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Emtiyaz Ahmad Ganaie asked: What should be India’s foreign policy so that the J&K issue could be settled within the ambit of the Constitution of India?

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  • Priyanka Singh replies: When one talks about the settlement of Kashmir issue, the most obvious challenge before India is how to deal with Pakistan. India has taken a stricter stance post 26/11 Mumbai attacks on the issue of state-sponsored terrorism, making it clear that it cannot hold talks on Kashmir issue in the shadow of militancy abetted by Pakistan. India’s policy on the issue has been consistent: it is opposed to third party mediation on Kashmir issue, a bilateral issue to be peacefully resolved between the two neighbours. However, until Pakistan decides to abandon militancy as a tool of its foreign policy, it is difficult to expect any major breakthrough on the issue. Opting for militancy in order to coerce India into acceding to its agenda in Kashmir has had serious consequences for Pakistan itself. The prolonged collusion of successive regimes in Pakistan with religious extremists has not only dented country’s image internationally, but has also caused a severe backlash in the form of incessant violence within Pakistan.

    Therefore, what is more consequential is the policy course Pakistan pursues, not so much India’s. As noted earlier, India has been committed towards improving ties with Pakistan and has been willing to conduct talks on Kashmir amongst other pending issues. More significantly, India has never out-stepped constitutional norms vis-à-vis J&K, which it regards as its integral part by virtue of the Instrument of Accession signed in 1947. India’s foreign policy adheres to the constitutionality of J&K being a part of the Union of India. Therefore, any talks/negotiation on the Kashmir issue, now or in future, could only be held within India’s existing constitutional framework.

    Posted on March 26, 2015