Devastating escalation

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

THE continual deterioration in India-Pakistan relations is alarming. It is increasing the probability of the escalation of a conflict between the belligerent neighbours at the Line of Control and working boundary. Indeed, the escalation of a conflict between neighbours increases the probability of a total war. The total war between the nuclear-armed adversaries alarmed us about the likelihood of the exchanges of nuclear strikes. Therefore, escalation of conflict between India and Pakistan would be having devastating repercussions.
The perilous effects of nuclear weapons use necessitate that leadership of a nuclear weapon state ought to act with immense responsibility and caution. The amateurish political leadership of a nuclear zed state is not only dangerous for its own people alone, but also risky for the entire region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategy to escalate the conflict at the Line of Control to coerce Pakistan and also muster the support of the Hindu Fundamentalist in the forthcoming elections in four states is immensely risky.
Since the May 2014, the Indian ruling elite has been endeavouring to coerce Pakistan. It has adopted both diplomatic and military means to isolate and terrify the people of Pakistan. It is openly supporting the terrorist activities in Pakistan and also determined to convince the international community that Pakistan is a ‘rogue state’. Cunningly, Prime Minister Nerendra Modi approached Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thrice (Ufa, Paris, and Lahore) to generate an impression in the international community that he is sincere in resolving disputes as well restoring sustainable peace in South Asia. In reality, it was his hypocritical tactic to convince the international community that Pakistani ruling is warmonger and insincere for resolving disputes between nuclear armed India and Pakistan.
The international community is cognizant to the devastating repercussions of the increasing tension between Islamabad and New Delhi, yet it remains apathetic to the worsening situation in the region. It is also ignoring the genocide of the innocent Kashmiris. Despite the condemnation of the Indian armed forces atrocities in the Indian Held Kashmir by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and Iyad bin Amin Madani, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) the real initiative to protect the Kashmiris from the Indian armed force brutality is missing.
Premier Modi has been increasing tension on the border to camouflage his internal and external policies’ failure. He is employing the warmongering for attracting the attention of the Hindu Fundamentalist forces as well as promising Indian military industrial complex. He seems convinced that his bellicose jingoism diverts the attention of the Indian common man from the real domestic issues, plight of minorities including state terrorism in the Indian held Kashmir towards Pakistan.
New Delhi has failed to quash the Kashmiris indigenous freedom movement in the Indian held Kashmir. The increasing intensity in the freedom movement, especially after the martyr of the 22 years old pro-freedom Kashmiri leader of Burhan Wani on July, 8, 2016, manifested that Kashmiris would continue fighting for their legitimate right despite the immense use of violence by the Indian law enforcement agencies and unconcerned attitude of international community. Islamabad, which is a legitimate party to the conflict, is also endeavouring to draw the attention of the international community towards the atrocities of the Indian forces in Kashmir. Islamabad’s endeavours to highlight the Kashmiris plight furious Indian ruling elite and therefore it is increasing tension at the Line of Control.
Islamabad’s principal stance on the Kashmir dispute and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris freedom struggle has agitated the Premier Modi and his hawkish associates. They are not only alleging Pakistan rhetorically, but also encouraging the Indian Army to violate the sanctity of both Line of Control and working boundary. The Indian armed forces fire killed and injured many civilians. On November 13, 2016, the Indian troops unprovoked fire martyred seven Pakistani soldiers at the Line of Control in the Bhimber sector. Pakistani border forces retaliated and succeeded in destroying Indian post. Nevertheless, Pakistani troops observed utmost restraint. This restraint may be encouraging the Indian leadership to adopt aggressive attitude against Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Indian ruling elite is not realizing the dangerous repercussions of their warlike policy. Nevertheless, one cannot expect such an irrational behaviour of the leadership of a nuclear weapon state.
The Indian Prime Minister Modi’s frustration multiplied, when the opposition parties in the Lok Sabah criticized his foreign policies. They inquired from the BJP Government about the dividedness of the Premier Modi’s foreign trips. Despite having nearly 50 official foreign trips and hectic lobbying, he failed to ensure India’s full membership of Nuclear Supplier Group. Once again, the majority in the NSG did not supported India’s bid for the supplier cartel. On November 11-12, 2016, Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) senior officials in their meeting in Vienna, Austria, once again, failed to constitute a consensus on the issue of India and Pakistan’s membership of Group. To conclude, the devastating escalation at LoC may be advantageous for BJP during the forthcoming elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, but it is immensely perilous for regional security.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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