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Hindu bigot Narendra Modi, well known for his acute animus towards Indian Muslims and Pakistan and his passion for Hindutva was elected as the PM of India in June 2014 with a heavy mandate. He was eulogized and lionized by Indian media duly backed by western media and all his past sins were pushed under the rug. He was projected as a go-getter and an economic wizard who would once again make India shining and a world power. There were some in Pakistan who went overboard applauding him and saw everything good in him. They went to the extent of saying that he would prove to be the harbinger of peace between the two archrivals since his and Nawaz’s chemistry was in sync and both would give preference to economy over conflict. They forgot about his background, his brought up and mindset which he displayed during his 13 years rule in Gujarat State. Besides the 2002 pogrom, he assiduously promoted Hindutva in his State.
Not only he was groomed by infamous RSS to wear the crown, he was backed by corporate sector and senior officers of Indian armed forces and many joined his party. He has been chosen with a specific Pakistan driven agenda since Pakistan is in the eye of the storm and is the square peg in round hole which doesn’t fit into the security calculus of US, Israel and India.
Modi’s performance has been exactly what had been predicted. Unlike Nawaz’s signals of friendship, right from the time of his coronation ceremony, Modi’s acts towards Pakistan have been offensive in nature. He is on record having stated that he will cause ‘pain’ to Pakistan. Scheduled meeting of foreign secretaries to resume dialogue was abruptly and haughtily cancelled on the plea that Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi had hurt the sensitivities of Indians by meeting a Hurriyat leader. Highlighting unresolved Kashmir issue in the UN by Nawaz irked Modi. Soon after, temperature along the LoC was heated up, which still persists. For the first time, Working Boundary in Sialkot Sector has been brashly brought under intense fire causing lot of human casualties and damage to property and forcing locals to shift to safer places.
Like most high profile terror attacks in Pakistan, RAW was certainly behind suicide attack on Wagah check post in November 2014 where spectators were the target. Gruesome attack on Army Public School in Peshawar was again the doing of RAW since runaway Fazlullah and Wali Muhammad (alias Omar Khalid Khurasani) take dictation from RAW and Afghan Intelligence. Mobile phone conversation between the seven-member kill-team and mastermind in Kunar who was connected with Indian Embassy in Kabul was intercepted by ISI and the whole script was taken along by Gen Raheel Sharif and DG ISI and presented to authorities in Kabul as a solid proof of RAW-Fazlullah nexus.
16th December was chosen with a purpose since it had great significance for India. 43 years ago, India had brutally sliced Pakistan into two. Apart from martyring 34 teenagers and injuring 125, two lady teachers were burnt to death in front of the students by the terrorists. Resort to burning of women is handiwork of Hindus who worship fire, resort to Satti, carryout marriage ritual around fire, feel no hesitation in throwing children into fire.
Firing upon two Punjab Rangers soldiers after inviting them for a flag meeting and then trying to carry away the injured who later succumbed to injuries was a calculated scheme to prepare a case that Pak security forces were involved in cross border terrorism in Kashmir. A Pakistani fishing boat in high seas was dubbed as a terror boat. Indian xenophobia was timed with Operation Zarb-e-Azb, and it was not difficult to decipher that Pak Army’s success in uprooting the last bastion of TTP in North Waziristan (NW) is not to the liking of India and she seems desperate to disrupt the progress of military operation and discredit Pak Army.
India refuses to get out of Mumbai drama and insists that it had been planned by terrorists in Pakistan and wants them to be punished. This is in spite of the fact that India has been unable to produce evidence to corroborate her allegations and also the hard fact that senior officials of Manmohan regime had revealed that it was an in-house false flag operation. Bhagwan worshipping and Marhatti speaking Ajmal Kasab was quietly hanged inside the prison courtyard without anyone else meeting him. Indian Court sentenced him to death without conclusive evidence merely to cool down the tempers of Hindus. Same excuse was given after hanging Kashmiri Afzal Guru, falsely implicated in attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001.
Extraordinary success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in dismantling RAW trained TTP terrorist network in NW-Tirah/Bara as well as Haqqani and Hafiz Gul Bahadur networks, planned return of IDPs to NW next month, lifting of moratorium on hanging and commencement of hangings of convicts, establishment of military courts to carryout speedy trials of terrorists, Pakistani nation backing the Army to defeat and root out terrorism, withdrawal of ISAF from Afghanistan without achieving any objective and leaving behind a huge mess, changed perceptions of Ashraf Ghani led regime in Kabul towards Pakistan and growing Pak-Afghan military/intelligence cooperation to jointly tackle terrorism, emergent trust of the US in Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, growth of Pak-China strategic cooperation in building economic corridor/Gawadar and battling energy crisis, China, duly encouraged by USA, playing a pro-active role in Afghanistan, Pakistan helping China’s Envoy to meet Afghan Taliban delegation in Peshawar and then facilitating a meeting in Beijing, Pak-Russia defence deal and latter’s decision to sell combat helicopters to Pakistan, and last but not least sudden demise of sit-ins are some of the recent developments which are repugnant for India.
Ongoing escalation of tension along the LoC and working boundary in Sialkot sector, sudden rise of terror activities in Balochistan (three in this month so far) and false flag operations are frantic attempts by baffled India to distract the attention of Pakistan government and Army towards eastern border. All her efforts to snare Pakistan seems to be failing and it looks like that India is falling into the pit she had dug for Pakistan.
Song of terrorism directed against Pakistan which was continuously sung in chorus by Indo-US-Afghan grouping for many years thrilled India the most. So was the ‘do more’ mantra. Modi wants to reinvent the song of Pak-bashing. Continuation of war on terror suits India the most since she can strike any sensitive target through TTP militants and also keep one-thirds of Pak Army embroiled in guerrilla war. Modi’s team was assiduously working to cook up a drama that could bring tears in the eyes of Obama during his forthcoming visit to India. India had succeeded in making Bill Clinton tearful in March 2000 on an engineered Chittisinghpura massacre in occupied Kashmir and Obama was made grief-stricken on his last visit to India in November 2010 over the concocted Mumbai drama.
However, to the utter frustration of India, her strategic partners USA and Afghanistan are no more interested in playing the Indian dirty game against Pakistan because of their compulsions. John Kerry on his recent visit to Delhi confronted Indian leadership with concrete evidence of RAW-Fazlullah connection and asked Modi to tame Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval who had audaciously confessed using TTP terrorists to destabilize Pakistan from Afghan soil. The evidence which Kerry carried had been provided to the US by Gen Raheel on his last visit to Washington.
Gen Raheel had been forthright in reminding the US Generals and policy makers that having carried out across the board operation in NW, it was now the turn of the US to reciprocate by ‘doing more’ and showing results. He reminded them of the presence of Baloch rebel leaders based in Washington promoting separatism in Balochistan. He stopped saying that otherwise he will be compelled to say that “either the US is complicit or is inefficient’. Kerry is not the first American official to reveal India’s clandestine operations against Pakistan. Earlier on, Gen McChrystal and Chuck Hegel had also accused India of exporting terrorism to Pakistan.
Operation in Kunar by ANA against Fazlullah group and declaration of Fazlullah as a global terrorist by the US are other bombshells fallen on India. Yet another upsetting development is Gen Raheel’s meetings with top British civil/military leaders in London and he pressing them to stop foreign paid fugitives Harbyar Marri and Sulaiman Khan from fuelling terrorism in Balochistan and also help in reining in Brahamdagh Bugti in Geneva. They were also reminded of the UK based Hizbul Tahrir linked with al-Qaeda and Da’esh, which has its tentacles in Pakistan as well.
Mercifully, baleful activities of India have not deterred Pakistan from its course of defeating terrorism. It has given a befitting reply to India’s aggressive posturing in Kashmir and has pooh-poohed her usual black mailing/coercive tactics. It is however, very important to fully expose the ugly face of India and to make all out efforts to get her subversive activities from Afghan soil closed. In this regard, efforts made by Gen Raheel and Lt Gen Rizwan should be followed up aggressively at the foreign office, diplomatic and media levels as well. The world community must be asked to hold India accountable for playing a lead role in fomenting terrorism in the region, killing well over 50,000 and injuring 200,000 Pakistanis, wanton destruction of property and strategic assets like PC-3 Orion and AWACs and made to pay the price for inflicting tens of thousands cuts on the body of Pakistan. It is high time to declare RAW a rogue outfit and to collar it.
The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Executive Director Measac Research Centre, Member Board of Directors TFP. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Munir Akram, former Pakistan ambassador to the UN |
IN an opinion piece last year, Henry Kissinger observed that over the next couple of decades a nuclear war was likely to take place between India and Pakistan. The nuclear factor was in play in four major and one minor India-Pakistan crises: in 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2002.In 1987, when an Indian army chief launched the Brasstacks military exercises along Pakistan’s exposed desert borders, Pakistan responded by deploying its forces in the north where India was vulnerable. Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s agreement to a mutual stand-down no doubt also took into account the informal threat from Islamabad to bomb India’s nuclear reactors in case Pakistan was attacked. (After the crisis ended, the Pakistan-India agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear facilities was jointly formulated in one day.)In January 1990, when the anti-Indian insurgency erupted in Kashmir and India threatened Pakistan, a conflict was forestalled by US intervention. The US acted when it learnt that Pakistan had begun to arm its nuclear-capable aircraft.
The operation of mutual deterrence between India and Pakistan is being eroded.
During the night of 26-27 May 1998 — the night before Pakistan conducted its nuclear explosions in response to India’s tests — Pakistani radar detected unidentified aircraft flying towards its territory. Islamabad issued warnings of instant retaliation to India and relayed these to the US and Israel. This may have been a false alarm; but it illustrates the danger of accidental conflict in the absence of real-time communications.During the 1999 Kargil war, the nuclear dimension was implicit, given that the crisis occurred a year after the India-Pakistan nuclear tests.During the 2002 general mobilisation by India and Pakistan, the director general of the Pakistan Armed Forces Special Plans Division enunciated its nuclear ‘doctrine’ in a news interview. The ‘doctrine’ envisaged that Pakistan would use nuclear weapons if: it was being militarily overwhelmed; its nuclear or strategic weapons or facilities were attacked; and it was subjected to an enemy blockade.The projection of this doctrine, including at a UN news conference by this writer in July 2002, sparked a fall in the Indian Stock Exchange, the evacuation of foreign personnel and embassy families from New Delhi and a demarche by Indian business leaders to prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, and reportedly led to the Indian agreement for a mutual drawback of forces.The operation of mutual deterrence displayed in 2002, however, is being eroded by several developments.One, the conventional military balance is becoming progressively unfavourable to Pakistan. India is engaged in a major arms build-up. It is the world’s largest arms importer today. It is deploying advanced and offensive land, air and sea weapons systems. Pakistan’s conventional capabilities may not prove sufficient to deter or halt an Indian attack.Two, India has adopted the Cold Start doctrine envisaging a rapid strike against Pakistan. This would prevent Pakistan from mobilising its conventional defence and thus lower the threshold at which Pakistan may have to rely on nuclear deterrence.Three, Pakistan has had to deploy over 150,000 troops on the western border due to its involvement in the cross-border counterterrorism campaign in Afghanistan, reducing its conventional defence capacity against India.Four, the acquisition of foreign nuclear plants and fuel, made possible by the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, will enable India to enlarge its nuclear weapons stockpile significantly. To maintain nuclear balance, Pakistan has accelerated production of fissile materials. Both nuclear arsenals are now large and growing.Five, given its growing conventional disadvantage, and India’s pre-emptive war fighting doctrine, Pakistan has been obliged to deploy a larger number of nuclear-capable missiles, including so-called ‘theatre’ or tactical nuclear-capable missiles. The nuclear ‘threshold’ is now much lower.Six, the Kashmir dispute — once described by former US president Bill Clinton as a nuclear flashpoint — continues to fester. Another insurgency is likely to erupt, certainly if the Bharatiya Janata Party government goes ahead with its platform promise to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution (which accords special status to Jammu & Kashmir). A renewed Kashmiri insurgency will evoke Indian accusations against Pakistan and unleash another Indo-Pakistan crisis.Seven, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has obviously decided to adopt an aggressive posture towards Pakistan, no doubt to appeal to his hard-line Hindu constituency. The recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control are an ominous indication of such belligerency.Eight, India is reportedly involved in supporting the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and the Baloch Liberation Army to destabilise Pakistan internally.Nine, India has terminated the ‘composite dialogue’ with Pakistan. Its precondition for talks — an “absence of violence” — is impossible for Pakistan to meet.Ten, the US and other major powers evince little interest in addressing the combustible mix of live disputes, terrorist threats, conventional arms imbalance and nuclear weapons in South Asia.During the parallel dialogue initiated by the US with Pakistan and India following their 1998 nuclear explosions, Pakistan proposed a ‘strategic restraint regime’ with India which would include mechanisms to resolve disputes, including Kashmir; preserve a conventional arms balance and promote mutual nuclear and missile restraint.India rejected the concept of a mutual restraint regime.The US at first agreed to consider Pakistan’s proposal. However, as their talks with India transitioned from restricting India’s nuclear programme to building a “strategic partnership” (against China), the Americans de-hyphenated policy towards Pakistan and India, opened the doors to building India’s conventional and nuclear capabilities and disavowed any interest in the Kashmir dispute. Currently, Indian belligerence is bolstered by US pressure on Pakistan to halt fissile material production and reverse the deployment of theatre nuclear-capable missiles.If a South Asian Armageddon is to be prevented, it is essential to build a structure of stable deterrence between India and Pakistan and find ways to deal with Kashmir and other outstanding disputes. Reviving consideration of a strategic restraint regime would be a good place to start.The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.