Dr Muhammad Khan
EVER since Indian Government has revoked Articles 370 and 35-A, ending special status of India-occupied Kashmir (IoK), there have been many aggressive and imprudent statements from its ministers and officials. These statements are indicative of the fact that India has started vigorously pursuing the larger agenda of establishing its hegemony over South Asia which Modi’s BJP would like to implement in the next five years. One such statement came from Indian External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaishankar, who directly threatened Pakistan for capturing Azad Kashmir one day. He said in a recent news conference, “Our position on [Azad Kashmir] is, has always been and will always be very clear. [Azad Kashmir] is part of India and we expect one day that we will have the jurisdiction, physical jurisdiction over it.” Indian Union Minister Mr Jitendra Singh had already indicated that the next target of India, after annexing IOK into Indian Union is to occupy AJK. “Now, the next agenda is retrieving AJK, and make it a part of India. It is not only me or my party’s commitment, but it’s a part of a resolution unanimously passed by Parliament,” Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made similar statements and even threatened for first use of nuclear weapons in the event of war with Pakistan.
Earlier, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had clearly stated that Indian Army is just waiting for order of political Government to attack and capture Azad Kashmir. General Rawat said in clear terms, “All actions are decided upon by the central government. Agencies working under the government have to act in accordance with its directions. These aggressive statements from Indian Ministers and Army Chief after illegally annexing IoK seem quite provocative. India cannot dare to attack Azad Kashmir, even if it doubles the number of armed forces, currently, it has. I do not contest the intent (wish list) of Indian Government, since rulers like Modi have long wish lists, but seriously contest the potential of Indian State and its Armed Forces. It is worth mentioning that the subjugation and siege of the unarmed Kashmiris in IoK, India needed over 900,000 security forces. However, it has not estimated the troops; it may need for attacking and occupying the AJK. Indian External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaishankar, is a diplomat, may not having the mastery over the war fighting skills, but, General Rawat is well aware of the potential of Pakistani armed forces and the quality of war munitions, Pakistan has to meet all sort of challenges, it has faced or facing. Pakistani armed forces have done what rest of the global armed forces including NATO and US militaries could not do in last two decades.
Pakistani armed forces are battle hardened and well trained professionally. Indian armed forces would think thousands times, before it is really assigned such an assignment by the political government of India. One such demonstration was shooting of two Indian fighter aircraft in a broad-day light, once Pakistan Air Force aircraft locked six military targets in IoK, in broad day light, following an air violation by IAF aircraft a day earlier during dark hours. Indian Government and Indian armed forces must be remembering that with pinch of salt and helplessness. This quick and unexpected response of PAF at the broad-day light right inside IoK, heavily militarized by Indian Army and its forward air bases speaks of what Pakistan can really do. Indian armed forces may be numerically higher than the Pakistani armed forces. However, professionally, Indian armed forces are far behind their Pakistani counterpart. Then, Indian armed forces are facing a low moral dilemma, being immoral, rapist, human rights violators and above all occupiers. In the battlefield of Azad Kashmir, Indian Army would be at a strategic and tactical disadvantage. Pakistan Army is at its strongest in AJK and GB.
Then, the people of AJK are all battle hardened and mostly ex-servicemen, thus waiting anxiously for any misadventure by Indian Army. In the event of any misadventure on AJK, apart from Pak Army the locals will fight the Indian Army and take the revenge, what Indian Army has been doing with the innocent people of IoK. Already, Indian Army and CRP are badly bogged down in IoK. Pakistan wishes India to take such a step, which provides the opportunity to take on this criminal force frontally. Repeated Indian threats for attacking AJK means that Pakistan and Kashmiris should hurriedly accept what, India has done in the form of illegal annexation of IoK; a division of the state along Ceasefire Line. Such an assertion is not acceptable to Pakistan, the people of AJK and above all the people of IoK, struggling for their right of self-determination for seven decades now. It will be amounting to discard our ideology, the principle stance of Pakistan and above all betraying our brave people of IoK, fighting against Indian occupation since last 72 years.
— The writer, a retired Brig, is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.