Talking Baloch should go beyond Red Fort speech, says ex-RAW spook

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's I-Day speech reference to Balochistan, PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan is being both hailed and criticised as a departure from India's response so far to Pakistan's unrelenting propaganda on the Kashmir issue. Former RAW spook Amar Bhushan thinks, however, that while Modi did well to hold the mirror to Islamabad, India should have begun doing so 30 years ago, around the time the Baloch liberation movement began.

Narendra Modi

"India has always shied away from taking a stand on the Baloch issue, while Pakistan continues to needle us on Kashmir, calling it its 'strategic asset' and Pakistan's 'jugular vein'. It's time to cut that jugular vein. That's why I think Modi's statement was necessary", Bhushan told OneIndia on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Modi raised the issue during his Independence Day address on Monday, but the Baloch tack should go beyond Delhi's Red Fort, Bhushan said.

While India cannot take the same approach to Balochistan that Pakistan takes to Kashmir, because "unlike Pakistan we are not a terrorist state", and so cannot give material support to Baloch, PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan's liberation struggles, India should step up the pressure on Islamabad by getting foreign offices across the world to get in touch with the leaders of these movements and ensure that information on Pakistan's atrocities on the populations of these regions becomes available to the world.

"We must highlight the plight of the people of these regions to the world. Modi said as much during the all-party meeting on Kashmir recently, and I think that's a clever formulation," Bhushan said.

India must pursue the issue seriously, identify the leaders of the liberation movements in these regions and India must highlight their issues at international fora.

"We must bring the focus of human rights bodies on these regions," he added.

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