Take steps to heal ties

Take steps to heal ties

India has begun briefing foreign diplomats about Pakistan’s role in the foiled Nagrota attack

Voters wait in queues to cast their votes for the first phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections at Rayilgund area of Gund in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir. Credit: PTI Photo

India’s security forces have done well to avert a major terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack, which was said to have been masterminded by Abdul Rauf Asgar, brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, was reportedly aimed at disrupting the district development council elections in Kashmir. To this end, the terror group dispatched four operatives from Pakistan into India. However, their mission was unsuccessful, as security forces intercepted the truck they were travelling in, at a checkpoint in Nagrota. All four were killed in the exchange of fire that followed. Indian intelligence agencies have found strong evidence pointing to an ISI hand. Not only are the weapons and other materials found in the truck and on the body of the four terrorists were made in Pakistan but also complex logistics were involved in sending them across the border into India. This would not have been possible without the support of the Pakistani state.  The terrorists used a 200-metre-long tunnel under the International Border at Samba to enter India. Digging the tunnel required engineering equipment and infiltrating a heavily fortified border would not have been possible without the support of the Pakistani military.

In addition to summoning the Pakistani charge d’affaires in New Delhi to protest the Jaish attack, India has begun briefing foreign diplomats about Pakistan’s role in the foiled Nagrota attack. It has provided them with evidence and information pointing to Islamabad’s continuing aiding and abetting of anti-India terrorism. Securing the support of the international community on the issue of Pakistan’s sponsoring of terrorism and getting it to isolate Pakistan has been an important part of India’s counter-terrorism strategy. This has served to some extent to mobilising support of governments for blacklisting of Pakistani terrorists and Pakistan-backed groups.

However, drawing foreign governments to deal with Pakistan will lay India open to the possibility of these countries offering India help in resolving Kashmir. As a large, sovereign and democratic country, India is fully capable of addressing its problems. Ultimately, New Delhi has to beef up its own defences: strengthen its intelligence gathering and improve border management to prevent terrorists from infiltrating. Pakistani terrorists entering India need local guides and transporters to help them execute their plans. They would not find such support if locals were not as angry and alienated from the Indian state as they are today.  New Delhi must act to heal the relationship with Kashmiris and address their grievances. Once that is done, Pakistan’s attempts to fish in troubled waters would not be successful.