Geopolitics

Mediation hopes dashed, Pakistan goes Erratic
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 28 Aug , 2019

India has consistently informed all nations, including the US, that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal issue of India, the state having formally acceded to India on October 26, 1947. The Maharaja of J&K signed the instrument of Accession favouring India in wake of the Pakistani invasion orchestrated by the British. Therefore, there is no scope for third party mediation.

Pakistan killed UNSC Resolution 39 of January 20, 1948 by not removing its security forces from PoJK and changing the demography of PoJK.

Any discussion between India and Pakistan is to be on Pakistan-occupied J&K (PoJK) under the 1972 India-Pakistan Shimla Agreement. Pakistan killed UNSC Resolution 39 of January 20, 1948 by not removing its security forces from PoJK and changing the demography of PoJK. Besides, this UNSC resolution is redundant with the 1972 India-Pakistan Shimla Agreement.

Despite the above, US President Donald Trump had raised the issue of mediation on Kashmir on July 22, 2019 while meeting visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on a visit to the US. Trump mentioned India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir. India denied such a request was made by PM Modi. Trump then retracted by saying he could mediate if India and Pakistan would so want, and later again offered to mediate on the issue before the recent G7 Summit. News reports also stated that Trump would discuss Kashmir with PM Modi on sidelines of the 45th G7 Summit being held at Biarritz, France (August 24-26, 2019).

However, when the Modi-Trump bilateral meeting took place on August 26 at Biarritz, Franc, Modi categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation on Kashmir, saying it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and didn’t “want to bother any third country”.  Backing this, Trump he felt both India and Pakistan could resolve the Kashmir problem on their own. Trump mentioned he and Modi spoke about Kashmir at great length, saying, “We spoke last night about Kashmir, the Prime Minister really feels he has it (situation) under control. They speak with Pakistan and I’m sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good.”

The Modi-Trump camaraderie displayed on August 26, Trump agreeing Kashmir is a bilateral India-Pakistan issue and showing confidence that the situation is under control, apparently has hit the Pakistani hierarchy with a ton of bricks. After India revoked Article 370 on August 5 withdrawing the special status of J&K, Imran Khan had sought  intervention by the UN, and mediation by the US and China. UN had told Pakistan, the issue being bilateral must be discussed with India in accordance the 1972 Shimla Agreement. A China sponsored UN closed door meet also met the same fate, following which Pakistan is approaching the International Court of Justice. Concurrently, Pakistan had great hopes on Trump insisting on mediation, but this hope was dashed with the Modi-Trump meet on August 26.

Pakistan had great hopes on Trump insisting on mediation, but this hope was dashed with the Modi-Trump meet on August 26.

Concurrently, Imran Khan addressing his country on the Kashmir situation said that he will raise the issue at every international forum, including at the UN General Assembly. Most dignificantly, he said that Pakistan will go to any extent on the issue, even nuclear war. He said, “If the [Kashmir] conflict moves towards war then remember both nations have nuclear weapons and no one is a winner in a nuclear war. It will have global ramifications. The superpowers of the world have a huge responsibility…whether they support us or not, Pakistan will do everything possible….. .On August 5 they (India) annexed Kashmir and decided that it was now a part of Hindustan (referrinfg to India revoking Article 370).” Imran Khan also assured the people of Pakistan that his government will stand by the Kashmiris till India lifts the restrictions in the Valley.

Earlier, Imran Khan had termed India’s move to withdraw J&K’s special status “illegal” and a “historic blunder”. Imran’s sabre rattling for war and wagging the nuclear tail is akin to the inebriated speech to the nation by Pakistan President Yahya Khan a night before Pakistan signed the surrender of East Pakistan. The question of nuclear exchange is a bogey.

The recent hint by India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that New Delhi ‘could’ reconsider its NFU policy, was more of a signal to its adversaries. There is a difference between ‘reconsidering’ and ‘changing’. India’s credentials as a responsible nuclear nation are impeccable but Pakistan would keep raising the nuclear issue, which western media may play up. Against India, Pakistan will continue to resort to its only weapon – terrorism.

…Pakistan is trying to infiltrate Taliban and Afghans into India. The BSF has found two abandoned Pakistani boats close to the coast, which indicates infiltration by sea.

Before the G7 Summit, a Press Trust of India release had stated that the US is working on a two-pronged strategy to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir: one, to exert pressure on Pakistan to refrain it from indulging in any cross-border infiltration or providing material or financial support to terrorist activities in India, and; two, to encourage India to bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and ensure that human rights of the people there are protected.

According to a senior US government official, President Donald Trump is “calling” on Pakistan “to prevent the infiltration of militants across the line of control and to crack down on terror groups on its territory that have attacked India in the past”.

The US official also said that US does not want Pakistan to use the current Indo-Pak situation for massive infiltration of terrorist and non-state actors inside India, and has warned Pakistan of facing an imminent prospect of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) if Islamabad doesn’t act on its commitments against terrorism financing. He also expressed concern about reports of detentions and restrictions in the region, and urged respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures and inclusive dialogue with those affected.

It may be recalled that following a telephonic conversation between Modi and Trump, Trump had rung up Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, asking him to tone down his rhetoric against India. All that has happened as follow up is that Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister has come up with a statement that “Article 370 was never important to Pakistan”. Though this is a U-turn from the hullabaloo raised by Pakistan that removal of Article 370 by India was “illegal”, it matters little being India’s internal matter, which the whole world acknowledges.

As to the first strategy defined by the US official “to exert pressure on Pakistan to refrain it from indulging in any cross-border infiltration or providing material or financial support to terrorist activities in India”, Pakistan is doing the opposite. Ceasefire violations have gone up with villages also targeted, infiltration attempts have increased, hundreds of terrorists are waiting across the LoC looking for  opportunities to infiltrate, and intelligence inputs indicate few ISI-supported JeM terrorists have already infiltrated to India. There are reports that Pakistan is trying to infiltrate Taliban and Afghans into India. The BSF has found two abandoned Pakistani boats close to the coast, which indicates infiltration by sea.

Pakistan has managed to radicalize few J&K politicians, separatists and five districts in J&K over the years, which though small part of J&K are violence prone. Their mainstreaming cannot be expected overnight…

Pakistan was recently placed on the ‘enhanced blacklist’ by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the FATF for failing to act on terror funding.  The FATF has found Pakistan was non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering. Of 11 effectiveness parameters of terror financing and money laundering, Pakistan was adjudged as low on 10. Pakistan clamping down on terrorism and terror-funding is a façade and will remain utopian with military controlling that country, deriving power and billions of money because of continuing conflict with India and Afghanistan. Most significantly, how does the US expect ‘Pakistan to refrain from indulging in any cross-border infiltration or providing material or financial support to terrorist activities in India’ when Pakistan continues to support Taliban, Haqqanis and other Pakistan-based terrorist groups attacking Afghanistan? What about the thousands of US troops killed in Afghanistan, including 14 already this year? 

Normalization of situation in J&K will take time even if Pakistan accepts the above US strategy, which it will not. Pakistan has managed to radicalize few J&K politicians, separatists and five districts in J&K over the years, which though small part of J&K are violence prone. Their mainstreaming cannot be expected overnight; which is being done in phased manner. Incidents of violence would necessarily see a cycle of curbs and restrictions. This is certainly better than bombing populations like in Syria or when Sri Lanka used full military power against the LTTE. Indian Army, unlike US-NATO and Pakistan, has never used artillery, aerial bombing and helicopter gunships in J&K.

Talking of human rights, why are the US and UK, particularly media, mum on Pakistani genocide in Balochistan, Waziristan and opening fire on their Pashtun population? Why is their media intent on using the fake news generated by Pakistan? The British succeeded in keeping their name out of the statement of the closed door UNSC meeting called by China, but their support to Pakistan within closed doors remains an open secret. When will the west wake up to the reality of Pakistan? Pakistan paid $11.55 billion in debt servicing during 2018-201919; an increase of over 54 per cent compared to the preceding year. This, coupled with the unrest in Balochistan, Waziristan and Gilgit-Baltistan, would lead to more erratic behaviour by the country’s hierarchy. Every effort will be made to distract the public from internal woes.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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One thought on “Mediation hopes dashed, Pakistan goes Erratic

  1. Being defensive is not a paying strategy. Offensive defence always pays greater dividends. Up the ante and do to them what they are doing to us. Use proxies to keep them tense and on their toes. Wear the enemy down with constant pressure. It is not as if Pakistan is a united country with a strong economy. It has more than two or three regions itching to secede and is already on the brink. Use them to our advantage. It worked in the then East Pakistan. Mukti Bahini softened the enemy sufficiently.

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