When Farooq Abdullah, the tallest political leader of Jammu and Kashmir, said that India assuming presidency of G20 is a big moment for the country and all Indians should be proud of it, he was scripting a new geopolitical narrative, in which he underscored the list of do’s and don’ts for the leadership of the country. This was a subtle but very clear message to Delhi that Kashmir matters when it comes to projecting the image of India as a new leader in the world affairs.
He lent his voice to the Indian leadership that hailed the G-20 presidency coming to India as a “momentous event” for the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hailed this transfer of presidency from Indonesia to India as a great event, which added new responsibilities to the country’s role in the global affairs, with an extraordinary stress on putting curtains on wars and he had specifically referred to Ukraine – Russia conflict. Farooq spoke on the similar lines and hoped that India will play its role in ending the conflict which has caused serious energy and food crises in the world.
It is a matter of political understanding that how important are these remarks for the country. Coming as these did from the tallest Kashmiri leader, the most recognized face of Kashmir in the world because of his family’s history and his own role in Indian politics and diplomacy, He has conveyed to the world that the leaders in Kashmir are as much in celebratory mood over this prestigious presidency as in the rest of the country. In fact, this matters more than what others in the country are saying, because as a leader from the Valley, he is delivering an unmistakable message that their differences with the ruling party of the country were an internal matter but when it comes to the nation’s prestige they are one. Kashmiris share as much country’s moment of glory as the people in the rest of the country.
Three-pr0onged geopolitical viewpoints define Kashmir. For the Indian nation, Jammu and Kashmir is now fully integrated with the country after the abrogation of Article 370 which snapped the special status of the state, and subsequently split into two union territories of Ladakh and J&K. The abrogation of Article 370 not only ended the special status and as its spilt manifested it is now governed in all senses of the word by the national government in Delhi. So Delhi’s control over Kashmir is complete, and the nation relishes that all the possibilities of mischief or challenging Indian sovereignty have been shut forever.
Secondly, Kashmir, as it is viewed by some countries, though they don’t articulate it officially, is that Kashmir issue has not been resolved with these changes in the Indian constitution. They still call for the resolution of the Kashmir crisis, some of the countries like China, Pakistan and even Turkey demand that the issue should be resolved as per the UN resolutions, or alternatively through dialogue with Pakistan. Internationally, there is a widespread perception that Pakistan is a party to Kashmir dispute. They believe that the issue remains unresolved because there is a conflict. India looks at it through other prism but some countries in the world view it differently.
Thirdly, there also is an international opinion that it should be treated as an internal affair of India, but these countries continue to voice concern over the human rights condition in this conflict-riddled land. These countries, while treating Kashmir as an internal matter of India, continue to ignore the death and destruction caused by Pakistan-sponsored terrorism into the Himalayan territory. This is typical balancing approach they have adopted.
All these narratives crisscross Kashmir. Therefore, it is very important as to how Kashmir appears and behaves during the period of India’s presidency of G20.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.