China, not Pakistan, is the elephant in the room

It is not what Pakistan is doing in Jammu and Kashmir but tackling the agenda set by China in the region that India needs to worry about, television commentator Maroof Raza has averred.

“India has been obsessed for too long with Pakistan driving the narrative in Kashmir. Since the 50s, the agenda has been set by the Chinese; Pakistan is a mere pawn in their strategy,” said Raza, speaking over phone.

In fact, that thought is the takeaway from the retired Indian Army Major’s latest book ‘Kashmir’s Untold Story Declassified’, written along with economist and AIM Television Pvt Ltd chairman and producer Iqbal Chand Malhotra, which released in Lucknow on Friday.

“Whether it is Aksai Chin or the Shaksgam Valley, the plan of the Chinese is to control the water resources in the region, primarily to bolster its microchip industry and cut dependence on imports. A 30 cm silicon wafer requires almost 10,000 litres of freshwater for its manufacture,” Raza said. By controlling the world microchip industry, China would have control over economies and nations, he elaborated.

“Pre and post Article 370 abrogation, there was and is no comprehensive strategy, no powerful narrative to counter the designs of Pakistan (and China). India has always had a piece-meal approach to dealing with the situation,” the analyst said.

Asked to clarify his stand on the abrogation of Article 370, he said, “It is a good thing. See, it serviced only a handful of politicians while everybody else was marginalised. With Article 370 abrogated, at least now the Centre has financial control.

“During the rule of erstwhile rulers of Jammu and Kashmir, the last being Maharaja Hari Singh, the Dogras played a disproportionately big role in the affairs of J&K. Then, during Sheikh Abdullah’s time, Muslims of the Valley were given a preference over others. But sadly, the lot of the shikarawallahs and craftsmen has not improved over all these years, due to neglect.

“However, now the (Central) government must ensure that such biases are prevented and the new leadership shouldn’t say that the Muslims have had it their way for so long, so we will support the Hindus and Dogras. That would set in motion a cycle of another set of problems,” he said.

The military and security issues’ commentator said that if the government follows a basic thumb rule that “to solve the problem of (Pakistan’s role) in Kashmir, we must solve the problems in (of development of) Kashmir,” then the removal of Article 370 will prove to be worth it.

“For that India needs to adopt a sagacious development-centric agenda, with a ‘tear-off calendar’ of say 60 to 72 months. Each month start a new project, and believe me, for many of them, you don’t need tonnes of money: just a blueprint to implement, and good administrators. Choose the best performers – from across India – in each sector and pay them United Nations-scale salaries while they are on deputation to Jammu and Kashmir, and you’ll get excellent results”.

When there is good governance and growth, there will be few complaints from the people, Raza opined.

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