Delhi is explaining its “right mind” when it is seeking a conglomeration of right minds in Srinagar to “talk”. Not that Kashmir is quite scarce even in having the like-minded, but because right mind always know how not to permit the minds to have a common minimum. This is part of the long Kashmir story that refuses to be shortened for reasons of diplomacy, strategy and, what many say, regional security.
After a very long time, the local government in Kashmir had attempted creating a positive situation by generation a hope that the talk will walk. The major positivity had come from the unilateral cessation of combat operations for the Muslim month of fasting, the Ramzan. Finally when Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, finally landed in Srinagar, he had nothing much to say barring the strengthening of the security grid, the counter-insurgency set-up and creating more jobs within the system to manage the local joblessness.
The hope that had generated in the last few weeks had made the separatists so positive that they silenced their most used and severely abused tool – the strike. They did not sponsor a strike when Singh landed in Srinagar, and drove to a reception of a few thousand youth in Srinagar’s indoor stadium after they were driven from all the 22 districts of the state.
The fact is that Singh had nothing much to say. A comparative analysis of his speeches at Indoor Stadium, the SKICC and Kupwara suggested that he had only one script and his talks never went off the script.
For any government in Srinagar, it is an ideal situation that Delhi starts talking to all stake-holders, befriends Pakistan and becomes responsive to everything that Srinagar requires. Despite knowing that Delhi has its distinct view on things between Srinagar and Islamabad, the governments in Srinagar still hope against the hopes. Right now when the ruling BJPDP coalition is barely two years short of completing its 6-year term, key elements of the Agenda of Alliance are still unfulfilled. In his press conference when Rajnath was asked about that, he skipped the question and moved to next one.
The biggest issue for Modi government right now is how to survive the 2019 general election. The results of various small elections indicate that Congress is fairly getting a good share of votes but eventually it is the BJP that is the winner. Unlike all other parties, BJP has quite a few issues on which it contests polls and Kashmir is part of that basket. So there is no possibility of the party indicating any weakness on Kashmir front that impacts its vote share.
In coming days, there might be very strong statements in favour of Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jumhooriyat – the three vague bases of any possible engagement, but the fact will remain that there will not be any talk. After all earnings from non-talking are much more than the yield one would get after talking to Pakistan or to Kashmiri separatists. But the hope that talk will walk is still alive and needs to be encouraged for the larger good of the region.