Kashmir And The New World Order
Sahibzada Khan discusses whether the upsurge in Kashmir can potentially upset the balance of power and set the beginning of a New World Order
The issue of Kashmir has created a debate at the international level in favour of the Pakistani stance in spite of Modi’s persistent uproar regarding Pakistan’s alienated status across the globe. There is no doubt that India’s occupation of Jammu and Kashmir is immoral, illegal and even unconstitutional provided its repeated defiance of and non-compliance with the clauses of the Instrument of Accession (IoA) of Jammu and Kashmir to the Dominion of India (1947).
In specific, as in clause (5) of IoA, the Raja explicitly mentioned that the terms of ‘my Instrument of Accession cannot be varied by any amendment of the Act or of Indian Independence Act unless such amendment is accepted by me by an Instrument supplementary to this Instrument’. The jurisprudential fact that the then ‘Dominion of India’, as well as Instrument of Accession (1947), drew power from the Independence of India Act (1947) under the paramountcy of Britain which was denunciated in the later and the very first constitution of India in 1950, in which India established herself as a ‘Union’. Technically, all of the previous Instruments of Accession lapsed in their legal effect on different counts including that of the Maharaja Hari Singh.
Firstly, it conferred the Instrument of Accession to the office of the ‘Governor-General of India’, which got abandoned under the new constitution, also rebuking the Independence of India Act (1947), in a revolutionary step to establish an independent republic. Secondly, it referred to the Dominion of India as a party to the Instrument that also got lapsed as ‘Dominion’ when a Union was established under a new constitution, which was already subject to objection by the Maharaja in the legally devoid IoA.
In support of this arising fact, clause (7) of the IoA (1947) reads, “Nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future constitution.” It is the settled principle of law that whenever the purpose, spirit or an intendment of the contract withers away it then ceases to exist, holding the breaching party liable. It can be seen that the gist of IoA never held sway and was soon repudiated by India in constitutional manoeuvring thereby automatically cancelling its status. From then onwards, India had been unlawfully subjecting Kashmir to its illegitimate rule devoid of any legal significance.
However, due to constant hammering by Pakistan and in an attempt to avoid international outcry, India had been accepting the United Nation’s security council (UNSC) jurisdiction on the matter that decided Jammu and Kashmir as ‘Internationally Disputed Territory’.
This term, ‘Internationally Disputed Territory’ has been seen as an anomaly never to be solved whereas it is pertinent to make reference to the sacrifices of the innocent Kashmiri people who have resisted Indian rule in the region. It is now an everlasting dream that promises freedom fuelled by Kashmiris’ staunch support for the cause.
The domestic lives of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir yield so many untold stories and nightmares of being detached from loved ones because of the disruptive border conditions on the Line of Control (LoC).
Many people share ties and bonds on both sides and are awaiting a reunion with their loved ones in the distant future. The families have been affected adversely, with fewer chances of seeing loved ones again with them being entrapped by frequent border skirmishes between the two South Asian rivals.
The innocent civilian population has always been under fear of being bombarded by shells and grenade attacks that are very common by the Indian forces. For the children, freedom is like a bird that they believe they will catch one day and fly with. It is a promise that carries agitation from parent to a child and goes further down. Sometimes hopes are blurred and sometimes ignited.
On the verge of extinction are human rights; fundamental rights remain suspended for weeks and have now been for more than a month. International media not done much to mainstream the bleeding in Kashmir where domestic means of communication have remained suspended. Amid such a situation, one can assume that there is no real affect to the resolutions of UNO or other international Institutions or perhaps they lack the vigour to carry its weight in them.
Regarding India’s rushed action of reading out article 370(3) of its constitution of 1950, which guaranteed a temporary special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and defined the state’s relationship with the Union, it also provided for enforcement of its constitution along with legislative subjects between the two constitutional entities.
This gives rise to several questions; why after all India now wants to reorganise the constitutional status quo that had remained untouched since its accession to the union? Does it mean that India is now protruding its control in J&K, unchallenged or does it seem to have offered International powers a level playing field in extension of India’s strategic interests in the region?
A colossal link has to be followed with a microscopic understanding of the development. It can lead one to infer that the situation substantially correlates with the withdrawal of USA from Afghanistan, where they have been already concluding rounds of negotiations with the Afghan-Taliban while asking for Pakistan’s definitive role in the settlement.
However, it is also clear that India has been a key role player in Afghanistan where it has successfully created anti-Pakistan sentiments and has invested heavily in the infrastructure in an attempt to increase its regional influence and curb Pakistan’s sway on Afghan affairs. It also looks upon containing Pakistan from two parallel fronts.
As a war-torn country, Afghan people seem detached and point toward Pakistan for any bad that happens to them. This is a glimpse of what India has fed into Afghanistan for many years. Such a situation has enabled Indians to use Afghani shoulders against Pakistan, which is conducive of reaping an unstable situation and a grave impediment to the regional growth.
In addition to the concurrent developments, India plans increasing its administrative control in Jammu and Kashmir so much so that It may be able to potentially allow setting up of U.S military/Intelligence bases in Ladakh, as it did back in (the 1970’s) for intelligence purposes against growing communist insurgencies. But this time around, the global priorities have changed radically.
Now, amongst the top priorities of US, is combating the growing Chinese influence perceived as a greater threat by it than any other country. For reasons like these America finds herself in a better equation with India in a concerted effort and as a viable tool against China.
Moreover, other regional challenges like Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile and a tendency to produce more is not to be taken lightly by the west as they see it as a persistent threat of falling into the hands of non-state actors that is refuted by Pakistan, as its program is safe from all kinds of intercession.
In addition to this, the real issue appears to be the economically penetrating plans of China, which is already on a mission of establishing distinct trade routes and dependencies with different many countries and across continents, shaping the new virtual realities and its growth as an economic giant.
China is working heavily on initiatives like One Belt One Road, Silk Road, and bilateral projects like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China seems as moving towards a shockingly great integration where continents would depend on its economic output, never to be at war with her because of in-rooted deeper economic connections.
It is an unabated fact that in today’s age, the real source of power is a country’s economic leverage and how other countries engage with them depends on it. China seemingly qualifies for the ‘Economic Imperial power’, if not today then in the near future. Her definition of war would be different to that of others. She may just have to use her economic leverage to out-class her enemies, limiting its position to blow back.
Since the global dynamics are changing very fast, countries are siding with those who can bring maximum benefits to their people. Pakistan seems to have played a lucky chance with a giant power like China given its brotherly and caring relationship but unfortunately, appears to have availed nothing but a transit route and an abundance of heavy loans.
Pakistan needs an immediate revamping and reassessment of its con-current socio-economic denominators and policies relating to strategic interests to showcase a more promising picture and forestall dangers posed by its enemies which are curtailing itself from emerging as a regional power. It must revitalize the huge potential of youth and the working class in terms of manpower and invest in incorporating skills to its people to be self-sufficient and stand strong in the face of the enemy.