Complex and Convoluted

Complex and Convoluted
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There is a context to the Intelligence Bureau official’s (IB) approach to Syed Ali Geelani. The nature of this context is the reassertive aggressiveness by the state in multiple domains and at many fronts. Sustained anti-militancy operations are complemented and supplemented by pressure on the Hurriyat and allied activists. But, these are not the only peculiarities of the IB official’s approach. In the final analysis, the conflict in and over Kashmir and its resolution lies in the domain of politics. However, it would appear “Kashmir Affairs” has been outsourced to intelligence agencies. There is a fundamental flaw in and with this approach. Intelligence agencies inherently are conservative and risk averse. This is their default reflex. And, these sub rosa agencies’ remit is often times, what is called national security. The conservative approach and limited domains of intelligence agencies render these organizations incapable of seeing the larger picture. Moreover, intelligence agencies, generally speaking, attempt to manipulate given conditions and situations to their advantage. The IB’s approach to Geelani therefore is a non starter. What then is the alternative? It is only the political class of a given country that can potentially see the larger picture and take risks for the larger good. The conflict in and over Kashmir and its resolution is no different. Kashmir requires a multi stakeholder, holistic approach that factors in and incorporates multiple dimensions of the conflict and wherein a new paradigm that redounds to the interests and aspirations of all are sated. Admittedly, this is a hackneyed assertion, but there are no other robust alternatives or options. The multi stakeholder paradigm identified here would naturally warrant primacy of politics over the narrow and parochial focus of intelligence agencies. But, in India, the political class is so hemmed in by its own rhetorical grandstanding and posturing, that it is difficult to conceive it coming out of the corner it has boxed itself in. So, the prospects of a multi stakeholder dialogue look dim. But, history demonstrates all too eloquently that conflicts almost never remain open ended. At some point in time, they lend themselves to resolution. The same would apply to Kashmir. However, prudence and sagacity would suggest that history be given a shove in terms of Kashmir and the conflict resolved. This would require, to repeat, the primacy of the political and far sighted statecraft, which is sorely absent in the contemporary climate and milieu.