India can’t afford to fall victim to psywar
19 Sep 2008 01:11:00 AM IST
SOME stray voices in the media have been questioning, with surprising nonchalance and lack of depth, the wisdom and expediency of retaining Kashmir as a part of India. This matters not because such voices reflect any growing view in our country but because they play into the hands of enemies of the nation. Their suggestions embolden subversive forces both within and outside the country, and encourage our adversaries to entertain the hope that with a little more effort, Kashmir will secede from India.
National will is a critical component of state power. In the absence of military might, psychological warfare is the weapon of choice of a devious adversary to attempt to break national will, and to also confuse and demoralise the Indian state. No nation aspiring to become a major player in global power dynamics can afford to fall victim to such psywar.
India cannot and must not give any signal that could be misinterpreted to mean that its national resolve to preserve its unity and integrity is crumbling.
The legal validity of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India is unquestionable and was in accordance with the popular will. There is no basis on which any change in the political status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir could be considered. The UN itself has accepted that in the vastly changed circumstances the UN Resolutions of 1948 and 1949 are no longer relevant. In any case, there is no provision for holding a referendum only in one part of the undivided state of Jammu and Kashmir or for holding separate referenda in the three geographically distinct sections of the state.
Like the other states included in the First Schedule of the Constitution of India, Jammu and Kashmir is clearly an integral part of India and will remain so. There is an unanimous resolution of the Indian Parliament of February 22, 1994 to the effect that “the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempts to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means.” It further adds that, “Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression.” Section 3 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir also plainly asserts that “the state of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.” Section 147 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution prohibits any amendment of Section 3 by the state legislature. Kashmir is an inalienable element of India’s civilisational identity and symbolises the fundamental principles on which the modern Indian state has been built. We take pride that India is a prospering economy, but the pursuit of wealth should not make us forget the values that keep our nation one.
India has successfully overcome all secessionist threats faced by it. No responsible government can ever compromise India’s territorial integrity by even contemplating the secession of Kashmir.
This is not a trifling issue. If the Indian state is seen as weak enough to let Kashmir go, other states and disaffected groups within India will only get emboldened, leading to the unraveling of India.
Secondly, as borders in the plains of northern India are not defensible, Kashmir is vital for India’s security. Finally, communal harmony could be seriously compromised. Detractors of secular, democratic India tend to forget that the overwhelming majority of Indian Muslims, who constitute over 15 per cent of the population, has absolutely no sympathy for the partisan few who still fan a tired idea called secession.
It is distressing, indeed alarming, that these seditious views, which question India’s unity and integrity, are being freely aired by a section of the intelligentsia.
It is regrettable that the print and electronic media are giving undue space and prominence to these views.
India is a free and democratic country with a vibrant media and we are proud of it. But freedom of expression does not mean unbridled licence to flout the law of the land by airing or fanning seditious views. Such views also do a disservice to the people of Kashmir.We call upon the intelligentsia that has the power to shape public opinion to use their power with wisdom and maturity.
Irresponsible slogans do immense damage in open and democratic polities and can mislead people to take partisan positions without understanding the grave implications. We also urge the media to exercise restraint and show responsibility in the larger national interest.
As proud and patriotic Indians who strongly believe that the unity and secular democratic fabric of our republic must be preserved at all costs, we call upon the Government of India to make it unequivocally clear at the highest level that under no circumstances will the government and people of India countenance any compromise with the integrity of the nation.
We also call upon the people of India and all political parties to raise their voices and come out unambiguously against secessionism in any form whatsoever.
Signatories to the open statement:
1. Subhash Chandra, chairman, Essel Group
2. Maj Gen Afsir Karim (retd)
3. Ajit Doval, KC, former Director, IB
4. MJ Akbar, Renowned journalist
5. Anil Baijal, former Union Home Secretary
6. Admiral Arun Prakash (retd) former Navy Chief
7. Air Marshal S.R. Deshpandey (retd)
8. Dhirendra Singh, former Union Home Secretary
9. G Parthasarthy, IFS (retd) former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan
10. Rajiv Sikri IFS (retd) former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.
11. CD Sahay, former Secretary (RAW)
12. Lt. General R.K. Sawhney (retd), former Dy Chief of Army Staff
13. Satish Chandra IFS (retd) former Deputy to National Security Advisor and Secretary National Security Counsil
14. Lt General Shantanu Chaudhary (retd), former Vice Chief of Army Staff
15. Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi (retd) former Air Chief
16. Ved Marwah, former Director General National Security Guard and former Governor, Manipur and Jharkhand
17. Vijay Kapoor, former Lt. Governor, Delhi
18. Vikram Sood, former Secretary (RAW)
19. Sudhir Agarwal, Director Dainik Bhaskar Group
20. K Memani, Chairman-Emeritus, Ernst & Young.