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Mounting pressure on Pakistan has nothing to do with Cross-LOC firing

14 Aug

LoC-BSF-ReutersSinking of a submarine, docked in the home port, due to any reason is a very dear loss to any navy because subs are very expensive platforms. Everyone is clear that sinking of Indian sub, INS Sindhurakshak, was due to fire but the statement of an ex-chief of Indian Navy making a vague reference to sabotage rings the alarm bells. If this comes out as a reason for sinking of the sub and killing of officers and sailors on board, this could be used as a ploy to blame Pakistan yet again. This is not skepticism; the developments rapidly taking place between India and Pakistan during the last two weeks suggest that Indians are seeking an occasion to escalate the tension.

First it was Indian Army Chief, Gen Bikram Singh, accusing Pakistan for killing of five soldiers by Pakistan’s elite SSG commandos. The soldiers were stated to be on night patrol on the Line of Control (LOC) between the two countries when they were allegedly ambushed and killed. Indian government made a statement in the parliament that the soldiers were killed by terrorists donning Pakistan Army’s uniform.  There was uproar in the parliament by the opposition parties demanding to accuse Pakistan Army and ISI and suspending dialogue between the two countries. The pressure was mounted to such a scale that the government had to cave in and revise its statement and accuse Pakistan’s SSG commandos. Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi was attacked; bus service stopped by goons threatening Pakistani passengers and offices of Pakistan’s airline also attacked.

The dispassionate analysts watching the developments were not convinced. They were appalled at the level of dis-information. They were asking questions; the soldiers have clear instruction to wear bullet-proof vests while on patrol but three of the five killed had gunshots on their chests. This clearly meant that the soldiers were not on patrol and were in their resting place. Previous pattern of fighting among the soldiers suggested that they might have fought amongst themselves and killed each other and the Indian Army distorted facts to cover up the incident.

Ever since the killing on LOC, there have been numerous incidents of cross-border firing, each country blaming the other for cease-fire violation. Pakistani government under Nawaz Sharif has demonstrated remarkable restraint issuing no statement that could complicate the matter. However, New Delhi has not reciprocated the gesture because of fear of backlash from media and opposition parties. Anti-Pakistan rhetoric wins political parties massive support and Indian elections are around the corner. The ruling Congress government knows that any mis-step at this juncture could result in political cost. The politicians in both the countries are not known for maturity and statesmanship; they can do literally anything to grab votes.

Elections are not the only reason for Indian brinkmanship; Pakistan is passing through the deadliest period of its 66 years and it is time that India could add to Pakistan’s miseries through threats of war. There has been record number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan by TTP and BLA. Both these terrorists’ outfits are funded by Indian RAW and operate from Afghanistan where India has established more than 15 consulates. Having no real consular work, these are used as conduits to transfer funds and weapons to these terrorists.

With 2014 approaching fast and NATO troops leaving Afghanistan, the pro-Indian government of president Karzai may not survive pro-Pakistan Taliban fighters. India is desperate to have its share of influence in Afghanistan but it has not so far succeeded. It wants to squeeze Pakistan from within through the terrorist organizations broadly perceived to be its proxy and from LOC to weaken it to such a scale the Pakistan could not have a say in the matters of Afghanistan. Taliban are expected to be the next rulers of Afghanistan and it would be wonderful if their sole supported, Pakistan is kept under pressure.

The cross-LOC firing incidents are not random; these are prelude to something more sinister. Indians are hell-bent to escalate tensions for political and strategic reasons. But the escalation may spiral out of control as no one would be able to stop Pakistan from exercising the option of first use of nuclear weapons if Indians did not stop here.

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Are Indians misreading Nawaz Sharif’s statements about Pakistan army?

5 Jun

NSIs India so sure that Mr. Nawaz Sharif nurtures a grudge against Pakistan army and ISI that it found it appropriate to fire its first salvo against the agency on the very day he was to get elected? And just look at the allegation; ISI is trying to revive Sikh militancy and Indian youth are being trained in ISI facilities to carry out terror attacks in the country. This accusation was hurled by no less than the Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde. He said there have been significant developments on the Sikh militancy front and its commanders based in Pakistan are under pressure from the ISI to further the Pakistani intelligence agency‘s terror plans not only in Punjab but also other parts of India.

Mr. Sharif may have dropped some hints that he would investigate Kargil and Mumbai but did he ever mean that he’d welcome to be dictated by the Indians? The Indians, it seems, are misreading his statement, or are not familiar with ground realities. Whatever grudge Nawaz Sharif or his party have against the 1999 coup or the Kargil adventure, it is against one person; Musharraf, and not against the institutions. They’d have no grudge if they had not been dethroned. History suggests that Mr Bhutto tried to humiliate the armed forces after he came to power. First he pressured army not to let Mujeeb take over as PM even though he was in majority, then after Fall of Dacca, he left no stone unturned to reduce the humiliated and demoralized force into a toothless army. He further humiliated the institution by appointing a COAS who he himself used to call a “monkey general”. He had to pay for his arrogance heavily; with his life.

Mr Sharif may have felt hurt by the treatment meted out to him post-1999 but he is no fool. He will tread with caution and being a hardcore Punjabi, he knows fully well that his major support base, Punjab, will not approve of his anti-army overtures. Remember the joy of deliverance when he was dismissed in 1999?

India has also blamed that Sikh youth based and settled in Europe and the US were also being motivated towards militancy and a large quantity of arms, ammunition and explosives, including RDX have managed to find its way into Punjab through the borders.

What they blame Pakistan for doing in Punjab is already being done by Indians in Balochistan. Who is training and arming Baloch youth in Afghanistan and who is paying for BLA leadership’s expensive living in UK and Switzerland? Who has been training the sharpshooter of a politico-terrorist outfit of Pakistan’s port city belonging to a certain ethnic community in 1980s? And who has invested heavily in Afghanistan to fund, arm and sustain TTP elements fighting against Pakistan? And if ISI is trying to pay back, it only shows that it is doing its jobs efficiently, media and judiciary bashing notwithstanding.

Some months ago, Deccan Chronicle reported that the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has in a classified report submitted to the government warned that Pakistan’s ISI, as part of its new strategy, has started surrounding India from all neighboring countries -Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Burma -by setting up modules for its agents who in turn promote and sponsor subversive activities against India. This new trend is extremely significant as Pakistan’s dependence on countries like Nepal and Bangladesh for using them to launch anti-India activities is reducing. And instead Pakistan’s ISI is looking at expanding its network in Sri Lanka and Burma. While warning New Delhi’s security top-brass the RAW document states that ISI has already established a formidable network in both Nepal and Bangladesh and it is now focusing on other neighboring countries of India like Sri Lanka and Burma. This way, the ISI will completely surround India with its agents and can launch them into the country from anywhere.

If the contents of RAW’s report have correctly been reported, then it means it is being checkmated by ISI. But Pakistan has not armed and funded any separatist movement in mainland India. The insurgencies of the Red Corridor and the Seven Sisters are homegrown and Pakistan has nothing to do with it. The one in Indian-held Kashmir is homegrown too but may have Pakistan’s moral and diplomatic support because Kashmir is the core issue and the sole cause of Indo-Pakistan tense relations for the last 66 years. Indians should not forget that Nawaz Sharif’s forefathers migrated from Kashmir and they would not be able to woo him as long as Kashmir dispute remains unresolved.