'The status quo in J&K should be left undisturbed'
K Subrahmanyam was the first head of the defence ministry's Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses. But now he is better known in India as the architect of the report into the circumstances that led to the Kargil conflict. A respected defence analyst and commentator, he discussed on the Rediff Chat the developments at Agra on the first day of the India-Pakistan summit:
venkat : Why is Pakistan so adamant on Kashmir? What is their moral right on Kashmir? Please explain.
K Subrahmanyam : Pakistan was created on the basis of the two-nation theory advocated by Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League. This is the Pakistani belief. This has no legal basis since the Indian Independence Act did not talk about the two-nation theory. Mr Jinnah himself only wanted a Muslim state. But he advocated that the Muslim state should be a secular one. However, since the Pakistanis have persuaded themselves that they were created on the basis of the two-nation theory, or what is today called the thesis of the clash of civilizations, they feel that Kashmir as a Muslim-majority state should have gone to Pakistan.
During the Cold War period, the West, particularly the British, who partitioned India and created Pakistan mainly to use Pakistan against the perceived threat of Soviet expansionism, supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue even though Kashmir's accession to India by Maharaja Hari Singh was accepted by a British governor general, Lord Mountbatten. The British governor general was let down by the British government.
spcorrespondent : Mr Subrahmanyam, don't you feel that the Indian media goes crazy every time a personality comes to India?? What happened yesterday at Qazi's residence was evidence of that.
K Subrahmanyam : I agree.
ananda : MR SUBRAHMANYAM, I BELIEVE INDIA AND PAKISTAN SHOULD WORK TOWARDS A FEDERAL UNION LIKE EUROPE, FEEL THEY BOTH OWN KASHMIR, CUT THEIR DEFENCE BY 75 PCT, FOCUS ON ERADICATION OF POVERTY INSTEAD OF FIGHTING. CAN THE LEADERS THINK ON THESE LINES?
K Subrahmanyam : The leaders in India have always thought on these lines. That is why our defence budget never exceeded 3.3 per cent of the GDP, while Pakistan spent more than double that percentage. When the economic reforms were introduced we reduced the defence budget further to 2.2 per cent. Therefore, we are quite aware of the need to devote resources for poverty alleviation.
The problem is with the Pakistani leadership. They have reduced a country that was surplus in food to a food importer. While India is going up in terms of human development indices and is reducing its poverty the reverse is the case with Pakistan. It is the two-nation theory of Pakistan that prevents their moving towards a common market with India, let alone having something on the European Union model.
Reddy : K Subrahmanyan:-- Can U please answer this... Even though Pak leaders want good relations with India, do militants agree to that? (As Pak govt is ruled by militants)?
K Subrahmanyam : Perhaps the militants are not agreeable to reach a settlement with India on Kashmir and promote normal relations with this country. But if the Pakistani military leadership does not deal with the militants and control them, Pakistan will increasingly become labelled a terrorist state and its economy will suffer. The army itself will be penetrated by the militant extremists and be converted from a professional army to an armed rebel. General Musharraf warned about this in his speech to the mullahs on the holy Prophet's birthday. To some extent his present visit to India may be related to his efforts to control the militant extremists.
Muraleemenon : What do you think, will Mr Vajpayee really go to Pakistan after this on the invitation of Mr Musharraf?
K Subrahmanyam : Yes. What has been begun in Agra is a peace process. It will involve several summits and several meetings between the two foreign ministers and several working groups having to work to promote better relations between India and Pakistan.
tyagi : Bal Thackeray says give me military for one day and I will solve the issue. What is your opinion on this?
K Subrahmanyam : Nonsense!
lala_n : K Subrahmanyan -- could u comment on this... who will have more of the onus for continuing the peace process, India or Pakistan?
K Subrahmanyam : Obviously India. Though over a period of time, if General Musharraf decides that he faces the danger of Islamic extremists taking Pakistan back to a mediŠval age he may acquire some stake in the peace process. His present summit with Mr Vajpayee will establish whether he wants to prevent Pakistan from becoming a mediŠval state.
Maulik : Will Pakistanis agree to hand whole of Kashmir to India?
K Subrahmanyam : I do not think so, even though we have a legal title to the whole state of Jammu & Kashmir because of the accession document signed by Maharaja Hari Singh.
I do not think that we should have within India people who are not willing to be its citizens. Sheikh Abdullah persuaded Pandit Nehru to stop the Indian Army's advance in 1948-49 since his own leadership and popularity was restricted to the Kashmiris in the Kashmir valley. Those who are living in the Pakistan-occupied portion of the former princely State of Jammu & Kashmir are not Kashmiris. They cannot speak the Kashmiri language. They are Mirpuris, Poonchis, Baltis and Gilgit people who are all Muslims of non-Kashmiri ethnicity. It is very difficult to say whether they would make loyal citizens of the Indian Union. Therefore, I am personally of the view that the status quo of the last 53 years should be left undisturbed.
bnm : What are the risks of the talks not succeeding?
K Subrahmanyam : Again as of today (July 15, 2001) the risks do not seem to be high.
keshev : Any hope for peace from the Agra summit?
K Subrahmanyam : As of today (15 July 2001) the prospects look good.
interrogator : With the general condemning madarsas and jihadi training in Pakistan some time ago, do you think this was a move to appease the Indian side and does this indicate 'back-door diplomacy' happening before this summit?
K Subrahmanyam : I think the general was thinking as a patriotic Pakistani. He understood that if the jihadis had their way, Pakistan would become a failed state and be branded a terrorist state by the international community.
ranjit : wt do u think of possibility of an indo-pak war after gen musharraf leaves india?
K Subrahmanyam : It is highly unlikely. Pakistan is not in a position to fight another high-intensity war with India because of its poor economic condition and international isolation.
Ashoka : Dear Sir, isn't it shameful on the part of V P Singh, Mulayam Singh and the Communists to attend the tea party? When will these people stop playing the communal card?
K Subrahmanyam : I would not like to charge every politician with playing the communal card even though many of them do.
harichandran : will pakistanis endorse musharraf's deliberations in India?
K Subrahmanyam : One hopes so. General Musharraf has consulted his corps commanders before coming to India. Therefore, he must have a clear idea of what he can sell to his corps commanders. Once the army endorses his stand, there will be no problem in getting it endorsed by Pakistan as a whole.
interrogator : What is your interpretation of the escalation in firing across the border during the Pakistan president's visit?
K Subrahmanyam : It is very difficult to say whether this is a local incident or it had the approval of the higher authorities. So for the present we have to reserve our judgement.
darbha : Sir, if we give way now on Kashmir by converting the LoC to an International Border or some such thing, don't you think it amounts to yielding to terrorist tactics? Would that not encourage terrorism all over the world, particularly the Islamic terrorism, which is threatening world peace now?
K Subrahmanyam : No. Even during the Shimla Pact the understanding between Mrs Gandhi and Bhutto was that the LoC would slowly be converted to acquire the characteristics of an international border. There was no terrorism at that time.
I have already explained in answer to another question that the LoC clearly separates Kashmir from other ethnic groups and its delimitation was advocated by Sheikh Abdullah in 1948. He told the UN mediator, Dr Joseph Korbel, father of the US secretary of state under Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, that the rational solution to the problem of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir was a division of the state. And therefore the division of J&K state on the LoC has a long history.
Neeraj : Is de-militarization of Siachen desirable from India's point of view?
K Subrahmanyam : Yes, it is desirable, but Pakistan has to agree to the delimitation in that area in accordance with the principles of the 1949 Karachi Agreement and the delimitation of the LoC following the Shimla Pact. From Point 9842 the delimitation should go north to the glaciers. And not as Pakistan wants, to the northeast, to join the Karakoram pass. If Pakistan agrees to this delimitation, Siachen can be demilitarised.
sunda : Mr Subrahmanyam, what about Article 370 etc? Will it go?
K Subrahmanyam : No. It is not likely to go.
K Subrahmanyam : Thank you for asking questions. Hope to see you soon.