Talk Openly

Talk Openly

It has been asserted and held by scholars of repute that the policy toward Kashmir has been “outsourced” by India and Pakistan to their respective intelligence agencies. This assertion or even belief appears to be validated by the rather secret meeting held by and between the National Security advisers of the two countries in Bangkok, Thailand, Ajit Doval and Lt. General Nasir Khan Janjua. This constitutes a bit of a travesty because, in the ultimate analysis, the conflict in and over Kashmir and the larger conflict between India and Pakistan that flows from it is a political conflict. Supremely so. While the immediate context to the meeting between Doval and Janjua was the meeting of Kulbushan Jadav’s- the alleged RAW spy incarcerated in Pakistan- meeting with his family, apparently, according to media reports, a whole host of “other” issues were discussed between the two. But, yet again, these meetings are “sub rosa” in nature and these seem to imply that the real power(s), when it comes to the conflict in and over Kashmir and the broader relational dynamic between India and Pakistan is determined by intelligence agencies. This, to an extent is understandable, given the fact that intelligence agencies, are concerned with national security policies of states and, in some instances, have a far more nuanced understanding of issues. But, intelligence agencies, by their very nature, are risk averse; they are conservative in outlook and wedded to the status quo. A conservative outlook, in the context of the Kashmir conflict and relations between India and Pakistan, is not what is required. What is actually needed for both the countries and especially in terms of Kashmir, is expansive, bold and beautiful leadership, which intelligence agencies and their operatives, cannot provide. The implication here is that for the Indo Pak dynamic to move forward in a salubrious idiom and for forward movement on the conflict in and over Kashmir, a certain level of risk is to be taken by both sides. This risk can only be taken by the political class(es) of India and Pakistan. Given this political imperative, it becomes incumbent on the political leadership of the two countries to seize and carry forward the initiative. It is not implied here that the intelligence agencies be relegated to the back burner but that they also be taken on board with the aim of resolving the Kashmir conflict and normalizing relations between India and Pakistan. These issues and themes are interrelated but their resolution calls for a primacy of the political.

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