Indian Scheme of ‘Great Wall’ along LoC in Kashmir
With the technological advancement, new era of economic development has changed the world in a global village. Long-awaited agreement which was concluded between Iran and six world powers on November 24, this year has endorsed this fact that Tehran is more interested in the welfare of its people than to continue war of nerves with the US-led European countries on the issue of its nuclear programme.
Taking cognizance of the modern world trends, Pakistan signed a number of trade agreements with India, which allowed India exports of multiple items across the Wagah border. During the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to Pakistan on September 9, 2012, both the countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on cultural exchanges in addition to agreeing on new cross-Line of Control (LoC) Confidence Building Measures related to trade and travel. It was due to Islamabad’s positive efforts through Aman-Ki-Asha and back door diplomacy that it is sincere in building bridges of peace with New Delhi. In this regard, while addressing the recent International Literary Cultural Conference at Lahore, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to resolve all outstanding issues with India besides lifting the visa restrictions. In the recent past, Pakistani prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz who visited New Delhi held a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to defuse tension at the Line of LoC and to restore the peace process. While keeping pressure on Pakistan, Khurshid said that “the conditions of the dialogue cannot be met till there is peace and tranquility on the LoC.”
Unfortunately, India has failed to reciprocate with the same spirit to improve relations with Pakistan. Instead, it has always acted upon duplicity by raising false allegations against Pakistan, its army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for sponsoring terrorism inside India and especially in the Indian occupied Kashmir. In this respect, recently, tension arose between both the countries when Indian military conducted a series of unprovoked firings across the LoC, and international border killing a number of soldiers of Pak Army and innocent civilians in wake of war-like strategy which still continues. On January 6, 2013, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in Kashmir and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. Similarly, Indian troops also shot dead two Pakistani soldiers on January 10 and 15.
In order to justify its open aggression, India concocted a fabricated story of accusing Pakistan Army of killing its five soldiers on August 6, 2013. In this context, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Defence Minister AK Antony and the opposition fundamentalist party BJP including Indian media blamed Pakistan Army for killing its five soldiers.
It is mentionable that on September 29, 2013, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a meeting in the sidelines of the annual UN summit. Afterwards, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told reporters, “Both agreed that the precondition for forward movement in the relationship, which they both desire, is really an improvement of the situation on the Line of Control.” However, their dialogue ended with optimistic note, but in his speech in the General Assembly on September 28, Prime Minister Singh had allegedly said, “It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down.” Showing New Delhi’s contradictory approach, he also said that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India, and in this context there could never be a compromise.
Nevertheless, talking about the twin terrorist attacks in the Indian occupied Kashmir, which targeted a police station and a military camp, killing 14 personnel of army and police, Salman Khurshid wrecked the Nawaz-Manmohan talks when he blamed Pakistan’s ISI and the army in this context.
While, Indian military high command failed in producing dead bodies of alleged terrorists who had crossed the LoC from Pakistan to Indian-held Kashmir. The ground realities proved that it was just propaganda against ISI, and Pak Army, as indicated by the Indian media, Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi and leaders of the Hindu fundamentalist party, BJP.
On the one hand, Indian top officials have been accusing Pak Army and ISI of sponsoring terrorism in India and the Indian-held Kashmir, on the other, India’s media revealed in September, this year that on a defence ministry directive, asking for the creation of covert capability—the military intelligence unit, Technical Services Division (TSD) was set up by the Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh (R), which conducted covert operations in Pakistan. Besides, in an Indian TV Channel, Gen. VK Singh openly confessed that TSD was raised by India to operate inside Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan and Azad Kashmir to conduct terrorism and to bribe the politicians in the Indian-held Kashmir to crush the militancy (Kashmiri freedom fighters).
In fact, under the pretext of cross-border terrorism, New Delhi not only suspended the peace process of dialogue with Pakistan, but also decided to implement its scheme of erecting a Great Wall along the LoC in Kashmir. A recent report published in the Economic Times disclosed that Indian authorities are planning to construct a 10-meter high embankment along 198-km stretch of international border which separates Indian held Kashmir from Pakistan. The security wall will be higher and wider than both the Berlin Wall and serpentine barrier being created by Israel. It will be 135-feet wide and will pass through 118 villages of Districts Jammu, Kathua and Samba.
Reportedly, initial work on the wall has begun and revenue papers for designated land in 86 villages have been processed to get NOC from the state government. A joint land demarcation in 44 villages is likely to start soon. Although the total cost estimation has not been made public, yet it has been decided that Indian Home Ministry will fund the project, while it will be handled by Border Security Force (BSF).
Nonetheless, besides new pretension of the LoC violations, in the past too, New Delhi availed various crises to suspend the process of Pak-India talks. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, India postponed the dialogue process. Again, in 2008, India suspended the ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW.
In the recent past, the Indian former officer of home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai and assault on the Indian Parliament were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism legislation, particularly in the Indian occupied Kashmir.
While, Indian top officials have always accused Pakistan of various subversive acts of terrorists, but it is quite silent over Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) terror which has obtained a new face, as Indian RAW, country’s high officials and fundamentalist parties have co-relationship.
Particularly, in January 2013, Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde revealed that organized training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP were promoting Hindu Terrorism, and were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and Malegaon blasts. He also disclosed that these parties were involved many times in Hindu Muslim violence in India, especially Gujarat and Babri Masjid incident. It is noteworthy that Indian Hindus are followers of Chanakya (Say some thing else and do some thing else). This fact has been verified by the misdeeds of Hindu fundamentalist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sina and Bajrang Dal which have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India even under the Congress rule. With the support of Indian officials and RAW agents, these parties have been launching anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed coupled with the dissemination of Hindutva.
Notably, although the purpose of the Great Wall is to deter cross-border intrusions into the Indian controlled Kashmir by Pakistan, yet New Delhi intends to conceal its own state terrorism in Kashmir, and seems determined to keep its illegitimate control on that region. While, with the help of Israel, India has already built 12-feet high twin fences along the LoC, running parallel to each other with an eight-foot gap in the middle-filled with coils of razor-sharp concertina wire. India has also installed special instruments like thermal imagers and sensors to make the fence impregnable. In this context, the construction of the Great Wall will symbolize the by-gone days of the Cold War. Such a decision not only runs against the demands of time, but also uncovers real face of New Delhi-indicating Indian deep seated animosity and hatred against Pakistan. India must know that Kashmir is a disputed territory and it would be illegitimate to erect such a Great Wall which would also further stretch distance between the people of Kashmir, living both sides of the LoC which divides Azad Kashmir and Indian occupied Kashmir. This scheme will also be rejected by the Kashmiri people, as they desperately desire to have closer contacts with their Kashmiri brethren across the LoC.
Regrettably, Indian war-like diplomacy, followed by another move like the scheme of Great Wall will further escalate tension between New Delhi and Islamabad. It is likely to take them away from the peace process by creating obstacles in the practical solution to their bilateral issues, particularly of Kashmir. This plan could further intensify arms race between both the neighboring nuclear countries, ultimately resulting into regional instability, turning hope for peace and prosperity into state of distress.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org