Thursday, June 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Kashmir: we must fully exploit the situation now

This refers to your editorial “All over joint patrolling” (June 7). The answer to the question raised by you is quite simple. The impractical suggestion for joint patrolling on the Line of Control (LoC) appears only to ward off the USA-UK proposal for international supervision of the border and must have been conveyed to the Prime Minister from New Delhi as he is not expected to say or do anything without the approval of Mr L.K. Advani, the de facto Prime Minister. Joint patrolling is possible only by two friendly countries, not by India and Pakistan whose armies are facing each other eyeball to eyeball and itching to give a fitting reply to the aggressor.

The Shimla Agreement which we have been flaunting before the world community for the last 30 years has failed to resolve the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, through bilateral negotiations. The time has come to try “any other peaceful means” as contained in Clause II of Shimla Accord which reads as follows: “That the two countries have resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means, mutually agreed upon between them” (Emphasis mine). What could be “other peaceful means” except mediation or arbitration?

We must fully exploit the favourable situation created by our coercive diplomacy when the international community compriing the USA, the UK and Russia, is pressurising Pakistan to stop exporting terrorism into Kashmir and agree to a third party mediation for resolving the Kashmir dispute to the satisfaction of India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people. Unless the Kashmir problem is finally settled, it would not be possible for General Musharraf or any elected civilian government to fully and permanently control the Islamic jehadis who cross over to Kashmir just to embrace ‘shahadat’ in the name of helping their co-religionists in Kashmir.


We should not only be reasonable but seen to be so by the international community if we want to retain its goodwill permanently. Overstretching the strategy of coercive diplomacy beyond a stage would be counter-productive. And that stage appears to have reached.


No mediation, please

According to a report in The Tribune (June 8), Britishers are ready to monitor the Line of Control dividing India and Pakistan along with the USA. India should not accept this proposal in any manner whatsoever. The Shimla agreement envisages that India and Pakistan should resolve all disputes between the two bilaterally. The proposal will be the antithesis of our previous declaration of bilateral talks.

When our armed forces are on the borders, why should we allow somebody else to monitor the same? The Britishers came to India as traders. Lack of unity among the Indians was instrumental in their occupation. The UK and the USA will certainly look first to their own interests, than those of India and Pakistan. India has categorically rejected pleas for mediation many a time on all the world fora. It will be very dangerous if India accedes to such a proposal.

GEETIKA SETH, Kapurthala

NRIs’ response

We, the NRIs from the USA, invite President Bush, Prime Minister Vajpayee and General Musharraf to a meeting in Washington DC. We also invite British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Afghan Premier Karzai for a video conference. We will strive to avoid nuclear war at any cost.

VIKRAMJIT SINGH BAJWA, vice-president, Indian National Overseas Congress, North America (via e-mail)


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