Interaction with Dr Haseeb Drabu (Minister of Finance, J & K) on 'Developments in Kashmir'
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On 05 Oct 2016, the VIF invited Dr. Haseeb Drabu, Minister of Finance in the BJP-PDP coalition government of Jammu and Kashmir, for a talk on the ‘Developments in Kashmir to a broad panel of security experts, including former ambassadors, retired bureaucrats and ex-military commanders, among others.

The opening remarks by General NC Vij, Director, VIF, contextualized the talk wherein he underlined Pakistan’s eternal obsession with Kashmir as also its persistence with inciting violence in the state. In an oblique reference to Pakistan’s invisible hands in the present turmoil in Kashmir, the Director pointed out that an atmosphere of peace prevailed in Kashmir for five years prior to local militant commander Burhan Wani’s killing by the security forces in early July. The killing, however, provided Pakistan’s ‘deep state’ with just the kind of opportunity it needed to reignite violence in Kashmir all over again. While underscoring India’s pluralism and multiculturalism, the Director summarily rejected Pakistan’s ridiculous claim on Kashmir on the basis of its being a predominantly a Muslim state. He reiterated that Kashmir has been, and shall always remain an integral part of India.

Dr. Haseeb Darbu kicked off his talk by delving into the circumstances that led to the formation of a ‘counter-intuitive’ alliance between two diametrically opposed political parties, PDP and BJP. He stressed that alliance was necessary as the mandate of the people needed to be respected. He further stressed that the mandate reflected a fractured polity within the state which also required stitching up. Analyzing Kashmir problem from a historical perspective, Dr. Drabu shed significant light on multifarious dimensions of the problem in Kashmir – social, political, economic, and religious, among others. Among other notable takeaways from Dr. Darbu’s talk, he underlined that Kashmir continues to be viewed through the prism of 1947, while significant changes have taken place at the national spectrum. He sounded that the social disengagement of Kashmir from the national mainstream has led to its political alienation, while blaming intellectual apathy for much of it. He further underlined the need for Kashmir to be brought into a national discourse by highlighting its various facets – history, culture, tourism, industry et al. Insofar as the present turmoil in Kashmir was concerned, Dr. Darbu stressed that these were planned well ahead of Burhan Wani’s death.

In his talk which lasted for almost an hour, Dr. Drabu touched on a broad spectrum of issues - the changing nature of the Indian democracy, regionalism, cooperative federalism, and the external and religious dimensions of the Kashmir insurgency, among others. Most importantly, he stressed on engaging Kashmir at multiple levels, especially through the civil society. A lively interactive session followed the talk.

Event Date 
October 5, 2016
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