Tension in Nuclear Powers of South Asia

By Zaheerul Hassannuke

On 16 January 2012, Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan and India established contact with each other on hotline and decided to tone down the tension between the deployed troops on Line of Communication (LoC). Meanwhile Hina Rabbani Kher, Foreign Minister of Pakistan has also spoken to her Indian counterpart to play his positive role for reduction of tension on Kashmir front. There have been three deliberate violations by Indian troops within the five days, which has given a waft to the ceasefire of 2003 along the 740 Km LoC.

In fact, concerning aspect of increasing hostility is that, if not tamed then it might lead to global disaster since both the states are holding more than 100 nuclear arsenals each. Moreover, they have also fought four major and minor wars. Similar kind of concern has also been shown by the world community and super powers. On 17 January U.S. foreign office and its ambassador at Islamabad also emphasised that India and Pakistan should avoid border confrontation and resolve the issues bilaterally. Now question arises that whether the establishment of peace between India and Pakistan will be possible without resolving the real bone of contention i.e. “Kashmir”.

Past history reveals that New Delhi has been stressing to strengthen the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) with Islamabad to normalise the relations between two capitals, but she always shown reluctance in discussing the  Kashmir and water problems  as major issues  between two capitals. She has never given any positive signal of taking a step forward for settling the Kashmir conflict rather preferred to put it aside on the name of continuation of peace process. .

Anyhow, the recent tension escalated when Indian soldiers crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on January 6, this year and attacked a Pakistani check post in Haji Pir setor, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. Besides, Indian troops shot dead another Pakistani soldier at Hotspring on the LoC on January 10.

On 16 January, Indian troops again resorted to cease fire violation and carried out unprovoked firing last evening at Line of Control in Hot Spring and Jandrot sectors from 2200 to 2300 Hours. Resultantly Naik Ashraf embraced Shahadat at Kundi Post. It may be mentioned that Naik Ashraf is survived by a wife and three daughters. He was the fifth soldier reported killed in Kashmir in recent weeks but politicians on both sides have said the skirmishes should not derail a bilateral peace process.   In this respect, the Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the Indian High Commissioner and lodged a “strong protest on the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian army.” The Pakistani foreign secretary reiterated the offer to hold an independent inquiry through the UN Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). However, India has rejected Pakistani offer of independent investigation through third party. Her Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne stated on January 12 in threatening tone that India will be forced to consider other options, if ceasefire violations continue from the Pakistan side across the LoC.

In the same context, on January 14, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh threatened to hit back  Pakistan for the alleged killing of two soldiers in fighting near the border of the disputed region of Kashmir, saying he had asked his commanders there to be aggressive in the face of provocation.

On the same day, senior leader Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rajnath Singh asked the Manmohan Singh-led government to stop all dialogue and CBMs with Pakistan due to the brutal beheadings of Indian soldiers and recall its High Commissioner in Islamabad in wake of entire nation being angry over the alleged ceasefire violations.  Moreover, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also demonstrated unjustified annoyance towards Pakistan at different forums while discussing the ongoing violations at LoC.

It is also added here that as anger in India continues to rise, Pakistani singers have canceled concerts in Delhi and Mumbai, Pakistani field hockey players scheduled to participate in a private league have been sent back to the country and a question mark looms over the participation of the Pakistani women’s cricket team in a tournament in India later this month. Delhi has also postponed implementation of the decision of easing the visa restrictions on elderly citizens.

While in order to justify its open belligerence; India concocted a story of accusing Pakistan of killing and beheading its two soldiers. In this regard the Former President and General retired Pervez Mushrraf while giving an interview to Indian channel rejected Indian allegations and  categorically said that Pakistani Army cannot carry out such a ruthless act of brutality since the army is a disciplined force and cannot act like an African Army. He also stressed that Indian media is in the habit of crafting  groundless stories against Pakistan He very rightly said that Pakistan has the capability to give prompt and timely response against any  sort of aggressions.

Pakistan’s civil and army spokesmen have too denied Indian baseless allegations. In short, Indian top officials, the opposition party and media have repeatedly been launching a blame game to distort the image of Pak Army and Pakistan.  In the meantime, while referring to the recent breakthroughs in bilateral ties Hina Rabbani Khar has pointed out in wake of Indian propaganda that she did not see the recent violations of the LoC ceasefire derailing or setting back the peace process with India, explaining that the government and people of Pakistan were committed to normalising relations with India including steps to normalise trade relations and a new visa agreement.

Whereas, India’s reaction remained only to make noises with the assistance of its media to foment poisonous propaganda so as to show to the world that Pak Army is involved in violations along the disputed border of Kashmir, and Pakistan intends to derail the CBMs.

Regrettably, our media anchors are so engaged in manipulating other controversial issues that the incident of indiscriminate firing on Pakistani soldiers at LoC could hardly get any coverage on our media. Countries media commentators have totally failed in countering Indian propaganda campaign in this respect.

In fact, Indian setting aside of peaceful negotiations under the title of composite dialogues clearly indicate that Delhi is not serious in settling down the issues like spreading of terrorism in Balochistan, Siachen, Wullar Barrage, water , Kashmir and Sir Creek. Notably, the said issues were touched upon in length between India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khar on September 2012. Sir Creek which sits in the Rann of Kutch marshlands is the 96 km narrow piece of water between India’s Gujarat state and Pakistan’s Sindh province is sovereign part of Pakistan’s territory.

The current Indian unprovoked firing on LoC should also be seen in the light of her covert design against Pakistan. It would not be wrong in saying that India has accelerated covert war because adverse security environment in the region.  She is exploiting and fueling the foreign sponsored militancy in Balochistan, Karachi and other parts of Pakistan.

Concluding, I would say that India has adopted an inflexible and dubious approach in resolving the issues with the regional and neighbouting countries. Now it is the time that Pakistan should ask India to resolve the issue of Kashmir on priority. In this context, world community and the global powers should realise that Kashmir is a flash point and real bone of contentions between two countries. Not resolving of Kashmir issue can triggered anytime and lead us to another global nuclear war. Thus the issue of Kashmir be settled through negotiation and mediation immediately so that tension between two South Asian countries be diminished permanently.

The writer can be approached through zameer36@gmail.com

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