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April 13, 2019

No de-escalation in India’s posture

Islamabad

April 13, 2019

India has not stepped back from the brink of war after the blows it received late February at the hands of Pak forces. On the other hand, Pakistan had returned a captured Indian Air Force pilot whose plane was among the two shot down by the Pakistan Air Force. The Pakistani government called it "a goodwill gesture aimed at de-escalating rising tensions with India".

But it is being reported in local and international media that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has again given political sanction to initiate war against Pakistan following meetings with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and armed forces chiefs.

In this regard, Pakistan foreign minister, while addressing a press conference in Multan, recently announced that the government had reliable intelligence that India was devising a new plan. "I am speaking responsibly, I hold a position of responsibility, and I know the words I utter will be picked up by the international media," Shah Mahmood Qureshi said. "Preparations are being made, and there are chances of another attack against Pakistan. According to our information, the action could be taken between April 16 and 20.

"A new mishap could be staged in Indian-occupied Kashmir, just like [the] Pulwama [attack]. And its purpose will be to justify their [India's] offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad."

According to Andrew Korybko, an American Moscow-based political analyst: "The latest Kashmir crisis resulted in a stunning reversal of international perceptions about India and Pakistan whereby the self-professed world’s largest democracy has now been recast as a rogue state wanting to wage a war of aggression on unproven pretexts while Pakistan... has been revealed to be a responsible international actor fighting to uphold the UN-enshrined rules-based international order that the US and Israel’s South Asian ally is dangerously trying to undermine."

Korybko added: "Many commentators previously presumed that Pakistan lacked the conventional capabilities to respond tit-for-tat to India because of the numerical mismatch between their two militaries and the defense budgets funding them, but Pakistan proved just how wrong such superficial comparisons are when it responded proportionately."

Raising another important point, Korybko said Russia showed that it regards India and Pakistan as equals in accordance with international law by expressing its willingness to mediate between them and even host peace talks if both parties were interested, which undercut India’s international prestige while raising Pakistan’s.

Meanwhile, more and more educated Indians and retired armed forces officials are blaming Modi and his colleagues for politicising the country's armed forces. They say politicians should leave the defence forces and personnel alone and let them not paint the armed forces with any colour. They say the military is the "people’s sena and not the Prime Minister’s, as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath claims." It has been claimed that since Independence the Indian armed forces have record of being apolitical and secular. Thus comments by BJP leaders can lead to politicisation of defence forces. Most assert that Indian armed forces are sworn to uphold the Constitution of India and take “lawful orders” from the duly elected government, no matter which party is in power. But some BJP leaders now believe that the Indian Army should be named after the ruler concerned i.e. Narendera Modi.

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