India has a long history of aggressions against Pakistan since its inception in August 1947. Soon after partition, India burdened Pakistan with plethora of unsettling problems and then forced a war on newly born Pakistan in October 1947 by making illegal intrusion in princely state of Kashmir that was to become part of Pakistan in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris and laws framed for princely states by outgoing British rulers. India then closed water canals and imposed trade war to suffocate Pakistan economically. In 1951, Indian military carried out huge deployment all along Pakistan’s border to coerce Pakistan and force it to withdraw its support for Kashmir. Between 1948 and 1954, umpteen proposals made by the UN to solve Kashmir dispute were rejected by India on one plea or another while Pakistan accepted all the proposals. In 1954, Nehru took a sudden u-turn on his pledge he made to allow right of self determination to the people of Kashmir and started claiming that Kashmir was integral part of India. Pakistan’s alliance with the US was touted as a threat to India and a reason to backpedal from the commitment.
During 1962 Indo-China border conflict when Pakistan had a golden chance to free two-thirds Kashmir under Indian control, Nehru had it conveyed through President Kennedy that if Pakistan didn’t exploit the situation he would fulfill his promise of plebiscite under UN supervision. But once India got out of trouble, Nehru once again backtracked and Bhutto-Swaran Singh several rounds of talks proved inconclusive. Indian forces encroached in Rann of Katch in Sindh in April 1965 forcing Pakistan to retaliate and push back the encroachers but left behind Sir Creek issue. Indian Army then made incursions in Azad Kashmir in July 1965 forcing Pakistan to launch its stealthy Operation Gibraltar in August, which led to an all-out war in September. India’s high-flying plans to overwhelm Pakistan failed in the face of extraordinary steely resistance put up by heavily outnumbered Pakistan armed forces in the 17 days high intensity war.
Thereon, India changed its tactics and started subverting East Pakistan through psychological operations to soften the target from within and then launch the hammer. After truncating Pakistan in 1971, India kept 93000 civilian and military prisoners of war till May 1974. India signed Simla Treaty with Pakistan in 1972 to convert ceasefire line in Kashmir into Line of Control (LoC) and to enforce policy of bilateralism designed to keep outside powers from interfering in Kashmir issue. LoC was to be respected by both sides but Indian forces in violation of the agreement occupied important heights across the LoC in Chorbat La sector in 1972.
From 1973 till 1978, India extended support to Balochistan insurgency. In 1974, India carried out overt nuclear test at Pokhran to overawe Pakistan and other South Asian countries. In 1982, Indian forces again violated LoC and captured a post in Kashmir’s Qamar sector. In 1983, India supported Sindhi nationalist movement led by PPP. India also got aligned with Israel to strike Pakistan’s nuclear plant. In April 1984 Indian forces quietly sneaked into Siachin and occupied important heights on Soltoro Range. Indian military carried out inter-service Brass-tacks Exercise in 1986/87 perilously close to Pakistan’s desert belt in Sindh with clear intention of provoking a war. Besides these anti-Pakistan activities, RAW joined hands with KGB and KHAD and indulged in clandestine operations to harm Pakistan throughout the Afghan war in 1980s. RAW imparted training to al-Zulfiqar terrorists in India and launched them for sabotage and subversion purposes in Pakistan till as late as 1993-4.
In 1990, Indian forces heated up Kashmir front in reaction to armed uprising in occupied Kashmir and threatened to annex AJK. India agreed to become a strategic partner of USA on the condition that it distanced itself from Pakistan and stopped supporting Kashmir cause. In connivance with USA, India accused Pakistan of aiding terrorism in occupied Kashmir. Theme of cross border terrorism was hyped so profusely that the US put Pakistan on the watch list of countries abetting terrorism. In May 1998, BJP government in India carried out five nuclear tests and deployed surface-to-surface nuclear tipped Prithvi missiles along the LoC which could strike any city of Pakistan. Jingoistic BJP leaders continued to hurl threats to annex AJK till Pakistan gave a tit-for-tat response, which put sense into their agitating minds and calmed them down. In September 1998, Pak Navy Atlanta aircraft was callously shot down by Indian air force.
Forgetting its several incursions in disputed Kashmir, Indian military over reacted to a small incursion in Dras-Kargil sector in occupied Kashmir in 1999 by using up its entire infantry formations as well as its airpower using Israeli made precision guided missiles to recapture lost heights and also raising hue and cry in the world. Although Pakistan vacated the heights under US pressure, Indian media continued to deprecate Pakistan military by describing Pak Army as a rogue Army and Kashmir freedom movement as terrorism.
In reaction to a terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, India carried out massive deployment all along Pakistan’s border and remained in highly offensive mood for ten months. From 2002 onwards, RAW married up with CIA, Mosad, MI-6, BND, RAAM at Kabul and collectively undertook massive covert war to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and Balkanize Pakistan and is still deeply involved in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi. In order to dupe Pakistan by showing its soft face, India signed peace treaty with Pakistan in January 2004 and agreed to resume stalled composite dialogue and work towards resolution of disputes. However, since it had no intention of resolving any of the issues and wanted to keep the issues in pending tray for times to come, it gave priority to confidence building measures (CBMs).
India has been trying to build confidence through CBMs since 1997 as a prerequisite for solving chronic issues. These were given impetus from 2004 onwards but got nowhere near the core issues. It was like circling around the pole star. Even the first hurdle of lack of trust was not crossed. With trust deficit remaining at the same old level, CBMs couldn’t make any headway and often led to breakdown of talks and at times came close to a clash.
In reaction to terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI were blamed and drums of war sounded. In December 2008, Indian forces once again carried out forward deployment of troops and remained in battle locations till July/August 2009. Composite dialogue was stalled and exerted extreme pressure on Pakistan to hand over accused persons.
In addition to covert war from Afghan soil, India is also involved in cultural invasion to loosen the morals of the youth and to dilute their warrior spirit. India also undertook water terrorism as a tool to coerce Pakistan and restrain her from raising Kashmir issue on international forums. India has resorted to water terrorism. She has already built over 40 small and big dams including Baglihar and Kishanganga dams over Indus, Jhelum and Chenab Rivers despite the fact that Pakistan has exclusive rights over these rivers in accordance with Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960.
India wants to negotiate and settle disputes with Pakistan and is desirous of peace and friendly relations but strictly on its terms. It negotiates only when it finds itself in a difficult position diplomatically or militarily but not when it is on a stronger wicket. Indian leaders must understand that amicable solution of Kashmir dispute acceptable to the people of Kashmir will help in enhancing the respect and prestige of India and in fulfilling its wish of becoming a world power. Non-resolution of the dispute would not only keep South Asia destabilized and impoverished, but would lead to fragmentation of India.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email: [email protected]
Brig Asif Haroon Raja an Member Board of Advisors Opinion Maker is Staff College and Armed Forces WarCoursequalified, holds MSc war studies degree; a second generation officer, he fought epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war, in which Maj M. Akram received Nishan-e-Haider posthumously.
He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is lingual and speaks English, Pashto and Punjabi fluently.
He is author of books titled ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, Roots of 1971 Tragedy’; has written number of motivational pamphlets. Draft of his next book ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir’ is ready.
He is a defence analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defence and political matters for numerous international/national publications.