In the months leading up to the Pulwama incident, Mr. Modi’s government, buoyed by the back-to-back political wins, kept their hard line against Kashmiri separatists.
This meant that as long as they were tough with the young militants, militant-backers, political umbrella, and protesters — BJP would get more votes.
On the flip side, Pakistan was relegated in the eyes of its electorate as a pariah country, unworthy of respect or attention.
Complete neighborhoods were cleared of militants in Kashmir using draconian laws, the same militants Pakistan considers freedom fighters. Indian military often killed these militants extra judicially.
India, under Mr. Modi has the west under their thumb, as the country is being envisaged as a counterweight to China. India simply didn’t think much of Pakistan at all
Then one day Mr. Trump blinked and said ‘why don’t the Pakistanis look after Afghanistan…’
And suddenly Pakistan was back at the driving seat again, at least till the time USA leaves Afghanistan.
One more killing of a kid in Kashmir later, out of the blue, JeM struck back with vengeance. Upwards of 40 Central Reserve Policemen of India were killed in a single bombing.
Mind you, the bomber was from Indian territory – nothing has been traced to Pakistan.
The Indian government was stunned. While they were expecting a clean sweep because of their jingoistic policies, this one incident had the potential to completely derail Baharti Janata Party’s plans.
Mr. Modi, knowing fully well that the Hindu nationalism in the context of Pakistan gets him votes, sent twelve Mirage-2000s to bomb an uninhabited mountain ridge, in Pakistani Kashmir.
Imran Khan, the ballsy leader of Pakistan, retaliated in kind, bombing the general area around India’s Kashmir Brigade HQ.
Indian Air force send Migs to chase Pakistan Air Force jets and two Indian Migs were shot down in the melee.
Now, BJP looks silly, and Mr. Modi, a war-mongering prime minister.
Pakistan is increasingly looking like the sway country in Global politics.
Indian opposition parties, after a long time, have a real issue to beat BJP with — and Mr. Modi is feeling the heat. His remarks ‘enemy wants to divide us’, ‘opposition speaking language of Radio Pakistan’, ‘if Rafael jets had been there… (We would have won)’, show that he is uneasy.
This desperation to win, at any cost, could very well make Mr. Modi order an incursion of Indian regular troops into Pakistani held Kashmir
I feel this is very likely to happen as India has tried every other rule in the book against Pakistan to make them abandon their policy of ‘1000-cuts’ to the Indian war machine, in Kashmir.
India has tried coercion, funding militancy, bombings, arson, target killings, political unrest, political assassinations, aggressive coalitions, isolation with devastating effects on the Pakistani society – but Pakistan is still functional – and here is India’s bane.
What they didn’t realize was that Pakistani society has never really enjoyed the fruits of civilized living; you can’t bomb something that hasn’t been built.
India would likely send in their crack troops to make sure Pakistan’s conventional military strength is made irrelevant.
India would also try to stay below the nuclear overhang, and limit their incursion very close to the Line of Control. In the process, they would smash Pakistani conventional war toys and then hang on there, for the world to force Pakistan to abandon the policy of using Islamic proxies in Kashmir, especially JeM.
What Mr. Modi is miscalculating is that this limited war would destroy Pakistan for sure, but would bankrupt India in the process.
Pakistan has mastered the art of covert war and would bleed the still unsettled economy of India in a protracted war.
After all, it was Pakistan that defeated USSR in Afghanistan, the USA in Afghanistan, and now has eyes trained on India, inside Kashmir.
There is no other way either for Mr. Modi or the Pakistani establishment – the war is coming to our doorstep!
Pakistan also needs to see how our allies have supported us in the Pulwama standoff. Every international slight has to be responded in kind. Turkey was the only country that did speak Pakistan’s language
If Mr. Modi is not careful, India might have to lose a greater chunk of land in a protracted war than Kashmir itself – you can’t coerce a country that is willing to sacrifice itself for Kashmir.
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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are of the author.