Pressure is mounting on India from political parties and the public to retaliate after the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops near the line of control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
The killing of the soldiers, who were then beheaded, is the 12th such incident since the 1999 Kargil war and the third since India’s “surgical strikes” on terrorists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in September last year. It also represents a clear violation of the Geneva convention.
The Pakistani army is reported to have engaged ‘mujahideen’ or Muslim guerrillas along with its regulars in the Border Action Team (BAT) in a well-planned cross-border raid. The BAT pushed its way 250 meters inside India’s territory and ambushed a patrol party of the Indian army and Border Security Force around 8.30am.
New Delhi is intrigued that the attack came a day after Pakistan’s military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the LoC in PoK to express solidarity with Kashmiris’ struggle against the Indian state.
The Pakistani army has denied the cross-border attack and beheading, saying it respects “even” Indian soldiers.
India has warned of an “appropriate” response to the “dastardly act” so that the sacrifice of the two soldiers Prem Sagar and Paramjeet Singh is not in vain.
By beheading the two soldiers, Pakistan has closed the door to peace talks with India and provoked its neighbour.
Pakistan has consistently sent terrorists across the border under the cover of fire to keep Kashmir on the boil. Reports indicate India may launch a major offensive soon to prevent any such attacks in the near future. Doing so would internationalize the Kashmir issue.
If India goes down that route, it may also lose the last chance to save Khulbushan Jadhav, the former navy officer who faces a death sentence in Pakistan for “spying” and sabotage. Reports from Islamabad indicate he may be hanged in six months.
Opposition parties in India may step up attacks on the Narendra Modi government if India delays any offensive against Pakistan or fails to save Jadhav from the gallows. To escape blame, Modi may give the military a free hand to deal with the situation.
Opposition parties in India may step up attacks on the Narendra Modi government if India delays any offensive against Pakistan or fails to save Jadhav from the gallows
The two-day visit of Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat to Kashmir on Monday and the meetings of Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra with Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on Tuesday assume significance in the wake of the killings.
Chief Minister of Jammu Kashmir and leader of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti has blamed the federal government’s weak policies for Monday’s attack. Her criticism comes amid reports that all is not well between the PDP and its alliance partner, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the federal government may impose President’s rule in the state to tackle unrest in the Kashmir Valley.
Visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in an interview to a channel, called for “multilateral dialogue” between India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir issue.
India reminded Turkey that while it advocates “multilateral dialogue” to tackle terrorism, the Kashmir issue has to be resolved through bilateral talks.