India’s annexation of Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) region has been explicitly exposed by Pakistan in all its illegitimacy, injustice and inhumanity. It has sensitized the international community to the atrocious violations of international law and Human Rights there. It has underscored too the latent dangers lurking within IOJ&K’s potentially explosive strategic environment as well as the outstanding obligations of the UN/UNSC to the inalienable Right to Self Determination of the brutalized Kashmiris.  

 Kashmir, a long-neglected albeit continuing conflict from history, now stands internationalized and revived; it has been managed through the ages, now it must be resolved. Its time has truly come! 

This Indian tyranny, relentless as it is in its ruthlessness, viciousness, vengeance and ferocity, will inexorably evoke a kinetic response; a massive, popular, indigenous, resistance movement, a dynamic and proactive Kashmiri intifada, is all but inevitable. Such a struggle for the Right to Self Determination has the sanction of international law and the Kashmiris are well within their rights to seek and receive external assistance for it.  

Liaqat Ali Khan, in his treatise “Is There a Right to Armed Struggle?”, (Wikipedia), discusses this issue. In 1974 the UNGA passed Resolution 3314, adopting the Definition of Aggression that includes the Right to Armed Struggle. The Definition embodies customary international law and forbids states and coalitions of states from “any military occupation, however temporary”- (Kashmir is still disputed territory as per UN Resolutions and under India’s illegitimate occupation). It also prohibits bombardments, blockades or forced annexations of any lands. The Definition warns that no consideration of whatever nature whether political, economic, military or otherwise justifies aggression. Even a declaration of war furnishes no legal basis to commit aggression. Moreover, the Definition treats acts of Aggression as “crimes against peace”.

In outlawing all forms of Aggression, however, the Definition provides an exception for the Right to Armed Struggle. It states, ”nothing in this Definition of Aggression could in any way prejudice the Right to Self Determination, freedom and independence of peoples forcibly deprived of that right, particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes and other forms of alien dominations: nor the right of these peoples to struggle to that end and to seek and receive support”. 

Kashmir fits the bill totally!

The OIC too recognises the Right to Armed Struggle. Its Convention on Combatting International Terrorism (1998), states unambiguously that “peoples struggle including Armed Struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism and hegemony aimed at liberation and Self Determination in accordance with the Principles of International Law shall not be considered a terrorist crime”. 

In the light of the above, India is clearly recognized as the Aggressor in Kashmir. Furthermore, it is established beyond doubt that the Kashmiris have a Right to Armed Struggle and can seek and receive external support to attain their inalienable Right to Self Determination! (The East Pakistan - Bangladesh model?)

The War on Terror however threatens to repudiate this law. The insurgents fighting the occupiers/aggressors could be called terrorists or conversely freedom fighters, depending upon how one perceives the situation. This is best exemplified by the Israelis and the US-led West pronouncing variously the PLO, Al Fatah, Hamas and Hizbullah as “terrorist groups”, thus equating their struggles for freedom and against illegal occupation of their lands with crass terrorism. The Indians, again pathetically aping the Israelis, tried to link the Kashmiri Struggle for their Right to Self Determination with so called Pakistan sponsored cross-LOC Islamic Terrorism. The world however has now seen through its false flag operations and mis-disinformation tirades. Furthermore, when the USSR occupied Afghanistan, the whole Free World got together to wage a “Jihad” against the “godless Soviets”. Ironically, these very Mujahideen became “terrorists” when later they started resisting a similar occupation of Afghanistan by US-led western forces! 

So, there are precedents for peoples fighting for their Right to Self Determination, freedom, and independence getting external help. However, the determining caveat apparently is that this struggle must of necessity converge with the interests of the US-led West; else like Iraq and Afghanistan, all those fighting US (and now Indian?) occupations will be termed and fought as terrorists! 

The dilemma: the US needs India to counterbalance China and manage its rise, the Arabs need its vast market to diversify their economies whereas the Kashmiris need their inalienable Right to Self Determination. The prospects of an Indo-Pak conventional-nuclear war, prowling in the background, critically complicate matters further, imperilling the region and the world. These conflicting paradigms will need deft and sublime diplomacy to resolve. Else, they will also ruin the investment environment in India/IOJ&K, take the lucrative Indian market out of contention and dry up investment opportunities and profits for the US-led West and its Arab allies.

The evolving strategic environment in IOJ&K will inevitably lead to a massive clash of interests in many dimensions. One, the Kashmiris and the Indian Occupation Forces will clash as the annexation gets physically challenged by the former. Two, the potential imposition of UN/UNSC Resolutions by the international community will clash with India’s stubborn refusal to international mediation/arbitration/conflict resolution. Three, the Kashmiris Right to Self Determination, Pakistan’s national interest too, will clash with the geopolitical, geostrategic and geo-economic imperatives of India, the US-led West and some Arab states. Four, the India-Pakistan stand-off will explode into a conventional-nuclear war if the dispute lingers on un-tackled, unresolved.

Thus, the US-led West’s response to this persisting strategic environment in IOJ&K will be critical to future developments in IOJ&K. Will it take the high moral ground and support the Kashmiris inalienable Right to Self Determination or will its own geostrategic/geo-economic interests take precedence? Regardless, Kashmir’s time has come. Its resolution will only be ignored at colossal peril to subcontinental, regional and global peace. If so, then the Kashmiris will   be constrained to take their destiny into their own hands and launch a proactive, kinetic and rightful Armed Struggle/intifada for their Right to Self Determination. 

How the Kashmir imbroglio unwinds, peacefully or otherwise, will thus be a direct function of the responses by the UN/UNSC, the somnambulant Muslim Ummah and the US-led West in particular, to this potentially catastrophic strategic environment in IOJ&K?