C Kiran -
In the 21st century we no longer live in the primitive age where people are uncivilized and states irresponsible. The case in point is the present situation between India and Pakistan. The Pulwama affair unfolded predicatively; even though Pakistan clearly denied any role in the incident and all the evidence pointed to the attack having been carried out indigenously, India placed the blame on Pakistan. Tensions were brought to fever pitch by the Indian political and military leadership, and media which continued pushing the efforts to shape the false narrative of Pakistan being complicit. The incident is part and parcel of the dynamic between the brutal occupying force and the fearless Kashmiri population, who has suffered over 71 years of occupation and brutality.
India carried out a so-called surgical strike in continuation of the baseless allegations it raised against Pakistan, an action clearly violating the international norms of states’ territorial integrity and sovereignty, and one which ignored Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for peace and joint investigation. Pakistan’s response to the strikes on non-military targets, purposefully avoiding human loss and collateral damage, was not in retaliation to continued Indian belligerence but to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor asserted that the route to peace is through dialogue, saying, “Pakistan is not pushing the environment towards war. If that was the case, we would have picked targets that would have resulted in human casualties and collateral damage as well. We deliberately avoided escalation. We engaged an open space where there was no human presence or military posts.”
Pakistan’s political and military leadership has reasserted that we have no intention of escalation or war at the cost of regional peace but if we are forced into that paradigm we will have no other option but to retaliate. India has been trying to establish what they call the new normal, a thinly veiled term for conducting acts of aggression. Pakistan exercised restraint and repeatedly urged for the need for better sense to prevail, calling for dialogue with India in lieu of our guiding principle of the efforts for lasting peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan has always advocated for mature diplomacy rather than provocation and aggression, a gesture which has not been reciprocated by our eastern neighbor. Considering that it’s a diversionary theory of the hawkish Modi leadership prior to elections, the miscalculation based on the presumption of escalation dominance on the pretext of force asymmetry may greatly disrupt the regional security dynamics if they risk further escalation and blight their chances of winning the elections. With a vast experience of handling the ever-recurring shenanigans of the eastern neighbor and regional compulsions our offensive and defensive capabilities are strong, leaving little of significance for India’s calculated provocation through a strategic surprise maneuver. Our Armed Forces are trained on meticulous grounds keeping the security environment in mind, with the possible contingencies ready, updated and rehearsed for years. By practicing wisdom and restraint in this time of crisis, Pakistan’s policy has struck a chord with the proponents of peace and has gained an even greater moral ascendency over India. Further restraint would have been detrimental for Pakistan’s security as it would erode Pakistan’s deterrence, embolden India and set precedence for similar adventurism and miscalculation in the future. However, Pakistan’s mature and restrained response to India’s diplomatic offensive in efforts to isolate and weaken it has backfired and rather elevated Pakistan’s position.
The statement by a BJP leader claiming a wave in favor of Narendra Modi resulting in victory in the upcoming elections as a result of false flag operations – the implementation of which went awry – further eroded their claim to legitimacy and provided credence to the doubts with regards to the goals and intentions of the so-called airstrike on a terrorist camp (proclaimed by the BJP for justifying the violation of the international norms). At a time when Pakistan is enjoying the dividends of peace and looking towards elevating its economy as well as effectively providing assistance in the Afghan peace process to bring stability and peace to the region, India’s aggressive stance and irresponsible actions can only be seen as an effort to malign Pakistan and reverse the positive tide.