains busy in throwing blame on each other for Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir. So, diplomatically India is already defeated in this round of NSA talks.

Last updated: August 23, 2015 | 12:15
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