A Fresh Approach??

As fear and uncertainty hover over Kashmir, New Delhi has appointed a special “interlocutor” for Kashmir. The apparent mandate of the interlocutor- an Intelligence Bureau (IB) man- is “sustained dialogue” over Kashmir. The context to this new development and appointment is severe pressure on the Hurriyat and allied activists, intense anti-militancy operations , among other things. If Kashmir’s modern political history, especially the post insurgency avatar, is any guide, then this new development could be in the nature of what appears to be a policy guideline for New Delhi. The components or the flesh of this policy appears to be to blow “ hot” and “cold” over political players of Kashmir and as a complement initiate and impart momentum to the so called “ mainstream” politics of Kashmir. This has been the thematic idea that appears to inform New Delhi’s approach to Kashmir. Will it be different this time? No one can tell. But, the prosaic fact is that Kashmir needs a fresh approach which sates and satisfies the interests , needs aspirations of all stakeholders- especially the people of Kashmir. The question is: will an Intelligence Bureau(IB) man , regardless of the nature of his mandate, be upto it? While intelligence people have resources and perhaps even superior information at their command, but by the very nature of their jobs and perhaps even temperament, they tend to be cautious people who are loathe to take risks. This hampers and throws a potential spanner into the works of conflict resolution. At this point in time, all this amounts to second guessing New Delhi’s “new” approach. What Kashmir and the conflict thereof actually needs is an admixture of deft statecraft, diplomacy – all underpinned by prudence and, perhaps more importantly, an open mind. These are the key elements, to name a few , that should inform any approach towards Kashmir- especially at a critical and delicate moment in Kashmir’s history. It may be stated here that the nature of the conflict does not countenance a techno-cratic approach- something that is a reflex for the world of Intelligence agencies. In the ultimate analysis, the conflict in and over Kashmir is a supremely political one which requires a political approach- informed by a sincere attempt at conflict resolution. The form of the politics that informs any attempt at resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir has to be a multi-stakeholder one. Anything less than this will neither change underlying realities.