Indian Unilateralism and Intransigence
By Dr Shireen M. Mazari

Finally Pakistanis are getting over their misplaced euphoria regarding the dialogue process between Pakistan and India and taking a hard look at the ground realities of the dialogue so far. Pakistan has shown an amazing amount of flexibility and accommodation on critical issues like water as well as on the core issue of Kashmir. India's response to these initiatives and accommodative shifts has been at best continuing rigidity and, at worse, negativity calculated to undermine the whole process itself.

Clearly, the Indian intent has been to make the dialogue process an end in itself, even as the Indian business sector seeks access into Pakistan and Indian civil society is feted, ad nauseam, by Pakistani officialdom. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we in Pakistan are prepared to accept this Indian agenda? Meanwhile, India has stated categorically that it will not stop work on the Baglihar Dam while the World Bank makes a decision on the issue. On Kashmir itself, India has not only failed to respond positively to Pakistan's proactive proposals but has backed off from the confidence-building measures (CBMs) that it had earlier made much of at the propaganda level. For instance, there is a strange Indian quietude towards the Srinagar-Muzzafarabad bus service in the face of Pakistan welcoming such a proposal and suggesting that it be implemented along the earlier, 50s' model - with no passports or visas.

In the face of this intransigence on the main conflictual issues, it is absurd for Pakistan to continue to quicken the pace of civil society interaction and economic concessions. There is a bizarre logic doing the rounds in some segments of officialdom and civil society in Pakistan that despite Indian intransigence over Kashmir and despite the threat posed by the operation of Baglihar Dam to the agricultural sector, we should allow Indians to invest in Pakistan - something they are already doing covertly - since this will give them a stake in sustaining the dialogue. But what type of dialogue? Surely not the one that is presently in progress that has shown little in the way of movement forward on conflictual issues? Will the Indian business interests be able to pressure their government into moving positively on Kashmir? So far there have been no indicators in this direction. In fact, the Indian plug seems to be to involve Pakistani civil society so deeply into a meaningless dialogue process that they forget Kashmir and the water issue. Unfortunately, this will not be possible - especially since the water issue threatens our very existence and highlights the relevance of Kashmir for Pakistan.

But the Indians will continue to try and woo us over through frivolities - especially through their Bollywood culture - given that we seem to be sending mixed signals. This seeming confusion on our part is regrettable because we should be in no doubt over Indian intent as revealed so far in the dialogue process. India has a history of breaking all norms to push forward its agendas wherever it can. If we study India's record of violating international treaties and agreements, we will understand how unscrupulously it plays the power game - especially in relation to Pakistan. That is why we should have seen what India was up to in the Baglihar case much earlier on. After all, India has sought to break the Indus Waters Treaty on earlier occasions also and the present Congress coalition government had expressed a view that it may actually seek withdrawal from the Treaty itself. But India's track record of violating formal agreements, at the bilateral and multilateral levels, goes back to 1947 when it began its membership of the international comity of sovereign states by violating the agreed-upon Partition plan. In 1972, India began violating the Simla Accord, relating specifically to the Line of Control almost as soon as it was signed.

Despite a commitment by both Pakistan and India not to alter the LoC unilaterally and to refrain from using force "in violation of this Line", (2:ii) India crossed over the post-1971 LoC and set up over half a dozen posts on the Pakistani side of this Line. In 1984, India not only violated the Simla Accord (6:ii) but also the Karachi Agreement of 1949, which defined the Ceasefire Line between Pakistan and India in Jammu and Kashmir as prevailing after the UN-brokered ceasefire of January 1949. In 1988, India violated the Simla Accord once more by crossing the LoC and establishing twelve posts in the unoccupied Qamar sector. These almost habitual violations of the Simla Accord call into question the validity of this Accord today. India also violated the Pakistan-India 1992 Joint Declaration on the Complete Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (1:a,b,c). At the time, both Pakistan and India showed that they did not possess chemical weapons' stockpiles. However, when India ratified the international Chemical Weapons Convention in 1996, it declared a large stockpile of chemical weapons, which showed that India had deceived Pakistan into signing the bilateral agreement on chemical weapons in the first place.

India's downing of the unarmed Pakistan navy surveillance plane on August 10, 1999 was a clear violation of the bilateral Pakistan-India Agreement of 1991 on Prevention of Air Space Violations and For Permitting Over Flights and Landings by Military Aircraft - specifically Articles 1 and 2(b). The violation of the Indus Waters Treaty in the case of Baglihar is part of this pattern of India's irresponsible, unilateralist behavior, which is also reflected in the Indian approach towards multilateral treaties and agreements. India transgressed the UN Charter's letter and spirit when it invaded Goa in 1961 and expanded India's geographic contours. Its amalgamation of Sikkim within the Indian state - from the status of Protectorate - violated the spirit of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) which upholds the sanctity of international treaties and conventions and inter alia declares that successor states (as India was after 1947 to British India; it gained its UN seat on that basis) inherit treaty obligations of the predecessor state.

After the 1971 war with Pakistan, India violated the Geneva Conventions relating to the conduct of war, specifically the 1949 Prisoners of War Convention (Article 118, Sec. II of Geneva Convention III), on the issue of Pakistani POWs, whom it continued to hold on to long after the war had ended and Pakistan had returned the Indian POWs. India's denial of the right of plebiscite to the Kashmiris is a constant violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Yet, India, as a member of UN, has agreed to abide by the UN Charter under which "The members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter" (Article 25). India also violated Article 24:1 of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (1982) during the height of the Kargil crisis when it held up a North Korean cargo ship carrying cargo destined for Pakistan, at Kandla port on its Western coast. The captain and crew were arrested and the cargo confiscated.

India also declared a blockade of sorts against Pakistan, which is an act of war. Since India had not declared war on Pakistan, legally it had no grounds for carrying out any of these acts. With such an abysmal track record on bilateral and multilateral agreements and treaties, India has the gall to seek permanent membership of the UNSC; the international community's reluctance to censure India on this count is even more absurd. In any event, Pakistan should be more aware of the Indian duality that has dominated its external relations since the Nehru era. The writer is Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (Courtesy The News)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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