DAILY TIMES

India’s Kashmir Folly (Part-II)

Raashid Wali Janjua

AUGUST 5, 2019

We certainly could have inflicted severe punishment upon Indian Lines of Communications from Naushehra northwards and were certainly in a position to advance easily a few miles from the Pandu over the hills towards Baramula.” Another military officer Major General Sher Ali Pataudi writes about the ceasefire in the same vein. As per him at the closing stages of the war the Indian forces were under heavy pressure at Beri Pattan and at that time a double pincer offensive towards Beri Pattan and Jammu aimed at capturing Jammu would have certainly cutoff Indian forces in the Kashmir in two halves and effected a recoil.

The ceasefire however was hastily agreed without sufficient inputs from field commanders and Nehru’s request for UN intercession was accepted. As per the terms of ceasefire moved through UN Resolution of 13 August 1948 and adopted on 5th January 1949 the Pakistani regular and irregular forces were supposed to be moved out of Kashmir while Indians could retain residuary forces necessary to maintain peace. This was a precondition for the plebiscite in the valley as per which the Kashmiris were to decide to opt for India or Pakistan. This clause of withdrawal of forces was exploited by the wily Indians to subsequently wriggle out of plebiscite commitments. This was the last chance of a military solution of Kashmir dispute that has bedeviled the relations of both countries till now. From then onwards the only plausible way the Kashmir cause could be supported was through support to Kashmiris on material as well as moral planes.

Pakistanis made another attemptin 1965 to regain Kashmir militarily through Operation Gibraltar but failed as India expanded the conflict to international borders. A near repeat of the same in Kargil in 1998 remained unsuccessful due to the widened Indo-Pak military imbalance. The wiser course for an enlightened Indian leadership would have been to court Pakistan for a mutually acceptable solution. The closest the both countries came to a resolution of the conflict was during Musharraf’s tenure when Chenab formula which is in fact a variant of UN sponsored Owen Dixon Plan which recommended a trifurcation of the state as per the demographic realities was being discussed as a possible solution.

The imminent Indian attempt at revocation of Article 370 is fraught with portents of war and instability in the region. A visceral and non- cerebral Indian response is an indication of their frustration over losing the strategic space to China and Pakistan

Now after giving Kashmiris a taste of an autonomous status as per Articles 370 and 35A for nearly seven decades the Modi government is hell bent on revoking this status. The Kashmiris would never accept that draconian step and would rise in arms against this Indian betrayal. Mufti Muhammad Saeed of PDP-BJP coalition, the present CM of occupied Kashmir, as per Praveen Donthi, an Indian journalist is in an uneasy coalition with BJP and has no clout over the mainstream separatists, up in arms against the brutal excesses of brutal Indian Army and paramilitary forces. Kashmiris would never agree to a permanent partition of their state, Pakistanis would never agree to a sanctioning of LOC as international border, and the Indians would never agree to an independent Kashmir. Therein lies the wicked nature of the Gordian knot that Trump in a moment of levity tried to open for both countries through his mediation.

The imminent Indian attempt at revocation of Article 370 is fraught with portents of war and instability in the region. A visceral and non- cerebral Indian response is an indication of their frustration over losing the strategic space to China and Pakistan. The underlying aim could be to ratchet up tensions to involve Pakistan in a limited conflict with the objective to regain strategic space lost in the past few months and climb again on the bandwagon of US surrogacy. Either way the Indians would play with fire as the nuclear status of both countries invests even a minor skirmish with the potential to initiate a nuclear Armageddon. The war or even a near war like situation on LOC would certainly hurt the US interests by distracting Pakistan form its Afghan peace project. Indians might be provoking a conflict in pique over the recent US cold shoulder: it is for the international community to sit up and take notice of the looming crisis.

The writer is a Defence Analyst and PhD scholar at NUST