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India-Pakistan tension on borders

October 10, 2014

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Tension is escalating on the India-Pakistan border. Pakistan has pounded India’s border posts and has killed and injured civilians too. In response, India has also devastated Pakistan’s border posts and has triggered massive unrest among Pakistani army and civilians by leading unregulated and aggressive firing that has so far resulted in several deaths in Pakistan. For the safety of people, India has evacuated people from the border areas.

Official figure cites evacuation of 20,000 people from LoC and International Border areas in Jammu and Kashmir, but unofficial reports coming in from other areas suggest that unaccounted number of people are being evacuated from the Western sector too. Indications are that India will fleece off Pakistan’s jingoistic behaviour by pounding tactically as was sounded by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley when he said, “If Pakistan persists with this adventurism, our forces will make the cost of this adventurism unaffordable for it.”

But there is a fear that Islamabad may flex its nuclear muscles if India goes on to teach Pakistan a lesson. Despite this, India under Narendra Modi’s administration doesn’t want to lower its guard. India-based Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and was told in no uncertain terms about India’s sense of enrage with continued firing and shelling from across the border.

This is part of India’s strategy where in it wants to send a tough message to Pakistan that it can’t have a cake and eat it too. Already, security forces have been told by the government that they should not hold any flag meeting with Pakistan security forces until Islamabad unobtrusively commits for better environment between the two nations.

US appeals for peace on Indo-Pak borders

This tit-for-tat response from India has compelled the US to appeal both sides for maintaining peace on the border. But the question is – what is the real intent of Pakistan behind such activities? By continuously shelling borders, is Pakistan trying to keep Jammu and Kashmir on flash point? Is it an attempt to dissuade investors from pumping in money in India, as in the absence of peace and stability, investors may think twice in investing? Secondly, by shelling borders, is Pakistan giving covers to infiltrators, waiting to enter the state at a time when assembly polls are due? Or, is it usual Pakistani tactics to engage India on the northern side, giving it less leeway in Afghanistan where India’s influences are deep? Or, is it a Pakistani answer to India for getting Haqqani group and D-company listed in the terrorist group and making an international effort to sniff off their financial lifeline? It is a mix of all.

In any case, New Delhi’s response to Pakistan’s provocative activities along the border has been sharp and effective with security forces given free hand to tackle with Islamabad’s design. If sources are to be believed, National Security Advisor Ajit Dobhal, considered as a legendary spy man who settled insurgency problem of Mizoram once for all, has been told to do all he could do to make Pakistan realise that now enough was enough.

A mere glance over Pakistan’s ceasefire violations on the LoC, indicates that Islamabad has no issue other than hitting at India’s interests. Till October 2014, more than 80 ceasefire violations occurred along the 778-km LoC, (reports of Pakistan-led infringements along 198-km International Border in Jammu and Kashmir are not available). In 2013, in comparison, a total of 347 ceasefire violations were reported in Jammu and Kashmir, including 199 along the LoC.

During Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s arrival in New Delhi for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet’s oath ceremony on May 26, it is said that India had specifically raised the issue of continued ceasefire violations along the border. But instead of acting on it, Pakistani troops and ISI have worked in tandem with each other to use their anti-India strategy in more lethal manner. This can be assumed from the fact that since September 4 when current Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri posted a 56-minute video online announcing formation of Indian branch of Al-Qaeda and called on Islamic militants to fight for Muslims in Assam, Gujarat and Kashmir, the two nefarious outfits of Pakistan have gone berserk against India. Under the cover of shelling on border, the Pakistani troops and ISI have a design to push terrorists into India.

More than 2,000 hardcore terrorists are waiting for being pushed inside the Indian territory. The more such designs are being thwarted by India, the more aggressively the Pakistani troops resort to shelling on Indian borders. Experts feel since India stopped secretary level meeting following the Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with Hurriyat leaders just before resumption of the stalled talks, Islamabad has become restless.

To this came a blow to it when India could not lend a weight to the Kashmir issue at the United Nations despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raising the issue there and blaming New Delhi for not resolving the issue. In fact, say some strategic experts that the Kashmir issue is the core to the Pakistani army’s survival. Through this, they say, the Pakistani army keeps the fear of India being Pakistan’s number one enemy alive in their country’s civilians’ mind which ultimately results in serving it two immediate goals.

Keeping fear of Pakistan alive

First, it helps in quashing the civilian government’s attempt to normalise good relations with India, second, it helps in securing its numero uno position in Pakistan’s chequred hierarchical system. To maintain this, it has usurped in sovereign power over Pakistan’s foreign policy towards India.

Unless vetted by military, no Pakistani government can have a free hand to deal with India. Result is that whatever be the Pakistani establishment’s character (civilian or semi-civilian), it will have to dance on the tune of its military so far as India is concerned. This is what has put a quandary before Indian decision makers always. But it is now a different government in India, which calls a spade a spade. Yet, will it push the country to a position of a full-fledged war, there is a big pause over it for the time being.

 

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A journalist who has been covering diplomatic beat for years

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