After LoC misadventures, Pak realises some home truths

A few weeks after the intense conflict across the Line of Control and the International Border in Kashmir, there are some feeble yet definite indications that Pakistan is starting to recognise a few home truths.

First, that India’s policy paradigm on Pakistan has undergone irreversible change since the change of government in Delhi. Second, its efforts to invite international mediation have found no takers – not even in China. Third, that Pakistan will always come out second best in any military conflict with India. And fourth, that its economic and internal situation will not permit or indefinitely sustain the two decade old policy of engaging India in a hitherto low cost war through terrorism. What then, can Pakistan be expected to do?

War is obviously not a viable option in the foreseeable future. Pakistan is too weak and too embroiled in internal strife to wage war, with any hope of success. It is unlikely that China will actively collude in any misadventure by its ally of convenience. It also appears that the US has seen through the cunning duplicity of Pakistan and is therefore unlikely to bail it out from any adverse military situation vis-a-vis India. Pakistan has shown its desperation by obliquely using the nuclear weapons card. But surely, it would be not so foolish as to seriously contemplate nuclear conflict with India. It would know that such folly will surely be followed by a massive nuclear response by India, capable of wiping Pakistan out of existence.

Yet, Kashmir is the glue that holds Pakistan together. If there is no Kashmir issue, there is no rationale for the creation and continued existence of Pakistan as a nation state. Pakistan is not likely to give up.  It is therefore to be expected that Pakistan will continue the Kashmir rant if only to keep its flock together.

The only option left to Pakistan is the terror card. Pakistani military and ISI have, over the years, created a strategic asset within J&K itself in the form of All Party Hurriyat Conference and its allies among separatists and terrorists. All Hurriyat factions appear more than willing to extend the lease deed between themselves and their masters in Pakistan.

Across the border in Pakistan there are the likes of Hafiz Saeed, Haqqani brothers, Dawood Ibrahim, and Mulla Omar, nurtured and retained by ISI, for exactly this purpose. The largely India centric LTTE and Hizbul Mujahideen are in the vanguard of Pakistan’s Army of terror. Al Qaeda with its plans to set up a chapter in India and more recently, the mother of all terrorists - the IS - are attracting recruits in India.

Pakistan is certainly in a position to use these assets, to keep the ambers of insurgency glowing in Kashmir and engineering terrorist strikes elsewhere. It will continue to fret, foam and rant about Kashmir while waiting for an opportunity to up the ante and it will depend on the Hurriyat and its friends, to create such an opportunity. Hurriyat’s claim to represent the Kashmiri people has so far been endorsed explicitly only by Pakistan. Majority of common folk in Kashmir who come out to shout anti India slogans, show Pakistani and IS flags or pelt stones do so under duress.

Unfortunately these elements have received much oxygen from Indian polity itself who, for almost a decade now, have given legitimacy to these otherwise illegitimate and irrelevant forces by engaging them in official and Track II dialogues. Political parties in Kashmir have failed to openly confront and contain them. Our own shortsighted politicians have created room for the birth and continued resurrection of SIMI and Indian Mujahideen. International groups in West Bengal and Assam are utilising the prevailing political chaos to set themselves up for coordinated action in the future. Pakistan sponsored terror is thus a potent weapon.

The only bulwark against terrorism and separatism in Kashmir is the Indian Army which has by and large succeeded in taming and containing the mischief mongers. Hizbul Mujahideen and sundry terrorist groups are slowly fading away. A record number of tourists have been visiting Kashmir during recent years and relief materials continue to pour in from across India.

Afspa withdrawal
 Anti-military propaganda and demand for withdrawal of Afspa are the only major weapons in the armoury of the separatists. While not denying stray incidents of military excess, it is sheer propaganda designed to fan anti military and anti India sentiment. The fact that Islamic militant organisations have killed thousands of Kashmiri Muslims and raped or abducted hundreds of Muslim women is not lost on the common Kashmiri. The misguided youth of Kashmir are willing to accept truth if only they have avenues of employment to absorb their energies.

Fortunately, recent floods in the valley, unfortunate and devastating as these were, have exposed people of Kashmir to selfless and valiant work done by the Indian military in bringing succour to the marooned while the local politicians and rabble rousers have been exposed for what they really are – parasites feeding on the innocent Kashmiri.

Coupled with prompt aid and compassion extended by the new government in Delhi, a situation has come about where the common Kashmiri is no longer inclined to blindly follow anti-military and anti-India propaganda of the Hurriyat.

The government of India and the Indian Army must strongly exploit this opportunity to tame the Hurriyat and determinedly eliminate the terrorists while letting Pakistan know that they will have to pay heavily for any mischief from across the borders.

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