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Centre’s J&K Outreach - India’s Kashmir Policy

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June 21, 2021

Why in news?

The Union Home Secretary has extended invitation to the leadership of the J&K-based political parties to discuss on the Kashmir issue.

What is the significance?

  • On August 5, 2019, the State of J&K was stripped of its special constitutional status and dismembered into two Union Territories.
  • The Prime Minister has now decided to meet 14 party leaders from the Union Territory.
  • It includes those who were incarcerated for opposing the Centre's move.
  • [The leaders of mainstream parties, including former CMs, were jailed after 2019.]
  • This will be the first political engagement since the August 5 move.
  • The decision signals a revival of the political process in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It demonstrates a desirable flexibility in the Centre’s approach towards resolving the Kashmir issue.

Why now?

  • The political environment has changed since the 2019 move.
  • The Joe Biden administration is eager to end the U.S. entanglement in Afghanistan.
  • It is also keen of resisting China’s attempts to dominate the world.
  • India is in a stand-off with China on the border.
  • The Biden administration is publicly disapproving of India’s Kashmir policy.
  • Pakistan is also trying to reclaim its strategic advantage.
  • Besides, the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic has dented India’s global image.
  • This has triggered new political challenges domestically.
  • All these make rigidity less rewarding in India’s Kashmir policy and call for a flexible approach.

What is the way forward?

  • The Centre must now engage the political parties in good faith and with an open mind.
  • Corruption investigations in Kashmir, legitimate as they may be, must not be used to debase politics itself.
  • Efforts to tackle corruption and pilferage should not amount to furthering instability in J&K.
  • There is no clear agenda for the meeting and a sense of betrayal prevails among Kashmiris.
  • So, any hope of a quick resolution to the frozen political questions is not realistic.
  • Nevertheless, it could be a beginning towards a durable and democratic resolution of the Kashmir question.

 

Source: The Hindu

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