Narendra Modi was sworn in on the 26th of May as the 15th Prime Minister of India, and Bharatia Janata Party’s (BJP) Hindu nationalist philosophy unveiled itself within days.
It seems that Modi has different ‘aspirations’ to those of his predecessors: to capitalize all of Kashmir and bury it under the dreams of an extremist Hindu nationalist philosophy. These aspirations have thus been escalating into renewed tension between the two countries, ostensibly on the Kashmir issue, which India does not want to surrender at any cost. Modi Sarkar has broken the cease-fire in place since 2003.
Between the 1st-10th of October, 20 ceasefire violations along the LoC and 22 violations along the Working Boundary were reported, resulting in 12 civilian casualties, 52 injured civilians and nine injured military personnel on the Pakistan side. From June to August 2014, there were 99 ceasefire violations along the LoC and 32 along the Working Boundary. In all, during 2014, 174 ceasefire violations along the LoC and 60 along the Working Boundary have been reported.
Herein lies the message Modi wants to convey to the world.
Pakistan raised the issue of the LoC violation, an internationally recognized border between Indian held Kashmir and Pakistan’s Punjab province, at the United Nations on 7th October. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon asked both Pakistan and India to resolve the issue diplomatically and through negotiations.
Thus, Pakistan proposed the Flag Meeting to ease escalating tensions. The Indian Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, however, turned it down entirely. India has repeatedly been turning a deaf ear to both bilateral and UN calls to reduce tension.
Violations have increased to the extent that Pakistan’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Masood Khan, called upon the United Nations Military Observer Group for India & Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its role to end the violations. Washington has also shown its concern over the constant border violations between the two nuclear armed nations.
The adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, wrote a strong worded letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on 11th October, reminding him of UN responsibility to resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. He highlighted a brief chronology of the LoC violations by India.
Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) have been shelling at Pakistani areas and killing innocent civilians. Pakistan constantly called the LoC violations unprovoked. Again, with Indian violations, the Kashmir dispute has been highlighted in the United Nations. This is the re-internationalization of the Kashmir dispute. Ascertaining the plebiscite is the only resolution, which the United Nations recognized in 1948.
Is it wise, one might ask Modi, for the military to keep borders tense at their western and eastern ends simultaneously? With increasing tensions with Pakistan and China, India is fast losing its image as a peaceful neighbour.
Whenever tensions escalate between Pakistan and India, it is a setback to the cause of the freedom of the Kashmiri people. The dispute can only be resolved through a plebiscite. Until that time, Kashmir remains one of the oldest issues pending unresolved in the United Nations.
The UN must realize its responsibility to ensure Kashmiris are granted their unalienable right to self-determination, freedom, and human rights. Between 1948-71, the UN passed at least 23 resolutions on Kashmir. The first two resolutions were unanimously adopted, which meant that India endorsed them. In 1953, India agreed with Pakistan to appoint a Plebiscite Administrator on Kashmir. In 1962, ironically, the former Soviet Union vetoed a UN resolution on Kashmir in favour of India, and later went on itself to give independence to its 15 republics.
International actors also must realize their responsibilities. The United States supported all four UN resolutions on Kashmir’s plebiscite. Great Britain favored the 1950 resolution on the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. Most of the countries that were in favor of Indian global politics in the 1950s also supported these resolutions. These countries: France, Norway, Netherlands, Turkey, and Belgium to name a few, should recall their commitments made in the UN in 1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951; that the right to self-determination be given to the people of Kashmir. Let Kashmiris to decide their fate. War is no solution. Modi Sarkar must realize, that even wars as long as these are finally negotiated on the table. The Government of Pakistan should not miss the opportunity to re-internationalize the Kashmir dispute at the UN forum and multilateral and bilateral fora. It is the national duty of every Pakistani to help accord a dignified and humane status to the people of Kashmir.
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ISS or of the Government of Pakistan.