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February 14, 2018

Indian accusations


February 14, 2018

Using the same playbook it adopted after the attack on its army camp in Uri in 2016, India is once again blaming Pakistan for the latest attack on its army in Kashmir. On Saturday, armed militants killed at least seven people in a day-long gunfight at an Indian army camp near Jammu. It didn’t take long for India to say Pakistan was behind the attack, with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying there was ample evidence that the handlers of the attackers were in Pakistan. As with the Uri attack, no such evidence has been provided by the Indians. The Modi government claims the attackers belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammed although, once again, no proof has been offered to back up this claim. If past experience is anything to go by, we should be on alert for a belligerent Indian response. After the Uri attack, India launched what it called ‘surgical strikes’ on Pakistani territory although in reality it was just firing indiscriminately across the Line of Control — something it does with regularity. Modi also threatened on that occasion to cut off our supply of water and launched an international campaign to isolate Pakistan and have it branded as a sponsor of terrorism. The Pakistan Foreign Office has already warned India against any such response after Sitharaman said it would make the country pay for the army camp attack. The onus is now on India to react in a mature manner and provide evidence before levelling any more accusations.

India’s immediate scapegoating of Pakistan serves two purposes. First, it deflects attention away from its own security failures. Indian army camps in Kashmir are heavily fortified because of the constant threat of attacks and yet a few gunmen were able to enter the camp and engage with its soldiers for an entire day before being shot dead. India’s much-vaunted intelligence service has no forewarning about the attack and blaming Pakistan gets it off the hook. Secondly, it allows India to undermine the home-grown liberation movement in Kashmir by painting it as terroristic in nature and tarring Kashmiri freedom fighters as pawns of Pakistan. Over the past few years, India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir has become even more brutal, with children being blinded with pellet guns and hundreds of civilians being killed. India would do anything to distract from the inhumanity of its occupation and, once again, Pakistan is its convenient target.

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