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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Jammu & Kashmir: India’s Coercive Tactics and Modi’s Rule

Over the past few years, Jammu & Kashmir has undergone significant changes that have sparked debates and controversies. Under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the region has witnessed a gradual erosion of autonomy, with the revocation of Article 370 being a pivotal moment. This move led to the reorganization of the state into two separate union territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

The other issue between India and Pakistan is the unresolved Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) dispute which has become a bone of contention. After illegally occupying two-thirds of J & K in 1947-48, India used brute force to suppress the Kashmiris and resorted to deceit and intrigue to absorb them into the Indian Union. Nehru’s pledges to grant the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris were brushed away by his successors.

Over 90% of the population of J&K is Muslim, and they have been persistently demanding the right of self-determination and freedom from India and to become part of Pakistan. Well over 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by the occupying forces and tens of thousands of Kashmiri women, young and old, raped to stifle their voices. 18 UN resolutions asking India to hold a fair and free plebiscite were rebuffed by India and vetoed by Moscow.

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Understanding the matter better

India resorted to delaying tactics through the Simla Accord in 1972 and a policy of bilateralism, negotiations and composite dialogue, people-to-people contacts, promotion of art and culture, peace, friendship and lucrative trade offers. Under the guise of these deceptive facades, Indian leaders kept on absorbing Kashmir into the Indian Union by making amendments in the Indian Constitution. The final nail in the coffin of disputed J&K was dug by Narendra Modi by snatching its special status and declaring it an integral part of India on Aug 5, 2019. Amendments in the Indian Constitution were carried out to convert disputed territory into Indian Union Territories.

This offensive act had become a compulsion for Modi to overcome India’s humiliation as a result of Pakistan’s daring offensive action in IOK on 26/27 Feb 2019 in response to India’s air intrusion at Balakot on 24 Feb. From that time onwards, the Modi regime put the illegally occupied State under lockdown. It broke all records of state terrorism and human rights to force the Kashmiris to forget about plebiscite and freedom. The Muslim Kashmiris, particularly the youth are being systematically killed in fake encounters and the women gang raped and killed in order to change the demography. ‘J&K Reorganisation Order 2020’ is designed to change the demographic complexion. Hindus and other non-Muslims from India are being settled in the Kashmir Valley at a large scale and new colonies have been built. Indians and outsiders are encouraged to buy lands and marry Muslim Kashmiri girls.

In order to legalize its illegal act, the Modi regime in the guise of promoting tourism, wanted to host the G-22 Summit in J&K on 22-24 May 2023. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey and two other countries declined the invitation. China once again reiterated its old stance that J&K is a disputed territory and opposed the planned Summit fervidly. The Summit had to be called off which for the time being has aborted India’s mischievous effort to legalize its annexation of the disputed territory and to make it the biggest tourism resort as had been envisaged by Zalmey Khalilzad in 2021. His plan had encompassed Pakistan’s Northern Areas as well.

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India had deployed 700,000 security forces in IOK in 1990/91 in the wake of armed uprising of the Kashmiri freedom fighters and launched a reign of terror to quell the insurgency but couldn’t stifle it. For its Aug 5, 2019 venture, the strength of security forces was raised to 1100,000 in addition to 30,000 armed RSS hooligans. This force level has enabled India to carry out a limited war in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan, annex the two disputed states and make them part of J&K. This threat and another threat of stopping water flow in Pakistan’s western rivers have compounded Pakistan’s security paradigm. Kashmir has become a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia.

India’s Coercive Tactics

India has been trying to coerce Pakistan through political, diplomatic and economic pressures, cultural invasion, subversion, false flag operations, proxy war, water terrorism, media war, and flexing its military muscles through military standoffs, keeping the LoC hot, surgical strikes and procuring sophisticated weaponry. Pakistan’s economic growth was impeded by engineering political unrest and instability in Pakistan.

After its grand success in East Pakistan, India has been making good use of subversion in smaller provinces of Pakistan to stoke ethnicity, sectarianism and separatism. This option became the best choice after Pakistan became nuclear in 1998. Culturally, India has tried to undermine Pakistan’s Islamic culture, identity and values by promoting Indian culture. In violation of 1960 Indus Basin Water Treaty, uparian India has built four major dams, Salal, Baghliar, Kishanganga and Tulbul over the three western rivers of Pakistan in addition to dozens of small and medium-size dams to make Pakistan a water-scarce country.

India went to war with Pakistan thrice (1948, 1965, and 1971), in addition to several local conflicts and military standoffs. India is feverishly building up its conventional and unconventional military strength to intimidate Pakistan and to keep China at bay. Its annual defence budget in 2022/23 touched $ 81.4 billion, which was the 4th highest in the world. In comparison, Pakistan’s defence budget has shown a decline over the last few years and in 2022, it was 1.75% of its GDP.

India is drawing strength from its close collaboration with the USA, Israel and the West due to which it has smoke-screened its massive human rights violations and state terrorism in Kashmir and in India, nuclear proliferation and accidents in nuclear facilities. India has water and territorial disputes with all its neighbors.

India’s Security Concerns

The Indian military is the strongest in South Asia. Its Army is 3rd largest, air force 4th largest and the navy 5th largest in the world. Indian army chiefs have been bragging about taking on China and Pakistan simultaneously. It is a member of several US led military groupings such as QUAD and AUKUS and has signed five high-profile defence agreements with the USA. Prominent ones are Civil Nuclear agreement, intelligence-oriented BECA, COMCASA strategic Communications & Information Security, Maritime, ICET technology, and LEMOA Logistics Exchange agreements. India is building a top-secret nuclear city at Karnataka (Madras) which houses several operational nuclear power plants. India is the largest buyer of arms and its major suppliers are Russia, USA and Israel. Its global spending reached $ 2.24 trillion in 2022.

In addition to Kashmir, which has become India’s bleeding wound, India is faced with large numbers of insurgencies and separatist movements in all parts of India. The seven northeastern states engulfed in insurgencies, have become a soft belly of India and present a lucrative target for China from Ladakh/Sikkim through Siliguri chicken neck. The Naxalites are active in 20 Indian States including the Red Corridor in which majority of India’s nuclear sites/plants are located.

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Indian and Chinese forces scuffled with each other along the Line of Actual Control and in the Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June 2020, in which the Indian soldiers were beaten with rods. Since then, in spite of several rounds of inconclusive talks, the two sides have been offensively deployed in the Himalayas for the last three years. China has control over strategic hills, and lays claim on Arunachal Pradesh, held by India.

Tiny state of landlocked Nepal frequently blocked by India on account of its growing ties with China, has become bold enough to show eyes to India and stand up to its hegemonism. Myanmar and Bhutan, encouraged by China’s backing and its BRI, are also acting defiantly.

India’s Attempts to Isolate Pakistan

Diplomatically, India schemed to isolate Pakistan after 9/11 by painting Pakistan as a nursery of terrorism and the most dangerous state in the world. India forged strategic partnerships with Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai and later under Ashraf Ghani and with Iran with a view to strategically encircle Pakistan and allow RAW to undertake cross border terrorism in Pakistan from both ends.

Apart from accruing economic and defense benefits, the development of closer relations with the Arab Gulf States were also aimed at isolating Pakistan. The changed regional and global scenarios have torpedoed India’s devious isolation plans.

India’s Anxieties

While Indo-US-Israel nexus pose a big threat to the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan, India is concerned about the Pakistan-China alliance which has morphed into a strategic relationship owing to CPEC, and poses a twin threat to its security. Its upgradation of armed forces is geared towards tackling the dual threat.

Pakistan’s growing relations with Russia is an emerging threat and a cause of anxiety for India. It is worried that Moscow would no longer use its veto power in respect of Kashmir where China has now become the 4th stakeholder, and might join CPEC to fulfil its age-old dream of reaching the warm waters.

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Pakistan’s nuclear parity with India, and its Full Spectrum Deterrence has deterred India from undertaking the 4th round due to fear of mutual destruction and therefore prefers indirect strategy over direct war.

Another worrying development for India is the ascending power of China and its likelihood of overtaking the US in the economic race and becoming a superpower. It is distressed over the declination of the US power which will not be able to contest strategically aligned China and Russia planning to shape a New World Order free of wars, conflicts, proxy wars, coups, regime changes and crimes against humanity.

Loss of Afghanistan and Iran and the latter’s strategic alignment with China, together with KSA and UAE gravitating towards the emerging eastern block of Russia and China, and the economic dynamics of BRI are giving nightmares to Indian policy makers. These are big setbacks for India’s geo-economic interests. Unless India revises its expansionist and imperialist policies, it fears that it could be isolated.

From the times of Panikkar, India had always aspired to make the Indian Ocean an Indian Lake. It first tried to dominate this strategically important ocean in collaboration with the USSR, and then with the US Navy. China, India and Pakistan have thwarted these ambitions.

Craze for Hindutva

The idea of Hindutva was floated by the founding members of the RSS in the 1930s, which was carried forward by Hindu Mahasaba, the political face of RSS, as well as other extremist Hindu organisations like Sangh Parivar, Vishnu Hindu Parishad, Janata Dal, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu terror groups espousing saffron terrorism. BJP was a late arrival in the 1980s, which gradually became the most powerful political party after the fall of the Congress in the 1990s.

The BJP under Vajpayee came into prominence as result of Chariot march and demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhia by the Hindu zealots in 1992. Narendra Modi earned fame in India as the Chief Minister Gujarat, after he presided over the massacre of 2000 Muslims and rapes of hundreds of Muslim women. He was declared a terrorist and denied visa by the USA till he became PM.

Narendra Modi’s Fascist Rule

After Vajpayee, Modi, a disciple of RSS, took over in June 2014 and is still ruling. Modi had won the elections in 2014 and in 2019 on the slogans of anti-Muslims, anti-Pakistan and fear of rising power of China. To distract the people from abject poverty, they were led up the garden path that by 2020, India shining would become a super power. It was in line with the mythical concept of Mahabharat (the whole of Indian subcontinent stretching up to Afghanistan). In the May 2019 election campaign, Modi boasted that only he could fulfil that dream. Three years have passed, and India is still a developing country riddled with social problems of education, health, hygiene, employment, justice and poverty alleviation.

During his nine years rule, fascistic Modi known as butcher of Gujarat, has broken all records of fascism and racism and has taken practical steps to Hinduize India and convert all other religious minorities into 2nd rated citizens. The heaviest axe of his tyranny has fallen upon the Indian Muslims, Muslims in illegally occupied Kashmir, the Sikhs and Hindu Dalits.

Under the Farce of India Shining

Today, the Indian cities are among the most polluted and India is now the world’s most polluted country. India has highest numbers of people defecating in open fields, largest numbers of people sleep on pavements, suicide rate is the highest. Yearly suicides committed by the farmers in a year is 17,627. 40% people in India are living in abject poverty. Three million girls are killed in India each year in infanticide. Delhi has become a rape city and incidents of rapes in India are among the largest in the world.

The Muslims are routinely lynched to death by extremist Hindus on mere suspicion of eating cow meat or storing it in a fridge. Cow is worshipped as a goddess, its urine drunk and dung eaten as health tonics. Modi is the biggest advertiser of these tonics. India is the world’s 2nd most racist country where all minorities are treated as aliens. The Indian Muslims in Bihar and other northeastern states have been made stateless, put in detention centres and forced to either convert to Hinduism or leave the country. Forced conversion to Hinduism is in vogue in all the BJP-ruled States. The Brahmans in India have most perverted minds.

Modi’s Magic, Role of Indian Diaspora and India’s Clout

Notwithstanding Modi’s fascist policies, he is still loved by the Hindus in India and the Hindu diaspora which is the largest in the world. The latter has become the strongest lobby in the West. Apart from sending heavy remittances back home, they have virtually captured the IT market and business centres in the USA, and have developed strong links with the US Congress members and Senators and business corporates. The Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Fedex CEOs are Indian-Americans. Telsa is eager to invest in India for electric cars production. Space X is another competitor to set-up satellite internet service in India. General Electric is keen to co-produce with Hindustan Aeronautics. General Atomics is close to signing a deal to sell new drones to India.

This sudden rush of the US Corporates towards India is due to the US-China growing tension and trade barriers, and India’s thirst for arms and technology. It is due to highly lucrative markets in India and India’s willingness to import western arms and export IT which incited Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Joe Biden to gravitate towards India. Above all, commonality of enmity towards China, and India agreeing to become a bulwark against China and to help in checkmating rising power of China, to help in scuttling CPEC, and in denuclearizing Pakistan, has made Washington beholden to India.

That is why, the US signed five strategic agreements to make India the most powerful policeman of the Indo-Pacific region. The US never objected to the acquisition of nuclear submarines and the S-400 air defence system by India from Moscow which is under sanctions. India has been given a license to indulge in state terrorism, human rights violations and interventions against its neighbors. What to talk of punishments, the US has never even warned or advised India to be prudent in violating international laws.

In the wake of the above-narrated realities, Modi on a three-day state visit to the USA is being given special handling by the State, the Indian diaspora and the US business community. While he is being given a royal welcome, at the same time human rights groups are protesting against religious intolerance in India, draconian use of law to clamp down on political opponents, journalists and minorities, and restrictions on press and internet. The Indian Sikhs seeking independent Khalistan have joined the protestors. 75 US lawmakers have urged Biden to raise areas of concern with Modi. This is his 5th visit in his nine years of rule. When John Kerby was asked whether these concerns would be conveyed by Biden to the visitor, he brushed aside the questioners by saying that it was an ordinary issue.


The writer is retired Brig Gen, 2nd generation officer, war veteran, an approved defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, takes part in TV talk shows, and Chairman of Thinkers Forum Pakistan. asifharoonraja@gmail.com  

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.