Short Termist and Vacuous

Short Termist and Vacuous
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Any initiative, broadly and generally speaking, that operates in a vacuum, is bound to flounder on the rocks of reality. Nature, as they say, abhors a vacuum. This has a resonance in terms of the ceasefire announced by New Delhi, in view of the Holy month of Ramadan. It’s not clear what the measure is aimed at; If it is in the nature of a reprieve, then the obvious inference that can be drawn is, that it will end once Ramadan is over. And, the forces will resume operations against militants. On the face of it, it would appear that the move is in the nature of calming public and the masses of Kashmir. That is, if anti militancy operations were to happen during Ramadan and if as what has become almost the norm now, civilian killings would ensue, then Kashmiris would be angry and enraged. So, to douse this anger and pre empt it, New Delhi has listened to and agreed to Mehbooba’s plea for a ceasefire during Ramadan. This, of course , might be read as a cynical reading of the move but it might be the correct one. All said and done, if the ceasefire were to actually be meaningful, then it has to be one that creates space for diplomacy, involving all stakeholders to the conflict in and over Kashmir, within and without. The nature of this potential and putative diplomacy must be oriented towards crystallizing and developing a robust conflict resolution paradigm. Broken down, all this means creating a context and an end game that redounds to the benefit of all. The context would entail and mean the robust involvement of all stakeholders and an endgame would mean a clear, robust end point in terms of the conflict. That is, a terminus. But, the Ramadan ceasefire, 2018, does not appear to have these themes and ideas factored and embedded into it. As such, it is in the nature of a hiatus or a pause, after which things will revert to the same old theme(s). In a way, this constitutes a travesty, because, if prudent statecraft would have been elevated over politicking in terms of Kashmir, then the cease fire would have been the first step towards a broader conflict resolution paradigm. But, alas, in the climate of opinion and emotion that defines South Asia and its major components, this hope might not amount to more than a pious wish.

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