A strong determination for creating New Face of India by the 75th year of Independence in 2022. India’s 74th year of Independence showcases, how India has progressed in military, space, education and health. Respecting the collaborative efforts during the epidemic by frontliners and cross border issue management. Commemorating 50 years of Indian Armed Forces victory over Pakistan in 1971. India has also taken over the UNSC presidency for the month of August 2021.
Further, India’s envoy to United Nations Tirumurti said, “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India. If there needs to be a change in status, it is the vacation of Pakistan occupied Kashmir” while responding to a journalist who asked about the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir at a press conference.
Pakistan occupied Kashmir is part of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan hence an integral part of India. It has been illegitimately under the control of Pakistan since 22 October, 1947. Tribal lashkars supported by Pakistan had invaded the then princely state of J&K. After which the ruler of the Jammu and Kashmir state acceded to India by signing –
Instrument Of Accession according to which the Dominion Legislature was to make laws only in regards with DEFENCE, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, COMMUNICATION, ANCILLARY. The External Affairs included the implementations of treaties and agreements with other countries, extradition and surrendering of criminals to the then His Majesty outside India.
Pakistan’s Argument on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir– Pakistani argue that the people of “Northern Area’s” now called “Gilgit-Baltistan” revolted against the then Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir on the eve of lapse of British paramountcy in 1947 and willingly joined Pakistan.
On contrary, the popular perception is Gilgit- Baltistan’s annexation was forceful and the consent of people never sought.
UN’s Role – An Unfair Play:
Toput an end to external aggression and armed confrontation India with the hope of a fair and legitimate solution. The issue referred to the United Nation. The UN Security Council major powers equated the aggressor state of Pakistan with the victim state of Jammu and Kashmir. In other attempts, India’s viewpoint clearly disregarded.
A separate constitution and no constitution-
The 45 years of the Cold War and India’s decision of not to be a part of any bloc instead led to the creation of NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) paves an independent path for a long colonised nation. This also frustrated the western nation, joined by Pakistan. The UN security decision seemed to be a deliberate attempt to disregard India’s legitimate position in Kashmir.
In September 1951, the people of J&K elected a Constituent Assembly (members were elected unopposed). It went on to ratify accession of the state to India on February 15, 1954. Finally, led to the assembly drafting a constitution for the state, adopted on November 17, 1956. It came into force subsequently on January 26, 1957. India held it’s free, fair, democratic, and legitimate, and regarded the UN resolutions (related to troops pull out and holding of the plebiscite) as irrelevant and inoperative. This is in view of the prolonged Pakistani non-compliance of the UN resolutions.
For 73 years Gilgit- Baltistan has struggled to get human and civil rights. It has no constitution unlike Pakistan and administration works according to the Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018. This is an executive fiat by Islamabad.
Importance of POK carries factors:
1 Location -Strategic importance shares borders with several countries. Carries a strong geopolitical significance since the Karakoram Highway (KKH) built to connect Pakistan with China via PoK. It’s a gateway to Central Asian republics and to their expanding markets.
According to Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, “access to Afghanistan via the Wakhan Corridor bordering PoK would have given the allied forces a viable option for transporting supplies for NATO forces”
2 Infrastructure development is again very strategic on which China eyes over, apart from its enhanced presence it’s also coming under the influence of Jihad ideology. The resources are rich and exploited by Pakistan recklessly.
3 Socio-Economic situation- After the 2005 earthquake, the ground reality of missing basic amenities was observed by the NGO’s. Even International donors noticed it. The missing apathy of Pakistan came as a rude shock to outsiders. This suggests India an option of policy creation in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Current Situation Gilgit Baltistan:
Till 1999 – the Northern area continued to be governed as a colony of Pakistan. Later in 2009 ‘Northern Areas’ renamed ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ under the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order of August 2009. This provided an electoral framework and limited authority.
Gross irregularities reported by International NGOs in regard to the electoral process. Small training camps are set by China to train Pakistan soldiers, given for 45 days.
Currently the region Gilgit- Baltistan demanded status of provincial region. Pushing for a constitutional amendment and to conduct election strongly opposed by India. All this comes after India’s strong move of abrogation of Article 370. If the Provincial status is provided, then Pakistan’s constitutional rights will be applicable. Along with representation in the upper and lower house of Pakistan’s assembly will be provided.
Recently, we have seen how the grouping of China- Pakistan is strengthening. Whilst Pakistan is also under pressure in regards to or not support the USA as the Taliban takes over Afghanistan.
India’s UNSC presidency is an influential position- Key issues listed by T.S Tirumurti on priority are Maritime Security, Peacekeeping, Counterterrorism.
The status quo that has taken U-turn in BJP’s regime in the matter of J&K. Vocalising the legitimate right on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir doesn’t look unattainable. The situation in Gilgit Baltistan is unwanted by the people. It’s a far-reaching and geographically distant area from India. China’s presence is turning it into an investment area overlooking the welfare of the people. “Gwadar port will receive $793 million under CPEC, the bulk of Chinese investment will take place in G-B ($ 16.129 billion) and PoK ($5.946 billion). Pakistan proposes to build five dams in G-B as part of the “Indus cascade” opines DP Srivastava (retired diplomat) and the author of Forgotten Kashmir in Hindustan times.