Reorganization Act and regional strategy

By K.N. Pandita

With the passing of J&K Reorganization Act 2019, J&K’s more than seven decades old frozen political narrative has entered its de-freezing era. Remember the Act was passed by a massive majority vote in the Parliament. Those who opposed the bill during the parliamentary debate, and continue their opposition even more fiercely after the passage of the bill, are motivated by politics of vengeance and not by larger national interests. Moreover, those who adorned the treasury benches for seven long decades feel miserable while sitting on opposition benches. The lust for power blinds the reason. By opposing the bill they advertently underplayed the escalating anti-national spite of the valley-based political class. Little did they understand that while opposing the bill for no cogent reason they were only discouraging our security forces engaged in fighting the world’s most perfectly trained and intensely motivated jihadis in Kashmir.

In the aftermath, the opposition began trying tactics of insinuating the masses of people in the valley. In doing so, one could find astonishing similarity with what Imran Khan was aiming at during his several trips to PoK soon after the reorganization bill was passed. However, history unfolded a new chapter in PoK where Imran was unexpectedly confronted by a huge crowd in Muzaffarabad rally waving black flags and slogans like “go back Niazi go back”. Though the ISI transported hundreds of Punjabi goons to Muzaffarabad during Imran’s second jaunt to the town yet that, too, ended up in fiasco, and the people in the town, later on, told the media that the goons from Punjab had stolen no fewer than 500 mobile phones from them. Subsequently, the Kashmiris in Pakistan brought our public rallies in Lahore also. Their banners reflected almost the same slogans as were seen in the banners of the demonstrators in Muzaffarbad. Islamabad realized for the first time that one more ethnic unit was added to all dissenting ethnicities of Pakistan except the Punjabis. In Gilgit, the nationalists had already publicly given vent to their urge for restoration of the region to the secular democratic Indian Union.

Apparently, valley-based political leadership and also the masses of people did watch all this bizarre drama telecast by Indian channels. However, they would not rush to react impulsively. People in the valley have not ventured to bring out protest rallies in Srinagar or any other town. The inference is that the anti-Pakistan stance of Muzaffarabad populace has conveyed a definite message that could be interpreted as a warning to the valley naivety.

India has shown no relent in her determination to retrieve the part of the erstwhile state illegally occupied not only by Pakistan but also China via Pak instrumentality. New Delhi has issued formal maps of the precise Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Indian government has repeated its will and strength to do so. In the meanwhile the Indian Army Chief has made a very significant comment. He has said that PoK is under the control of jihadi terrorists and not Islamabad. These jihadi terrorists have, more than once, vowed to wage a war against India in Kashmir and elsewhere in India in fulfilment of the ideology of Islamic Caliphate. Recently, the news has filtered down saying that the terrorists controlling PoK have invited Afghan Taliban to come to their assistance in their fight against India in Kashmir. Lashkar and Jaish, with joint control of operations in Kashmir are now briefing the Taliban who have arrived in their training camps in good numbers, about the logistics, routes and modules of carrying fire and brimstone to the valley predominated by Sunni Hanafi Muslims.

The question is that when a neighbouring region is harbouring open enmity and ill-will to the extent it is, what should be the reaction of Indian defence establishment? Obviously, New Delhi will be planning defence as well as offence strategy knowing that offence is the better part of the game. General Rawat’s comment has to be understood along these lines. After failing in all options which Pakistan tried by way of reaction to India’s J&K Reorganization Act, she made full bombast of the weapon of mass destruction for several weeks. However, finding no takers in India to the point of ignoring all her rhetoric, Islamabad and GHQ both realised the imbecility of their nuclear blackmail. A sting from Washington brought Pak hawks to their senses.

Having exhausted all her options of reaction, GHQ has begun to feel the weight of New Delhi’s plans for PoK. Consequently, it has mobilized heavy presence of troops and war material all along the LoC supplemented by repeated statements that Pakistan is adequately strong to deal with any Indian intrusion into the PoK. Simultaneously, Pakistan army is concentrating on its last option of increasing the range and frequency of its firing and shelling along the LoC particularly in some vulnerably segments like Krishna Ghati. In escalating border violence Pakistan strategists believe India will be provoked to massive military reaction, which she would cash at international fora by calling it the vindication of her apprehensions that one day India will be warring against Pakistan. There is no second thought about the determination and ability of India to liberate PoK and GB from the clutches of Pakistan on the basis that she will be retrieving her own territory. At the same time, the political climate in Muzaffarabad being favourable to India’s calculated design, the menace of Pakistani training camps in PoK will be wiped out once for all. India will tell the world that she has no designs against Pakistan but she has all conceivable designs about retaking PoK and GB.

Evidently, China has stakes in these strategic moves in the region. Beijing is closely examining the ramifications of India issuing a formal map of its northern areas that shows the illegally occupied Shaksgam and Aksaichin territories as part of the Indian Union. India has every right to oppose the CPEC as it runs through Indian Territory without seeking her permission. Beijing knows it very well that neither the Central Asian Republics, once forming the underbelly of the Soviet Union, nor Moscow, Washington and New Delhi like her massive presence in Gilgit Baltistan region. Local people have made no secret of their dislike and disapproval of the CPEC purporting large scale presence of the Chinese.

The lesson that can be deduced from this political scenario is that the environs are conducive for India to (a) make her presence felt very much on the ground in Kashmir, and (b) expedite and intensify democratic and equitable economic development of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, and (c) maximally increase our defence and offence capabilities in the region.

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