Geopolitics

Should India exercise the Baloch card?
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 08 Sep , 2019

Rattled by the abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan is brazenly threatening the nation with nuclear damnation and blackmailing the entire world into undoing the decision, as if the Islamic Republic’s very survival hinges on Kashmir. A soft state like India took some 70 years to acquire a hard edge and respond more muscularly to acts of murder and mayhem on its soil.

Economically, Pakistan may be in a shambles, but is still flush with funds from Arab countries and unabashed loot of Balochistan’s vast mineral wealth.

The devastating air assault on Balakot, after the surgical strikes in Myanmar and PoK, deflated Islamabad’s nuclear bluster once and for all, hammering home the lesson that India cannot be trifled with any longer. But then this has barely deterred the western neighbour from pursuing a suicidal path, which has gained global notoriety as the epicentre of terror.

Economically, Pakistan may be in a shambles, but is still flush with funds from Arab countries and unabashed loot of Balochistan’s vast mineral wealth. It possesses ample resources to orchestrate multiple attacks on the Republic, in ways that were inconceivable until a decade ago. It employs every bit of trickery and deceit to fulfil its most cherished goal, Ghazwa-e-Hind, the ultimate Islamization of entire subcontinent, beginning with the Kashmir Valley. It has co-opted the Hate-India groups, sham secular liberals and the Luyten’s media to promote spurious narratives on intolerance and the alleged suppression of minorities. The campaign to destabilize India is not only scary but would also make the workings of CIA’s dirty tricks department seem almost benign in comparison.

According to a latest Sunday Guardian report, a desperate ISI has now hatched its most diabolical conspiracy to shame India and compel the global community to intervene in the Kashmir dispute. The spy agency is planning to push tens of thousands of people from the PoK across the LoC in a bid to reclaim “the holy land of Kashmir” from India and precipitate a massive bloodbath. “The ISI’s plan is to force the Indian Army to shoot at the ‘unarmed pro-Kashmir protesters’” once they try to enter J&K with the help of Pakistani irregulars, the report quoting a Pakistani source, said. “Once a bloodbath takes place,” the source added, “as it will, Pakistan’s policymakers believe that the international community will be forced to intervene in Kashmir.”

The time is now ripe to play the Baloch card, the only way India can checkmate Pakistan’s nefarious designs and silence the shrill anti-national voices within.

The report also quoted a security official in Kashmir who said that fake images and videos are being fabricated and circulated about the alleged brutalities of the security forces to mislead the western media. If their storm troopers are barred from the volatile state, then they are bound to insinuate the government is being evasive about the ground realities. Even otherwise, there is nothing to prevent them from doctoring reports, based on half truths and hearsay, to suit a particular narrative and target India even more aggressively. If the nation is caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea today, then the political class, with its sins of omission and commission over the decades, must take the blame and make amends.

For instance, why has the current dispensation been sitting on the NN Vora report, constituted to go into the criminal-mafia-political nexus, in the light of the 1993 serial blasts; especially when it makes a great show of its patriotic fervour? Is the government not following the example of its predecessors in allegedly shielding Dawood Ibrahim, the country’s most wanted man, his linkages with powerful politicians and the ISI, besides his sinister role in terror activities? Would making the report public not have unravelled the diabolical mechanisms through which the system is being subverted from within, at the behest of the ISI?

Never before has the nation been so overwhelmed by wanton attacks on multiple levels or faced with such an existential threat. The time is now ripe to play the Baloch card, the only way India can checkmate Pakistan’s nefarious designs and silence the shrill anti-national voices within. This should be the logical culmination of a process that took birth with resolute military action in Myanmar, Uri and Pulwama, firmed up with annulment of Article 370 and nixing the practice of Triple Talaq, gathering greater and greater strength by the day. A dynamic assertion of the national identity has replaced the apologetic and craven approach to acts of terror and the abiding sense of victimhood.

Islamabad misuses every global platform to harp on so called excesses in Kashmir, even while committing the gravest of human rights violations and atrocities on Balochistan with impunity…

Indeed the stakes are so high that New Delhi’s pursuit of the Baloch card would more than offset any likely adverse outcome. Jamal Nasir Baloch, who heads the Foreign Affairs Department of Free Balochistan Movement, spelt out the broad implications of their struggle (if carried out to its logical end). “The Baloch national struggle,” he told opindia.com, an online news portal, “can effectively reduce the territorial size of Pakistan into half and can also provide India with potential long-term influence from Chabahar to Strait of Hormuz in a post-regime Iran. It will also strengthen the pro-Indian democratic forces in Afghanistan because there is already an understanding among Afghan and Baloch to see the region free of Pakistani backed terrorism. An independent Balochistan would pave the way for the total elimination of fake state Pakistan . . . .”

Islamabad misuses every global platform to harp on so called excesses in Kashmir, even while committing the gravest of human rights violations and atrocities on Balochistan with impunity, relying on heavy artillery, fighter bombers and helicopter gunships for ethnic cleansing, besides jailing tens of thousands of protestors and forcing the mass migration of innocent civilians, something unheard of in the turbulent Valley, except in the case of Kashmiri pandits. The global community, more especially the US and European rights watchdogs, have not exactly covered themselves with glory by remaining mute spectators to the brutal suppression of an entire tribe.

Modi referred to Balochistan in his 2016 Independence Day address, the first ever by any prime minister of India, acknowledging its unrelenting, decades-long struggle for justice and restoration of rights. He also sent an unmistakable if subtle message to Pakistan, signaling a shift in India’s stand. In 2017, Brahumdagh Bugti, founder of the Baloch Republican Party and living in exile, perhaps encouraged by the stand, sought Indian citizenship for himself and his trusted aides Sher Muhammad Bugti and Azizullah Bugti. Once granted, it would have considerably strengthened the Baloch moment. But then vote bank politics, sneaking in through the back door, perhaps derailed the possibility, dashing the fond hopes of millions of freedom loving people.

If Islamabad cries wolf every so often regarding the alleged excesses of Muslims in India, should New Delhi not hold it accountable for a drastic reduction in the population of Hindus…

One of the analysts went as far as to suggest that approving Bugti’s bid would have ‘delegitimized’ their struggle in Pakistani eyes. The point here is that if fanatical elements are being freely indoctrinated on its soil to revive the Khalistan movement in India, evoking memories of the bloodletting and devastation of the late 1980s, then the political dispensation would have been well within its rights to grant citizenship and strengthen the hands of oppressed people. Did India not welcome the Dalai Lama and make him one of its own, on humanitarian grounds and in open defiance of Chinese dictates, a far reaching decision for which Nehru is rightly lauded? Considerations of vote bank politics should now be brushed aside, keeping the larger national interests in mind.

Allah Nazar Baloch, a leader of the Balochistan Liberation Front, recalled Pakistani army’s savagery towards his people and how they cumulatively slaughtered 45 members of his own extended family, including two siblings and five nephews. Still not satisfied, these psychopaths in khaki abducted his ailing wife and infant daughter to inflict unspeakable psychological tortures on the leader, besides bombing his home town relentlessly. How can the western world and its entire  human rights ecosystem so blithely overlook the infamy of the most depraved bunch of humans, masquerading as soldiers, with the blood of three million innocent Bengalis on their heads, yet go out of their way demonize the Indian Army in Kashmir. 

The Pakistani Army has staged a number of operations to quell rebellions by the ethnic groups, demanding a greater share of Baloch resources. Hundreds of bodies have been dumped in mass graves in areas like Quetta, Qalat, Khuzdar and Makran, places associated with their long struggle. Islamabad, sitting on the region’s huge natural resources, including Reko Diq, a goldmine, reportedly worth $100 billion, would never countenance sharing it with Balochis. The tribal group, belonging to a radically different culture, clime, language and history, too equally repudiates the Punjabi occupiers, who forcibly annexed their independent sovereign state, at gunpoint, after the Baloch Assembly rejected the suggestion to join Pakistan.

If Islamabad cries wolf every so often regarding the alleged excesses of Muslims in India, should New Delhi not hold it accountable for a drastic reduction in the population of Hindus from a substantive 20 percent at independence, to a miniscule two percent on its soil, currently. Are their human rights of any less consequence than that of the Islamists? Has the community become the victim of mass executions like the Shias and Hazras, Balochis, Ahmediahs, Mohajirs and other minorities? Obviously they could not have vanished into the thick air on their own.

The Imran Khan government never took the initiative to deliver justice to the aggrieved Sikhs on its own, but acted only after being compelled by the international community.

What is more, Pakistan remained supremely unconcerned about the brazen abduction of a 19-year-old Sikh girl, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim boy.  Like so many other conversions of Hindu and Christian girls in the past. However, the girl was restored to her parents, according to the latest reports.

The Imran Khan government never took the initiative to deliver justice to the aggrieved Sikhs on its own, but acted only after being compelled by the international community. Islamabad’s thundering silence for days on end speaks volumes about its upholding the law of jungle and the bid to target Indic religions. Will the Luytens media ever question the Pakistani mullahs’ act of trampling on the human rights of the minority communities? At about the same time, their counterparts at the New York Times (NYT), a bastion of colonial supremacy, published a clumsily argued piece by Imran Khan, imparting lessons to India on the no first use of nuclear option, especially in the wake of Article 370’s removal.

The hypocrisy of the US daily, for its seemingly liberal values, becomes apparent when it is willing to stand by the forces steeped in medieval age barbarism. Other American media outlets too jumped into the fray, playing up the write-ups of Khan and his diplomats, besides equating Gujarat with Nazism. Could there have been a more absurd analogy?

Islamabad habitually approaches international forums, rights watchdogs and civil liberties groups in Europe, with a litany of complaints regarding the alleged suppression of Kashmiris. Their spin doctors blow up every trifling episode into an event of  global magnitude to demonize the Indian Army and circulate fake reports about growing intolerance, secure in the Goebbelsian belief that a lie repeated a thousand times assumes the force of truth. Should India not, after playing the victim card for several decades, take a leaf out of their book and highlight the horrific truth about Balochis’ systematic exploitation, their mass executions and the open loot and plunder of their resources, on world platforms.

Creating a climate against an unrepentant rogue state, which will not allow it to thrive at the cost of the Republic, should be the top priority of the present dispensation. It is time to pay back Pakistan in the same coin, but on the side of righteousness, because it is a matter of survival of dharmic values.

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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.

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Sudip Talukdar

is an author and strategic affairs columnist.

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7 thoughts on “Should India exercise the Baloch card?

  1. Way back in August 2006 the then prime minister Manmohan Singh, while responding to a question whether he would meet Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf at the coming Havana summit, said we can choose our friends but not our neighbours. “Baatcheet karne ke liye kisi ko koi itraj nahin hona chaiye. (There should be no problem in talking with someone). But if Pakistan does not take effective steps to ‘control’ terrorist activities, peace process cannot simply progress.”

    Time and again Pakistan has proven that it is in their interest to create trouble on the border to stay centre-stage on the world forum. By abrogating article 370 India has done what it determines as the best option for its people, its sovereignty. If the events of cross border activity and threats continue the way they have over the last many decades, especially the last few weeks, then it should not hesitate in evaluating and exercising the BALOCH CARD.

  2. This is just an empty rhetoric to flag “… Baloch card?”. Of course one can make noise, but no diplomacy can succeed without backed up military prowess which is lacking for India here. Balochis are sandwiched between Iran and Pak with no land conduit from India for supply of weapons. Thus these people are being squeezed from both sides in a helpless situation. Recently, The US has declared BLA as a terrorist outfit – India is in no position to counter that. Modi is on wrong tracks after his masterstroke of abrogating Art 370. Here is the pointer:

    “In the late 1940s, under Anglo-American pressure, Jawaharlal Nehru took the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council. At that time too, New Delhi made a conscious decision not to offend the West by seeking help from the USSR. (The Cold War had erupted by then.) It was left, finally, to the then-ambassador to the Soviet Union, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan … to take the personal initiative, somewhat impromptu (and without Nehru’s prior approval) to make a démarche seeking Soviet help, during a meeting in Moscow with Andrey Vyshinsky, foreign minister (1949-1953) under Josef Stalin.
    The Soviets began using their veto power to bail out India from the Anglo-American entrapment on the Kashmir issue from that point onward. By then, of course, the great damage was already done – the Security Council had already adopted the controversial resolutions (sponsored by the US and UK) on holding a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, which haunt India to this day. Alas, Nehru too was influenced largely by the pro-Western coterie among the Indian foreign-policy elite that surrounded him at that time.”

    Hopefully, Delhi will wake up to the real world as to reverse its decision “The real big surprise is that the logistics agreement that had been expected to be signed during Modi’s visit stands deferred” as set out here:

    https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/09/opinion/why-kashmir-is-casting-a-shadow-on-india-russia-ties/

      • My gut feeling is that Modi is not going to succumb to international bullying or pressure in the UNSC by China or the Anglo-American clique finally. But in international media virulent anti-India campaign has been unleashed that must be effectively countered by Delhi. Otherwise Modi will get bogged down in a vicious quagmire. To my understanding to date India is very defensive and the diplomats are lacking real vision in the context. This has been pointed out by Claude Arpi in his blog. Delhi should have called a media presentation of India’s stance immediately after Aug 5 to set the historical record straight to the world at large, that Maharajah’s accession took place in 1947 (or 1948?) signing the very same document which all other Princes signed. The Art 370 came into existence only in 1954 and was recorded as “transient and temporary” in the constitution. And that happened by a Presidential decree without calling a referendum of the people in the state. Furthermore, Sheikh Abdullah was imprisoned on the urging by the then cabinet minister Rafi Ahmed Kidwai for destroying the “State Records of Kashmir” etc etc. And as such, Art 370 was irrelevant for the “accession of Maharajah’s Kashmir” to the Indian Union. I think it is going to be a long haul for India now until the political turbulence settles down.

  3. Modi if you are listening, stop Pakistani terrorists at the LOC, 100%. Give free hand to the armed forces to do their job. Meaning zero infiltration and yes leave the dead bodies of the Pakistani terrorists where they are brought down, as proof, for the international media. The Pakistani military has no other mission than using Kashmir as the reason for spending half the national budget. With article 35A and 370 scrapped, they have no place to hide. Pushing terrorists across LOC is the only option for which India must raise the ante. In addition to teamwork with Israel on tactics and weapons, plan other Ballekots for retaliation. This time deep into Pakistan similar to Bin Laden raid by American Seals.

  4. Excellent points brought out in this article which should be read by our our NSA team. Pakistan will never change. We can expect more terror on our soil and though we have managed to deflect many attacks by catching the perpetrators beforehand , Pakistan will keep trying till it succeeds. We need to make it so costly for them that they will never do it again. World should unite in this cause.

  5. Protecting Indians or Indian origin people especially Hindus is the prime duty of India(Hindu majority nation). It is the present government(BJP) that has tried to do it’s duty.

    So when you ask “should Baloch card be exercised ?”. I think you are being funny. It is not a card game. It is something that the government-nation must do with each and every breath for its people, not just its people in Baloch but people everywhere in the world. I believe that you are asking this question because you are from old times when all previous goverments failed to do it.

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