News Analysis |
On February 13 2018, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman passed a statement in the backdrop of a suspected militant attack on Monday at Sunjwan Army camp in Jammu, saying that Pakistan “will pay” for the attack on the army base in Indian Held Kashmir. There were five Indian soldiers killed in the attack.
Briefing the press conference on the security situation in Jammu, she alleged that the attack in Sunjuwan was carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed militants on the instruction of their chief Masood Azhar and perpetrators in Pakistan. She said, “[The] terrorists belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, [were] sponsored by Azhar Masood residing in Pakistan and [are] deriving support from there in.”
The statement by IHK’s Chief Minister Ms. Mehbooba may have some prospects for a peace dialogue if the two states truly want to eradicate bloodshed. But the constant violations along the Line of Control however, seems to show that India does not want peace.
Two days ago there were at least six people, including two children, that were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) during India’s ceasefire violation at the Line of Control in its combing operation targeting the militants in Sunjwan.
Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry strongly rejected similar allegations voiced by the Indian media. It stated, “A particular section in the Indian media runs with their innuendos to malign Pakistan and whips up public frenzy. We are confident that the world community would take due cognizance of India’s smear campaign against Pakistan, and the deliberate creation of war hysteria.”
While directly blaming Pakistan, the Indian Defence Minister said, “Intelligence inputs show that terrorists were controlled by their handlers from across [the] border. Evidence is being scrutinized by NIA (National Intelligence Agency). Pakistan is expanding the arch of terror to areas south of Pir Panjal and resorting to ceasefire violations to assist infiltration.”
She said, “Giving the evidence to Pakistan will be a continuous process. It will have to be proved over and over again that they are responsible. Pakistan will have to pay for this misadventure.” Earlier in the day, Ms Sitharaman met Indian Held Kashmir’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who has shown her inclination towards a solution to this bloodshed across this region through a dialogue.
The US could have played a role to facilitate peace negotiations between the two countries but the recently strained Pak-US ties make that solution even more unlikely. India suspended peace talks with Pakistan in 2013 after some of its soldiers were killed in two ambushes by Pakistani soldiers along the border in Kashmir.
Her tweet on February 12, 2018 stated, “Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end bloodshed. I know I will be labeled as anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn’t matter. The people of J&K are suffering. We have to talk because war is not an option.” She added that all these attacks are inflicting damage on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan’s foreign office (FO) spokesman Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly briefing, “During 2017, there were more than 1,300 Indian ceasefire violations, the highest ever in the recent past, [that] have resulted in 52 deaths and [left] 175 injured. We have consistently stressed that Indian aggression is a threat to regional peace and tranquility.”
Responding to Ms. Sitharaman, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal said, “It was a pattern that Indian officials made irresponsible statements even before any investigation into any incident had been initiated.” The blame game between the two belligerent countries, continued since the violation of the ceasefire pact (2003) between them. India suspended peace talks with Pakistan in 2013 after some of its soldiers were killed in two ambushes by Pakistani soldiers along the border in Kashmir.
The statement by IHK’s Chief Minister Ms. Mehbooba may have some prospects for a peace dialogue if the two states truly want to eradicate bloodshed. But the constant violations along the Line of Control however, seems to show that India does not want peace. The US could have played a role to facilitate peace negotiations between the two countries but the recently strained Pak-US ties make that solution even more unlikely.