India – Playing with Fire

February 24, 2018

By Askari Raza Malik

India continues to blatantly indulge in unrelenting ceasefire violations, all along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary. In its recent frenzy it seems to be possessed of a demon crossing all the limits of sane human behavior. Scores of civilians have been unnecessarily killed including women and children and many more wounded with colossal damage to civilian property.

In 2003, the ceasefire agreement between the two countries was hailed as a ‘Key Confidence Building Measure’ in the quest for a durable peace. But since the arrival of Modi, a proven religious fanatic, Pakistan-India relations have taken an obvious nosedive. Ceasefire violations have seen an unprecedented spike both in numbers and intensity.

Pakistani civilian population has been the main victim of Indian indiscriminate heavy weapons and artillery fire. India has not only disregarded an agreement between neighbors, it has unashamedly violated the international norms and ethics to spare the civilian population the consequences of military confrontation.

India pretends that it is only producing a ‘befitting response’ to Pakistan’s ‘nefarious designs’, a preposterous contention it has never been able to substantiate. The Indian home minister, another diehard fanatic, justifies the ceasefire violations; to stop the so-called infiltration of the terrorists into the Indian occupied Kashmir.

India has effectively fenced this part of the border. The fence apart from being electrified is also heavily manned with search light towers to facilitate observation at night. If the terrorists can still cross the fence with impunity, India has to seriously reevaluate the efficacy of its security apparatus.

The hue and cry about terrorists’ crossing over from Pakistan has also proved to be a complete hoax. Elias Davidsson’s latest book, “Betrayal of India, Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence”, proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Mumbai terrorist attack of September 26, 2008 was planned and executed by no one other than the Indian intelligence itself. All the venomous allegations directed at Pakistan at the time were readily believed by a gullible world. Davidsson seems to believe that it was the Indian intelligence acting on its own that had brought discredit to the Indian government. But the same drama enacted again and again proves that the Indian government is deliberately involved in sinning against its own people for insignificant political gains. The Indian mania reached its pinnacle when the Bollywood style “Surgical Strike into Pakistan” fantasy was released out of nowhere. One wonders how a highly professional soldier like the Indian Army Director General Military Operations could be a party to this ridiculous claim of carrying out a surgical strike into Pakistan with nothing to show on ground. It is a sad commentary on the professional ethics of a high-ranking military officer.

According to Pakistan FO, India committed over 1300 Ceasefire Line (CFL) violations in 2017 alone as compared to 11 in 2003 and 6 in 2004. Since Modi took over 7000 CFL violations have been committed resulting in the martyrdom of over 300 civilians and injuries to another 1121. The graph shows this spike between 2003 and 2017 with the dangerous trending predominant after Modi takeover.

India cannot eternally confuse the issue of an indigenous Kashmiri movement for independence with bogus terrorists’ attacks from across the border. The Indian occupation forces’ beastly handling of unarmed civilian protesters, brutal killings, ruthless firing of pallet guns and gang rapes further worsens the situation. It adds to the Indian government exasperation that finds catharsis in firing at Pakistani civilians across the border. The myth that Pakistan is home to all sorts of terrorists’ outfits may last for a while as a superpower is working hard to keep it alive, for its own bad reasons; the myth cannot endure for ever; as honest journalists like Elias Davidsson will continue to shake the international conscience out of self-induced slumber.

The Kashmir problem is not an internal issue of India. It started with Indian invasion of Kashmir on October 27, 1947. The Kashmiris gallantly fought the Indian army and were later joined by the tribesmen from Northern Pakistan to help their brethren against a foreign aggression. India with the defeat staring in its face had rushed to the UN begging for a ceasefire. The UNSC Resolution number 47 of April 12 1948 asking for plebiscite in Kashmir under international supervision remains to be implemented. That makes the UN a serious stakeholder in the conundrum. China is also directly affected as it occupies over 9000 square miles of Kashmiri territory. Since 1972 Simla Accord, India has found another excuse to evade the issue by calling Kashmir dispute a bilateral matter between Pakistan and India. That amounts to closing eyes to the historic and prevailing ground realities. Indian stubbornness is the biggest hurdle in creating good neighborly relations between the two nuclear neighbors that is of paramount importance for peace in the region.

One reason for the excessive Indian chauvinism is the prevailing geopolitical situation, in which the unnatural US presence in the region and its farfetched regional ambitions seem to place India in a fallacious advantage. India is being pampered to act as a regional answer to the growing Chinese power and eventually a close Western ally in the global tug of war. This wishful thinking is of no practical consequences.

The ‘Purchasing Power Parity’ alone does not determine national power criteria. There are a host of factors that distinguish a developed from a developing nation. India is no match to the Chinese and will never be as indicated by the vast differences in power potential of the two countries. Whether the West would ever realize the fallacy of their assessment, China betrays no doubts about it. China keeps making subtle gestures to suggest that India stands nowhere in it’s reckoning. The Western belief in India is in for a big disappointment.

The second reason for India’s delusion of grandeur is its well-equipped military that has a definite quantitative edge over Pakistan and going by the numbers alone should stand to gain in a near future conflict. On the qualitative plane India does not seem to appreciate the harsh current realities. Pakistan’s military is a battle hardened fighting machine, one imbued with the indomitable spirit of fighting. According to Brian Cloughley, “man-for-man it (Pakistan Army) will hammer any opponent, no matter if the skies are filled with (enemy) bombers”. According to a New York Times editorial assessment, despite India being a bigger country, it stands to lose much more in any future war with Pakistan. It is not to brag about Pakistani military’s superiority. It is just to warn India not to be carried away by superficial content and take a plunge into some expansive misadventure endangering the peace of the entire region. Nothing is worth taking that risk.

Modi and his party can win elections on their ‘hate everything non-Hindu’ philosophy. But the incalculable damage being done to the Indian nationalism is bound to one day destroy the delicately hinged fabric of Indian unity.

War has no logic. India continues to play with fire. The balance is precariously poised. A war between two nuclear capable antagonists will spell disaster for the entire region and far beyond. It is high time the international community woke up to the impending disaster and stopped Indian madness.

*Major General (retd) Askari Raza Malik is the author of recently published book “Pakistan in Search of a Messiah”