A meeting of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and America’s President Barack Obama is about to take place in September, in America. American Secretary of State John Kerry had come to India to make advance preparations for it. Actually, along with advance preparations for the America visit of India’s Prime Minister, the purpose of the India visit of the American Secretary of State was to ‘prepare’ Narendra Modi to adopt a slightly more flexible stance. America, for the past 12 years, had not given a visa to Narendra Modi, holding him guilty of riots. Now the people of India have chosen Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister, therefore America wants that in the changed circumstances relations with Narendra Modi should be normalised.
But behind this there is also the revelation in an American court that along with European countries, America did snooping on some Indian Ministers too, in which former Finance Minister and current President Pranab Mukherji, former National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Nitin Gadkari, and possibly Arun Jaitley’s name are included. The snooping revelations caused considerable hue and cry in European countries, many news stories came, but in India largely limited news came and an attempt was made to suppress this news at the outset, because now there are changed circumstances. If there had been a Congress Government, then the Bharatiya Janata Party would have made a lot of noise on this, but as a Bharatiya Janata Party Government is there an attempt was made to dismiss the whole matter outright. But when Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj raised this issue in talks with American Secretary of State John Kerry, then it became clear that in Parliament the Indian Government is linking this snooping incident to the snooping that has happened in the country, not linking it to snooping done by America. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, before going to America will go to Islamabad in the last week of August and there he will have talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In this dialogue all disputed issues will be there and there is no reason to believe that on Kashmir there will be no talks. There will be talks on Kashmir too. Only one result of this dialogue will emerge, that let talks on Kashmir continue, but let there be an initiative to open ways of trade. If this happens, then new relations will be forged between India and Pakistan.
Till now it has been India’s policy that in any kind of dialogue with Pakistan, be it the Kashmir issue, of mutual relations or of trade, in it the interference of any third country has never been accepted. India has been giving a clear opinion that bilateral talks will happen, not trilateral. But now probably America believes that if it does initiate something to solve the Kashmir issue, then India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give an appropriately favourable answer to it.
If both countries give permission to tourists to openly come to each other’s country or begin giving tourist visas a little more easily, then too this will be a very worthwhile initiative in the direction of improving relations between both countries, friendship will increase. India and Pakistan understand very well that in both the countries, for terrorist activities nobody requires a visa or a passport. People involved in terrorist activities or spying activities work without visa-passport. Now the world over means of communication have developed so much and so many ways have opened for coming and going that no importance remains for the traditional things that are mentioned, amongst which visa and passport are the major ones. Actually, the rulers of both the countries talk of visa and passport to make fools of their respective populations, therefore if instead of making fools of the people, the Government of both the countries try to make them meet each other, then this will be the biggest worthwhile step in the direction of restoring good relations.
The thing I have doubts about has arisen from seeing the activities taking place in Pakistan and America since the past few days. It seems that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s America visit, America can give this advice to him that in the direction of solving the Kashmir issue, India takes some meaningful or concrete initiative. This means that if India wants the Kashmir issue to be solved, then it should accept the mediation of America. Till now it has been India’s policy that in any kind of dialogue with Pakistan, be it the Kashmir issue, of mutual relations or of trade, in it the interference of any third country has never been accepted. India has been giving a clear opinion that bilateral talks will happen, not trilateral. But now probably America believes that if it does initiate something to solve the Kashmir issue, then India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give an appropriately favourable answer to it. America, to put pressure on India, can take the support of China and China too, to show its importance, maybe will not hesitate in supporting America and both together will put pressure on India. But I have full hope that the Prime Minister of India will, with complete ease, not only reject this pressure, but will also give a friendly warning to both to stay within their limits. For India, Kashmir is not a piece of land, for India Kashmir is an example of secularism, because on the basis of this logic that in Kashmir there are more Muslims, that is why Kashmir should integrate with Pakistan or the Muslims there should be given the right to self-determination that if they want to integrate with Pakistan they can integrate, then this will be a dangerous principle.
In every village of India Muslims live and if one has to say, more Muslims live in India than in Pakistan. India is country of 125 crore people, it is a country of villages. In every village there are upto 10-500 homes of Muslims. Certainly, the homes are upto 10-500, but over there all the Muslims are in a minority. If we accept this logic, then communal powers will raise this question that the principle that is being applied to Kashmir, why should it not be applied to the villages of India? Therefore, the Muslims from our villages can go wherever they want and stay if they want. Because of this in the villages of India the danger of riots spreading will arise. India has neither that much Army nor police that security forces can be deployed in every village whereby Muslims can be protected. Actually, this principle is a well planned conspiracy to instigate riots in every village in India, behind which are foreign powers, some forces of the country and mostly those Pakistan based powers that do not want peace established between both the countries.
I believe that if India wants to keep Kashmir with it, then it is only because Kashmir is an issue of secularism for it. If Kashmir will remain secular, will remain with India, then the 16-17 per cent Muslim population in every village of India will remain safe. Muslims in India are as free as they are in Pakistan. In Pakistan riots between Muslims, internal fights between Muslims become headlines, but in India Muslims live with love and affection and for the attainment of their rights systematically carry out ‘andolans’ (movements). In India Muslims are not second rate citizens. In India Muslims can participate in politics in the same way as anybody else can. Now it is upto Muslims to use this strength of theirs with whomsoever in whatever way. In exactly the same way, in India various non Muslim sections of the minorities in which Dalits are included, Christians are included, backward classes are included, upper castes are included, all of them somewhere or the other are minorities. But because in India for so many years a powerful class has had a hold over power, freedom from the hold of that class is also being gained and participation is also increasing rapidly. In India the last elections have been such in which their representation in Parliament and State Assemblies has reduced because of their own strategic weaknesses. But it should be hoped that Muslims to end their struggle, their fight, and for the attainment of their rights and to end the economic and educational plight of their poorer section will make a better strategy.
But for that it is most important that a dialogue between India’s Prime Minister and America’s President takes place on an equal level. This is the biggest test for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi : where in the line of world leaders he makes himself stand, and to stand in the forward line there is only one condition, that no compromise — open or hidden — with India’s interest takes place. Perhaps this is the demand of the hour, and that happiness comes in the relations of India and Pakistan, for this also there is a demand.