On India, Pakistan and Kashmir: War through “softer” means


Views from Washington

Aqsa Sajjad

THIS post is hosted on the Huffington Post’s Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email. We see no planes in the sky and no bombs being dropped but those following the conflict closely can smell another kind of war – a war through diplomacy and other means.
Talks of some sort of war against Pakistan have been going on since the 2013 elections which resulted in Modi and the BJP winning. Modi’s election campaign revolved around criticizing Manmohan Singh’s government for being too soft on Pakistan and promised that he would be just the opposite.
At first, things seemed to be going well. On December 25, 2015, Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan. This day was significant for two reasons: first, it was Nawaz Sharif’s birthday and second, it was coincidentally the wedding of his granddaughter. Modi’s apparently friendly visit raised several eyebrows; nobody could tell what his intentions were.
Some people thought it was a good sign; most, however, wondered what Modi was up to since he had criticized the previous government for being too friendly which was precisely what he was doing at that moment. All of that stopped mattering when India’s airbase in Pathankot was attacked. Needless to say, India blamed Pakistan and bilateral relationships were back to square one. There was still some hope of salvaging bilateral talks back then. From July 2015, Indian occupational forces unleashed terror in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) while a Kashmiri uprising begun. Then came the Uri attack. With the escalation in tensions between the two neighboring countries since the September 18 attack on the Uri military base, talks about whether a war will start or not are becoming more and more prevalent.
In 1971, Indira Gandhi “won” the war against Pakistan. For a man who practically won elections by claiming the present government is too soft with Pakistan and that he wouldn’t be afraid to answer with bullets, nothing would please Modi more than being the modern day Indira. But times are different now and a full out war would bring no benefit to Modi.
Instead, he has declared war through other, softer, means. The first thing India did was to try to isolate Pakistan internationally. In fact, Modi announced this openly and in plain words which included “we will isolate you” and “we will force you to be alone all over the world”.
Afghanistan and Bangladesh were the easiest and most achievable targets for India. The second thing India did was to threaten to stir up trouble in the already troubled Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan. This is also part of the plan to undermine the China Pakistan Economic Corridor through subtle means since it would put Pakistan in a much better position in South and Central Asia. The third thing India did and is currently doing is using water as a weapon of war. Modi ordered the violation of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 by depriving Pakistan of as much water as possible. The forth means of war is the use of brutality in Kashmir and the illegal settlement of non-Muslims in Kashmir in protected townships (eerily similar to the illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank). Deploying a soldier for every few Muslims in Kashmir is also an Israel style tactic. 700,000 soldiers have been deployed in Kashmir to crush the freedom struggle. Lastly, RAW has a long and controversial history of funding terrorists in Pakistan and creating unrest.
This is a war through diplomacy and soft power – the ability to portray the opposition as evil, the ability to persuade other countries to do what it wants without force or coercion, the ability to manipulate one’s diplomatic strength and the ability to use economic aid against the enemy. India has done all of the above and more.
The question is, is Pakistan ready to face India’s war through other means? We have the military. According to our government and generals, we are prepared.
—Courtesy: Huffington Post
[Writer is a veteran journalist, contributor to international media]