Understanding Pulwama and Beyond

Author Name: Asad-Ullah-Khan      23 Feb 2021     Regional security/Region

According to renowned British strategist Sir James Cable, “the nuclearization of the subcontinent may have prevented the risks of full-scale or conventional war, but it has also “provided a kind of greenhouse in which lesser conflicts can flourish”. This observation holds true in the backdrop of persistent sub-conventional conflicts and the dangers of their escalation which can lead to a crisis between the two immediate neighbors, Pakistan and India, in South Asia. In this regard, both the nuclear states need to deal with their disagreements in a diagnostic way rather than prescriptive manner. Whereas, it has been observed over the past decades that India has always misread the situation and responded in irresponsible manner to the detriment of crisis stability and conflict management.

Scholars have also underscored that the roots of Pakistan India rivalry lie in nationalism in both countries, however the significance of each move taken by India in order to assert itself as a regional hegemon in South Asia is also an important factor to understand its aims and ambitions in the region. Every step taken by India against Pakistan has left Pakistan with no other option than to react to defend its sovereignty and preserve integrity as was demonstrated on the 27 February, 2019 in the form of Operation Swift Retort.

Every false flag operation conducted by India is specifically designed to blame Pakistan as a terrorism sponsoring state but whenever the operation is analyzed it reveals that the real beneficiary from the attack is always India itself. Moreover, associating every incident with the framework of terrorism alone blur the broader picture of what India is trying to achieve from its hostile acts. As the second anniversary of the Pulwama has just passed, it is evident that during past two years the world has seen how Pakistan’s warnings were validated i.e. India staged the false flag operation in order to create solid grounds to suppress the issue of Kashmir and to tag Pakistan as terrorism sponsoring state.

On the pretext of Pulwama incident, India justified its unconstitutional and illegal acts of snatching autonomy when it abrogated articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution. Additionally, India has commenced demographic changes through promulgation in the form of new domicile laws and new land laws passed in October, 2020. Before Pulwama the Kashmiri struggle in IIOJK was seen as a struggle between rebellion and revolt but this particular incident has labeled the Kashmiri struggle as a terrorist movement which is a question mark on the morality and ethical standards of the Indian nation. Simultaneously, it is also a challenge for the Western world to justify their silence over the grave human rights violations committed by India in IIOJK.

The Indian polity with the help of war frenzy media houses is engaged in preparing and propagating False Flag Operations against Pakistan. Moreover, each operation of India is a proof of strategic failure and irresponsible behavior exposed by its own internal reports and investigations. The recent WhatsApp leaks of the famous Indian journalist Arnab Goswami clearly showed how India used Pulwama incident to stage 26th February, 2019 Ariel attack on Pakistan that was poorly planned and executed. The Modi-Media nexus is using Indian media as a tool to impose Hindutva ideology drafted by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is a declared terrorist organization and believed to be involved in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

It is pertinent to note here that in late 2018, Pakistan facilitated the Sikh community of India by building Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, a sacred site for Sikhs. It was widely appreciated by the Sikhs and international community as the main goal of Pakistan behind opening this corridor was to reduce the friction in the relations between both states. However, the Hindutva led extremist forces were never happy in India from this win-win sentiment in both the nations. Therefore, such extremist forces in India pushed both states on the verge of full-scale war to spoil bilateral peace achieved over the past few years.

The timing of Indian false flag operations is also interesting as it is mostly synchronized with upcoming electoral events shaping the trajectory of domestic politics. For instance Pulwama was staged months before 2019 general elections when government wanted to cover up its governance failures. BJP tried to manipulate anti- Pakistan sentiments in a bid to achieve Hindu patriotic mobilization.

It must be noted that the current BJP government has produced the effect of provocation, alienation and mobilization in its own society. For instance, amendment in Citizenship Act triggered riots in Delhi by certain classes. Kashmiris and Indian Muslims were alienated in their own homeland by bringing illegal changes in laws and the imposition of curfew in Kashmir. Similarly, Indian act of attacking Pakistan’s territory irrationally, provoked the leadership in Islamabad and was left with no choice but to retaliate to the Indian aggression.

To conclude, Pulwama incident and its aftermath was manageable only if India acted responsibly in a prudent manner. In addition to this for the future of conflict management between Pakistan and India it is worrisome that the Kashmir dispute, the traditional flashpoint of the conflict, has not seen any forward movement. While Pakistan stands ready to engage constructively for conflict management and dispute resolution in South Asia, India remains reluctant. Unless New Delhi, being the largest South Asian state, shows inclination to dialogue, crises will be recurring in the region.


Asad Ullah Khan is a senior researcher at Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS). The article was first published in Pakistan OBSERVER. He can be reached ar cass.thinkers@gmail.com


Image source: https://time.com/5564980/india-never-shot-pakistani-plane-kashmir/


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