The political coup in Indian Occupied Kashmiri by Modi Government should have been anticipated by the leadership in Pakistan, had they closely monitored the electioneering campaign, past history , attitude of military commanders (especially post Palwama embarrassment ) and present leadership of BJP. On the contrary, a softer and reconciliatory approach was being expected by important decision makers and many political pundits over here. How can we be certain that leadership and foreign office was clueless as to what was in the offing ? Simply because of absence of any pre-emptive or anticipatory moves.
Anyway bygones are bygones, the present situation is staring at our faces. It is ominous, laden with several further political and military options for India, unless we make concerted efforts to block and defeat them in advance, and please NOT in reaction. India may ride through their domestic political and moral reaction, that is not likely to be long-lived, and also the external pressure that is linked with international politics, the regional situation (Afghanistan, Iran, CPEC etc ) and strong political and economic Indian clout. So, the only two pressures that could be enduring and may modify Indian attitude are the defiance spirit of valiant Kashmiris and the unflinching support of the people and State of Pakistan. Anything else like the support of friendly countries, UN pronouncements and international human rights institutions and community would be critical catalysts to bolster only the basic two factors mentioned earlier. Thus, it is absolutely important that Kashmiris sustain their Freedom Movement and Pakistan’s support remains effective.
Now let us get to the brass tacks of own possible options and the likely impacts on Freedom Movement and Indian behaviour. India has made a grand move covering politico-legal and military aspects. Politically, they went ahead to change the internationally acknowledged status of Indian Occupied Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh region. Legally, they employed the facade of Presidential power and Parliamentary approvals to bring about these paper changes. Further to suppress the ongoing freedom struggle, absorb the extra ordinary Kashmiri reaction, and also intimidate Pakistan, moved large scale military and paramilitary additional forces into IOK. Therefore, our counter moves and pre emptive actions will have to cover all the three areas, which are political, legal and military. There may be three broad options :-
1. Undertake purely diplomatic actions of the type that we have already taken. Stronger diplomatic moves to send out delegates to all important world capitals and endeavours to table a resolution at UNSC seem to be in the offing. Political and military leadership should immediately embark upon visits to friendly and neutral countries, to sensitise them about the likely outcomes of the recent Indian moves. Before tabling any resolution at the UNSC, hectic efforts would be required to discuss the likely statement with all the permanent and non-permanent members. Also, a friendly country like China would have to be convinced and requested to table the resolution. Even at the risk of being vetoed , mere tabling and voting on such a statement would have its diplomatic effects. Such resolutions are not tabled always to be passed, these do have other implications. But majority members’ support must be cultivated. International Human Rights Organisations should be requested and convinced to further emphasise the importance of ending all violations and need for investigative visits of neutral entities. International civil society be approached through diplomats, delegates, diaspora, social and main media and even lobbyists to draw their attention towards the unprecedented difficulties being faced by Kashmiri women, children and men. Nation States may not respond directly to our appeals due to their individual national interests, but the pressures of their civil societies may goad them into some Kashmir related positive moves due to their internal political considerations. There may be other possible steps that may be suggested by some veteran and practicing diplomats, but all such actions, however strong and successful, will fail to convince or force Modi to reverse his pronouncements and practical steps. At the most that would help to prepare grounds for further actions in the politico-military domains. And so far we have only taken few of the possible steps in the diplomatic domain only.
2. The second immediate consideration should be to deliberate on possible political moves if not stronger at least as weighty as Indian government’s actions. There are a number of political options being discussed. Such as partial plebiscite under the U.N. auspices within the territories of GB and Azad Kashmir, with a resolve to completing and extending it later in IOK , whenever feasible. Some quarters are also suggesting a Government in Exile in some European or friendly country, comprising political heavyweights from AK, IOK and Kashmiri diaspora. In case of a political difficulty it may be established in AK. All far reaching political implications of such moves should be discussed amongst Kashmiri and Pakistani jurists and political leadership. This would only become possible if our diplomatic endeavours as mentioned above are strong, resulting into favourable international environment. We must also remain cognisant of a trap that Modi may make us accept the articles 370 and 35A ( that we always rejected ) , by promising a reversal of their steps (quite improbable). It will be a balanced combination of diplomatic and political moves that may induce a new refreshing life in the Kashmir cause and keep it politically alive, may be making it more vivid at international political scene.
3. Heavy induction of fresh troops by India in IOK also has some serious military implications. With total media blackout these troops may already be busy decapitating the young Kashmiri leadership, thus delivering a mortal blow to the freedom movement. The more days they get to undertake this ominous operation, the chances of survival of existing freedom struggle leadership will keep diminishing. Induction of such heavy additional forces poses a direct military threat to Pakistan administered Kashmir and adjoining territories. It gives India clear advantage in troop ratios, giving them the capability to overwhelm some territories, at least temporarily, and then ask the world to arbitrate ( keep in mind Trump’s offer ) , threatening further ingresses, if Pakistan does not acquiesce. I am not suggesting that they will succeed, but the capability is right there. Now, if it is in Indian military scheme of things to initially weaken Freedom Movement and then create a Casus Belli ( excuse to attack ) and nibble small territories ( intentions) of AK, remaining well below Nuclear thresholds, what should be our responses? Can we afford to silently witness or imagine (highly probable) the slaughter of freedom fighters during the present clampdown? Each passing day of our inaction may be costing heavily to the Freedom Movement. Should we wait for the Indians to peacefully complete their Phase One and then turn towards Azad Kashmir at their leisure ? Can we do something to upset their plans or at least upset the timings? Do we have options short of all-out War ? Naturally this cannot be an open discussion and requires the deliberations by those who have the authority and the requisite intelligence gathering capabilities, to crystallise the hypothesis - so we leave the military options open.
Out of the three areas where we need to act, as mentioned in the above thesis, first one (diplomatic) is absolutely necessary and we are only halfway through as yet. A lot more needs to be done. But mere diplomatic manoeuvres will not make India budge an inch from its charted course of actions. Nevertheless completing the cycle of our intended diplomatic moves needs to be completed in the shortest possible time. Next comes the Politico-Legal Activism comprising the bare minimum set of actions that may checkmate Indian legal and political misadventures. For countering the Indian kinetic moves and to save the lives of Kashmiris in IOK, something needs to be done immediately, as nature , Kashmiris and history will never forgive us for merely acting as bystanders and watching the butchery and rape of IOK. Probably time demands simultaneous moves in all areas. ‘ You may not be interested in war, but war may be interested in you’ ‘ To avoid war if we compromise our honour, we may lose on both accounts’ If outcome of wars could be judged by the economic prowess and the comparison of forces, there would have been no military history and no wars of independence . Yes, two nuclear neighbours cannot think of an all-out war, but then the answer must be found in the changing nature and character of contemporary conflicts. A well-orchestrated hybrid solution with seamless integration of diplomatic, political and kinetic aspects has become absolutely essential.