National and International Issues

Indian War Hysteria

The suicide attack on a convoy of vehicles carrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Pulwama district in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) resulted in the death of 40 personnel including the attacker. Supposedly Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack. Indian leadership as a knee-jerk reaction, in a matter of hours, went hysterical and started an orchestra of blaming Pakistan without any basis. Prime Minister Modi was in the lead threatening retaliation, generating war hysteria with the Indian media toeing the line.


Thousands of young Kashmiris are on the roads protesting and have become fearless and prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to rid themselves of India’s stranglehold. This is a hard and unfortunate reality that India and the international community cannot continue to ignore. Putting blame on Pakistan falsely could at best serve the Indian ruling party’s short-term interests but would have far-reaching adverse consequences for both countries.


In a sharp contrast, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s response was mature and statesmanlike. He categorically denied Indian allegations as they had no basis in truth and offered a joint investigation. This proposal was rejected by India knowing that such an investigation would expose the hollowness of its claims. DG ISPR’s press briefing further amplified Pakistan’s position and forcefully rejected Indian allegations. The Pakistan Army spokesperson also mentioned that the response would have a major element of surprise. 
Pakistan has suffered over 70,000 casualties fighting terrorism and has been largely successful in containing it. The financial losses are exorbitant and its adverse effects could last for years. In these circumstances for India to make its people and the world believe that Pakistan is responsible for the terrorist attack is travesty of truth. 
Due to geographic proximity of the two countries Prime Minister Imran Khan has delegated the operational authority to armed forces command to sternly respond to any aggression or misadventure emanating from across the Pakistan-India border. There could also be a preemptive move on the part of Pakistan Armed Forces against the threat of Indian adventurism, would it be imminent. The Foreign Minister too has been repeatedly raising serious concern of Indian belligerence while expressing Pakistan’s desire for peace and solving the Kashmir issue through dialogue.    
It is widely believed that the BJP government has whipped up war frenzy to take advantage of it during the forthcoming national elections in May 2019. BJP’s stance is politically directed in particular to please the diehard Hindu nationalist voters. However, by resorting to any serious military action India runs the risk of upping the ante to a point that the situation could embroil the two countries in a major conflict. The question is can India afford to take such a big risk of initiating a conflict at a time when elections are only two months away? The fact that both the countries are nuclear powers and have common borders cannot be overlooked. Any major escalation could have regional and global consequences. 
Moreover, with the Saudi Crown Prince visiting about the same time it would be absurd to assume that the attack had any links with the state of Pakistan.  
Indian intelligence cannot suppress the reality that the planning and execution of Pulwama attack was done in Kashmir. With the Line of Control (LOC) so well-guarded and the general area of IOK littered with security forces it is not feasible to transport large quantity of RDX explosive from across the border. The insinuation that the RDX explosive was from Pakistan has no basis, as it is manufactured in India and in several neighboring countries and is available in Afghanistan, too. 
The reality is the individual was a Kashmiri youth who was extremely disturbed by Indian atrocities and in his desperation took his own life along with the security forces. Unfortunately, he, like many of his young fellow Kashmiris, had been held and severely tortured by Indian security forces on several previous occasions. 
The fact is that Pakistan is not involved in the incident in any way and India has failed to convince the international community of its false accusations. As regards the major powers, they are already aware of the facts whereas diplomacy and economic interest prevent them to take a categorical position or make a public statement. As the situation continues to deteriorate at a fast pace it would be difficult for PM Modi to justify his unreasonable and dangerous policies to his own people and the international community. Human rights organizations have criticized India’s flagrant violations but states generally overlook it and give little weightage due to their vested national interests. 
It is encouraging that President Trump during a press briefing showed his deep concern about the present tension between India and Pakistan. He described the situation as very dangerous and expressed hope that both countries would work toward diffusing the situation. U.S.’ primary interest is in ensuring a respectable withdrawal from Afghanistan. If India-Pakistan situation turns dangerous, U.S.’ plans of withdrawal from Afghanistan will be pushed in the background and its interests in the region seriously compromised. Moreover, U.S. realizes that confrontation would push Pakistan closer to and more reliant on China. Besides, it would prefer India rather be a strategic challenger of China than dissipate its national power in confronting Pakistan. It is believed that U.S. is also using back channel diplomacy to diffuse the situation.    
What India fails to realize is that Pakistan’s leadership is focused on economic development and political stability. It is genuinely seeking peace with its neighbors and has repeatedly emphasized to India that all issues including the future status of Kashmir need to be resolved politically. On this there is a general consensus among major political parties in Pakistan and equally it enjoys the full backing of the military leadership. Lately, the National Security Committee (NSC) has proscribed the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). It has taken additional measures to ensure that JeM or any UN banned organizations do not operate in Pakistan.  This would further tighten the scope of activities of the extremist and militant groups and allay any misgivings about Pakistan’s security policy. 
Thousands of young Kashmiris are on the roads protesting and have become fearless and prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in order to rid themselves of India’s stranglehold. This is a hard and unfortunate reality that India and the international community cannot continue to ignore. Putting blame on Pakistan falsely could at best serve the Indian ruling party’s short-term interests but would have far-reaching adverse consequences for both countries.


The writer is a retired Lieutenant General from Pakistan Army and an eminent scholar on national security and political issues.
E-mail: [email protected]

 

Read 114 times


Share Your Thoughts

Success/Error Message Goes Here
Note: Please login to your account and leave your thoughts on this article.

TOP