Response and Counter Response

Spearhead Analysis – 28.09.2016

Nawaz vs ModiPakistan’s Prime Minister has addressed the UNGA and in his speech he brought the situation in Kashmir and the plight of the Kashmiris to the attention of the world. Not a difficult task considering the fact that the world is fully aware of the atrocities being committed by Indian Security Forces in response to a struggle revived by the murder of a teenager by the Indian Army. The Indian Foreign Minister standing in for the Prime Minister who chose to stay away also addressed the UNGA but she focused on Indian Held Kashmir being an integral part of India, on the situation in Baluchistan that is a province of Pakistan and on terrorism in India from Pakistan. Her speech reminded the world that there was a UN Resolution on Kashmir and that its disputed nature was the reason for protracted conflict and violence in the part held by India against the wishes of the people. It also led people to consider how Baluchistan could possibly figure in the UNGA as well as the fact that Pakistan had suffered the most from terrorism and was one of the few countries in the world that was actually fighting to secure itself and had largely succeeded. Her speech also led the world to wonder why India did not act to secure its facilities and soldiers in an area where they had completely alienated the people by their actions and attacks like Uri could be a retaliation that should have been expected and this in turn led to a discussion how an instant determination could be made that the attack was sponsored by Pakistan. Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN has given an appropriate official response to the Indian foreign ministers speech.

By now several facets of the Indian response to the Uri attack are discernible. There is no talk of joint investigation or a reconsideration of blaming Pakistan as a state for the attack. Pakistan should assume that this will be the norm for India in the future. India’s Prime Minister has stated that Pakistan is to be isolated internationally. Pakistan should assume that India will use all its resources and assets for this and a very broad spectrum of actions will be orchestrated to achieve this self imposed seemingly impossible objective. India has turned down any discussion of a restraint regime suggested by Pakistan and has pulled out of the scheduled SAARC talks in Islamabad. Pakistan must assume that India is unlikely to agree to a sustained comprehensive dialogue to address all issues and concerns. India has initiated action to scuttle the Indus Basin Treaty to deny Pakistan its share of river waters that the treaty guarantees under World Bank auspices. Pakistan while regretting the failure to build the Kalabagh Dam must now assume that India will disregard all treaty obligations and other confidence building measures agreed mutually to improve the environment. This attitude will have far reaching implications that Pakistan needs to factor into its own response. India has clearly indicated its resolve to destabilize Pakistan internally and to instigate and support insurgency in Baluchistan. Pakistan must now assume that all violent and terrorist attacks in Pakistan regardless of who claims them and from across which border they originate are directly or indirectly sponsored by India. This also has many implications in an environment where Pakistan has been reining in India haters and acting to improve border management and avoid conflict situations.

India does not accept the UN mandated UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan), it has thrown out Amnesty International and has refused to host a UN fact finding mission in Kashmir. India hopes to get away with all these actions and policies because it thinks it has powerful friends like the US, and that there are others clamoring for the pie that India thinks is its image in the world. India has also embarked on a 100 billion dollar upgrade of its armed forces that involves replacing obsolete equipment, making up shortages, inducting new technology and building reserves.

It is in the context of all these moves that Pakistan has to formulate its responses. The outreach to Russia and Iran is a step in the right direction. Military diplomacy is taking us closer to Central Asian States, Russia, NATO and Afghanistan, the US has signaled that it has no intention of giving up its relationship with Pakistan and Pakistan’s traditional friends in the Arab world are still with it as is clear from the OIC statement. Pakistan needs to consolidate and pursue a vigorous foreign policy. Pakistan can continue to offer unconditional dialogue, a restraint regime and joint procedures to India but it needs to let India work through domestic pressures to perhaps eventually listen to the saner voices in India that are asking for a rethink of policies on Kashmir and Pakistan. Above all Pakistan must move to strengthen itself internally and not ever let up on any spectrum of its strategic deterrence, defense capacity and response capability for any eventuality.

(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to a single individual)