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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



On  Kashmir Nuclear Flash-point

The term ' flash point' is of American coinage like many other terms in the idiom of contemporary international politics. There is no 'flash point 'on the globe unless one is created. And once created, it is invested with all the attributes that stimulate its relevance, essentially to regional and advisably to international security dimensions. Thus more articulate groups and subgroups in the region tend to exaggerate threat perceptions in order to pave the path for international concern and intervention, as the situation demands. Thus while Kashmir and Bosnia fall in the ' concern' category, Iraq falls in 'intervention' category. The Palestinian question is outside this syndrome for historical reasons. However, it is not a 'flash point' either for the Islamic world or the US although Israel and not Palestine has nuclear capability.

The term 'flash point' is now qualified by prefixing to it the 'nuclear' adjective. A text book definition of the term would mean a flash point which would trigger off a nuclear war leading to annihilation of the user and the used. Such a situation would demand positive pre-empting of holocaust by the big powers not for any real love of local humanity but for the perpetuation of their eco-political interests. That is precisely what the connotation of Kashmir as the nuclear flash point would be. Because India and Pakistan successfully conducted nuclear tests in May last, the inference is that the two arch enemies would embark on a nuclear holocaust and the trigger lies in Kashmir. As the attributes accumulate, the sole super power and her cohorts would be inclined to take a unilateral  decision of addressing the essence of the issue. That would throw up the  compulsion for India to agree to  third party role.

For these elements, the  'flash point' theory has become their new political credo? In a recent seminar on Central and South Asia, organized by the Jammu University, one or two speakers seemed to be mechanically disposed to put forward this perception and legitimize it by recalling universal aversion to nuclear option. This indirectly meant  reinforcing their strident demand for resolution of Kashmir conflict on the basis of doing away with the status quo syndrome.

The crucial question is what constitutes the approach to this perception. We are aware that 'flash point' dimension was inducted into entire Kashmir problem soon after Pakistan exploded nuclear device.  Following her nuclear tests, Islamabad went on changing priorities of post nuclear Pakistan. The first pronouncement was that she had attained parity of nuclear muscle and restored the tilted balance of power in the South Asian region. Then the shift was on the nuclear explosion being forced upon her by India. And finally, appeared yet another shift and that was of linking Kashmir with the entire nuclear issue in the subcontinent. It was the Pakistani foreign minister who said in clear and rather undiplomatic way that the nuclear issue was inseparably connected with Kashmir dispute.

The ideas of parity and restored balance of power (virtually imaginary) being  in their place, Islamabad  was not in a position to convince Washington and other western capitals that her nuclear tests were dictated by the Indian factor.  When under right extremist pressures  Nawaz Sharif rejected Washington's  offer of five billion dollar aid in addition to nuclear umbrella for desisting from conducting the nuclear test, Pakistan lost the opportunity as well as the effective lever placed in her hand by curious  circumstances. What then was the alternative use of the nuclear adventure? Finding the escape route in ' nuclear flash point' theory, Islamabad bureaucracy and political leadership thought they had the saleable commodity in their warehouse, and that was of Kashmir as the nuclear flash point in the subcontinent.

Thereafter the main thrust of Pakistani diplomatic initiative was to put words in the mouth of such American officials as mattered in the State Department which could be interpreted in a way so as to identify Kashmir as the 'flash - point' of South Asia.  May be some lower level functionaries in the State Department  were bemused by the idea, but at responsible levels, there did not appear any extraordinarily aggressive reaction, notwithstanding their respective positions on CTBT.

However, Islamabad could generate some fervour among sections of Kashmir ' freedom ' sympathizers and organizations within the country and abroad (particularly among the pro-Pak POK Diaspora in UK) and the militant separatist in Kashmir. Its reverberations are also heard among the non committed secessionists within and outside the ruling cadres. In the eyes of these sections,  the ' flash point '' theory, when publicly articulated, would be interpreted as reassurance of none antagonistic posture vis--vis Kashmir militancy. At the same time, it would, to some extent, iron out the angularities in the traditional political party's behavioural pattern. But the crux of the matter is that of bailing out the beleaguered Kashmirian community from a scenario of protracted armed conflict gradually eating into the vitals of that society. This is a negative approach and bound to be ineffective.

The ' flash point ' theory cannot withstand the test of time. Three wars have been fought between the two countries in the past but all in absence of a nuclear flash point. If Pakistan's survival in economic terms has become debatable just by conducting the underground test, what would be  her picture after she begins a nuclear holocaust with her neighbour who is also a nuclear power?  The deterrence theory has rather encapsulated Kashmir from another clash,  not endangered her. Islamabad regimes can survive only as long as it is able to stoke Kashmir embers. Those who are harping on 'flash point ' theory, want to bail her out in Kashmir where militancy is on the ebb.  By not accepting the no-first nuclear strike offer of India,  Pakistan seeks to obtain the lease of life. Her ' flash point ' theory  sympathizers in Kashmir, and particularly among its ruling circles, indirectly want to ensure their own survival by holding on to the apron string of that theory.  It has to be noted that these sections of ruling party cadres and bureaucracy, though vocal on ' flash -point' theory, are meticulously silent on Dr. Farooq Abdullah's perception of LOAC as the international boundary between the two countries. This also proves the existence of the non committed separatists in the cadres of traditional political party in the State. This  speaks for Dr. Farooq's capability of accommodating divergent views yet not losing the direction.



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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference, 1993
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