Indian General threatens “full force” against Pakistan
Dr Noor ul Haq
Recently India has created hype over the killing of five Indian soldiers falsely blaming Pakistan. In fact, the possible reasons for the killing of soldiers might be different: (1) the continuing insurgency in Indian held Kashmir (IHK), which is a disputed territory, and the insurgents might have killed the soldiers. (2) There are skirmishes between the Indian forces and the insurgents and on 18 August, four men were killed during protests by the Indian border police. (2) This may be the reaction to Indian execution of Muhammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmir leader. (3) It is also said that a soldier was involved with a girl in the nearby tribal village and they might have punished the soldiers. (4) Or it may be a clash with the smugglers. (5) In any case, the soldiers were killed 5/6 km inside occupied territory and Pakistan Army soldiers would be foolish to risk going so deep into enemy’s territory. (6) Already on 7 August Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony had given a statement in Indian Parliament that terrorists had killed the soldiers. Later, perhaps under pressure from opposition parties especially BJP, RSS and Shiv Sena, he changed his earlier statement and blamed Pakistan Army for the killing. Pakistan forcefully rejected any involvement.
A solid proof of Pakistan Army’s innocence is the fact that on 6 August, the First Information Report (FIR) No.113/2013 registered in Poonch Police Station by Indian Army’s 21 Bihar Regiment complained in writing that unidentified terrorists had killed five soldiers. These facts are a sufficient testimony to the fact that the Indian Army was making Pakistan Army an escape goat for their own lapse of security.
Not only the blame game, Indian forces are violating LoC intermittently since January 06 2013 when a Pakistan soldier was killed and another wounded near Haji Pir along Loc. Their firing is continuing almost on daily basis since 6 August, when in Pando Sector near Muzaffarabad two Pakistan soldiers (Naik Faisal Shahzad and Sepoy Azhar Abbas) were seriously injured in an unprovoked firing by Indian troops. On 21 August, Indians shelling near Skardu across LoC killed an Army officer Capt Sarfraz. Earlier, a mortar shell fired by the Indian army destroyed a house in Battal sector’s Donga Gambhir area, killing a young man and injuring his sister. On 22 August, two Pakistan Army soldiers (Sepoy Gul Wahab and Lance Naik Habibullah) were killed in Hot Spring sector and Rakhchakri sectors respectively of Rawlakot.
Recently, there were organized attack by members of the ruling Congress Party on Pakistan High Commission in Delhi; organized agitation in Amritsar against the Friendship Bus proceeding to Pakistan; and, in Ahmedabad, the hardliners in the opposition vandalized an art exhibition where paintings by Pakistani artists were displayed.
Both civil and military leadership in India is threatening Pakistan. On14 August, Pranab Mukherjee, President of India told Pakistan that their “patience has limits”. On 15 August, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the killing of Indian soldiers, allegedly by Pakistani troops, as a dastardly act. “For relations with Pakistan to improve, it is essential that they prevent the use of their territory and territory under their control for any anti-India activity …We will take all possible steps to prevent such incidents in the future,” Mr Singh said.
On August 18, a top Army Cdr. (General Officer Commanding Major-Gen. V.P. Singh) while responding to reporters in Rajouri in Indian held Kashmir, warned Pakistan that it was making a “serious mistake” by violating ceasefire and that a “befitting reply” would be given with “full force” at the time and place of its choice.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, unlike Indian warmongering, has said that let India violate ceasefire but Pakistan would not. Already, for the sake of peace process, Pakistan is not raising its voice against the Indian covert support to insurgents and terrorists in Pakistan, where the country has so far suffered over 4000 soldiers’ and 40,000 civilian casualties and there is no end to this war. Pakistan cannot afford a war with any neighbour, least of all with India, while it is fighting a war on terror, especially near its western border. If, however, the crisis in Kashmir persists, Pakistan would have no option but to move its forces from it’s western to eastern borders.
The reasons for Indian hostility and tough stance seems to be to (1) compel Pakistan to accepting its hegemonic policies; (2) accept Indian terms on various bilateral issues such as constructing unauthorized dams in IHK; (3) submit to Indian demand to give it passage to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s territory; (4) make Pakistan support Indians increasing presence in Afghanistan to encircle Pakistan; (5) defer a dialogue to solve the Kashmir issue; (6) deny Pakistan the space to talk about human rights violations in IHK; and (7) to gain votes in the upcoming provincial and general elections in India from hardliners and anti-Pakistan elements.
Provincial elections in five Indian states, i.e., Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Chattisgarh and Mizoram, are due within two months in October 2012. The general elections throughout India are due in April/May next year. If there may be favourable outcome for the ruling coalition in the coming provincial elections, Indian may advance the date of these elections.
As against Pakistan’s desire to hold peace talks and implement the ceasefire, which remained operative during 1999-2012, both the ruling Congress and the opposition parties in India are competing with each other in their anti-Pakistan activities. Under the circumstances, the efforts of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, to have friendly and cordial relations with India are being frustrated. It appears that Pakistan government may have to wait till after the Indian general elections to resume the peace process and initiate meaningful dialogue with India.