Kashmir is the unfinished business of the 1947 partition of India by the U.K. It was annexed to present day India under a temporary law, Article 370, which was to remain effective until a U.N.-ordained plebiscite could be held.
India had agreed to hold a plebiscite in 1948 and a commissioner was appointed, but since then India has stayed in control of Kashmir with the use of excessive force, genocide and human rights crimes committed by its one million-strong army that’s stationed there constantly.
Recently, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen insurgency, was martyred and the Kashmir freedom struggle entered a new decisive phase with crowds flouting army curfew in massive numbers.
India feels cornered and guilty over the Kashmir issue, so it prefers to put the blame at Pakistan’s door even though the Kashmir freedom struggle is indigenous and spurred up by India’s mismanagement.
Alongside this scenario, China and Pakistan have started the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project. It is China’s largest investment in any foreign country to date and promises to be a game-changer for the entire region. India has been closely watching the progress of CPEC, looking for opportunities to subvert it as it fears encirclement by China and Pakistan. It views the largely economic project as a mega-scale naval mobilization program that threatens its security and puts global sea lanes at risk.
If viewed from the Indian perspective, it looks like an ominous pact between two of its biggest enemies. However, India tried to counter the threat by investing in the Iranian port of Chahbahar. In sheer jealousy, India is leading a senseless hybrid war against CPEC in jealousy. It even abandoned its previous stance of ‘non-alignment’ to adopt a vehemently pro-American direction. Ostensibly, to get support in its war against the CPEC, it even signed the Logistics Support Agreement with the U.S. which will let the latter use all its airbases and military facilities. The credit for these aggressive policies belongs to Ajit Doval, India’s national security advisor, who has visualized the grand strategy.
India’s close relations with the U.S. angered the Russians who decided to improve relations with Pakistan and support the CPEC to enhance the economic stability of the entire region. Meanwhile, India went on its Free Balochistan stint to divert world attention from the Kashmir freedom struggle, but this ploy was not well-received even by the U.S. which termed it Pakistan’s internal matter and expressed respect for its unity and territorial integrity.
Soon after, right on the eve of the United Nations General assembly, an Indian brigade headquarters at Uri, near the Line of Control, was attacked by unknown miscreants. Predictably, India used this incident to demand that most countries to ‘isolate’ Pakistan, whom it blamed, sans evidence, according to what has become a repeating and tiresome pattern.
Russia disregarded the Indian edict, and Russian elite forces arrived in Pakistan for military drills in Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA regions. A counter-terrorism deal is also in the offing, as Russia considers Pakistan a responsible state dedicated to fighting terrorism. It is also most willing to supply Pakistan with any military equipment it requires.
Even as India tried to ostracize and isolate Pakistan, most regional powers worked on improving their ties with Pakistan. Recently, even India’s long-term allies Israel had a chance to meet up Pakistan at the U.S. Red Flag air drills in which only four countries participated, Israel, UAE, Pakistan and the U.S. Pakistan is now familiar with the technology and tactics of both long-term Indian allies.
It is said, “When your defense shield starts to flirt with the arrows of your enemy, be afraid, be very afraid of your future.”
China is spending a massive $46 billion or more in Pakistan, its largest investment abroad to date. India is risking the Dragon’s umbrage by trying to sabotage it’s mega-investment with proxy terrorism in Balochistan. China is already having a Cold War with India and keeping it busy in Nepal with another proxy war. If needed China might even attack India, in which case India might even lose territory in its single-minded, childish quest to subvert the CPEC. China will never roll up the CPEC, nor will the Russians wind up their promising military diplomacy with Pakistan.
Recently, even Iran has done a U-turn and wants to join CPEC along with its Chahbahar port, where Indians have spent good money for the last 10 years, developing it as a rival to Pakistan’s Gwadar. Iran’s main reason for this decision was that India started Free Balochistan propaganda to cover up the smoldering Kashmir issue. Iran changed camps immediately as this Indian move threatens to destabilize Iran’s own Baloch-populated Sistan province which lies in continuity with the Pakistani province of Balochistan.
Meanwhile, India depends on the U.S. for major support but, historically, the U.S. has never wanted a powerful India and has always depended on long-term ally Pakistan to maintain the strategic balance of the region and keep India containable.
In the recent Nawaz / Kerry meet-up in New York, the latter praised Pakistani efforts in fighting terrorism and commended Pakistan on many other counts as well such as restoring macroeconomic stability and recent efforts by Pakistani security forces to counter extremist violence. The U.S. has resisted joining India’s high-pitched noise on Balochistan and it has refused to name Pakistan responsible for the Uri attack. It has definitely no plans to “isolate” Pakistan, place sanctions or label it as a ‘terrorist rogue state’ like India wants. The U.S. shared Pakistan’s “strong concern over recent violence in Kashmir” and stressed on the need for Indo-Pak talks to reduce tensions.
It begins to look as if India stands practically alone in its hybrid war against the CPEC project. India does claim support from Bangladesh and the Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan, but while both may have their grudges against Pakistan they most definitely do not count as powerful allies. Meanwhile, Indians are clamoring for revenge and demanding that Pakistan be taught a lesson for “carrying out the Uri attack.”
At this point in time, Modi’s speech in Kerala signified that he wanted a viable exit strategy as he failed to isolate Pakistan. His initial bravado had petered out and he appealed to Pakistani masses for peace, the same masses whom his establishment, media and coterie of journos were threatening with nuclear war just days ago.
He taunted Pakistan, saying it can’t look after Balochistan, Azad Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan. This statement reeked of jealousy of the CPEC, as the whole country is getting a huge amount of infrastructure, jobs and development due to the project and will be much better off than most parts of India by the time it is completed. Modi depends on war to win the next election but his army refused as it did not want to cross the nuclear threshold, he also saw most world powers visibly making efforts to improve relations with Pakistan, he finally felt the cold pinch of isolation and he moved to ‘defuse his own self-created situation’. In short, Modi’s speech started with a bang and ended with a whimper.
After this speech he claimed to be working on a “restrained strategy’ to make Pakistan pay for the Uri attack it is supposed to have executed. He came forward with a new threat to scrap the Indus Water Treaty and stop water supply to Pakistan which is against U.N. regulations.
India seems to have no viable strategy under Modi. In reality, India can only posture but not scrap the Indus Water Treaty. this latest ploy would also cause India “a huge loss of face” just like his previous “isolating Pakistan” stint as China will also be free to use water as a weapon. Modi needed to save face desperately, finally a new drama was initiated: Indian Army resorted to unprovoked firing at the Line of Control. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh alleged that surgical strikes were conducted by the Indian army on “terror launch pads along the LoC.”
Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria negated the claims saying, “India’s falsified, concocted, and irresponsible statements can only escalate the already-fragile security situation in the region.”
Inter-Services Public Relations, the media arm of Pakistan’s military, issued a statement:
There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross border fire initiated and conducted by India which is an existential phenomenon. As per rules of engagement, the same was strongly and befittingly responded by Pakistani troops. The notion of surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by Indian to create false effects. This quest by Indian establishment to create media hype by rebranding cross border fire as surgical strike is a fabrication of truth. Pakistan has made it clear that if there is a surgical strike on Pakistani soil, same will be strongly responded.
The Indian media whips the uneducated masses into a frenzy against Pakistan by distorting facts. It pins the blame on Pakistan even as breaking news of an attack comes in. Later on the government placates the public with false-flags and fake surgical strikes like the one it supposedly carried off in Myanmar in 2014. Modi has turned liberal India into a narrow-minded, fascist state without estimating the consequences and repercussions of nurturing such a rabid society.
If India cannot give results through hard power, ultimately it will not be successful through projection of soft power either. It has not succeeded in its military objectives in the last thirty years. India has caused a major shift in the regional balance of power now in its bid to isolate Pakistan, as most regional powers rebalanced their tilt towards Pakistan instead.
No world power will forego its strategic interests in as strategically located a country as Pakistan. In the end India will have to change its posture and learn how to co-exist with Pakistan.
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