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October 4, 2019

India’s counter attack falls flat

National

October 4, 2019

After the highly controversial move on August 5, when the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi eliminated Article 370 of the Indian constitution which had granted Kashmir a special status within India for seven decades, the issue has now become a big thorn for the Modi Sarkar. The massive lockdown, arrest of local politicians, cutting off communications, limiting movement of people and flooding Kashmir with large number of Indian troops has not worked to quash the Kashmiri hopes for self-determination. Nor did promises of jobs and investment could bind held Kashmir more closely to India.

After the successful internationalization of the issue by Pakistan, the Modi government has gone on a counter attack on Islamabad and Pakistan’s efforts to draw the world attention to the issue.

The counter attack has taken three-fold shapes. First, Indian officials and ministers have been attacking Pakistan left, right and centre. In his swipe at Pakistan, Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh recently claimed Pakistan should understand that today with strong resolve of his government and advancement in naval capacity with additions like submarine INS Khanderi, they were capable of giving much bigger blow to it. On the other hand, India's foreign minister recently said that the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan belonged to India and that he expected India to gain physical control over it one day, raising the rhetoric over the territorial row. But the counter attack by Indian officials is not being reported outside of the country and is of no use.

Second, the Indian government has been claiming through its agents of subversion, especially on the social media, alleged recruitment of terrorists in Pakistan and religious hardliners turning to universities to find out potential recruits. It is all untrue. Actually, the world has seen the Pakistan government striving hard to promote inclusiveness, tolerance and peace in the society while all propaganda about spread of extremism in Pakistani society is baseless and unfounded. In a landmark achievement, the Pakistan government last year launched Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative to eliminate of all kinds of terrorism and extremism from the country by countering the extremist thinking on ideological grounds. The initiative comprises two parts: a fatwa against terrorism and a joint declaration by heads of all major schools of thought against terrorism endorsed by clerics from all schools of thought. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his remarks in New York underscored that religion has nothing to do with terrorism. Noting the growing incidents of discrimination and violence based on religion and belief, the prime minister also warned against attempts to denigrate the revered personalities and scriptures cloaked in right to freedom of expression and opinion. Why would President Trump meet Prime Minister Imran again and again if Pakistan were promoting extremism as claimed by New Delhi? Why would the world listen to Pakistan if the charges were true?

Third, there is a good chance of a false flag operation somewhere in held Kashmir or in India and putting the blame on Pakistan by the Modi Sarkar. Pakistani officials have warned against such misadventure and already forewarned the world. Prime Minister Imran Khan has also expressed concerns that India might stage a false flag operation in held Kashmir in an attempt to justify military action against Pakistan. He told the media Pakistan would be forced to respond in case of an Indian attack. “And then you are looking at two nuclear-armed countries eyeball to eyeball, and anything can happen,” the Pakistani premier said. Experts say as the Kashmiri population reacted in a charged manner while the reaction from the international media and rights bodies too was far more than what India had anticipated, New Delhi may go for false flag operations.

Finally, one can say Ajit Doval’s preparations for held Kashmir have fallen flat. New Delhi had called an international conference for investment in held Valley in October, which has now been cancelled. New Delhi had anticipated 10-15 days for normalization of situation in held Valley after revocation of Article 370. That has not happened even after 50 days and the issue has been effectively come to the world’s notice.

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