Unfortunate killing of hapless Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, seamless riot-running by Pakistan sponsored anti-nationals exemplifies revivification of Pakistan’s military. The latest turn of events not withstanding India’s efforts to isolate and calling Pakistan’s bluff, stems from the unabashed support extended by China which repeatedly stalled India’s attempts to castigate terror outfits nurtured by Pakistan. Last fortnight, US administration, hours before Modi’s meeting with President Trump, designated Syed Salahuddin as a “global terrorist”. A day after the release of Joint statement where India and the US have “committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), LeT, D-Company” China backed Pakistan. Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kang in a press meeting said, “China thinks that the international cooperation against terrorism should be enhanced and stepped up. The international community should give full recognition and affirmation to Pakistan’s efforts in this regard”. He added, “We have to say that Pakistan stands at the frontlines of the international counter terrorism fight and has been making efforts in this regard”. Unequivocal support from all-weather friend has emboldened Pakistan beyond any measure. Moreover, with the civilian government headed by Nawaz Sharif, becoming increasingly irrelevant and muddied by the Panama Gate, military is now unchallenged authority handling all the fronts of administration.
This year, unwarranted cross-border firing and ceaseless infiltration bids across LoC have been exceptionally high which began even before winter retreated in the higher ranges. As of June 2017, India security forces have foiled 22 infiltration bids and 34 armed intruders. Barring border escalations in May, when Indian Army’s promise of retributions after the Pakistan Border Action Team (BAT), comprising of Pakistani soldiers and militants mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers, during ceasefire violation, Indian forces reined on Pakistan’s nefarious attacks. But smitten by humiliating debacle at The Hague in the Kulbhushan Jadav case, Pakistan has been egging to attack India. But ground was slipping under India’s feet as Pakistan began manipulating Kashmir narrative by relentless funding an army of “stonepelters” and viciously invoking jihad. Singing the Pakistani symphony, Lutyens Delhi intensified attacks on Indian government condemning actions of Indian security forces while conveniently remaining silent when forces were hectored. Unfortunately, these self-professed intellectuals who control the media critically feed audience with distorted facts eventually changing their perceptions and manufacturing false narratives. Verdict ordering payment of Rs 10 lakhs as compensation to Farooq Ahmed Dar, tied to jeep by Major Leetul Gogoi as a last bid to save lives of polling officials by the J&K Human Rights Commission exemplifies influence of Pakistan apologists. Additionally, these false narratives on Kashmir are now openly buttressed by CPI (Maoist) a designated terrorist organization by India. CPI(Maoist) which is tight-lipped over atrocities perpetrated in its Father Land, in a resolution of central committee meeting at Dandakaranya in December 2016, extended support to Kashmiri separatists and Pakistan-based terror groups. Earlier in 2015, Indian security authorities raised alarm over appearance of Chinese flags alongside Pakistan flags in the valley after Friday prayers during President Xi’s visit to India. Pakistan and China whose friendship is “sweeter than honey” and bonded over anti-India agenda, strengthened by economic and military ties are working in tandem to destabilize India. China’s involvement with North East militants by now has been well established. Now the undercurrent of Islamist-Maoist collusions is playing an incontrovertible role in decisively shaping narratives on Kashmir.
Pakistan’s recent brazenness and unabashed unleashing of terror is an outcome of China’s unstinted support. Ever since America hardened its stance with Trump proposing conversion of US aid to Pakistan into a loan and handing over a royal snub to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the US-Arab NATO meeting, Pakistan increasingly gravitated towards Beijing. Adept in deriving economic benefits and receiving sophisticated weaponry in return for raising a militant army, Pakistan having found a new master (China) is no longer worried about US ostracization. Like US, China reached out to Pakistan to accomplish twin goals of containment of India & reducing relevance of India in South Asia and gaining access to Indian Ocean. By penetrating the POK region under the lieu of constructing Karakoram Highway and most recently through CPEC, China planned to nip aspirations of India. But a rising India under Prime Minister Modi posed a threat to its hegemonic rise in Asia.
Amidst heightened tensions between India and China following Chinese transgression into the Doka La region, Indo-China border skirmishes intensified after China bulldozed Indian bunkers when Indian army prevented China from building a road extending into the disputed India-Bhutan-China trijunction. Indeed, China reneged on the status quo agreement with Bhutan intensified diplomatic rhetoric when Modi had first meeting with President Trump. India being security guarantor for Bhutan had become principal opponent in this border dispute. China steadily upped ante against India. Beijing played victim card and portrayed India as alleged aggressor. But in the meanwhile, busting China’s false propaganda Bhutan called shots against China. Having earned a formidable reputation of defying International Rules based order, international community started analyzing the situation. High-handedness of Beijing over a tiny land locked Himalayan Kingdom is now intensely scrutinized. With India coming to Bhutan’s rescue in a dispute against the mighty power of Asia, China, east Asian countries who have territorial disputes with Beijing are looking up to India seeking a rebalance. Especially ASEAN countries cognizant of Beijing’s knack of nibbling miles of territories over extended period watching the developments closely.
Meanwhile, bolstering “Act East Policy” India extending red carpet welcome to Myanmar’s Army Chief who is on eight-day long trip to India, New Delhi extended invitation to all leaders of ASEAN for Republic Day while the foreign Minister of Vietnam in his visit to India renewed agreement for joint exploration of oil in South China Sea. These recent developments and India’s efforts to reach out to ASEAN countries caused intense discomfiture to China. Of late China intensified its military ties with Pakistan and in a display of growing Sino-Pakistan’s coziness, Chinese troops marched on Pakistan’s Military Day. To heighten Indian concerns Pakistan and China intensified military activities. Earlier this week, China carried out live-fire drills in Tibetan mountainous region, an exercise to test the high-altitude firing abilities of Type 96 B tank and Pakistan test fired advanced surface-to-surface, nuclear capable NASR missile almost at the same time.
Current border impasse unlike in previous occasions when Chinese army would regularly intrude across LAC, has generated much heat as Beijing steadily ramped up pressure on India with a tirade of media attacks through its mouth piece, Global Times. But India dug its heels, refused to accept pre-conditions for diplomatic talks and even Bhutan showed no signs of blinking.
While tensions across Sikkim border escalated, India was forced to tighten vigil across LoC with reports of Pakistani terror strike emerged commemorating first anniversary of Burhan Wani. India at once was stared at the prospect of two and half wars which Army Chief Bipin Rawat categorically mentioned in his press interaction earlier in June. China and Pakistan, brothers in arms intensified border attrition to entrap India. China’s complicity so far, gave wings to Pakistan’s insidious dreams. By refusing to include Pakistan terror outfits in joint statement at the BRICS-BIMSTEC summit last year, China abetted Islamist terror. Beijing’s ruthless anti-terror operations against of Uighar Muslims in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, impostures its recurrent vetoing of India’s appeals aimed at bringing Masood Azhar under UN sanctions. China’s artifice epitomizes Beijing’s capricious intentions towards India.
Resurgence of terror in Kashmir valley and dastardly killing of hapless women pilgrims returning after Amarnath yatra breaching the code of conduct of not attacking pilgrims has enraged common man. From 1990’s anti-national aimed at derailing peace process in Kashmir wanted to disrupt the yatra. It was under attack by LeT (Laskhar E Taiba) for three consecutive years-2000, 2001, 2002 wherein several innocent pilgrims were killed. Investigations later revealed that attacks were basically aimed against security personnel, which was a kind of unwritten code of conduct for armed Pakistani militants. But current attacks were carried out on a bus carrying people unaccompanied by a security convoy was targeted suggesting a breach of unwritten rule and crossing of “all the red lines”. This inhuman depravity has now opened a pandora’s box confounding the worst fears of valley becoming breeding ground for radicalization. Radicalized terrorists alone can nonchalantly transgress code of conduct. Overpowered by extremism, the banner of religion largely guides their actions. As typical religious hues now repugnantly align with terrorism, looming Islamist threats are becoming more imminent. As of now those who vociferously supported Kashmir issue as fight for azadi should now unequivocally accept that azadi is just a mask.
These targeted killings and attempts to thwart the yatra by LeT is an attempt to provoke India to launch befitting retaliation against Pakistan. Pakistan is deliberately escalating tensions across LoC forcing India to enter aggressive gun battle. Eventually if the military skirmishes intensify leading to inadvertent killing of civilians across either western or eastern front, China and Pakistan can together brandish India as a reckless aggressor. Consequently, attention of international community towards penetrating Chinese aggression can be staved off. China, being a permanent member of UNSC can in no time internationalize armed confrontations. The belligerent duo, working hand in glove, is obsessed to obviate India from the path of economic progress. India must carefully chalk out strategic diplomatic moves lest there is every chance of falling into the Chinese trap.