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India badly needs Shastri to show Pak its place
Revisiting 1965
8/28/2015 11:47:12 PM

Early Times Report
Jammu, Aug 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to plead India's case on Jammu & Kashmir, which is politically, legally, constitutionally and culturally an integral part of Bharat. His "flip flops" have only lowered the Indian position in the eyes of the international community. And his flip flops notwithstanding the fact that India is five-time bigger than Pakistan in terms of land area and population-wise Pakistan is far, far behind and India has inflicted four crushing defeats on Pakistan.
The Modi Government has no foreign policy vis-à-vis Pakistan. Nor has it any policy vis-à-vis Jammu & Kashmir. That's the reason Pakistan has been terrorizing and bleeding India and breaching the International border and Line of Control and blackmailing, browbeating and exploiting the weak-kneed policies of the Modi Government. And that is also the reason that has emboldened Kashmiri separatists to heighten their anti-India activities in the Valley. The Modi Government did cancel talks with Pakistan this month not because it wanted but because the national mood didn't allow it to kneel. The general view in India is that Prime Minister Modi is very weak, weaker than even his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
India needs Lal Bahadur Shastri, who conducted himself in the manner a Prime Minister of a self-respecting and strong country conducts himself. Take, for example, what happened in 1965 during his regime. The United States in 1965 had supported the Indian stand that there should be no plebiscite in Jammu & Kashmir. The declassified US documents of the era indicated the other day.
It would be only appropriate to refer to an invaluable report on it that emanated from Washington last Wednesday. The report read: "At the peak of the 1965 Indo-Pak war, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri wrote a letter to US President Lyndon Johnson wherein he informed the American leadership that New Delhi is willing to agree to an unconditional ceasefire. He in his letter dated September 16, 1965 ruled out plebiscite in Kashmir arguing that the 1948 UN resolution in this regard was no longer acceptable".
Shastri's comments, according to the report, had come after the then Pakistan foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told Americans that "Pakistan was ready to be degraded as a nation but would not give up its claims over Kashmir".
"The day on which the Indian forces entered Pakistan, US Ambassador in Islamabad Walter Patrick McConaughty met the then Pakistan president Ayyub Khan and foreign minister Bhutto who wanted an assurance from the US, UN and the international community for a plebiscite in Kashmir. During the conversation, McConaughty told them that Pakistan was responsible for this war, by sending troops inside Kashmir and using American weapons - which were given for use against a communist China - against India. The same day, the Johnson Administration in a separate telegram asked McConaughty to convey a tough message to Pakistan that it should not portray itself as a victim, for which it itself was to be blamed," the report further said.
Not just this, the report quoting the message from the State Department to McConaughty further said: "We must view India's attacks across Pak border in over-all context events past few weeks. It is clear from UNSG (UN Secretary General) report that immediate crisis began with substantial infiltration of armed men from the Pakistan side". "We (are) aware India first put regular forces across CFL but Pak responses thereto in Chhamb area struck at points India considered vital, and Indians have long asserted (a) they could not tolerate continued Pak offensive, and (b) if Pakistan should strike India's vital interests, India would have no choice but to respond in area of its own choosing. GOP must have been well aware of risk involved in its own actions in Jammu and Kashmir," the report quoting the State Department also said.
The report is as self-explanatory as it is revealing and it shows how Lal Bahadur Shastri tackled Pakistan or dealt with Pakistan. That the United States upheld the Indian stand in 1965 must make us salute Shastri once again. Indeed, we need Shastri at this point in time to show Pakistan its rightful place, as also to tell Kashmiri separatists and their supporters in the establishment that New Delhi means business.
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