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India And Pakistan Teeter on The Brink of War Encouraged by Washington


  • India And Pakistan Teeter on The Brink of War Encouraged by Washington
    by Keith Jones,  
    Four days after India conducted “surgical” military strikes inside Pakistan-held Kashmir, South Asia’s rival nuclear-armed states continue to teeter on the brink of war.

    There have been hours-long artillery and gun-fire exchanges across the Line of Control (LoC) that separates Indian- and Pakistani-held Kashmir each night since India sent troops and helicopters into Pakistan and inflicted “double-digit” casualties.

    Late Sunday evening, India claimed that an army camp in Barmulla in the Kashmir Valley had come under terrorist attack and that at least one Indian solider had been killed and one injured.

    India has repeatedly held Pakistan responsible for terrorist acts on its soil, most recently for the September 18 attack that anti-Indian Islamist militants mounted on the Uri military base in Jammu and Kashmir.

    In anticipation of a possible Pakistani army counter-strike, or so as to facilitate their own war preparations, Indian authorities have ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of people living near the border with Pakistan in the Indian states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. According to Indian press reports, soldiers at garrisons near the border have also been instructed to send their families home.

    On Saturday, as Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited its Northern Command headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir to review the military’s “operational preparedness,” the army ordered its troops to be “prepared for any eventuality.”

    Wednesday night’s punitive raids were the first military action that India has publicly admitted to carrying out inside Pakistan in more than four decades.

    In their wake, India’s political elite and media are boasting that New Delhi has thrown off the supposed shackles of “strategic restraint,” successfully neutered Pakistani “nuclear blackmail,” and demonstrated India’s prowess as an emerging great power.

    Comparing India’s military to the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman who bounded across an ocean in a single stride after being reminded of his powers, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “The surgical strikes gave our forces an idea of what they were capable of doing.” Pakistan, he claimed, had been left “bewildered,” “not quite knowing how to react.”

    India has claimed it has no immediate plans for further military action. But, referring to the Uri attack, Parrikar said, “If Pakistan continues with such conspiracies, we will give them a befitting reply again.”

    India’s bellicose stance is being encouraged by Washington, which has forged an ever-closer military-security alliance with New Delhi as part of its drive to strategically encircle and prepare for war against China.

    The strikes that India carried out on the evening of September 28-29 were illegal, highly provocative, and justified on a patently trumped-up claim that they were aimed at “terrorist launch pads” from which squads of Islamist gunmen were about to be sent into India.

    Yet Washington has signaled its support for the Indian attacks. Obama administration spokesmen have studiously avoided criticizing the strikes and have invariably linked their calls for New Delhi and Islamabad to dampen down tensions to demands Pakistan take urgent action to prevent its territory being used as a “safe haven” by terrorists.

    No mention is ever made of India’s concerted push under the 28-month old Hindu supremacist BJP government to “change the rules of the game” with Pakistan. This has included: instructing the military to take a more aggressive posture at the border, which led in 2015 to months of cross-border shelling; vehemently opposing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, on the grounds it will pass through parts of the former British Empire princely state of Kashmir that New Delhi claims are hers; and backing the Balochi ethno-nationalist insurgency, effectively threatening Pakistan with dismemberment.

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October 6, 2016 - Posted by | GeoPolitics | , , , , , ,

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