Flawed Prism

Flawed Prism
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One essential and cardinal principal of diplomacy is to build confidence and trust among and between adversaries. Both can be built by and through positive communication, other confidence building measures and also creating a generally positive environment, among other things. But, in terms of Kashmir against the backdrop of Rajnath Singh’s visit to Kashmir, these basics of diplomacy and statecraft do not seem to be entirely adhered to. Singh, for, instance while stressing upon talks, omitted to mention the Hurriyat, a key stakeholder, in clear and categorical terms but alluded to the amalgam in rather unflattering terms. Another similar unflattering allusion was to Pakistan to the media. So far and till now, it appears that feelers about talks are being sent more through the media than any another channels. If this be the case, why negative allusions and remarks through the media about key stakeholders? It all does not seem to add up. Now, in terms of the ceasefire, Rajnath has said that a decision would be taken after a “review”. The obvious reference here is to a security and a military review. It is here that New Delhi’s overall approach can be summed up and culled. That is, New Delhi has always viewed Kashmir through the prism of security: Kashmir, for powers that be, in New Delhi, cutting across governments, is a security problematique. Reference to this is not an exercise in vanity but perhaps goes to the heart of the matter. If an when an issue is solely and wholely viewed through a certain prism, generally speaking, then that becomes the dominant reality and the rest becomes subordinate to it. This has a resonance for Kashmir and New Delhi’s penchant for viewing the issue through a security rubric and prism. This approach, being reductive, by its very nature, reduces the conflict in and over Kashmir to just one dimension, palatable to powers that be perhaps, but in the process ensures that the conflict actually gets prolonged (and as has been observed since the past few years intensified). All in all, then returning to Rajnath’s “peace noises” and overtures, these too fall in the overall dynamic of viewing Kashmir as a security problematique and hence corresponding to type, so to speak. If and when powers that be in India are serious and earnest about resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir, the first premise has to be ditching past “baggage” and viewing the peace process in fresh terms, that smells of roses.

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