Ever since India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, Pakistan’s behaviour has been abnormally aggressive. The terrorist country has repeatedly tried to push a bellicose narrative after failed attempts to corner India at multilateral forums regarding abrogation of Article 370. It seems that having been defeated diplomatically, the terror exporter is now trying to take up an increasingly aggressive posture in the region, and may be planning a military offensive against India. In the last few days, Pakistan has upped its game with heavy cross-border shelling and infiltration attempts, its Kashmir terrorist handlers are quivering in exasperation as they fail to cause unrest in Kashmir, Imran Khan visited the LOC after a massive troop build-up and yesterday, Pakistan closed its airspace for Indian flights, starting, President Ram Nath Kovind’s flight to Europe.
Some of the recent moves by Pakistan and hostile statements which are unbecoming of the top political leadership of any country have suggested that Pakistan is behaving in an aggressive manner towards India. The first indications of increasing hostility on Pakistan’s part came last month when it downgraded its diplomatic ties with India. The Pakistan foreign office stated, “Pursuant to the decision of the National Security Committee today, Government of India has been told to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan. The Indian Government has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India.” Pakistan also suspended bilateral trade with India followed by suspension of rail and bus services between the countries. Such hostile moves usually precede more blatant and aggressive moves at the ground level. And the same pattern can be inferred in the recent turn of events between India and Pakistan.
The hostility in bilateral relations between the two countries which was further aggravated by Pakistan, when PM Imran Khan made ultra aggressive statements openly extending threats of Jihadi terrorism and military confrontation in Kashmir. Imran Khan also raked up nuclear bogey and his attitude resembled that of fringe elements and war mongers rather than the prime minister of a country.
Pakistan was continuously trying to irk India through provocative statements and hostile diplomatic moves. However, India stuck to its position that abrogation of Article 370 is an internal matter of India- a position which has been accepted by countries across all parts of the world. By not reacting to Pakistan’s aggressive moves, the Indian government has successfully denied Pakistan any diplomatic space to Pakistan to take up this issue aggressively or even paint a grim picture of tensions gripping the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Now, the provocative statements and diplomatic aggressiveness of Pakistan has transformed into a hostile posture at the ground level. Only a few days ago, reports emerged about the military moving a brigade consisting of 2,000 soldiers to the Bagh and Kotli sectors near Poonch area of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The troops have been deployed 30 km away from the Line of Control (LoC). Moreover, LeT and JeM terrorists have been already moved to forward launch pads along with the SSG commandos. Pakistan has also set up movable training camps of Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e Taiba in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. This is a clear effort to infiltrate a big number of terrorists into India backed by the Pakistan Army and its SSG commandos. This was followed by the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval disclosing that the intelligence intercepts make it clear that Pakistan-based terror handlers are feeling frustrated as their nefarious designs to spark unrest in the valley have not fructified. According to ANI, Doval said, “There are Pakistani communication towers 20 kilometers along border, they are trying to send messages, we heard intercepts they telling their men here ‘how so many apple trucks are moving, can’t you stop them? Should we send you bangles?” After this intelligence intercept, reports of Pakistan moving an entire brigade of troops along with a huge number of terrorists towards the LoC makes a lot of sense. Frustrated by its failure to cause unrest and foment terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan is trying to push in a major batch of terrorists into the valley. This has coincided with yet another provocative move by Pakistan of denying use of its airspace to President Ram Nath Kovind for his Europe visit.
It seems that Imran Khan is either trying to plan a major offensive or is just trying to create a ‘warlike’ situation in order to grab global attention and somehow raise the Kashmir issue once again. The second possibility sounds more plausible given the ongoing economic crisis in the rogue nation. A major offensive on Pakistan’s part is limited to infiltrating a massive number of terrorists in an attempt to create unrest in the Kashmir valley. Any misadventure by Pakistan Army even in a limited theatre can lead to a major escalation which will not be easy for Pakistan to handle given the fragile state its economy is in. With terrorists, Pakistan can at least claim that they were non-state actors even though it is an open secret that terrorism is almost an extended wing of Pakistan Army and ISI. The Army, ISI and its terror bodies work in close coordination with each other, even to the extent of being indistinguishable. Moreover, winters will set up in Jammu & Kashmir in the upcoming months and then making any infiltrations would be practically impossible.
Imran Khan would therefore, be thinking of sending in as many terrorists as possible. However, ever since the Modi government came at the helm of affairs in 2014, India has also shown that Pakistan will have to pay up for sponsoring terror activities in India. Surgical strikes carried out by India in PoK in 2016 and the Balakot airstrikes carried out earlier this year being examples of India clamping down on Pakistan sponsored terror. Infiltrating terrorists into India is no longer a go to option for Pakistan as it understands fully well that it would have to brace itself for an disproportionate reply by India. The ISI’s strategy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts has proven expensive for the belligerent neighbour after India’s changed stance. It is most likely that Pakistan will continue with its bellicose narrative and try to paint a grim picture of Jammu & Kashmir in an attempt to make one final attempt at internationalising the Kashmir issue.