INDIA with its inherent animosity towards Pakistan keeps on adding fuel to fire through different means. Instead of trying to have better strategic relations and as nuclear neighbours where both are expected to act normally but, Indian side is seen as igniting any issue and grabbing the matter for long. 2016 was a disturbed year between India and Pakistan not only on case of Burhan Wani but on issue of cross border terrorism and surgical strikes. India created a melodrama of surgical strike just to divert attention of rest of world and particularly regional players from its nefarious activities in Kashmir and arms race in South Asian region.
To make a situation like war, India created hysteria among masses by broadcasting on and off that Pakistan starts firing across line of control and India answers fully Pakistani violations anywhere. India keeps its rhetoric just to give shield to its brutalities in Kashmir and divert world focus on Pakistan, India escalates tensions which actually India fabricates for its easy escape. India claimed that it made surgical strike in Pakistan to teach it a lesson and to stop Pakistan from state sponsoring terrorism. But this hype of surgical strike by Indian media and army was exposed by Indian PM Narendar Modi himself as he mentioned that India has not attacked anyone nor is hungry for any territory. Modi after much criticism on the use of term surgical strike by Indian army is now concealing its false claim of surgical strike which actually brought bad name to India internationally and India is now trying its best to deal with this created phenomenon of war hysteria. Pakistan on other side to show the world real picture about India propaganda of surgical strikes made local and international media visit LOC. The media was allowed to visit the military’s check posts and interact with the local population, who categorically denied presence of Indian boots on Pakistani soil.
After Prime Minister Modi who is always vigorous in creating misunderstandings among masses and an active supporter of strict RSS policies towards human rights violations, now the new Indian Army Chief appears as his new follower. General Bipin Rawat after assuming office on 31 Dec 2016 as 27th COAS is being regularly seen interacting with media like none of his predecessors before. On “Surgical Strikes”, General Rawat said that it was well thought out operation and India has sent across a message with the strikes that attack won’t be tolerated. He further said that Indian Army will not shy away from a second surgical strike if peace in region is disrupted. We are not a war mongering nation but there are certain thresholds that shouldn’t be crossed.
Our response will vary and 1.3 million strong force has the requisite will, intelligence and capability to destroy terror wherever it emanates. Dynamics of terrorism is constantly changing and that Indian Army is thinking ahead in that direction. While blaming Pakistan he said that with this fact that terrorists infiltrating from adversary’s side means that they are getting support from them (Pakistani forces) and while thinking ahead we already have started rolling ball in that direction. He further threatened that apart from the different options available to take the battle to the terrorists and their handlers, Indian Army is prepared for two-front war involving Pakistan and China simultaneously but he emphasized for cooperation with China rather than confrontation. On the Indian arms race in region he delivered his thoughts by saying that from the development of the Agni-IV nuclear capable ballistic missiles, the forces have taken a series of steps to slowly but surely transform the “discussion” posture against China into “deterrence”, which in turn is now being upgraded to “credible deterrence”. About Cold Start Doctrine, General said that Cold Start Doctrine exists for conventional military operations and for conduct of conventional operation or strikes both govt and cabinet committee on security are in liaison.
Now such statements by new Indian army chief are analysed as a mixed bag. Through media interactions, besides proving his credentials to the domestic audience for his elevation as COAS, Gen Rawat has resorted to strategic messaging at China and Pakistan. For China while talking about “Two Front War”, raising of Mountain Strike Corps and warning transforming into deterrence but at the same time message of cooperation and not confrontation has been highlighted and showed his confusions. For Pakistan, through mentioning repeat of so called surgical strikes but desires to restore peace on the Line of Control has been signposted.
It is assumed that Modi led extremist government in India, which is continuously raising defence budget, signings defence deals, purchasing arms and ammunition in bulk and experimenting nuclear war heads and Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) on regular intervals, will act senselessly and with presence of person like Bipin Rawat who is tagged as yes man might go for some kind of mishap and creating disturbance in peace and peace building efforts in region. Pakistan is very clear about its peace efforts in region but India has to rethink as it had been the main hurdle to maintain regional peace and engages with its neighbour Pakistan by creating atmosphere of blame games, hostile statements and propaganda in order to malign Pakistan and serve its domestic agenda.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.