Gen Mirza Aslam Beg
Our ambassador at the United Nations – Maliha Lodhi has termed the Kashmir issue as ‘Mission Kashmir’ expressing the thoughts balanced in contrast to the promises made by late PM Nehru: “We stand committed to the world to facilitate the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir.” But, for over six decades, the Indian intransigence and the failure of the global institutions has brought the Kashmir freedom struggle to a boiling point where the “power of the gun now will give the verdict,” because human rights considerations have miserably failed to deliver.
The Pathankot attack early this year was owned by ‘Kashmir Jehad Council (KJC), a new Jehadi organization of the third generation Kashmiri youth, similar to the second generation Afghan Youth movement, called Taliban. They have ideological linkage as both are fighting for freedom. In 1990, after Soviet withdrawal, the Afghan Jehadis went to Kashmir and Yemen. In Kashmir the freedom movement gained momentum, and more than a hundred thousand freedom fighters, since have sacrificed their lives taking the struggle to the boiling point, as of now. In Yemen the jehadis supported Ahmad Saleh, to win the war, unite North & South Yemen and establish his rule over Yemen.
The Uri attack has not been owned by KJC. It was just a fire accident in the petroleum depot, which has been declared as a well-planned attack by the Kashmiri freedom fighters to cover-up Indian brutalities. Uri is a part of Jammu, with a significant Hindu majority, opposed to the freedom movement. The target was a well-guarded place by 10 Dogra Battalion with sixty five percent Sikh soldiers. Why should they target the Sikhs, whose support they need, as the Khalistan Movement gets alive. Indian security forces, took over almost a week to flush-out the Jehadis after the Pathankot attack and only 6 hours to kill the four attackers, whose bodies have not been displayed and the helicopter kept lifting their casualties with no bullets or rockets fired at them.
Kashmiri freedom struggle has ideological linkage with the Afghan Freedom Movement. The Soviets, the Americans and the Europeans waged full fledged war against the Afghans, to usurp their freedom, but failed. That is the power of freedom which accepts no shackles, and so is the ‘Mission Kashmir’, which comes in the way of Indian ambitions to emerge as a world power: “guarding its geo-political interests, stretching from the Persian Gulf to the straits of Malacca” and, for that India has to enhance its strategic reach, based on military and economic prowess. Thus India aligned itself with America in a strategic partnership in 2005 and found a foothold in Afghanistan to establish a vast spy network against Pakistan and the neighbouring counties.
The declared objectives were “to contain and curb the rising power of China and the Islamic surge in the region.” Afghanistan was declared a part of South Asia, to establish Indian hegemony from Afghanistan to Bangladesh. But these high ambitions have been frustrated by Afghan resistance, causing panic to the Afghan government, tottering on its feet. It was a major defeat for India in Afghanistan, with another defeat in Kashmir, staring into their faces. For the last ten years India has been busy modernising its armed forces, spending billions of dollars, yet it suffers from strategic military disorientation. No doubt Indian armed forces are larger than ours, but it is at the cutting-edge of technology where we beat India. We have our own state of the art battle tanks, precision guided missiles, guns, ammunition and variety of equipment. The Pak Navy has the battle-ship and is building the stealth submarine. The Pakistan Air Force has its own JF-17; and an effective air defence system and with the induction of Russian SU35s, and Chinese J-31, PAF would be able to conduct offensive air operations, deep into the enemy territory.
Indian armed forces have yet not achieved full operational harmony in the use of newly inducted high tech weapons and equipment, seriously impacting their combat effectiveness. Indian war stamina is limited to fifteen days only, against Pakistan’s forty days, because Pakistan has achieved almost 90% indigenous capability of producing its weapons, ammunition and equipment, whereas India is way behind. The limited war cannot be fought with borrowed military hardware.
At best India can fully mobilize its forces for war, in about six days, whereas Pakistan takes only two days, frustrating Indian Cold Start War doctrine. Thus Pakistan is capable of launching a pre-emptive strike, should the political leadership so decide.
More than 400,000 Indian Combat troops are lock-up in Kashmir and cannot disengage, whereas most of the 150,000 Pakistani combat troops, employed in the North-west, under operation Zarb-i-Azb, have already returned to their bases.
India is reported to have deployed two squadrons of combat aircrafts in the north to support the so-called ground “surgical strikes,” across the Line of Control. Bofor guns and infantry units are deployed close to the LOC, for the strike. Pakistan is fully prepared to counter the threat, both on ground and air.
USA has come clean in support of India. President Obama, in his recent address at the United Nations, did not say even a word about Indian atrocities in Kashmir, which is a slur on the American face of being champion of human rights. They have closed their eyes and minds to Indian brutalities on un-armed Kashmiris demanding their right to freedom, whereas China, a trusted friend of Pakistan stands by us, and would not hesitate moving its troops to the borders with India, if the situation demands.
India has a difficult choice to make!! Either, to find a political solution to the Kashmir problem, or succumb to the illusion of suppressing the freedom movement by force. Pray that discretion prevails over false notion of power and prejudice. Under the new agreement, India also has the choice to use American air bases and other military facilities in Afghanistan against Pakistan. But nothing to worry because Afghan Taliban will take care of it. Both India and Pakistan have their nuclear arsenal, but there is no likelihood of using this capability, which only “sick minds” could use against the defenceless, as in 1945, against Japan, without fear of retaliation. Let the existing level of deterrence, hold between two nations, with thousands of years of civilisational heritage.
— The writer is ex-Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan.