Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Balakot and Kashmir:

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16".  These claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Western Narrative:

The widely accepted western narrative about India and Pakistan goes like this: "India is rapidly rising while Pakistan is collapsing". In a 2015 report from South Asia, Roger Cohen of New York Times summed it up as follows: "India is a democracy and a great power rising. Pakistan is a Muslim homeland that lost half its territory in 1971, bounced back and forth between military and nominally democratic rule, never quite clear of annihilation angst despite its nuclear weapons".

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist

India: A Paper Elephant?

In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Ineffective Indian Military:

Academics who have studied Indian military have found that it is ineffective by design. In "Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence",  the author Steven I. Wilkinson, Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale, has argued that the civil-military constraints that have helped prevent a coup have hurt Indian military effectiveness and preparedness in at least three important ways:

(1) the weakening of the army before the 1962 China war;

(2) the problems caused for defense coordination and preparation by unwieldy defense bureaucracy, duplication of functions among different branches and lack of sharing of information across branches and

(3) the general downgrading of pay and perks since independence which has left the army with huge shortage of officers that affected the force's discipline capabilities.

Summary:

India's international perception as a "great power rising" has suffered a serious setback as a result of its recent military failures against Pakistan which spends only a sixth of India's military budget and ranks 17th in the world, far below India ranking 4th by globalfirepower.com.  "Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Here's a discussion on the subject:

https://youtu.be/tEWf-6cT0PM




Here's Indian Prime Minister Modi making excuses for his military's failures:

https://youtu.be/QIt0EAAr3PU




Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#NYTimes editorial board: "As long as #India and #Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of #Kashmir, India’s only #Muslim-majority state — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences." #Balakot #PakistanStrikesBack https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/opinion/kashmir-india-pakistan-nuclear.html

The current focus on North Korea’s growing arsenal obscures the fact that the most likely trigger for a nuclear exchange could be the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Long among the world’s most antagonistic neighbors, the two nations clashed again last week before, fortunately, finding the good sense to de-escalate. The latest confrontation, the most serious between the two nations in more than a decade, gave way to more normal pursuits like trade at a border crossing and sporadic cross-border shelling.

But this relative calm is not a solution. As long as India and Pakistan refuse to deal with their core dispute — the future of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state — they face unpredictable, possibly terrifying, consequences.

The current crisis dates to Feb. 14, when a Kashmiri suicide bomber killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers in the deadliest attack in three decades in Kashmir, a region that Pakistan has claimed since partition in 1947. The militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad, which seeks independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan, took responsibility. While it is on America’s list of terrorist organizations and is formally banned in Pakistan, the group has been protected and armed by the Pakistani intelligence service.

Last week, India sent warplanes into Pakistan for the first time in five decades. Indian officials said they had struck the group’s “biggest training camp” and killed a “very large number” of militants, although those claims have been called into doubt. Pakistan counterattacked, leading to a dogfight in which at least one Indian jet was shot down and a pilot was captured by the Pakistanis.

The situation could have easily escalated, given that the two countries have fought three wars over 70 years, maintain a near constant state of military readiness along their border and have little formal government-to-government dialogue.

Adding to the volatility, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is waging a tough re-election campaign in which he has used anti-Pakistan talk to fuel Hindu nationalism.

With Pakistan’s army most likely shaken by the Indian raid and unwilling to slide into protracted conflict, Prime Minister Imran Khan returned the pilot to India, in what was seen as a good-will gesture, called for talks and promised an investigation into the bombing. Mr. Modi took the opportunity to back off further escalation.

The next confrontation might not end so calmly.
Riaz Haq said…
Alison Redford: For too long, #Pakistan’s actions have been unreasonably characterized as aggressive. #India’s tactics have been increasingly violent, leading to more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of #Kashmir. #Modi #Hindutva https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-this-not-the-same-old-india-pakistan-conflict/

First, in media reports, India refers to 40 years of terrorist attacks against India by Pakistan without equal mention of terror attacks perpetrated by India on Pakistani soil, as recently as three months ago in Karachi, or India’s support for independence insurgents operating in the Northwest of Pakistan over the past 10 years.

Second, although in the past there have been allegations that Jaish-e-Mohammed has been supported by Pakistan, the organization has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 and support for its operations and training activity was withdrawn. Yet, India continues to assert this position, without providing evidence to support it.

Third, it is against the fundamental principles of international law to launch a military attack on civilian targets, which can be considered an act of war. In those circumstances, one can argue that Pakistan had the right to defend itself and that its response was both measured and reasonable.

On the Kashmiri question, Pakistan has called for United Nations mediation, but India has refused, saying that it is an internal issue, while violently suppressing a growing, and younger, local insurgent movement. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticized India for using excessive force in 2017. More than 500 people, including 100 civilians, have been killed in 2018.

In recent months, India’s tactics have been increasingly violent, leading to more international criticism of its conduct and occupation of Kashmir, including most recently by British parliamentarians, and two resolutions at the OIC this past weekend condemning its violent actions in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also faces criticism domestically from Indian opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, for manipulating these events to bolster Mr. Modi’s political support in an election year.

There have been times when both countries have been accused of being involved in unwarranted actions against the other and the international community is quick to ignore the complicated dynamics in the region and rely on history. Instead, each incident should be assessed on its own merits to avoid dangerous rivalries from being perpetuated. With a real nuclear risk, we cannot afford to be complacent.
Riaz Haq said…
Ex #Indian Official's advice to #Modi:"Sub-conventional war with #Pakistan is the only option.The recent events, post-#Pulwamaattack, have amply demonstrated the limited utility of launching a conventional war with Pakistan." #BalakotAirStrike #Kashmir https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/sub-conventional-war-with-pakistan-is-the-only-option/

Covert operations by an intelligence agency are unlike the acts of terror groups, i.e., acts of mindless violence meant to terrorise the peopleand render the governments helpless against such asymmetrical acts of warfare. They are designed to create and promote disaffection against the governments and generally play up the existing fault lines and have long term devastating effects.

First and foremost, we should revive our support to the groups in Baluchistan fighting for their independence. Secondly, we should extendsupport to the Shia minority groups in Gilgit- Baltistan that have been ruthlessly suppressed by the Pakistan Army for the last 4 decades. Significantly Prime Minister Modi made a dramatic reference to their long-standing struggles in his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 2016 and much hope was raised in both quarters. That however proved to be illusory as there was no follow up action.

Thirdly, we should support other disaffected groups such as the Mohajirs in Sindh, the Saraikinationalist movement in Punjab, and the non-Taliban Pakthuns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that have suffered untold misery in the hands of the majoritarian Punjabi army and the ISI who haveruthlessly murdered or caused disappearances of its leaders.

It is noteworthy that we don’t even have to waste time in creating well -trained and highly motivated terror groups or ‘fidayeens’. They are all there in Pakistan and in plenty. A cursory count indicates that there are over 65 terrorist organizations in Pakistan that have been banned from August 2001 to mid -2017 and are in diverse states of disarray and at least over 50 must be totally starved for funds. All we need is to pick up a handful of them, province wise and start funding. They will certainly work for anyone if the money is right and if channeled through the right sources, say a Saudi billionaire. Tehrik e- Taliban comes right on top of the list because of its excellent track record in targeting Pakistan’s military and air-force installations and security agencies including the ISI.

And surely, this entire effort will cost less than one Rafale aircraft and the damage it will do, could equal the efforts of a squadron.

Cyber operations

The most effective low–cost, high- impact tool of modern warfare is offensive cyber warfare and this is one area that needs immediate and utmost attention. The fact that a handful of computers in the hands of highly skilled hackers could cause untold havoc to the critical infrastructure of the target country is, by now well understood by our policy makers. Unfortunately, the existing set-up the NTRO created for this task is woefully inadequate for the challenges. It is therefore urgent that we involve the huge IT and IT enabled services of the private sector, on a selective basis, to outsource the jobs that the NTRO is unable to do.

In most countries in the West, not every security related job is done by government agencies but by private firms that have core competence in the required field. Outsourcing jobs to them after vetting their security clearances and embedding them with government agencies is the utmost need of the hour. Since we are already handing over defence contracts to private entrepreneurs, there should be no problem in involving them in Cyber operations, as long as the choice of targets, nature of attacks and the timing and location of it are cleared at the highest levels of government so that the responsibility for the impact and possible retaliation rests with them.
Riaz Haq said…
Praveen Sawhney: Little Cause to Cheer the Balakot Airstrike and its Aftermath

https://www.thekashmirmonitor.net/little-cause-to-cheer-the-balakot-airstrike-and-its-aftermath/


The Modi government might still win the war of perception within India, but India’s conventional deterrence has been compromised. Its war-fighting capabilities – pivoted on air power – have been blunted without a fight. This will have implications for the on-going proxy war by Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan maintained credibility of both its first combined civil-military government and its air power.

" It was evident that the operation was meant for publicity. A case in point, unsubstantiated media reports claimed that 300 to 350 Jaish terrorists in Balakot were eliminated by IAF strikes, a claim that has since been questioned by the international media, which was allowed by Pakistan to visit the target site. Subsequently, other media reports have emerged claiming that the IAF fighters did not actually cross the Line of Control. Instead, Balakot was attacked using stand-off weapons. Hence, deliberate confusion continues."

"Since the war was neither on, nor imminent, it would have taken any professional air force (PAF is no exception) minimum 10 minutes from detection to reaction and interception. Moreover, the PAF did not have its airborne early warning aircraft in the air (AWACS cannot stay more than 24 hours in air), and the time was such that observers manning the Ground Based Air Defence System (GBADS) could not have been vigilant (it is not possible to remain on high alert 24×7 in peacetime)."

" Pakistan was faced with the dilemma of how to avenge India’s unprecedented action: to use or not to use the PAF. It was decided that the PAF too would breach Indian airspace while calling it a non-military strike. Unlike the IAF, the PAF strike would be done with menacing force in broad daylight ensuring that Indian military installations close to the Line of Control were not damaged enough to compel India to raise the ante."


https://youtu.be/YX4qXrR34PI
Riaz Haq said…
Nadir in the valley: #India’s #Modi government is intensifying a failed strategy in #Kashmir. The conflict has claimed 50,000 lives since the 1980s. https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/03/09/indias-government-is-intensifying-a-failed-strategy-in-kashmir?frsc=dg%7Ce via @TheEconomist

Guns have slipped back into holsters and diplomats behind their desks; the Samjhauta or “Concord” Express has resumed its reassuring bi-weekly chug connecting Lahore Junction and Old Delhi Station. Relations between India and Pakistan are returning to the normal huffy disdain after a week of military brinkmanship. For the divided and disputed border region of Kashmir, there is relief. Yet in the Kashmir Valley, a fertile and densely populated part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, this comes tempered with weariness. For its 7m inhabitants, most of them Muslim, a return to normal means a large and growing pile of frustrations. Some, such as bad government services and a deepening shortage of jobs, are familiar to all Indians. Others are unique to the valley.

Pakistan views the valley’s Muslims as sundered citizens; its constitution prescribes what should happen not if, but “when”, Kashmiris vote to join Pakistan. And since independence in 1947, Pakistan has never ceased trying to hasten this moment by sending guerrillas over the border to stir up jihad—although this week it claimed to rounding up such militants. India, for its part, says that Kashmir was lucky to fall to a secular, democratic country at partition and not to its violent, narrow-minded neighbour. But Indian governments turn deaf the moment people in the valley speak of greater autonomy, let alone azadi (independence). Their efforts at counter-insurgency have been disturbingly bloody. The conflict has claimed 50,000 lives since the 1980s.
Riaz Haq said…
Are #India’s Think Tanks filled with retired armchair generals Cheered on by #Indian media, Promoting Conflict With #Pakistan ? #Modi #Hindutva - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-07/are-india-s-think-tanks-promoting-conflict-with-pakistan

Peace appears to have been given a chance in South Asia. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, striving to play the statesman, has not only released a captured Indian pilot but also detained several alleged Pakistani militants. Still, there’s good reason to worry that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi might once again ratchet up tensions against a nuclear-armed neighbor as he approaches the most crucial election of his political life.



Modi’s militant nationalism, loudly amplified by Indian television anchors, isn’t the only flammable element in a volatile situation. India’s burgeoning military-intellectual complex also deserves the world’s close and skeptical scrutiny.

One wing of this community consists of superannuated and clearly bored generals, titillating hyper-patriotic television anchors and themselves with visions of do-or-die wars and glorious victories. Their jingoism far exceeds the capacity of the Indian military, which, an internal report recently revealed, is encumbered with “vintage” equipment.

Perhaps more worrying, though, are the credentialed members of what a recent report by Brookings India identified as India’s “strategic community.” Though much more sober than the fire-breathing talking heads on cable TV, they seem equally attracted to the “temptation,” as U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower put it in his classic warning against the military-industrial complex, of “some spectacular and costly” military action.

Perched in privately funded think tanks, many of these connoisseurs of “surgical strikes” did not seem in the least shocked or disturbed that an Indian leader who has, as the Economist put it last week, “made a career of playing with fire” was now playing with Armageddon by launching airstrikes into Pakistan. Rather, they echoed the Hindu nationalist consensus that India was now finally dictating the terms of engagement with its rival — a triumphalism shattered the very next day when Pakistan raised its own threshold for conflict with India by striking within Indian territory and bringing down an Indian warplane.

Eisenhower’s fear in 1961 of vested interests acquiring “unwarranted influence” is freshly pertinent in today’s New Delhi. With hopes rising that India would soon be a superpower closely allied to the U.S., as well as a strategic counterweight to China, much Indian and foreign money has gone into creating a luxurious ecosystem for strategic experts and foreign-policy analysts.
Riaz Haq said…
Are #India’s Think Tanks filled with retired armchair generals Cheered on by #Indian media, Promoting Conflict With #Pakistan ? #Modi #Hindutva - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-07/are-india-s-think-tanks-promoting-conflict-with-pakistan

---------------

There’s ample reason to fear that such an often murkily funded and influential security establishment outside government won’t serve the cause of democracy and peace in the Indian subcontinent. In the U.S., a series of reports by the New York Times in 2016 alleged that on all kinds of issues, including military sales to foreign countries, think tanks were “pushing agendas important to corporate donors, at times blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists.” If intellectual dishonesty mars analysis in Washington, it can be expected to be more pervasive in New Delhi, where the line between paid service for corporate donors and research work is even fuzzier.

It may seem melodramatic to fear that a few well-connected intellectual racketeers might endanger democracy and social stability. But America under President Donald Trump confirms that Eisenhower was right to worry that an axis of government, corporations and intellectuals-on-hire might skew national priorities, or that, pathologically obsessed with an enemy, his country might degenerate into “a community of dreadful fear and hate.”

Already by 1984, George F. Kennan, arguably America’s finest diplomat, was lamenting that the “habit” of constantly preparing for “an imagined war” with the Soviet Union had “risen to the status of a vast addiction of American society.” This habit, Kennan presciently warned, “would be difficult to eradicate in the future,” long after the U.S.S.R. had disappeared.

In India, Hindu nationalist politicians and their sympathizers in the media have similarly turned an imagined punitive war on Pakistan into another vast addiction, and the military-intellectual complex increasingly aggravates this national habit. Focused on Islamabad’s backing for the militant insurgency in Kashmir, they’ve successfully externalized a problem that is primarily domestic: the Modi government’s resolve to suppress, rather than address, Kashmiri demands for democracy and civil liberties.

Ajai Shukla was one of the very few mainstream Indian writers on security issues to point out that “the wider story in a crisis with such potential devastation is that the Modi government has launched a nationwide anti-Muslim agenda that regards Muslims as unpatriotic, Pakistan as a cunning and implacable foe and Kashmiri separatists as its willing tools.” Thus, Shukla argues, Kashmiris protesting against Indian brutality have come to be widely seen as “Muslim traitors, rather than the manifestation of a political problem that has to be discussed and resolved, not militarily crushed.”

Zealously pushing a military solution to a political problem, India’s political, media and security establishment suffered a debacle last month. They ought to “learn,” as Eisenhower exhorted, “how to compose differences not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose” — above all in Kashmir, which is the key, now more than ever, to the health of civil society in both India and Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
#India, #Pakistan threatened to unleash #missiles at each other. #India threatened to fire at least six missiles at Pakistan, and Islamabad said it would respond with its own missile strikes “three times over”. #Balakot #Kashmir #Modi https://reut.rs/2HzpotM

The way in which tensions suddenly worsened and threatened to trigger a war between the nuclear-armed nations shows how the Kashmir region, which both claim and is at the core of their enmity, remains one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

The exchanges did not get beyond threats, and there was no suggestion that the missiles involved were anything more than conventional weapons, but they created consternation in official circles in Washington, Beijing and London.

Reuters has pieced together the events that led to the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, as well as the concerted diplomatic efforts to get both sides to back down.

The simmering dispute erupted into conflict late last month when Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight over Kashmir on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside.

In their first such clash since the last war between the two nations in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Hours later, videos of the bloodied Indian pilot, handcuffed and blindfolded, appeared on social media, identifying himself to Pakistani interrogators, deepening anger in New Delhi.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi facing a general election in April-May, the government was under pressure to respond.


That evening, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke over a secure line to the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Asim Munir, to tell him India was not going to back off its new campaign of “counter terrorism” even after the pilot’s capture, an Indian government source and a Western diplomat with knowledge of the conversations told Reuters in New Delhi.

Doval told Munir that India’s fight was with the militant groups that freely operated from Pakistani soil and it was prepared to escalate, said the government source.

A Pakistani government minister and a Western diplomat in Islamabad separately confirmed a specific Indian threat to use six missiles on targets inside Pakistan. They did not specify who delivered the threat or who received it, but the minister said Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies “were communicating with each other during the fight, and even now they are communicating with each other”.

Pakistan said it would counter any Indian missile attacks with many more launches of its own, the minister told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We said if you will fire one missile, we will fire three. Whatever India will do, we will respond three times to that,” the Pakistani minister said.

Doval’s office did not respond to a request for comment. India was not aware of any missile threat issued to Pakistan, a government official said in reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Pakistan’s military declined to comment and Munir could not be reached for comment. Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

---
U.S. security advisor Bolton was on the phone with Doval on the night of Feb 27 itself, and into the early hours of Feb 28, the second day of the Trump-Kim talks, in an attempt to defuse the situation, the Western diplomat in New Delhi and the Indian official said.

Later, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was also in Hanoi, also called both sides to seek a way out of the crisis.

“Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides,” State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a briefing in Washington on March 5.
Riaz Haq said…
#Islamabad should not anticipate #Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan to abate after #India's elections. To the contrary, any #BJP win will reinforce their conviction that aggression against #Pakistan and the #Kashmiris is a winning formula. #Balakot https://www.dawn.com/news/1470123

Any belief in India that its military adventurism has ‘worked’ could erode the stability of mutual deterrence which Pakistan’s military response of Feb 27 re-established. If New Delhi is convinced that Pakistan can be cowed by a combination of military and diplomatic pressure, it may feel emboldened in the next crisis to conduct military strikes at a ‘higher’ level.


Pakistan must, therefore, take steps to expose India’s falsehoods before, during, and after the military exchanges of Feb 26-28. It should advertise that India’s bombs destroyed trees and killed a crow. It must reveal to the world, including the people of India, how Pakistan could have destroyed Indian military targets but chose not to do so. It should point out that India’s captured pilot could have been humiliated and India could have had its nose rubbed in the dirt by requiring a minister or its air chief to come and retrieve him. Finally, it should be made clear that Pakistan’s actions against militant organisations are designed to implement its own National Action Plan, not in response to Indian or other external pressure.

Islamabad should not anticipate that Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan will abate after the Indian national elections. Apart from their ideological animus, if Modi and the Hindu alliance succeed in the forthcoming elections, it will reinforce their conviction that aggression against Pakistan and the Kashmiris is a winning formula.

Unfortunately, India’s aggressive posture is being actively encouraged by the US which is now firmly aligned with New Delhi in its global rivalry with China. Pakistan enjoys some leverage in the context of Afghanistan; but this does not seem to have prevented Washington’s one-sided pressure on Pakistan during and after India’s military incursion.

Yet, this does not imply that the Kashmir issue will fade away. Despite all odds — massive Indian oppression, over 100,000 killed, Pakistan’s frequent indifference — the Kashmiris have persisted in their struggle for freedom from Indian rule for over 70 years.

The current uprising in occupied Kashmir is led by the third generation of Kashmiris. It is entirely indigenous. It has continued for four years without external support and is likely to be sustained. Like Afghanistan, Kashmir is mountainous, and India is a large and fractured country where active insurgencies are under way in 119 districts (according to former prime minister Manmohan Singh) and can find succour from various internal sources.

The BJP’s plan to ‘resolve’ the Kashmir ‘problem’ is to colonise it and transform it into a Hindu-majority state. A first step in this plan would be to eliminate Jammu & Kashmir’s ‘special’ and autonomous status under the Indian constitution. If Modi and the BJP proceed with this plan, the Kashmiri resistance will obviously intensify. The Hindu fundamentalists may then be tempted to resort to the outright genocide of the Kashmiri Muslims.

As the blood flows, the Kashmiri diaspora, and sympathetic Pakistanis, will seek to join the freedom struggle, including from Pakistan’s territory. The Pakistan government will then face a binary choice: facilitate the freedom fighters or fight them as ‘terrorists’.

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