Endangering peace in South Asia The vibes in south Asia are pretty clear now
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The vibes in south Asia are pretty clear now; a nationalist, jingoistic and intelligence-led mindset in New Delhi has turned Afghanistan into the centerpiece of its policy on Pakistan. Regardless of how they position themselves henceforth, the world should not be surprised if the current simmering tensions blew into armed hostilities. The string of statements from Modi, his foreign and defense ministers, as well as Ajit Doval (the former spymaster and now the national security advisor); in the last three weeks, the vitriolic Pakistan-bashing in Kabul, and the continued demonization of Pakistan in Dhaka reflect a well-knit string of fire around Pakistan Imtiaz Gul very aptly wrote: “This encirclement – if planned the way it appears today – does not bode well for the South Asian region, with a fragile Afghanistan still caught up in the vicious cycle of insurgency. Afghanistan has upstaged Kashmir and emerged as the critical link in what could be called the triangle of tribulation consisting of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – a region currently being stoked by the nationalist Modi, ably supported by an ‘intelligence’ mindset.
Coincidentally, Modi’s Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina Wajid minces no words and spares no opportunity in demonizing Pakistan. Her narrative revolves around Pakistan-bashing – wherever and whenever possible. And this fits into nationalist Indians’ recipe on how to deal with Pakistan. In February 2014, Doval had practically outlined what we see today – in the 10th Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture to Indian students at SASTRA University. Ajit Doval advocated the use of what he termed a “defensive offensive mode”, a “fourth generation war” which would bypass the deterrence posed by Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, to attack Pakistan’s vulnerabilities. “It can be economic, internal security, political, their isolation internationally, or exposing their terrorist activities, or defeating their policies in Afghanistan, making it difficult for them to manage internal political balance or internal security.”
And next door in Kabul, the Indian reservations on an NDS-ISI cooperation deal generated into a political storm that almost toppled President Ashraf Ghani, who not only had to postpone his visit to Doha, Qatar for possible peace talks with Taliban but also had to replace the NDS deputy to neutralize the vicious opposition to the memorandum of understanding between the two intelligence agencies. Ironically, and interestingly for Pakistan, Mr Modi and his colleagues have indeed done a great service in uniting a.) The political leadership from all shades, and b.) Brought the civilian and military leadership closer than ever before.”
It has been reliably learnt that Pakistan is now actively considering taking up the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi about India role in breaking up Pakistan and creating Bangladesh and the evidence of ongoing interference through proxy terrorism in Pakistan at the United Nations.
In his speech at Dhaka University, Narendra Modi publically accepted the Indian government and its people’s role in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. A few days later, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that terrorists had to be neutralized only through terrorists thereby implying that his country will not resist from sponsoring terrorism in other countries. He further said, “We should do it. Why does my soldier have to do it?” Ikram Sehgal writes, “The present architect of India’s “hybrid warfare” “seeking to inflict pain” (in his own words) on Pakistan is Ajit Doval (Modi’s National Security Adviser). He is well aware that Parrikar’s statement was a true reflection of how India perpetuates hegemony (or tries to) on the States on its periphery. Trying to tone down the controversy, Parrikar said he was “only in favour of targeted strikes based on intelligence and not covert operations undertaken by civilians or militia”, his U-turn was an afterthought. Pakistan has persistently maintained that RAW (and other Indian intelligence agencies) have been targeting Pakistan since the 1965 Indo-Pak War. A recent documentary by BBC reported that MQM (a political party based in Karachi) has been receiving financial assistance from RAW (Indian intelligence agency). Legal experts in international law believe that what Modi said in Dhaka tantamount to self indictment in an act of interference in another country. Under international law this was the most blatant violation of the basic block of the UN- the principle of non interference. According to UN resolution 1373 passing such statements coupled with reported incidents of Indian interference in the country clearly suggested that India was effectively obstructing Pakistan’s ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.