Kashmir Black Day 2023
Comments provided by Colonel Martin for the Kashmir Black Day Forum hosted by Pakistan Embassy, Washington, D.C. – October, 27, 2023

Comments provided by Colonel Martin for the Kashmir Black Day Forum hosted by Pakistan Embassy, Washington, D.C. – October, 27, 2023 Today, I come to you both in a humanitarian and a military perspective.

Three quarters of a century has passed since the British left the Indian subcontinent in such a rush that proper decisions were not made and the work of orderly transition to local rule was not completed.

Unfinished work creates chaos. It allows for anarchy and opens the path for aggression.

Three generations of Kashmiris have now been born into this chaos and are forced to live their lives as victims of aggression. They are being denied the four freedoms we in America hold as basic rights: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Let’s reflect on the main source of the problem as it exists today. Indian Prime Minister Modi openly admits his admiration of German Chancellor turned dictator Adolph Hitler.

Modi is following Hitler’s blueprint of foreign aggression.

The world stayed silent while Hitler oppressed his own people and seized territories of other countries. Even British Prime Minister Chamberlain yielded to Hitler’s aggression and sought, in Chamberlain’s words, “Peace in our time.”

The world looks away as Modi exercises his aggression on Kashmir.

  • Kashmiri people have been promised for three generations the right to self-determination.
  • The seizure of land, the communities, and the lives of citizens, by India into what is now Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir prevents self-determination.
  • Modi’s actions are going to get worse unless the rest of the world quickly steps in to stop his further aggression against the Kashmiri people.
  • Nothing was done in 2019 when Modi revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Nothing also happened when last year the Delimitation Commission Report redrew constituencies in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
  • These actions were in violation of international law and even Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
  • Laws and conventions are of little value without enforcement or external pressure for compliance.
  • Appeasement and global silence allow Modi to proceed without challenge.

Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler resulted in World War II, the deaths of over 70 million people, 6 million of those by extermination because of their religion.

Appeasement and silence have never achieved long-term success.

Modi is setting the stage for when a vote does occur: he will have made the Muslim population the minority.

Modi’s campaign against the Muslim community south of the Line of Control will not stop when he has secured Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)

Indian police and military will continue their physical attacks on the communities and people who wish to live in peace.

Aggression will continue into the regions north of the Line of Control. Modi wants all of Jammu and Kashmir. His ultimate goal is not just the land, but the mountain rivers that flow water in Pakistan itself. Building dams on those rivers will deny life-critical water from flowing into Pakistan. We already see the results of dams built upriver on the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile. Modi sees this as well.

The world must not and cannot ignore what is happening in Kashmir. One day it will affect us all.

The entire region is a pressure cooker, not unlike the Balkans in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Here too, a lesson can be taken from German history when Chancellor Bismarck reflected that it would only take one incident in the Balkans to send the world into war.

Three nuclear powers border Kashmir: Pakistan, India, and China.

So far there has been nuclear restraint by all nations.

When Ukraine was invaded by Russia, the countries of Western Europe and North America were outraged and came to Ukraine’s support with sanctions, military equipment, training, and financial support.

This begs the question as to why Western European and North American countries have ignored what has been happening for over 75 years in Kashmir?

This brings me to a statement made by Senator Robert Kennedy, brother of President John Kennedy: “Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom, decency, and justice.”

We owe it to the citizens of Kashmir and Jammu, to push our political leadership to become involved and stop blows against freedom, decency, and justice.

Years from now when we are judged, let it be not on what we ignored or failed to do, but be judged on what we did, the values for which we stood and how we fully dedicated ourselves to working for right and justice in all parts of the world – this includes Kashmir and Jammu.

©2023 Wes Martin