It is most unfortunate that India, the largest country in the region, remains a threat to regional peace and security. It has disputes with almost all its neighbors. Bellicose blustering by the Indian regime against its neighbors, particularly Pakistan, has attained more intensity since the coming into power of Narendra Modi, a follower of the RSS philosophy of ‘Hindutva.’
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing a Kargil War memorial in Ladakh on Wednesday, said, “India would go to any extreme to maintain its honor and dignity if that includes crossing the LOC. We are ready for that if we are provoked and if the need arises. India is committed to international laws. It is a peace-loving nation which believes in its centuries-old values to safeguard our interests, and we will not hesitate in crossing the LOC.”
It is pertinent to mention that it is not the first time that Rajanath has hurled such threats against Pakistan and even made irresponsible remarks concerning Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. These kinds of jingoistic statements can easily vitiate the atmosphere of peace and stability and contribute to destabilizing the strategic environment in South Asia, as rightly pointed out by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Indian leaders have been using such statements to reinforce their public discourses on the eve of elections to reap political gains without realizing their wider implications. Modi orchestrated the Pulwama incident and then used it against Pakistan to win public support in the elections. That conspiracy now stands fully exposed.
What the Indian leaders conveniently forget is that Pakistan is also a nuclear power and fully capable of defending itself against any of their indiscretions, as was proved when, in February 2019, Modi sent planes to attack an imaginary terrorist camp in Balakot and ended up losing two planes and capturing one of the downed aircraft. Indian violations of the ceasefire line and firing incidents were invariably fittingly responded to by the Pakistani forces. So, there should be no doubt about the fact that any belligerent action by India would provoke an equally matching response.
But that is not what Pakistan wants. It has made several peace overtures towards India without any positive response. Pakistan has been making these efforts fully convinced and committed to the idea of regional peace, which is only possible by orchestrating bonhomie between the two nuclear neighbors.
The claim by Rajnath that India is a peace-loving nation, which believes in its centuries-old values and is committed to international laws, sounds ridiculous in view of Indian violation of its international obligations like the UN Resolution on Kashmir, breach of international laws and the Fourth Geneva Convention in the IIOJ&K, as well as bilateral agreements with Pakistan, including the Simla Agreement and the 2003 Ceasefire agreement at LOC. The ceasefire agreement held for a few years, but in 2008 it recommenced. There has been a sharp increase in the violation of the ceasefire since 2014. In 2020, Indian troops reportedly committed over 3000 ceasefire violations, in which 28 people were martyred. Consequently, the two countries came close to a significant confrontation in February 2019. However, in February 2021, after an interaction between the DGMOs of the two countries, commitment was renewed to abide by the ceasefire agreement. But recently, the violations from the Indian side have begun again, with some incidents taking place during May and June.
India’s record of reneging on its international obligations can be best judged by her defiance of the UN resolution on Kashmir. It is also significant to note that India, in spite of declaring IIOJ&K as its integral part, granted special status to the state with its own assembly and constitution through Article 370 and 35 of the Indian constitution, which also prohibited the purchase of property in the state by outsiders. That itself negated the Indian claim of the state being an integral part of India.
Under Article 370, only the President of India could revoke the special status of the state on the advice from the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. Since the constituent assembly of Kashmir was dissolved in 1957 after the adoption of the state constitution and replaced by a legislative assembly, the possibility of this article ever being revoked was foreclosed. The Supreme Court of India also held that this article had attained permanency and could not be revoked. The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in its decision also ruled out any such possibility.
But regrettably, in spite of the foregoing realities, the Modi government repealed Article 370 and 35 of the Indian constitution on 5th August 2019, bifurcated the state into two territories, and amalgamated them in the Indian union, followed by new domicile law with a view to change demographic features of the state and also allowed outsiders to buy properties there. He took this step notwithstanding the fact it was not only vehemently opposed by the opposition Congress party and other saner elements within India but was also rejected by the pro-Indian politicians like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who had also served as Chief Ministers of IIOJ&K.
There was also a strong reaction in IIOJ&K over the Indian move, and the Indian security forces turned the state into an open prison while continuing the killing spree. Since then, hardly a day passes without martyrdom of Kashmiris in the name of cordon and search operations. Can a peace-loving nation, as claimed by Rajnath, do what it has done in IIOJ&K and defy international laws and UN resolutions?