India Insight

Only US, Russia and China claimed the title of Space Power and now India has joined the list by shooting down a live satellite on the LEO (Low Earth Orbit) in just three minutes using a missile on March 29, 2019. Anti satellites are space weapons designed to destroy or incapacitate satellites for strategic military purposes.

Beginning of Space Race
Space race was triggered with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957. As a result, the USA and Russia started developing on their own space industries. Today, countries like Canada, Japan, India and China have started to prove their capacity in the space programmes. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) was set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to make sure that the benefits of space-based services reach the people on the ground.

Space Agencies of the world
There are six government space agencies in the world. They are; the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA or Roscosmos), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the China National Space Administration (CNSA), and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

What do satellite do?
They take pictures of the sun, black holes, dark matter or faraway galaxies. Scientists use these pictures to better understand the solar system and the universe. Some satellites are uses for communication such as beaming TV signals and phone calls around the world. Satellites also help in GPS technology which helps figure out our exact location.

Will anti-satellites missiles be used in future wars?
Anti-satellite missiles can destroy enemy satellites in times of war in order to prevent the intelligence and communication networks of a country. It can also be used to destroy the spy satellites. The US tested its anti-satellite missiles in 1958 while the Soviet Union did it in the 1960 and 70s. China tested its anti-satellite missile in 2007. Though Prime Minister Modi reiterated the international community that this new capability of India will be used only for its own security and development, Ajay Lele, senior fellow at the Institute for Defense and Analysis, mentioned that India needed to do it “because adversary China has already done it in 2007”. Therefore, India’s Mission Shakthi programme would be seen as a threat mainly by China and Pakistan.

With its 1.3 billion inhabitants, India is called the largest democracy in the world. It is the product of a multicultural history which started around 2,500 BC, with the Vedic period.

The Aryans, a semi-nomadic tribe coming from central Asia, arrived after 1500 BC. In the fifth century, large regions of India were united under the rule of the Mauryas leader, Ashoka. Converted to Buddhism, he spread this religion to his kingdom. Islam was introduced in India as soon as the eleventh century, which led to the Mughal Empire from 1526 to 1761. The Europeans arrived in India from the fifteenth century and the British crown decided to rule this country by itself during a period named the British Raj (1858-1747).

On the 15th of august 1947, India became independent and since this date, she has experienced a democratic governance.

 In 2018, India became the 6th most powerful country economically, with a growth rate of 7%. However, if we look closer at the numbers given by the Oxford Poverty and Human development initiative, using the multidimensional poverty index (MPI), in 2010, 55% of the Indian population live under the poverty line.

According to Christophe Jaffrelot, professor in Sciences Po Paris and specialist in India, the poorest in India come from three categories: the Muslim, the Dalits (officially Scheduled Castes, known as Untouchables) and the Adivasis (the Indian tribes). In 2019 they were respectively 14%, 16% and 8% of the Indian population.

Why are these categories the most affected by poverty? It is partly related to resilience of the caste system in the Indian mindset.

The first foundations of the caste system appeared in the Rigveda, an ancient religious book dated from around 2500 BC. According to Hinduism, at the beginning of the Earth, the main God, called Purusha, gave birth to four categories of people.

The Brahmins, the priests, were born from his head. The Kshatriyas came from his arms as warriors. Then the Vaishyas, the trademen, appeared from his tights, and finally the Shudras, the servants, came from his feet. These four groups are the four castes in India, called Varnas in Hindi.

There was a last group, who didn’t even come from a part of Purusha’s body. They were assigned all the impure tasks like cleaning the road, being butchers, burying the dead. Because the upper caste people could be polluted by them, they were called Untouchables. You can also encounter the term Dalit – ‘son of God’, which was invented by Gandhi.

From centuries, Untouchables have been marginalized, and this reached a paroxysm in the nineteenth century. The British Raj administration made censuses in India, and organized them by castes. As a consequence, the British would give the best positions in the administration to those registered as Brahmins. Robert Deliège, specialist in the Indian society, defends the theory that the discrimination increased during the British Raj, partly because of this.

Therefore, the first Untouchables uprisings began in India as soon as the nineteenth century, but were truly effective only with the arrival of Ambedkar. He was an Indian jurist who had studied in England, and decided to tackle the Untouchables problems, for example the fact that they couldn’t get water from the same wells as other Indians, because of their so-called ‘impureness’. Ambedkar was also one of the fathers of the 1947 Indian Constitution. India owes him its part affirming that any discrimination based on the caste system is prohibited.

However, on a practical level, has the caste system truly disappeared? Sadly, the answer is negative. Discrimination did step back in India, thanks to positive discrimination. Quotas were created in the mid-20th century and assure for the SC (Scheduled Castes, that is to say the Untouchables) and the ST (Scheduled Tribes) a certain percentage of the jobs in the Indian administration. In the Tamil Nadu State for example, these quotas represent nowadays up to 69% of all the administrative positions.

However, the marginalization of the Untouchables is still an issue in India. Despite of the positive discrimination, 70% live in the countryside, and 90% work in unskilled labor, mainly in agriculture.

In the countryside, where the mentality remains patriarchal and conservative, atrocities related to the caste system are still committed. In 2013, Nidhi and Dhamender, a young couple that told their families they wanted to get married, were killed by Nidhi’s family because both of them were from different castes, and the dishonor would have been too important for Nidhi’s mother. This fact, related by the BBC in 2013, is sadly not an exception in India.

According to an article from Times of India published in 2018, these honor killings reached a peak in 2015, with 215 cases in India. They are one of the worst and most visible markers that the caste system is still well implemented in India.

With a younger middle class generation reaching the age to make their voices heard, will India let its caste system slowly go?

The resilience of the caste system in India

With its 1.3 billion inhabitants, India is called the largest democracy in the world. It is the product of a multicultural history which started around 2,500 BC, with the Vedic period.

The Aryans, a semi-nomadic tribe coming from central Asia, arrived after 1500 BC. In the fifth century, large regions of India were united under the rule of the Mauryas leader, Ashoka. Converted to Buddhism, he spread this religion to his kingdom. Islam was introduced in India as soon as the eleventh century, which led to the Mughal Empire from 1526 to 1761. The Europeans arrived in India from the fifteenth century and the British crown decided to rule this country by itself during a period named the British Raj (1858-1747).

On the 15th of august 1947, India became independent and since this date, she has experienced a democratic governance.

 In 2018, India became the 6th most powerful country economically, with a growth rate of 7%. However, if we look closer at the numbers given by the Oxford Poverty and Human development initiative, using the multidimensional poverty index (MPI), in 2010, 55% of the Indian population live under the poverty line.

According to Christophe Jaffrelot, professor in Sciences Po Paris and specialist in India, the poorest in India come from three categories: the Muslim, the Dalits (officially Scheduled Castes, known as Untouchables) and the Adivasis (the Indian tribes). In 2019 they were respectively 14%, 16% and 8% of the Indian population.

Why are these categories the most affected by poverty? It is partly related to resilience of the caste system in the Indian mindset.

 The first foundations of the caste system appeared in the Rigveda, an ancient religious book dated from around 2500 BC. According to Hinduism, at the beginning of the Earth, the main God, called Purusha, gave birth to four categories of people.

The Brahmins, the priests, were born from his head. The Kshatriyas came from his arms as warriors. Then the Vaishyas, the trademen, appeared from his tights, and finally the Shudras, the servants, came from his feet. These four groups are the four castes in India, called Varnas in Hindi.

There was a last group, who didn’t even come from a part of Purusha’s body. They were assigned all the impure tasks like cleaning the road, being butchers, burying the dead. Because the upper caste people could be polluted by them, they were called Untouchables. You can also encounter the term Dalit – ‘son of God’, which was invented by Gandhi.

From centuries, Untouchables have been marginalized, and this reached a paroxysm in the nineteenth century. The British Raj administration made censuses in India, and organized them by castes. As a consequence, the British would give the best positions in the administration to those registered as Brahmins. Robert Deliège, specialist in the Indian society, defends the theory that the discrimination increased during the British Raj, partly because of this.

Therefore, the first Untouchables uprisings began in India as soon as the nineteenth century, but were truly effective only with the arrival of Ambedkar. He was an Indian jurist who had studied in England, and decided to tackle the Untouchables problems, for example the fact that they couldn’t get water from the same wells as other Indians, because of their so-called ‘impureness’. Ambedkar was also one of the fathers of the 1947 Indian Constitution. India owes him its part affirming that any discrimination based on the caste system is prohibited.

However, on a practical level, has the caste system truly disappeared? Sadly, the answer is negative. Discrimination did step back in India, thanks to positive discrimination. Quotas were created in the mid-20th century and assure for the SC (Scheduled Castes, that is to say the Untouchables) and the ST (Scheduled Tribes) a certain percentage of the jobs in the Indian administration. In the Tamil Nadu State for example, these quotas represent nowadays up to 69% of all the administrative positions.

However, the marginalization of the Untouchables is still an issue in India. Despite of the positive discrimination, 70% live in the countryside, and 90% work in unskilled labor, mainly in agriculture.

In the countryside, where the mentality remains patriarchal and conservative, atrocities related to the caste system are still committed. In 2013, Nidhi and Dhamender, a young couple that told their families they wanted to get married, were killed by Nidhi’s family because both of them were from different castes, and the dishonor would have been too important for Nidhi’s mother. This fact, related by the BBC in 2013, is sadly not an exception in India.

According to an article from Times of India published in 2018, these honor killings reached a peak in 2015, with 215 cases in India. They are one of the worst and most visible markers that the caste system is still well implemented in India.

With a younger middle class generation reaching the age to make their voices heard, will India let its caste system slowly go?

Tim Marshall in his book,’ Prisoners of Geography’ writes that in case, Kashmir becomes part of
Pakistan, it would deny India opportunities and strengthen foreign policy options for Pakistan.
Pakistan’s water insecurity issues would also be resolved. Originating from Himalayan Tibet,
Indus River passes through Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir before entering Pakistan from
where it runs the length of the country and empties in the Arabian Sea in Karachi.

In 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that this resource that belonged to India could
not be allowed to flow into Pakistan. The Indian government had threatened to revise the Indus
Water Treaty (IWT) during that time after Pathankot and Uri attacks. India is repeating the
same rhetoric after the Pulwama Attack in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. According to
Hindustan Times, the government of India has announced to divert the flow of this resource entering
into Pakistan which it calls ‘unutilised water’. The government plans to divert the flow into the
Yamuna River in order to improve its availability. Water flow coming from three rivers
Indus, Jhelum and Chenab to Pakistan would be diverted to Yamuna River where Indian
government plans to build a project. Pakistan is entitled to have the water from these three
rivers under the IWT.

This treaty was signed between India and Pakistan on September 19, 1960. The
treaty was brokered by the World Bank. The treaty gave India control over waters of three
eastern rivers, Sutlej, Beas and Ravi. Similarly, it gave Pakistan control over waters of three
western rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. This treaty is said to have stood even during the
wars between India and Pakistan. However, the BJP government under Modi has threatened in
several occasions to revise the treaty. Moreover, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) experts
complain that instead of using water from only three rivers which India has control over
according to IWT, India is constructing huge water storages on all six Indus basin rivers. This is a
clear violation of the treaty. The treaty, however, allows India to use this resource in non-consumptive
ways from the western rivers. As per the experts, this permits India to use water in a way that
does not reduce downstream water level and does not change the course of the rivers. India is
allowed to tap into 3.6 million acre-feet (MAF) of water only for transport, power and irrigation purposes.

The threat to revise the treaty and stop the flow of water to Pakistan is not only the
violation of IWT but also of the international law. International Law proscribes upper riparian to
divert or stop the flow of waters of rivers to the lower riparian. Therefore, India’s move to stop
or divert flow would be a clear violation of International Law.
The Indian government is definitely leaving no stone unturned to isolate Pakistan
internationally and sabotage its progress domestically. Pakistan is an agrarian state where
agriculture contributes approximately 20 per cent to its GDP and employs approximately 43 per
cent of its labour force. India is deliberately trying to weaken Pakistan’s already struggling
economy and it clearly knows its moves in this regard. However, the current wave of threats to
revise the IWT and isolate Pakistan internationally shows opportunism of Indian government
which is playing the hatred card against Pakistan to win the upcoming general elections. But
this is not it. This resource is more than just a war tool and BJP government in India is making the most
of it.

In 2013, William Sarni and Tamim Pechet wrote a book, ‘Water Tech: A Guide to Investment,
Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector’ in which they highlighted the
emergence of water cartels in future just like oil and gas cartels in the past. In 2010, the then
Secretary of Indian water resources ministry (retired) U.N. Panjiar had talked about business
opportunities in the Indian water sector. He highlighted opportunities within this sector
covering industry, desalination projects, agriculture, hydropower, storage and home
consumption. In this regard, India has invested billions of dollars in this sector which
includes investments from several banks and domestic companies. India’s such moves
apparently manifest its long-term desires to create a water cartel. Hence, the current war
rhetoric is not just a political gimmick to create hatred against Pakistan to win the elections but
also a deliberated long-term curved business opportunity to create a water cartel.

Launched by America, the war in Afghanistan is at a turning point. People born after September 11, 2001, are now being deployed there. Peace negotiations continue, but with little impact.

Yet, there is one question that has not been answered: What is to be the future of India in the region?

India has played a considerable part in the future of Afghanistan. Many Afghani people watch Bollywood movie. India was the first country to send in construction workers following the 2001 Invasion. The Mughal Empire originated in Kabul, and while many Afghani’s consider the United States to be imperialist country, as they had viewed the Soviet Union, they consider India to be a brother.

But, little has been done on India’s part other than these symbolic gestures. The country has seen what fighting in Afghanistan has done to the British, the Russians, the Americans, and others. Yet India is still interested in the long-term future of Afghanistan, as it relates to their larger  cold-war with Pakistan that since resulted in 4 direct wars between the two states and the standoffs that have flared up routinely since September 11, 2001.

But now the Americans are considering pulling out. But Afghanistan is far from perfect, and the simple truth of the matter is is that the United States has no real concerns for the long-term future of Afghanistan. The United States concern is fighting terrorism, nothing more. India, however, does. And so does India’s arch rival, Pakistan.

When, in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the Pakistani government was one of the big three founders of the Afghan Mujaheddin, the United States and Saudi Arabia being the other two. Each of the three nations was involved in Afghanistan for different reasons, and they often clashed. For Pakistan, it was to prevent Soviet-allied India from using Afghanistan as a base to launch a two-front war against Pakistan. After the Soviet Union left Afghanistan and the Communist government of Afghanistan in 1992, Pakistan created the Taliban and intervened in the Afghan Civil War to further their agenda.

Although the Pakistani government backed the United States following 9/11 and has co-operated with the United States by a fighting a war against the Taliban of it’s own since 2004, geopolitical circumstances still favor a Pakistan-Taliban alliance, something that the ISI has most certainly tried to fulfill, such as airlifting several top Taliban officials out of Kunduz before the city fell to the Advancing American forces, and the fact that Osama Bin Laden was conveniently found next to the main Pakistani military training academy in a secure compound.

With the Americans gone and no one to take their place, it could enable the Pakistanis to return Afghanistan under their sphere of Influence.

This means that India is at a moment that will decide it’s future standing in the world. India is already taking the lead in the effort to contain the growing power of the Chinese. They are undertaking efforts to be the next great manufacturing powerhouse, and they have already spent so much effort into ensuring the long-term future of the Afghan people. India may very well be the only nation that can defeat the Taliban. They have the numbers, the war machine, the commitment, and they are not seen as outside intruders by mainstream Afghani society.

India has a choice to make. It can take America’s current role in Afghanistan or it can do nothing. Whatever choice it makes, India will live with the consequences.

 

 

Insurgency began to gain momentum in Kashmir after the elections of 23 March 1987. Syed
Muhammad Yousuf Shah, a candidate of Muslim United Front, was contesting from Amira kadal
Constituency. As the results were declared, the less popular Ghulam Mohiudin Shah of opponent
National Conference was declared as the winner from Amira kadal constituency. The election was
widely perceived to have been rigged. People further lost hope in electoral politics and initiated the
armed resistance in Kashmir against India. India responded to the armed resistance which lead to
various war crimes like gang rapes, murder, torture, disappearance, snatching of civil liberty and
violation of Human Rights. On 26 May 2008, the agreement of Central Government and State
government to transfer 99 acres of forest land to Amarnath Shrine board for Hindu Pilgrims escalated
massive protests and demonstrations largest of which saw more than 500,000 protestors in a single
rally.

Inhabitants do their best to play a role in the decision-making.

The Resistance leadership termed it as a conspiracy to change the demographic structure of
Kashmir. Curfew was imposed to stop protestors from gathering and forces opened fire on civilians
which resulted in killing of 14 civilians. The killings gave rise to another indigenous uprising. The
beginning of the second uprising by local groups and youths lead to massive redeployment of Indian
security forces followed by countless incidents of violence and killings. The death of Burhan Wani, a
commander of armed group Hizbul Mujahideen, gave rise to another uprising which led to protests in
all 10 districts of Kashmir resulting in killing of around 120 civilians. The mobile telephone networks
and internet services remained dismantled to prevent further agitation. Newspapers failed to publish
for five consecutive days due to raids on their offices and printing presses, till they started again on
July 21. The apparently indiscriminate use of allegedly “non-lethal” weapons like pellet guns to control
crowds have resulted in almost 43 civilians having lost their lives so far. Hundreds have been blinded
and a few thousand injured.

United Nations Human Rights Office published first ever report in June 2018 on Human Rights
situation in Kashmir calling for international inquiry into multiple violations. UN High Commissioner forHuman Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, “The political dimensions of the dispute between India and
Pakistan have long been centre-stage, but this is not a conflict frozen in time. It is a conflict that has
robbed millions of their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering. This is
why any resolution of the political situation in Kashmir must entail a commitment to end the cycles of
violence and ensure accountability for past and current violations and abuses by all parties, and
provide redress for victims. It is also why I will be urging the UN Human Rights Council to consider
establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international
investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir. It is essential the Indian authorities
take immediate and effective steps to avoid a repetition of the numerous examples of excessive use
of force by security forces in Kashmir”.

The U.N is not liked by Indians about Kashmir.

In response to the report, India blamed the United NationHuman Rights Council for being prejudiced and building fake narrative. The Official Spokesperson ofMinistry of external affairs of India said “India rejects the report. It is fallacious, tendentious andmotivated. We question the intent in bringing out such a report. It is a selective compilation of largelyunverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative.

In June 2013, Former Union Minister of external affairs of Government of India, Salman Khurshid
inaugurated a 3 days International conference at the University of Kashmir. While addressing the
gathering of politicians, diplomats and academics, he said, “We want dialogue within Afghanistan that
should be led by Afghans. They must choose their own destiny…We want Afghanistan to be
controlled by Afghans”. But when it come to Kashmir, India has either avoided or denied any attempt
by the International community towards the resolution of Kashmir issue in a democratic way. In India,
it is illegal to exclude Azad Kashmir in its map while in Pakistan; it is illegal to not include Jammu and
Kashmir as a disputed territory. An impartial Plebiscite, if conducted, would out rule all the disputes
and bring all parties to a consensus. Opportunistic Preconditions create an environment of mistrust in
which sincere efforts towards the resolution fail to flourish. India’s refusal to conduct plebiscite,
despite being a democracy with faith in democratic values, continues to be a hurdle in the path of
peacefully resolving a longest pending territorial dispute between the nuclear countries with a
potential to disrupt the peace and stability of entire Asian subcontinent.

The year of 2018 was one of the deadliest years in the history of Kashmir with 586 People killed, 160
of which were civilians including 31 children and 18 women. According to the Reports, 120 cases of
Damage to the civilian property were reported, 31 houses were completely burnt and 94 partially
damaged. Hundreds of People suffered Pellet injuries resulting in Partial or complete blindness. Since
2010, pellet guns have killed more than two dozen people. There have been cases of deaths caused
by suffocation due to Gas shells used to disperse the crowd. Violence is not something new for the
people of the Vale; it is a part of their daily life, which is both psychologically and politically alarming.

Kashmir, a princely state, shares its border with three neighbouring nuclear countries, each
claiming a chunk of its land and having fought multiple wars over the unresolved territorial disputes.
It’s strategic location, natural resources, potential for tourism, Forests, Rivers and Hydro electricity
generating potential and its link with ancient silk route add to its geopolitical importance. So, what is
the Kashmir issue basically?

Kashmir issue is an Issue of unfinished partition and incomplete accession. Kashmir doesn't
demand a new solution but completion of unfinished business of past. Unification is the ultimate goal,
denial of which has led to escalation of violence. People of Kashmir, unlike the minority, have refused
to accept the controversial status of unfinished territorial dispute. Britain, as it became clear after the
Second World War, was going to quit India very soon. Princely India consisted of more than 562
princely states of varying sizes, populations and statures, Jammu and Kashmir being the largest
Princely state sharing boundaries with Afghanistan and China.

Geography makes war

Britain departed in 1947 and the British suzerainty over the princely states lapsed as per the Indian
Independence Act. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, with other princely states, enjoyed a brief and
temporary period of independence followed by a choice to accede with any of the two newly created
dominions of India and Pakistan as per the same act. Except Jammu and Kashmir, Junagarh,
Hyderabad, Manavadar and Mangrol, all other princely states had decided their future by 15 August,
1947. Hyderabad was annexed by India by applying economic pressure and Military might. Junagarh
being a Hindu Majority area ruled by a Muslim Nawab acceded to Pakistan followed by Manavadar
and Mangrol. India did not recognise the Nawab’s accession; India forced entry into Junagarh and
enabled Plebiscite which turned into their favour.

In Poonch Jagir of Jammu and Kashmir, ‘No Tax’ movement followed by Disarming of Muslims who
fought the World war second and later arming the Hindu and Sikh community and Massacre of More
than a Quarter million Muslims, Rapes and enforced migrations by Hindu Dogras and Sikhs for
religious cum political reasons and aided by Maharaja, RSS and Sikhs from Punjab gave rise to
Junagarh Inspired Poonch Rebellion which led to liberation of what we now call the Azad Kashmir
from Maharaja by the Muslims. Maharaja Loosing the grip over his state or being partially
overthroned, acceded with India on 26 October 1947 by signing a controversial Instrument of
accession, the authenticity of which is doubted by many historians, against the will of the Majority of
his subjects which gave birth to Kashmir Dispute. According to the terms of Instrument of accession,
India’s Jurisdiction was extended to defende, Communication and external affairs. Indian sent her
troops into Kashmir the next day which have increased in numbers up to almost One million till today,
thus making Kashmir the highest Militarized Zone on the Earth.

This conflict is far from being a new one.

India and Pakistan have fought 4 wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999 respectively; shortly after
gaining Independence and unfinished land disputes have been the dominating factors in these wars.
India approached United Nations Security Council on 1 January 1948. Following the set-up of the
United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the UN Security Council passed
Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948 followed by many other resolutions. In 1948, UNSC passed resolution
38, 39, 47 and 51. It passed Resolution 80 in 1950, Resolution 91 and 96 in 1951, Resolution 97 in
1952, Resolution 122,123 and 126 in 1957, Resolution 209, 210, 211, 214, 215 in 1965 and
Resolution 303 and 307 in 1971. The involvement of the Canadian President of the UNSC, General
McNaughton, Sir Owen Dixon, American ambassador Loy Henderson, Dr Frank Graham and various
others to resolve the Kashmir dispute and their proposals proved futile because of India’s
disagreement with most of them and the failure to provide any alternate resolution. The UNCIP was
terminated followed by the establishment of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and
Pakistan (UNMOGIP), after the Security Council passed Resolution 91 (1951), to observe and report
violations of ceasefire. India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972, followed by the war

of 1971, to define the line of control in Kashmir. Later on the basis of this agreement, India justified
the lapse of UNMOGIP’s Mandate arguing that the body was established to observe ceasefire
according to Karachi Agreement, a UNCIP supervised agreement signed by the military
representatives of India and Pakistan in 1949 to establish a ceasefire monitored by UN observers,
and the ceasefire no longer existed. The United Nation Secretary General however maintained that
the body should continue to function as no resolution to terminate it had been passed. India has,
since then, partially restricted the activities of 45 unarmed observers on the Indian side of the Line of
Control.

Thank you for having read the first part of this article on the Kashmir dispute. The second part comes tomorrow !

 

On July 8, 2010; India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) sent its first “tweet.” This use of the popular social media tool was just one of a series of efforts to bolster and leverage India’s soft power by improving its public diplomacy by engaging with Web 2.0.2 Since then the MEA of India has inaugurated a new web portal for Indian Public Diplomacy; released a string of videos on YouTube and a portfolio of photographs on Flickr; launched a dedicated Facebook page; and, in conjunction with the Center for Media Studies Academy in New Delhi, held its first conference on the theory and practice of public diplomacy.

These ventures follow close on the heels of three other significant recent initiatives: a dedicated Public Diplomacy Division within the MEA in May 2006, a raft of new schemes designed to engage domestic and foreign public opinion, and a series of high-profile dialogues with foreign think tanks, most notably with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

These various developments are eye-catching, but they are not without precedent. India has a long history of trying to use public diplomacy and other instruments of soft power to secure its foreign policy objectives. After Independence, India invested considerable resources in high-level dialogues, intellectual and cultural exchanges, and conferences of concerned parties, seeking to influence peoples as well as governments by using open diplomacy and moral suasion. To a degree, India’s new public diplomacy builds upon this tradition, but it also departs from India’s past practice in three key ways.

  • First, India’s new public diplomacy is actively seeking new audiences within India (notably, politically engaged young people at home), in the West (Indian diaspora communities abroad), and in the developing world (key opinion formers in India’s immediate region or resource-rich states in the global South).
  • Second, Indian officials are attempting to render India’s foreign policy-making process more open and democratic by engaging in dialogue with communities outside the New Delhi political and diplomatic elite.
  • Third, the effort seeks to utilize new media rather than traditional methods to reach its various target audiences.

Since the mid-2000’s, India has reformed its public diplomacy, reinvesting in traditional modes of building soft power, such as the cultural exchanges organised by the ICCR, and utilising new methods, including the use of new social media. In part, these efforts are a response to a wider “struggle for soft power” in Asia, stimulated by major investments by the PRC. In part too, they are extensions of India’s long-standing concern with public diplomacy, which stretches back into the Nehru era.

Lastly, these initiatives have been stimulated by a growing interest among India’s foreign policy elite in the possibilities presented by the Internet and especially by Web 2.0. While there is some evidence to suggest that public diplomacy often struggles to build soft power in the ways that states might wish, this article has suggested that there are some reasons to think that India’s efforts in this area might bear some fruit. Views of India’s national “brand” have improved albeit marginally over the past few years and patient public and traditional diplomacy can be credited for some of this improvement. At the same time, as former External Affairs Minister Shashi Tharoor observes that

‘India’s elite has become more “conscious” of its present and latent soft power and the potential it might hold for transforming India’s international relations.’

The key challenge for foreign policymakers, Tharoor rightly notes, will be how to keep adapting its new and traditional public diplomacy to best manage India’s reputation as its politics and society are subjected to greater scrutiny in response to its global “rise”. It is obvious for any country to glorify its assets to their potential audience. Here it is imperative that any nation has to compel their voices to their listeners with provocative tactics. If you can’t convey, possibilities submerge automatically.

From the last decade, the mouthpiece of MEA is very vocal with international and national issues as well. They responded every instance with new tech team abilities in a graphical and pictorial manner. It gives edge to their presence among literati as well as common practitioner. Not only EAM of India Minister’s of State earlier were very proactive to respond officially as a channel of communication. A regular press briefing in every week gives them nook to locate themselves in this fast changing digital world. Several divisional level secretaries also contribute to briefings other than official spokesperson of MEA.

I would say that the changing dynamics of XPD Division paves way for great interaction among the world. On my personal experience, I pitch that the special representation by the secretarial level, enhanced steps from new foreign services recruits, and PPP in IT team result them in long run. There is significant impact of Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas on the image of MEA and it is showing more emerged comparatively.

‘Last night was the most horrifying night of my life. Sound asleep, in the middle of the night some noises around your house awaken you up. You turn on the lights and peep from the gap in curtains, see men in boots and uniform marching across the street. Women of your neighbourhood have been lined up against the wall while loading men into armoured jeeps with black masks on their face. Dogs barking and searching the house. You wonder whether my house will be raided too. Uncertainty prevails upon your thoughts. Being a Kashmiri is a curse. Welcome to the cursed heaven’

This happens on every night in Indian Occupied Kashmir. This land has been a lynchpin of the violent struggle between India and 12.5 million Kashmiris fighting for independence since 1947. An armed insurgency that started in May 1989 has led to the enacting of several repressive laws by the Indian government. It is the most heavily militarized zone on the face of the earth. Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has converted the life of Kashmiri residents into a living hell. Since 1989, over 95,015 people have been killed, 11 thousand women been subjected to heinous crimes of rape and custodial torture. Incidents like Gawkadal Massacre where CRPF opened fire on protestors killing at least 55, the Zukoora and Tengpora Massacre, Kunan Poshpora killings, Bijbehara Massacre, Sopore Massacre are the examples of brutal sexual abuses, ransacking homes, extrajudicial killings, torture and mass massacres of civilians.

The Sopore massacre took place in 1993.

The draconian public safety Act 1978, provides forces to wreak havoc upon civilians anywhere in the valley without prior warning. India has re-instated the Cordon and Search Operations act (CASO) in order to suppress any dissident voice. Every Indian government from Nehru’s Congress to Manmohan’s cabinet has tried to suppress the rights of Kashmiris who want freedom.

While the previous governments have considered Kashmir as a territorial dispute, Modi government gave it a communal colour fostering violence in powder keg valley. Modi has pulled out of a coalition government tipping the valley into chaos. This tough stance comes on the back of scathing report released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights which has demanded an international probe into Human Rights violations committed at the hands of state machinery in Jammu and Kashmir. The United Nations has accused the Indian state of widespread violations in Kashmir. BJP government has refuted the statement of the report as it was expected. The Indian government has always denied International approach towards achieving peace in the region.

UN Security Council’s Resolution 47 laid a framework for holding a plebiscite in order to resolve the dispute. It demanded that India must withdraw its troops from Kashmir. The Indian government refused to appoint UN arbiter as Plebiscite administrator and withdrawal of its troops.

If one takes into account the atrocities India has committed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir it is no less than naked acts of state-sponsored aggression and terrorism.

Now it is time that other parties and states of this dispute i.e. United Kingdom who left an unfinished partition agenda and Pakistan who supports the Kashmir cause on humanitarian reasons raise this issue in Security Council not for highlighting But pushing for sanctions against India. Because it endangers international peace and security in this region let alone for humanitarian causes. It is the need of the hour to curb draconian security measures in Kashmir.

India has recently defied Washington by buying anti-defence system to Russia.

The Security Council can take action to maintain or restore international peace and security under Chapter 7 of the UN charter. Sanctions measure under Article 41, encompass a broad range of enforcement options to pursue targeted peace achievement. Ranging from comprehensive economic and trade sanctions to arms embargoes. India has recently purchased S-400 anti-missile defence system from Russia which upsets the security balance apparatus between two nuclear states. The Kashmir conflict conflagration can lead to full-blown war.

Thus, it is the necessity of time that measures be taken on International forum to contain Indian aggression in any possible way of providing Kashmiris with some breathing space.

Source BBC

The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 and Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990, passed by the Indian parliament in September 1990, grant Indian troops absolute authority to curb the civil rights of the Kashmiri people without fear of being prosecuted for extrajudicial killings.

This has lead to torture, custodial deaths, rape, juvenile offences, and hostage killings in a heavily militarised zone where 500,000 – 700,000 troops are stationed. The National Human Rights Commission of India has acknowledged that Section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 severely restricts its powers to investigate incidents involving armed forces.

The first-ever report on human rights’ violations clearly depicts the massive state-sponsored atrocities inflicted upon Kashmiris by none other than Indian troops. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 adapted on April 21, 1948, expanded the mandate of The United Nations Commission for Pakistan and India to facilitate and hold a plebiscite.

However, this was never held due to the militarization of the zone by Indian troops. India has been violating Article 5 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both require that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

Pressure must be mounted on India for being solely responsible for this crisis. The international community must put India on a watch list under Article 5 of UDHR. Let Robert Wirsing’s proposal to apply international pressure more deliberately, consistently, and impartially in order to resolve the dispute be put into immediate effect.

 

Post World War Two, The USSR and USA emerged as super-powers who later formed their respective military alliances and pitched against one another; the Soviets, having realized the potential of ‘Soft Power’ employed a substantially large public diplomacy program against the west and promoting the Communist system. Subsequently, they succeeded in making East European countries believe in the goodness of Communism, as a result, many of those countries assimilated Communism into their political system. This was largely possible because of the USSR’s ‘Soft Power’ a concept introduced by Joseph Nye – an American Political Scientist – is relatively newer in today’s world. He goes on to define ‘soft power’ as ‘the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion’. In today’s world, knowing that public perceptions play a large role in determining a Country’s global image, the concept of soft power has never been as important as it it is today.

Joseph Nye talks of America as a quintessential employer of soft power(1) in a way that it is home to some of the World’s most eminent brands like Boeing, IBM, Levi’s, Starbucks among others which are part of the daily life of people across the globe especially in metropolitan cities and it has largely been the reason why the world has become ‘Americanised’ to a great extent ; this is coupled with America’s global military presence, deft diplomacy and the ability to forge alliances and partnerships to their advantage. These factors can be attributed to America’s success to establish itself as the sole power-house of the world.

The 2018 ‘Soft Power 30’ index has placed the UK at top followed by France and Germany. India does not figure separately in the list but the report features a chapter solely on Asia, listing ten countries in the region, ranking India’s soft power as eighth. The report is certainly not satisfactory vis-à-vis India knowing that therein lies a huge yet largely unidentified prospect of harnessing India’s soft power and channelizing it our advantage. In India’s context, everything from Buddha to Bollywood(2) may be used as a tool to advance and employ its soft power. India’s rich cultural heritage, status of being the largest democracy, palatable cuisine, bollywood film industry among other factors may rightly be termed as our soft power assets. An example of successful usage of soft power is reaching global consensus to observe 21st of June as International Day of Yoga. It is at least one day that every informed citizen of the world would think about India in a positive way, as a result, India’s global image gains momentum. I would now like to shift focus to Afghanistan; both India and the USA have been involved in rebuilding Afghanistan’s ravaged infrastructure for some time now. India may not have contributed as much as the USA have in monetary terms but in the eye of common Afghani citizens, India enjoys a much better image than the USA; it won’t be an exaggeration to say that it has largely been possible because of the soft power that India wields in Afghanistan in form of people-to-people contacts, promoting cultural linkages and undertaking gestures like inviting Afghanistan’s cricket team to play their first Test Match in Bangalore, goodwill visits et alia. India’s relations with Bangladesh have been going through ups and downs ever since Bangladesh’s inception; apart from the fact that issues concerning both countries need to be sorted out in a way that the outcome is acceptable to both India and Bangladesh, a gesture by India’s External Affairs Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj is worth mentioning. While on her official visit to Dhaka, few months ago, she presented Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Ms Sheikh Hasina with the weapon of the then GoC-in-C of erstwhile East Pakistan Lt Gen AAK Niazi, which was captured by the Indian forces as a result of Pakistan’s surrender during Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The gesture was very well received by Bangladesh’s citizens and has gone a long way in cementing India’s relationship with Bangladesh. However, there are certain domestic bottlenecks which do not help India leverage its soft power across the global spectrum; in 2012 the awful rape of a young woman in Delhi created global headlines showing India in extremely negative light(3) and even dubbing Delhi as the ‘rape capital’ of the world gave a significant jolt to India’s global image bringing down the number of foreign tourists after the above-mentioned incident took place. Every time an incident of lynching takes place in some nook or corner of the country, it sends an unpleasant signal to the world that India and its establishment have been fostering radical elements in the society contrary to the image of what India has been known for historically; its composite culture, deep-rooted secularism and one of very few countries in the world where every person has the fundamental right to practice, profess and propagate any religion. India does not only preaches but practices the principle of ‘acceptance’ which is many steps ahead of the western concept of ‘tolerance’. However, every time an untoward communal riot takes place it poses a big question-mark whether India has failed to remain on the moral high ground that it has attained over centuries. The essence of Soft power may be summed into what Shashi Tharoor, an Indian Politician and former UN Under-Secretary General said ‘In today’s World it’s not the side with bigger Army that wins, it’s the country which tells the better story that prevails’(4).

According to many eminent economic think tanks across the globe, India is set to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030 after the USA and China. China is constantly pitched against India along with a question that who wields the better prospect to establish itself as the next super-power of twenty first century; undoubtedly China has been faring better than India in economic and military domain and therefore its chances to establish itself as the next super-power are much brighter than India’s. However, one of the domains where China lags behind India is the potential to harness and use soft power to its advantage. China is a relatively closed society where people do not enjoy liberties beyond a certain limit; the historical baggage of Mao’s brutal tenure; ethnic cleansing of Tibetans; lack of religious freedom especially vis-à-vis Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province; Tianamen square massacre are some factors which limit China’s capacity to wield influence on people across the globe. India, even though it had its share of political upheavals, is seen with a more positive view. It is not only for the Government but also for the civil society to lend a helping hand in identifying and employing India’s soft power assets to its advantage.

References

Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor
Communicating India’s Soft Power – Daya Kishan Thussu
The Oxford Handbook of India’s Foreign Policy – Rani D Mullen
Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor