Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned India against any military misadventure against Pakistan. Delivering an emotional speech at a rally in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir city of Mirpur to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, he cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane to stop their war rhetoric against Pakistan.
Over the past several months, India’s political and military leadership have issued multiple threats against Pakistan. Three weeks ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that the Indian forces were now capable of making Pakistan “bite the dust” in less than 10 days. Around the same time, the Indian army chief publicly announced that the Indian army will move to claim AJK, if it is given orders in this regard by the parliament.
In his speech, PM Imran Khan advised Modi to study history, saying that leaders, who had shown such false pride, suffered ignominious defeat in the past, the prime examples of this being the failure of Hitler’s and Napolean’s forces to permeate Russia, and of the US forces to win the Vietnam and Afghan wars. Addressing both political and military leadership of India he said: “If you are under the false impression that you will take any action against Pakistan to strengthen your Hindu voter base, it will be the last mistake you make.”
Immediately after the incendiary statement from New Delhi, the Pakistan military top brass held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation and issued a statement, saying, “The Pakistan Armed Forces are forces of order and peace and fully prepared to thwart any misadventure, whatever the cost”. In the meeting, the military leadership also discussed the geo-strategic environment “with special focus on internal security and the situation on borders”. The forum also discussed the repression of Kashmiris by the Indian forces and the ongoing lockdown of occupied Kashmir. While paying tribute to the residents of the occupied region, General Bajwa said: “Repression of the Indian occupying forces can never deny Kashmiris their right to self-determination as promised by UN resolutions. Regardless of the ordeal, their just struggle is destined to succeed.”
As pointed out by analysts, India’s increasingly shrill war rhetoric is designed to divert attention from the internal political turmoil in the wake of the new citizenship amendment law. But this ploy is not going to work as large-scale public demonstrations against the new law in India continue unabated, while the Kashmiris remain undeterred by the security lockdown imposed on the valley by the Indian armed forces and police.
Contrary to Indian expectations and plans, the Kashmir issue instead of being swept under the carpet has been internationalised. The world has taken notice of the illegal action taken by the Modi government in flagrant violation of the United Nations resolutions. The European Union, UN Human Rights Commission, Amnesty international and other world bodies have strongly condemned the atrocities and excesses being committed by the Indian security forces against helpless Kashmiris.
It is significant that after a gap of several decades the United Nations Security Council has debated the issue thrice, calling upon India to reverse its annexation of the occupied valley. Pakistan has raised the matter at various world forums and PM Imran Khan has spoken to US President Trump, British premier Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and apprised them of what is happening in Kashmir. The crisis in Kashmir has also been discussed with French President Macron, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Russian Foreign Minister.
As pointed out by the Pakistan Foreign Office, it will be a mistake on part of New Delhi to underestimate the capability and determination of the Pakistan army to defend the country. Modi’s misplaced bravado can be gauged from his statement made in Delhi recently that, unlike his predecessors, he was not reluctant to use military force against Pakistan. Deep down, Modi is a Hindu militant and he knows that he can retain and build his RSS constituency only by appearing to be harsh and belligerent against Pakistan.
Given such a mindset, Modi may not flinch from mounting a false flag operation to appease his Hindutva supporters and cow down those agitating against his discriminatory citizenship laws. But if he takes such a perilous course, he may be in for a bigger surprise than the last time. The Balakot strike was designed to show India’s conventional military superiority but it failed, underlining the Pakistan army’s capability to frustrate the enemy’s designs at any level. Another such misadventure will be met with greater force, which may qualitatively change the Pakistan-India military power dynamic.
It is time the international community took notice of the Indian leadership’s continuing belligerence and aggressive measures which pose a threat to regional peace and security. The events of the last six months have fully exposed Indian duplicity in Kashmir. No amount of Indian propaganda can now divert the world attention from the nuclear flashpoint of Kashmir. Sooner than later, the people of Kashmir are bound to win their right of self-determination.