The Options Now!
How long can we think of changing the mind set of Pakistan? Does not it augur systematic strategy to dismantle the terrorists dustbins spread into Indian parts of Kashmir?
Dr. Satish Kumar
The pitch is very high and sentiments are euphoric, this is repeated terror attacks against India by terror groups of Pakistan. The recent killing of more than 43 soldiers of CRPF by a suicide bomber belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group in Kashmir, created volatile conditions between India and Pakistan. This terror group operates from Pakistan. Its master mind is Hafiz Said. Pakistan did not work out against JeM and its affiliates and tried to show the international community that new government in Pakistan is very keen to bring peace in the region through bilateral talks.
Lies after lies by Pakistan have piled on. The bloods of Indian soldiers have splashed in each corner of India. The people have seen enough. Since 1992, it was repeated many times, 2001, 2008, 2016 and the most scarring in 2019.
How long can we think of changing the mind set of Pakistan? Does not it augur systematic strategy to dismantle the terrorists dustbins spread into Indian parts of Kashmir? Not merely that Pakistan succeeded in its attempt to mitigate the faces between the separatists and terrorists. Kashmir valley is different today. The worst part is it looks like a twin brothers. The Pulwama attack is grim reminder of this change. Therefore, the options for India after this attack are very complex.
It is true the high fever needs a strong dose of medicines. This nationalist government is capable of doing it. But the condition is complex and enemies are many, splattered internally and externallyBefore finding the options let us identify the major foes of India on Kashmir issue. Obviously the most potent foe is Pakistan. The current regime of Pakistan is a military rule in civilian form. So, terror outfits in Pakistan is going to be more active. The Afghanistan syndrome has provided larger terrain to Pakistan. The US withdrawal is going to hamper Indian presence in Kabul. So far, India was engaged in creating infrastructure arrangements in Afghanistan through Afghan government. Now the Taliban will be in driving seat. The command will be in the hands of Pakistan. The good and bad Taliban will forge into one and their target would be India. This will be intensifying the frequency of terror attacks in Kashmir valley.
The second enemy is China. China moves with its self interests and long term strategy. The emerging India is increasingly perceived by China as a potent threat. The last year quad formation where India was a major partner, sent a message to China that future dominance of China in Asia Pacific is challenged by India. Therefore, engaging India locally is China’s immediate game plan. That is why it does not endorse India’s repeated request to declare Hafiz Said as a global terrorist. It serves the purpose of China.
Third enemy is Hurriyat leaders of Kashmir and regional political leaders. Their aim is to create a wave as if Kashmir is being looted. There has been deliberate attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue. Ashiq Baba, one of the terrorists arrested for attacking an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir, had got visa to visit Pakistan on the basis of reference letters from Hurriyat leaders, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in a statement. Their interrogation has revealed the involvement of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commanders in the attack on the camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Nagrota. These terrorists were in continuous contact through WhatsApp voice and text messages with Maulana Mufti Ashghar based in Muzaffarabad whose nephew Waqas, a JeM commander in South Kashmir, died in an encounter near Pulwama recently, it said. Besides Ashghar, they were in touch with Qari Zarar, a Rawalpindi-based commander in charge of launching terrorists in Jammu region, and Waseem and Abu Talha -- both in charge of launching terrorists along the Jammu region, the statement said.
The political leaders of Kashmir also spoil the peace of Kashmir. They always think their politics first and Kashmir later. For gaining the power they supported separatist forces and stone palters and squarely blame the army for each of their problems. They never allowed evolving Indian perspective of Kashmir issue, quite often provided the ground for Pakistan to harp. The last but not the least, left intellectuals supported by the Congress regime to create a human rights narrative of Kashmir where forces and Para-military forces are villains.
Now the Options
After identifying the foes a different treatment is needed for each one. India has withdrawn the most favoured nation status from Pakistan. The excise duties have been doubled. The high commission of Pakistan was called and given a demarche order. The further diplomatic actions are awaited. India might terminate the Sindhu river treaty which will have the severe impact on Pakistan. The Gulf countries are being roped to do away with Pakistan. Indian diplomatic actions will have positive effects on Gulf countries to put pressure on Pakistan. IMF is not going to bail out Pakistan. These are few diplomatic pressures which will evolve further to deepen the economic crisis of Pkaistan.
But diplomatic actions are not sufficient. People need hard power to act. It may be repeated surgical strikes. But it has pitfalls. The apprehension of escalation of conflict which may erupt into war which India does want at this stage. Indian military is exploring all possible ways to do it.
Second foe is China. It needs a long term strategy to follow. The Sino-Pak cooperation is going to sustain. The India needs to work according to principles of Chankya. There is no need spend money on infrastructure of Afghanistan. It has to spend on creating anti Taliban forces who are inimical to Pakistan and Taliban. The closest are Tajiks and Pakhtuns. They could be assisted and supported with arms and money. They could prove to be a game changer. The whole project of China’s will face the heat from the locals.
Third enemy is Hurriyat leaders. The government has withdrawn their elitist aristocratic functioning. They were protected by India but they vouched for Pakistan. Their every action must be monitored by Indian armies. If they found guilty, sedition charges should be slapped with impunity. The same formula should be enacted against local political leaders of Kashmir.
The fourth enemy is left bound leaders spread in metropolitans. The rules would be made with zero tolerance on Kashmir issue. If anyone found guilty of promoting secessionist forces in Kashmir, they should be treated severely. The narratives they built must be dismantled through nationalist narratives of Kashmir. Kashmir has history which is not confined to 70 years; it has long history associated with Bharat varsh. Its cultural parts need further elaborations. It must not be perceived only through the prism of geopolitics; Hindu traditions have attractive narratives. It needs further elaborations and display.
It is true the high fever needs a strong dose of medicines. This nationalist government is capable of doing it. But the condition is complex and enemies are many, splattered internally and externally. Quick actions without proper pondering may not serve the purpose. Therefore, it needs proper understanding before going for a full-fledged display of hard power. There is no doubt Modi as a PM is not going to rest before teaching Pakistan a lesson.
(The writer teaches Political Science at MMH College, Ghaziabad)