With two unexpected stops, in Kabul and Lahore on Christmas day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rephrased the recent history of geo-politics in the region. This is indeed a good initiative from the two leaders of the two neighbouring countries. It’s time, we should sincerely work for long lasting peace and cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. I hope, this one step forward will be followed with further improvement in our relationship with Pakistan. Actually, this is very bold decision taken by PM Narendra Modi to visit Pakistan and met his counterpart there on 25th December. At this point of time, mutual relationship between both the countries is not only desirable but also advisable.
There is lots of controversy after his visit but I personally feel that, Modi’s surprise stopover at Lahore should not be seen with much expectations. It can at present be just considered as an opportunity for reposting trust for Nawaz Sharif. Present move is indiscernible at this juncture, wait and watch till January end talks. Wind of change might be in the offing albeit trust building is primary to confidence building. We must have faith in our leader. He has gone on national agenda. He has taken risk. He has not gone in personal capacity/agenda (fertile minds can impute), but for a job to be performed for nation. Success or failure, we should stand by him. Moreover, the prime ministers of two countries talk to each other, then there is never any hype. However, when Indian PM talks to the Pakistan’s PM, there is hullabaloo everywhere. There was news that there was an earthquake exactly in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern parts of India. While his travel to Kabul on the way back from Moscow was widely anticipated and that had been reported by many media houses and journalists earlier this week. Modi telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from Kabul to wish him on his birthday, and during the call, made plans to travel to Lahore to wish him personally a few hours later.
Narendra Modi is back in India after his pit-stop visit to Pakistan, but his surprise trip has given Congress a lot of reasons to criticise the Prime Minister and the Central government’s handling the sensitive Indo-Pak ties. Questioning his visit, Congress leader Manish Tewari pondered if Modi had other interests behind his surprise visit. After reaching out to Pakistan with talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Russia, Narendra Modi gave a big outreach to Jammu and Kashmir. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is not like any other state of India. According to news reports published by various publications Union government is finalising a massive “development package” of as much as Rs. 70,000 crore. The package will be far higher than the one announced by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2004 under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Package of Rs. 24,000 crore (revised later to Rs. 36,265 crore) and is expected to be disbursed along the same lines, sources say. The projects will include a medical institute, affiliated to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, in Anantnag, an Indian Institute of Technology each in Jammu and in Kashmir, and an Indian Institute of Management in Jammu. State government put together several proposals, pitching for projects estimated at Rs. 1,00,000 crore. The common minimum programme of the ruling alliance of the PDP and BJP has development agenda for Alliance. Srinagar and Jammu will see major urban development projects and satellite “smart cities” called “New Srinagar” and “New Jammu”.
The funds will be spent over the next five years on projects to be identified by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government. PM Modi had also announced his development agenda for J&K. Prakash, Paryavaran, Paryatan on August 12, 2014. But the The new package is about three times the figure announced by the UPA in 2004. Funds will be used for roadways, education, health, power renewable energy, smart cities, urban renewal and tourism projects. J&K government has identified projects worth Rs. 1,00,000 crore. Bharatiya Janata Party and the Union and the State governments say the package will be announced in the coming week, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from his Central Asian tour and coinciding with Eid-ul-Fitr, which will fall on July 18 or 19. Modi, along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will visit Jammu on July 17 to attend the centenary celebrations of the State leader Girdhari Lal Dogra. It is likely to bring much cheer, especially in parts of the State such as the Kashmir Valley that were badly hit by the floods last September and this April. In June, the government announced a flood rehabilitation package of Rs. 2,437 crore taking the Centre’s assistance over the past year to Rs. 5,039 crore. Infusing of such large amount of funds seems quite indigestible and irrational, however, such steps shouldn’t be just to calm the political hunger and but instead it must be ensured that it had been used for genuine agendas of national and international significance.
Modiji is trying his level best to appease Muslims in Jammu but never spoke anything for the Kashmiri pandits those who are in transit camp for ages. During election campaign Modiji made many promises to Kashmiri Hindus, but now he is simply ignoring them. More over the state of Jammu and Kashmir is not like any other state of India. As a citizen of the country we can purchase any property in any other state but not in Jammu and Kasmir- while the citizens of that state can come to any other state and enjoy all benefits available to other citizens. With the least of hassles the citizens of that state are known to wave the flags of Pakistan. In such conditions what can be the logic in the government of India deciding on pumping huge amounts of tax payer’s money into the bottomless hole of J& K state. The central government should firmly say that they are prepared to invest such moneys on the state, provided they agree to fully get themselves integrated into the Union of India by abrogation of Article 320. Otherwise Modi will be doing a great disservice to the rest of India by robbing money collected from other states into a state which is in dilemma as to whether they are a part of India still.
The BJP position has so far been scrapping Article 370 under which Jammu & Kashmir enjoys a certain degree of autonomy. Describing his Jammu visit as ‘Lalkar’ or call to battle, he challenged all parties including the Congress to have a debate on the continuation of Article 370. Modi also said women weren’t given equal rights in the state unlike the rest of the country. Attacking the Congress, Modi then said it has encouraged separatism in J&K by ignoring its integration to make it a “super state” as Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted. There are too many talks, assurances and future is promised to people but so far nothing much delivered. Let’s see what changes Modi is planning to bring in Jammu and Kashmir. We expect positive response from the counterpart to bring peace in the subcontinent.