In Mahabharata war, even though Pandvas were on the side of Dharma, both sides had nearly equal number of Kings. This is an early lesson that statecraft tends to be amoral. Each state pursues its interests. Each leader pursues his own Dharma. While there is always a need to rally people and states towards what is righteous, this exercise at best will be half-done. India has gone all out to convince rest of the world about evils of terrorism. This will remain half-done as states are hostage to their own perceived self-interest.
India cannot remain a pacifist state. The idea of soft power is good, as long as values, our ideals and people are protected. Tolerance should not be about tolerating injustice. We need to revisit our notion of India where India was not supposed to expand territories as increasingly many relations lead to zero-sum game. It is important that Hinduism propagates itself all over the world. India should create and lead organization of Dharmic counties. Hard reality is that EU and NATO are largely Christian blocks and OIC is about Islamic countries.
The root cause of Jammu and Kashmir issue is the idea of India as an agglomeration of people and territories instead of body of people with common civilization who have branched all over India. On top of this there is inherent injustice in Article 370 and residency laws which give asymmetric rights to a group of people just because they wanted to set up a Muslim enclave that perpetuates now a vicious variant of Islam. The whole of India should belong to all Indians and all manners of Indians should be treated equally.
Jammu and Kashmir needs a leadership that has the conviction that Jammu and Kashmir is better together with India. The problem in J&K is about well-entrenched mobilization of people and careful cultivation of grievance. To draw a parallel , even though all South Indian states had to make do with Hindi, it is only in Tamilnadu people were mobilized using language struggle. The missionaries in Tamil Nadu promoted the idea of Aryan-Dravid divide much more strongly than in any other state. In contrast Pakistan accepted Urdu as national language which was spoken only by 8% of people and USA accepted English even when German was a strong contender.
We can solve the J&K problem only if we understand two realisms. Pakistani Army, Government and terrorists act in concert and are different faces of the same coin. In Kashmir, the terrorists, politicians and separatists again act in concert and are different faces of the same coin. Both these sections always co-ordinate their action to arm-twist India.
Supporting these people we have sections of media, academia and civil society who as per convenience raise self-determination narrative or occupation narrative. These groups need to be challenged to face the question of self-determination to create India as a Hindu nation and vacate Islamic occupation of thousand years from whole of South Asia that has led to extermination of Dharmic religions.
The question that faces us now is how to do away with the baggage of the past that is weighing us down. To start with we may do a simple merger of J&K on par with other Princely states and establish supremacy of Indian Parliament over Jammu and Kashmir and get rid of article 370 and residency laws. We should redraw electoral constituencies to give due representation to Jammu as per the voter base in Jammu. It is ideal if J&K gets a nationalistic leadership with conviction that Kashmir like any other state is better together with India. It is also ideal if J&K is ruled at least half the time by a national party the way Punjab or Assam is.
While it is ideal to keep the state united, we have a situation where one region is holding back rest of the state. The political class in Kashmir is beholden to separatists. They neither lead all the people nor they go away leading to stalemate. We should look at moving away from all the historic baggage by making Jammu a full-fledged state, Ladakh either a UT or merge with Himachal Pradesh and converting Kashmir to two UTs – North and South Kashmir. This will ensure that all powers related to land, law and order and services are with efficient administrators appointed by Central Government. This should also enable India to get favourable demographics and clean-up the reign of terror supporters and elements who are wedded to the idea of secession. This arrangement should continue at least for 10 years and later may lead to Delhi style state. India may need to create a safe autonomous zone for Kashmiri Pandits. Mainly let different regions carve their own destiny without any ethnic cleansing. Alternatively we can keep the state united but have a Delhi type of state Government, considering the extensive involvement of the center where land, law and order and services are taken care by the center. This should give enough flexibility to get rid of the baggage of the past as well as continue the door open to reabsorb lost territories to Pakistan and China.