Though you’ll only find discrete murmurings on the subject, especially in the inflamed Indian press, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gambit to “internationalize” Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan in his August 15 Independence Day speech and in contemporaneous private but widely reported remarks to the BJP does not appear to be some of his best work.
His pious declarations of solidarity with the people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan not only provoked Pakistan’s anxiety over an India threat to its territorial sovereignty and virtual existence; it also put the PRC on notice that Modi was inviting further instability at both the northern and southern ends of the cherished China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which enters Pakistan at G-B in the north and terminates at Gwadar Port in Balochistan in the south.
And so the PRC has put its marker down on Kashmir in Pakistan’s favor, despite a spate of terror attacks against Indian forces in Kashmir.
Pakistan apparently did not stand idly by after August 15, as it seems likely that the deadly attack at Uri on September 18 in Jammu and Kashmir was a riposte to Modi’s more aggressive anti-Pakistan tack.
A retaliatory cycle was, predictably, the order of the day.
A plausible timeline of events is Modi’s speeches begat Uri which begat the cross LoC raid which begat the October 2 attack on Baramulla which will beget…?
An interesting subtext to the increased tempo of militant attacks in Kashmir is that the Indian military is getting freaked out.
First Post reported the Baramulla incident, an unsuccessful attack this weekend that nevertheless killed one BSF (Border Security Force) soldier, like this:
The file clips that television channels kept showing during Sunday night’s attack on armed forces camps in Baramulla did not begin to do justice to what was actually happening. Those who saw it at ground zero say that it was like Diwali [the Festival of Lights].
The divisional headquarters is right across the river from the Rashtriya Rifles and Border Security Force camps that were attacked. Apparently, army men opened up with whatever they had, firing from all directions. Some of those who heard the gunfire from up close say they must have heard the sound of no less than 3,000 bullets, and perhaps a dozen much louder blasts — no doubt from mortar shells.
There were also preliminary reports, later indignantly rebutted, that some Indian casualties were due to friendly fire.
Other than issues of fire discipline, there is also the matter that Baramulla is not a military camp near the Line of Control. It’s a sizable town with a population of over 100,000 about 35 miles from Srinagar, inviting speculation that the attack was staged by a sleeper cell in town and not via a border infiltration.
Edgy troops plus a persistent large-scale resistance movement plus cross border attacks plus internal subversion in Kashmir is a combustible mixture.
And it looks like Pakistan is probably interested in flicking a few matches at the problem. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened a meeting of the parliamentary parties on October 3 to demonstrate a united front — including seemingly sincere declarations of solidarity from his many enemies including the PPP — on the issue of Kashmir.
Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was part of the meeting, said: “Despite our differences with the government on multiple issues, we are with you, Prime Minister.”
The PPP supports Sharif and the party has taken “a clear stance on these issues”, Zardari said, telling the leaders that current tension between the two countries “is a turning point in Pak-India relations.”
The leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party referenced Modi’s Baloch gambit, stating: Qureshi added that the situation in Balochistan should be kept separate from the ongoing situation in Kashmir. “Kashmir is an internationally-recognized dispute whereas Balochistan is a part of our sovereign nation,” he said.
The meeting was a convincing rebuttal to the claim that Pakistan’s fiddling in Kashmir is solely a preoccupation of Pakistan’s deep state apparatus composed of Pakistan’s military, the ISI, and its bespoke jihadi assets.
I would conclude that Modi’s plan to escalate the confrontation with Pakistan –by raising Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, by pushing to have Pakistan designated as a terrorist state, and by threatening to revisit the Indus Waters Treaty– has had the unwelcome side effect of uniting Pakistan’s civilian and military establishment against what they perceive as a burgeoning existential Indian threat to Pakistan’s territorial and political integrity.
Therefore, in my opinion there is a high degree of unity in supporting of exploiting the primary Indian weakness accessible to Pakistan — Kashmir — with a strategy that previously would have seemed unacceptably reckless: encouraging unrest in IOK to distract, punish, and bleed India.
India does not display the same degree of unity and determination of purpose.
The Uri raid triggered national outrage, and India’s retaliatory “surgical strike” across the Line of Control was a source of national exultation after years of diffident responses to terrorist outrages. Modi’s prestige and popularity has increased, and the BJP and the nationalist press have been boosting the current aggressive line…but finding it necessary to police individuals who display inadequate enthusiasm.
Beneath the current fervor, there is a moderate, accommodationist strain that would like to see a new normal of “tit-for-tat” proportional retaliation between two nuclear-armed states with a manageable level of hostility, not pursuit of a grand strategy to escalate confrontation until Pakistan is somehow compelled to reform its regional security infrastructure to a point that satisfies India or face extinction.
This also appears to be the current stance of both the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
The United States, while supporting to a certain extent India’s drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, categorically denied support for Balochistan independence.
As for China, it took the opportunity offered by Pakistan and India sending security officials to Beijing to make its feelings known.
India’s envoy, R.N. Ravi, head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was in Beijing to discuss cooperation on counter-terrorism. If his goal was to convince the PRC that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir was a matter of paramount concern justifying a global united front against Pakistan as a terrorism-sponsoring state, apparently it was no sale.
The PRC appears to have been more receptive to a visit from a Pakistan special envoy for Kashmir who met with a Vice Minister from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on September 28. The envoy gave an exclusive interview to Chinese state media with the message:
Bakhtyar alluded to Vice Minister Liu as saying that Kashmir was a historical issue and that China valued Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. He said that Liu urged both India and Pakistan to handle the differences through dialogue, improve their bilateral ties and protect the region’s peace and stability.
At a subsequent press conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson responded to a query with a striking reply that characterized Kashmir as “a left-over from history”:
China has been following the Kashmir situation and takes seriously Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. China believes that the Kashmir issue is a left-over from history which shall be resolved by relevant parties through dialogue and consultation. China hopes that Pakistan and India will strengthen channels for dialogue, properly handle their differences, improve bilateral relations and together protect the regional peace and stability.
One message, I think, is that the PRC is anxious to see the Kashmir issue resolved to remove an impediment to the passage of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor through Gilgit-Baltistan. It’s also probably a public signal to Pakistan that it should abandon its dreams of wresting IOK away from India and instead claim the alphabetic consolation prizes G-B, POK, and the CPEC.
However, the key message was not a rebuke of Pakistan, in my opinion, but a pointed affirmation of the statements made by the Pakistan envoy concerning bilateral talks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed PRC was on the same page with Pakistan and repudiating Modi’s strategy of trying to ostracize Pakistan.
Thanks to Modi putting Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan “in play”, the PRC probably regards Modi’s push against Pakistan as a two-edged sword, attacking Pakistan to please the Pakistan hawks and balking China to please the China hawks, and is in no mood to condone or enable further Indian militancy.
In my opinion, as long as Modi fulminates against Pakistan, the PRC will tend to be bloody-minded on Kashmir, considering the unrest there — including the cycle of retaliatory attacks between Pakistan militant assets and Indian security forces — as a suitable rebuke and encouragement for India to switch to a negotiated track.
As long as containment is maintained — the retaliatory strikes by both sides stay inside Kashmir i.e. across the Line of Control but not inside Pakistan or India and are proportional — the PRC will tend to view them with relative equanimity.
In other words, the PRC is not likely to throw Pakistan under the bus, as the India hawks profess to believe, for the sake of excellent relations with Mother India.
And if India makes concrete moves threatening Balochistan, the southern segment of the CPEC, then the PRC probably regards whatever horrors get dished out within India and not just IOK as regrettable but understandable collateral damage of a misguided and adventurist Indian policy.
Perhaps Modi understands that he has few favorable degrees of freedom left in pushing forward his foreign policy and it might be prudent to wind down the cycle of retaliation. Let’s hope so.
However, it will be difficult if not impossible for Modi to deescalate to negotiations, simply because he has now staked his foreign policy on international ostracism of Pakistan as a renegade state sponsor of terrorism, and has based his ambitions for Indian “rise” on marginalization of the PRC and its local friends and the acknowledgement of India as the hegemon in South Asia.
And since Pakistan now has a strong incentive to disregard any PRC calls for restraint and instead persist with “price tag” mischief in Kashmir, the recurrence of incidents that inflame Indian public and political opinion — and demand retaliation — is likely.
History may judge that Modi bit off more than he could chew with his August 15 speech and the drive to humble Pakistan.
However, if modern history has taught us anything, relatively high-functioning superpowers like India can usually impose flawed and unpopular policies — or at very least persist in them even when they aren’t working.
Smaller, unpopular, and dysfunctional powers like Pakistan are usually unable to get things to go their way even when their policies are effective in theory and command a high degree of national support.
Modi is a bit out on a limb. But he probably thinks it is thick and sturdy enough not to break under his weight, and that China and Pakistan are not going to saw it off.
So he does not have to climb down.
Peter Lee runs the China Matters blog. He writes on the intersection of US policy with Asian and world affairs.
PM Modi is under pressure to commit troops for US & Anglo Empire,along with Japan & India they will commit troops china should be concerned as economic blockade will take place by putting embargoes on chinese exports as it eats into Japan,India,Korean,American,Australian business.The reason Japan,Korea,EU have been having recession for 2 decades is because of china since china inhibits the prosperity & a unfair trade player America will go to contain them now or they will sink into oblivion.
India will get Military AID/Soft Loans from Japan,America & a few rich countries if its budget cannot larger military spend for 1-2 decades for modernization.The Indian public anyway has been prepared that Geo politics has changed for past 1 decade so they will commit Military resources now along with few periphery countries a few collateral damages they will be willing to bear.
Why give a Hindu alias sir. And if India is threatened with terrorism we can impose costs too. It is a long game and let’s see how it pans out. Pakistan is like a cancer to India and inshallah we will teach it a lesson it will not forget.
Hopefulully we will do to your country what you did to Afghanistan and India in the past 30 years. But alas our political class is busy bickering over UP elections.
End of the day china has to realize one thing it is irrelevant for India since Indian exports to china is hardly 10 billion dollars or 3% of all its exports,Being a second biggest economy of the world if u just do 10 billion exports how does it matter if India loses that trade also…however china stands to lose a lot since India,vietnam,japan & usa gives it a trade surplus of 600 billion a year so there is incentive to ban chinese products & build eco systems elsewhere.That is what new US administration will focus on & India,Japan,Vietnam will support it for their own selfish economic goal also.
Peter: Out of the entire article one thing I agree with you and that is if PAK do not accept the solution already negotiated with Pak under simla agreement and revisited under Musharaff, CPEC is dead and under the water and India will not idly standby when China start throwing its weight around south China sea. China can enjoy the few years but her time will come and you will be tainted by Pakistan. China need to worry about restive Tibet and Uighurs minorities. It is high time to convince your all weather ally Pakistan to see the light of the day. India from this point forward is a different country and is not going to put up lots of double talks and shenanigans either from China or Pak.
So you think India will treat Tibiten and Uygers better? Have your Kashmir much recently? Or Pakistan? Those suppose to be you brothers…. Have you signal out enough oriental looking women to rape recenly?
Jo Snow We canot make up our mind because you did not show your face. We are treating Tibetan better for years. Your holiness Dalai Lama is ever present in India showering blessing of Buddha on you and Peter. As far as Uighurs are concerned, they are Muslims and you need to ask them, if they want to join Jehadi Pakistan or dictator Erdogan of Turkey ? Both decisions are welcome as the world is getting tired on princling XI’s hold on chinese people who are crtying for freedom. When are you going to let out the captured Hong Kong book seller ?
It is amazing that it is not rather obvious that this is nothing more then a game. A game played by four key parties in Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But, perhaps it is for the best that the game is so full of drama, that will destact various parties long enough until it is time to open cards. India, Pakistan, China and Russia are the key players here. Iran, Kazakhstan and the rest of Central Asia are backers.
It is not a secret that the key is Afghanistan, and pan-Asian security. The rest of it — props in the play.
To start — it is not a secret that in Pakistan there is a small but powerful elite that is tied to Saudi and US interests by money-for-terror business, or terror barrons. The predominant ruling circles that took Pakistan into SCO fold, and is receiving the support from SCO — now has to tackle this segment of the elite. Without getting rid of it — Pakistan cannot be a factor in economic development or pan-Asian security structure. It is as simple as that.
Economic corridor is not just an incentive, but is also a bait and a bat. In ratcheting up the tensions with Pakistan, Modi is doing his part. The ruling elite in Pakistan now has to consolidate its power in order to counter "the threat". Modi is raising decibels, and Pakistani terror infrustructure is acting predicably, with their cheerleaders in goverment and military, as they did in the past. But now — India is not a cautious, predictable power. Any outrage terror barrons dish out – is making a stronger case for India. These terror barrons of Pakistani politics are now showing their stupidity — as they are now consolidating the legitimate role of Government to control the military, and deal with the response. India is bringing more and more pressure, including internal Pakistani problems. Business elite in Pakistan is not thrilled. They will have to now support the Government to take charge — giving it more power. This is now Pakistani Government’s trump card — as it brings support from accross political spectrum.
Once in control, Government can start making changes in security arena. And it can do it legitimately by pointing out to the real risks to Pakistan for not having the control of the militants. The money elite in Pakistan will have to strenghten their collective spine, and not think that it is a vicimless crime when winking and nodding to the terror barrons. Time for them to hide behind the Government, in the name of defending Pakistan. This is the process we are seeing. More and more opposition swearing allegiance to the Government.
While China is NOT joining the call for the global condemnation of Pakistan, it is nonetheless VERY clear about the threat of terrorism in Pakistan. And China has not been shy to point a finger at specific ones. This strenghtens the Government hand and weakens terror barrons, dependent on both foreign and domestic money. They are losing now on ideological grounds, security and economic grounds. How strong are they? Time will tell, so Modi — keep on hyping anything that comes to mind.
The prospects of integrating its economy into Asia are too attractive for the Pakistani elite — both money and intellectual — to lose. In Pakistan however, the terror barron money swamp needs to be dried up by stronger government and scared money elite. They need to control the threats coming from "out of control" Modi. Hence, thank you Modi.
Keep in mind, Pakistani political elite made its strategic decision a few years ago in ascending to SCO permanent membeship — together with India. That is not a debate club, but a future pan-Asian security structure. So, the task of tackling the money behind terror groups — has started. To make sure that Pakistan is not feeling isolated, it held first ever military drills with Russia — and Russia refrained from terror lectures. Then, to make sure the world is disabused of premature thoughts of some new alliances — weeks later, India and Russia sign what amounts to a pact, in both energy and military fields. Russia just came out of joint China-Russia naval drills in — South China Sea. As India and Russia held miltiary drills in Russia’s Far East..
What it means is — Modi’s limb he is sitting on is VERY sturdy. He taunts US partner to do something about terrorism in Paksitan. But those terror barrons are the THE ONLY leverage some powers have over Pakistan. So, the tepid response by US to Modi’s cheerfull Pakistan bashing — is understandable. US cannot affor to cut the rickety limb it is sitting on in Pakistan. The limb that will fall anyway as the "unity" Goverment takes more control.
You sound like a person who can fall out of the boat, and miss the ocean. Take a good look at the REAL actions of all the participans. Not what they say, but what they do — and what committments they make. The reason for the depression of all the economies dependent on US economy is not unknown. Financial structures that fueled "growth" are now costraining it. None of this has anything to do with real economy. The key to real economy is to insure a stable pan-Asian security structure, one that is friendly and open to the world, but not dependent on out-of-Asia security guaranties. That would allow for different economic development models accross a vast Eurasian continent, not tied to the existing structures. Opening up the potential of this amazingly rich in resources and in people region of the globe — could be the engine of global economy for centuries to come. But it will not be handed out on a silver platter. For this, Asian countires will have to work — wisely, patiently and with a common vision in mind. I see the outlines of this taking shape, but like anything else in the process of changing — it is confusing and meandering. There is nonetheless a force that is binding this trend together.
I think long game is this ….if u need to hide crimes you need support of americans everyone in pakistan knew about bangladesh genocide but since they had support of american they could hide it,every one knew chinese sufferred more than 2 million casualty in indonesia but since america supported them they could hide it from the world every one in russia,india,china knows why war in yemen will be suppressed & war in syria will be blown out of proportion.Indian rationalization that least evil are the British & Americans is what is guiding their policies.
I think what Indians will do is please the americans,japanese,french,russians & get waiver for selling nuke weapons to burma,thailand & vietnam who will all test thermo nukes that is how they will escalate tensions with chinese.If the chinese think they have monopoly for evil they don’t have a clue how evil,vicious & spiteful Indians,Japanese & Americans/British will be to them.
The title of this article should be ‘China lends itself as a crutch to Pakistan’. Modi critics at home saw him hyphenating with Pakistan by internationalizing the terror, perhaps he his unwittingly exposing the deep embrace and hyphenation of its pretentious neighbours and their evil collaboration to the Indian public and political discourse as never before.
Please do not refer to Jammu & Kashmir that lawfully acceded to India as IOK & POK unlike China that forcibly occupied Tibet & Pakistan that took Balochistan by force. India does not refer to Tibet as ‘ChinaAdministeredTibet’ or Balochistan as ‘PakAdministeredBalochistan’
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