Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
THE Indian Army’s endless brutality drove the Kashmiri youth into militancy. Instead of surrendering, the Kashmiris are fiercely struggling for the liberation of the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The Kashmiri freedom fighters sporadic attacks on the Indian Army’s fortified bases and killing of law enforcement agencies personnel have frustrated the Indian ruling elite. Instead of tackling the violent situation in the valley prudently, New Delhi has been scapegoating Islamabad. The developments in the Indian-occupied Kashmir directly influence India and Pakistan bilateral relations. Since the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old pro-freedom Kashmiri leader, the situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir is terrible. It is because, the killing of Wani on July 8, 2016, transformed constant peaceful protests and demonstrations into a violent struggle. Instead of engaging the Kashmiris, incumbent Indian ruling elite is increasing violence in the occupied Kashmir and also accusing Pakistan.
The Kashmiris’ determination and passionate struggle to liberate themselves from the Indian yoke is commendable. On February 10, 2018, the Kashmiri fighters attacked Sunjuwan camp in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and killed six Indian soldiers. Four attackers were also martyred. Without investigating properly, New Delhi accused Pakistan for engineering the attack. Even a few Indian officials claimed that the attackers came from Pakistan. Nonetheless, Islamabad strongly rejected all such allegations. The continuous successful attacks on the military camps have an frustrating effect on the Indian troops. Therefore, both the Indian political and military elite intimidates Pakistan for dire consequences. On February 12, 2018, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated, “Pakistan is expanding the arc of terror… resorting to ceasefire violations (on the border) to assist infiltration. Pakistan will pay for this misadventure.” Though India lacks military capability to defeat Pakistan in a total war, yet it is creating troubles for Pakistan through the application of a hybrid warfare strategy. In reality, it has been sponsoring terrorist activities inside Pakistan. And also has increased fire on the Line of Control. The increasing Indian fire on the Line of Control necessitates Pakistani border forces response. Indeed, continuity of a duel between belligerent nuclear armed-states is perilous for regional strategic stability.
India’s continuous military threat to Pakistan is an alarming factor in the South Asian strategic environment. Admittedly, Premier Narendra Modi and his fanatic cabinet members warmongering statements satisfy militant Hindus and serve to the agenda of the radicalized Hindu militant forces in India. However, they are failing to realize that the innocent Kashmiris genocide and bullying statements would not change the ground realities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. They are simply counterproductive. In reality, the Indian Army’s brutal strategy has failed to quash the Kashmiri freedom movement. With the passage of time, Kashmiris’ resistance to the Indian law enforcement agencies brutal tactics has been increasing. Today, the Kashmiri youth has become more violent in his pursuit of objective, i.e. liberating Indian Occupied Kashmir from the illegal occupation of India. At the same time, both the Indian civilian leadership and military high-ups surgical strike mantra cannot timid Pakistan. India’s bellicosity only threatens prevailing strategic stability in region instead of terrorizing Pakistan.
Realizing the probability of India’s military adventurism. On February 13, 2018, Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khurram Dastgi reiterated, “any Indian aggression, strategic miscalculation, or misadventure regardless of its scale, mode or location will not go unpunished and shall be met with an equal and proportionate response.” This statement reveals that Pakistan remains vigilant about the situation and also prepared to defend itself. The critical examination of both India and Pakistan military capabilities reveals that former lacks capacity to bully the latter and vice versa. Precisely, any side’s military adventurism would be catastrophic for both the states as well as for the entire region. Therefore, it’s imperative that both sides ought to act sensibly and avoid bullying each other. Moreover, New Delhi ends butchering of the innocent Kashmiris and accepts their legitimate demands. The deteriorating situation between India and Pakistan has alarmed the Kashmiri leadership. The Chief Minister of Indian Occupied Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti recommended New Delhi to revisit its Pakistan strategy. She opined that: “Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end bloodshed. I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn’t matter. The people of J&K are suffering. We have to talk because war is not an option.” To conclude, the continuity of freedom movement and Islamabad’s moral and political support to the Kashmiris legitimate struggle enrage New Delhi. Therefore, the latter threatens the former without realising that both are nuclear-armed states and any military misadventure against each other not only devastates them, but it is also disastrous for the entire region.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.