Kashmir unrest: Escalating tension

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

THE tension between India-Pakistan multiplied due to an attack on the Indian brigade headquarters at Uri, Indian Held Kashmir, on September 18, 2016. Without proper investigation into the matter, the Indian ruling elite alleged Pakistani based organization for sponsoring attack. Islamabad, immediately, negated ill-founded charges and also insisted on an international investigation of Uri attack. New Delhi, however, seems averse to international probe into the event.
Apprehending, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his close aides mindset, Islamabad adopted countermeasures. Indeed, threats of war were taken seriously in Islamabad. It is because the Indian ruling elite and extremist cadre of Bharatiya Janata Party contemplated various military options to reprimand Pakistan. Although, Pakistani leadership acted with utmost restrain, yet it demonstrated its strong resolve to respond any kind of the Indian aggression. Army chief General Raheel Sharif, after taking into confidence the Corp Commanders announced that we are prepared to defend Pakistan. Subsequently, Pakistan air force conducted impressive exercise on the Motorway. Precisely, the armed forces flexed their muscle to signal adversary about their preparedness.
Pakistan’s armed forces alertness, however, changed the mindset of the Indian ruling elite. The rational sense prevailed and devastating military conflict was averted. This aversion of the conflict escalation is temporary because New Delhi is not willing to resolve the Kashmir dispute. It has been using state terrorism to quash the freedom movement of the innocent Kashmiris in the Indian Occupied Kashmir without realizing that ‘violence breeds violence.
The current upsurge in the Indian occupied Kashmir has frustrated Premier Modi and his national security team. They have failed to pacify the Kashmiris resistance, which was ignited due to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani by Indian security forces in south Kashmir on July 8, 2016. According to the media reports, over 100 people were killed, hundreds blinded due to the use of pellet guns and over a thousand injured in violent clashes with security forces.
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi conveyed the United Nations that: “This is the worst form of state terrorism, a war crime, that India has continued to perpetrate in the situation of foreign occupation in Jammu and Kashmir for the past many decades.” Instead of assessing and analysing the causes of their failure in Kashmir, Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet members have been clamouring for punitive measures against Pakistan without contemplating the repercussions of surgical strike. Since Uri attack, the signs of military readiness on both sides have horrifying bearing. The Indian war hawks called for retaliatory attack from Indian armed forces. Indeed, in such a situation, the miscalculations or a mere accident could unleash inadvertent conflict having devastating consequences.
Premier Sharif rightly underscored the gravity of the situation. He opined that: “the international community ignores the danger of rising tensions in South Asia, at its own peril.” In December 2015, former US Defense Secretary William Perry listed in the possibility of a regional nuclear war on the subcontinent as one of his five ‘nightmare scenarios’. He wrote: “During the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India showed restraint by not countering with an attack. If there is ever a second Mumbai-type attack, I fear that India would not show restraint again: India could respond with a military incursion, prompting Pak to respond with tactical nuclear weapons. This is turn would provoke India to respond in kind, and a regional nuclear war would be underway.” Precisely, if India attacks Pakistan, latter check former military adventurism with its vibrant military muscle.
The strategic equilibrium between India and Pakistan oblige the former to act rationally and refrain from military adventurism against the latter. Perhaps, it avoided the lethal war between the belligerent neighbours. But Prime Minister Modi continues with his earnest desire to isolate Pakistan by convincing the international community that Pakistan has been sponsoring terrorism in India. On September 24, 2016, he said: “We will isolate you. I will work for that.” He added: “This is the only country that is exporting terrorism in all corners.” His Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj indirectly alleged Pakistan at the UNGA on September 26, 2016 and claimed that it is “nurturing, peddling and exporting terrorism”. Premier Modi had failed to realize that in the twenty-first century it’s impossible to isolate even a small state. Whereas; Pakistan is the sixth biggest state in the world and capable to defend itself with its indigenous military capabilities. Moreover, it’s an open secret that Pakistan has suffered the most by terrorism. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, without paying any attention to the Indians propaganda, forcefully presented Kashmiris right of self-determination case in the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2016. He stated: “Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement.” He insisted on the demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir. He categorically stated Pakistan wants peace with India but it is “not possible without resolving the Kashmir issue.” Therefore, he demanded the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir.
The chronic Kashmir dispute offers the world’s sole case of an enduring rivalry between two nuclear-armed regional opponents. Simultaneously, it reminds the United Nations about the non-implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution. Nonetheless, the optimistic development is that the OIC, Human Rights Council of the United Nations and the international community have expressed their serious concerns overs the genocide of innocent Kashmiris. To conclude, Premier Modi accused Pakistan to camouflage Indian armed forces atrocities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Realistically, his baseless allegations neither prevent Pakistan from condemning the genocides of the Kashmiris nor his brutal tactics quash the indigenous Kashmiris freedom movement. Perhaps, warmongering is easy but war is not a choice with a nuclear capable adversary.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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