India has significantly increased ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC). According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) this year India has violated ceasefire understanding 708 times. This month Indian Army has unleashed constant provocative attacks targeting civilian population across the LoC.
On April 09, Pakistan shot down Indian quadcopter 600 meters deep inside Pakistani territory, which reflects Indian aggressive posture of surveillance. Several Pakistanis have been injured so far, while the civilian property has been damaged during the shelling. Amid the global crisis of covid-19, therefore, why is there an upsurge in violation of ceasefire understanding by India?
The most immediate reason seems to be Islamabad’s boycott of India-led South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) video link conference, which perhaps has hurt Modi’s ego ultimately leading to irrational behaviour of New Delhi to its neighbour. Since the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic in South Asia, Modi seems to be a supporter of regionalism.
Modi considered it an opportunity to assume the region’s leadership through his initiative of SAARC fund to curb Covid-19 pandemic. Modi’s government had actively lobbied with other SAARC members – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan – to cancel the 2016 Summit scheduled to take place in Islamabad and tried to isolate Pakistan at a regional level.
At SAARC’s platform, Modi seems conscious of regional cooperation against Covid-19, while his administration is hyperactive in adopting an aggressive posture against its neighbours in general and Pakistan in particular. The principled stance of Islamabad over Modi’s initiative and subsequent response of New Delhi is a glaring example of Modi’s egoistic and irrational politics.
New Delhi might also have calculated least or no reaction from the world due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The US and Europe have so far passed through their deadliest weeks due to thousands of deaths and over half a million of Covid positive patients.
The aggression and adventurism against Pakistan would likely divert Indian mainstream media’s debate from Modi’s bad governance and mismanagement to regional politics and conflict. Modi has successfully achieved this objective multiple times
New York, the epicentre of international organizations including the United Nations (UN) is stalled due to the worst affected city of the US. The UN Security Council (UNSC), meanwhile, has essentially stopped meeting in its chamber around its iconic horseshoe table and is unlikely to reopen for the foreseeable future. Resultantly, no significant condemnation or concern would have been expected from these IOs.
Likewise, international media is also providing little space for regional or bilateral conflicts. Majority of media houses are busy in covering Covid-19 updated situation. Resultantly, geopolitical and territorial disputes are on the backburner. This is why, apart from TRT and Al-Jazeera, no other noteworthy media outlet responsibly covered the shooting of Indian surveillance quadcopter.
The assumption of Modi’s domestic compulsions and his inward-looking approach cannot be ruled out. Though Modi has proved to be a populist leader, yet his administrative skills remained doubtful. From demonetization policies to introduction of controversial laws, he has created havoc in Indian domestic affairs. The mayhem further aggravated due to Modi’s announcement of locking down the entire country which was ill-planned.
The four hours deadline to lock down the entire country left millions stranded. Resultantly, the entire opposition along with academic community criticised Modi’s administration for being lacklustre, which was unacceptable to a populist leader like Modi. Hence, once again he used the time tested strategy of portraying Pakistan as a greater enemy to New Delhi.
Modi’s political foundations are established on the rejuvenation of Indian nationalism and resurgence of India at the global arena as a stronger country. The aggression and adventurism against Pakistan would likely divert Indian mainstream media’s debate from Modi’s bad governance and mismanagement to regional politics and conflict. Modi has successfully achieved this objective multiple times. This is why the number of ceasefire violations had soured exponentially since 2014 – the year Modi elected as Prime Minister of India.
From Yemen to Afghanistan, many countries and stakeholders have declared ceasefire during the global Covid-19 crisis. Unfortunately, Modi’s India has adopted an irresponsible strategy of continuous ceasefire violations across LoC. This irresponsible strategy might divert much-needed resources of healthcare to warmongering resultantly making peace and health security in South Asia a distant dream.
Khurram Minhas is a PhD candidate at the NUST and researcher at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.