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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

Lalin's Column : Kashmir - India’s holier than thou men

By Major General (Retd.) Lalin Fernando

A 2,500 man Indian army road convoy of 78 vehicles was attacked on the main highway in mid-February 2019 by just one suicide car bomber in Pulwama. It was 16 miles from Srinagar. Forty (40) CPRF ‘jawans’ were killed.

India immediately blamed the attack on Pakistan based ‘mujahidin’ dubbed ‘terrorists’. Jaish e Mohamed, terrorist group claimed responsibility. It was outlawed in Pakistan nearly two decades ago as it attacks Pakistani targets too. In 2016 a Brigade HQ and in 2017 an Indian Commando Training Centre in Kashmir were attacked with 19 and 6 troop deaths. The death toll in Jammu Kashmir since 1989, when the government rigged an election is over 70,000.

India overlooked its own short comings that led to the attack. It was a massive failure of intelligence. Could the troops not have been airlifted? Badly shocked India went overboard. It vowed vengeance but craftily decided on an air strike in a desolate area called Balakot, some distance from Bawalpur where Jaish is concentrated. Twelve Mirage bombers dropped one thousand-pound bombs. The bombing apparently caused three hundred casualties according to India.

It is difficult to believe that the Jaish hung around waiting for Indian attention. It appears that only a forested area and wheat fields were damaged although a Jaish ‘madrasa’ was close by but not hit. The IAF lost two planes but denied it. Pakistan said none of its planes were lost even though one was seen clearly shot down. It looks like India lost this one by turning aggressor despite copycat use of phrases like surgical strikes and pre-emptive action .India and Israel share evil thoughts about Muslims. Israel weapon sales to India are worth over 5 hundred million UK pounds. Under Modi’s BJP, India follows Israel’s anti-Muslim agenda. A sixth of India’s over one billion population is Muslim.

SL will never forget the Mirage bombers that were sent over North SL over thirty years ago to frighten an absolutely friendly country that never had an enemy until then.

Shortly after the convoy attack was reported a retired former senior Indian military commander of Jammu and Kashmir (Lieutenant General Hoodi) and a DIG among others confirmed that the suicide bomber was an Indian, Adil Ahmed Dar, from Kashmir. He had used explosives probably obtained from local construction sites. Indian army weapons are the ‘freedom fighters’ favorite choice. They are according to Indian sources easily obtained in Kashmir.

The Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh rushing in to get cheap publicity expressed concern that the Pakistan PM has neither ‘publicly acknowledged responsibility for the attack in Kashmir nor sympathized with the relatives of the dead’.

Why should the Pakistan PM do that? It was an Indian national that carried out the attack in Indian occupied Kashmir with Indian explosives and not for the first time. However the Pakistan Foreign Minister did say he was sorry at the loss of life. Imran Khan the PM denied any responsibility. He has calmly asked for talks even after the retaliatory IAF bombings dubbed ‘pre-emptive‘strikes to impress the West took place. Indian PM Modi having taken two weeks to speak has promised everything and nothing in one breath.

Aren’t there many such attacks also being carried out with monotonous regularity in other Indian states such as in Nagaland, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh among many others? Is Pakistan responsible for them too?

What if Pakistan was involved? Could it be any different from what India did to SL for over 20 years? Does Singh know?

Did any Indian PM or lesser mortal apologize to SL for supporting, training, arming, funding and turning a blind eye to the cross-border terrorism of SL’s Northern terrorists for 26 years? It caused nearly 100,000 deaths including nearly thirty-seven Sri Lankans at Meenabakum airport, Chennai by the same terrorists. Has any Indian official apologized for invading SL in 1987, for the war crimes committed by the IPKF or this bombing on India soil by its protégés? Yet Singh has the gall to say that India is SL’s best friend. What an extraordinary friend. What a funny man. Does he take himself seriously?

India should instead apologize to Pakistan for supporting attacks by the TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, a terror group that has attacked many targets in Pakistan including the Mehran Naval Base. The hand of India and its intelligence agency RAW were exposed by Chuck Hegal one time US Secretary Defence (2012-13 - served as an infantry sergeant in Vietnam and won 2 Purple Hearts) and Gen James Mattis,(Marine Corps General) who was Secretary of Defence (2017-19). Gen Mattis advised India to ‘moderate’ its support for TTP.

A video shows a TTP second in command confirming its culpability. All this has been confirmed by India’s own National Security advisor and Cabinet Secretary Ajit Doval. He is India’s expert in counter insurgency with decades of experience and success. He is seen in a video saying India has a budget of over Rs 500 crore to spend on its anti Pakistan adventures.

Singh decries Pakistan’s declaration of a ‘naya’ Pakistan’ while terrorists like Saeed are seen on the same platform with Pakistan’s leaders. Is it different to Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi meeting with the LTTE leader Prabakaran in his office in New Delhi in 1987?

As for what SL thinks of India, Singh may do well to remember that just under a decade before SL won the World Cup in cricket in 1996, a SL sailor on a Guard of Honor nearly hit PM Rajiv Gandhi’s head also for six. As much as it was shocking and disgraceful, was it not also a pent-up response of many to the IPKF invasion that was likened to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. The massive riots that followed ended up in a campaign of terror by the JVP that killed sixty thousand Sinhalese. India naively thought Pakistan was behind the attack on Gandhi as it did the first JVP Insurgency too.

The Kashmiri people, mainly Muslim, have opposed Indian troops for 70 years. Former DCP (Punjab) Gill who is credited with cracking the Sikh terrorists in the Punjab using extreme violence (5,000 killed in 1991 alone) said the then peaceful Kashmiris are unlike the Sikhs- meaning they are not a martial class. It is nearly 40 years since he made that boast. The Kashmiris are still fighting unlike the divided warrior Sikhs in the Punjab who were betrayed by their own. Singh must know that well especially if he is Jat Sikh.

The Kashmiris want UN Resolution forty-seven carried out to hold a plebiscite. India resists it. The Kashmiris will fight until they are given the freedom to decide what they want. India will use half its million soldiers to prevent that and pay the price in blood year after year.

If India wants Pakistan to enter into talks it is best they stop the reprehensive behavior of their troops in Kashmir. Strapping Kashmiris to the bumpers of their jeeps when facing off stone throwing crowds will only harden Kashmiri resistance. Is it also not a war crime?

The danger is that both nations are nuclear armed. The world was aware that in the mid-1980s India’s mercurial and also called brilliant later Army Chief Gen Krishnamurthy Sunderaji when he was Western Commander tried to lure Pakistan into battle with a massive show of force in a war exercise with 400,000 troops. It was called ‘Brass Tacks’. This was within 100 miles of the Pakistan border. It was done without any intimation by him as military commander to the Government of the world’s ’biggest’ democracy’.

Sunderaji, being an infantryman with limited knowledge of the use of armour as he learnt when commanding an armored division was going to attempt a blitzkrieg operation into the Sind to cut off Lahore. His intention was to exploit success with a nuclear launch. Fortunately, the Indian Government stopped him. At that time Pakistan did not have any nuclear capability. It hastened its own production thereafter. There is a dangerous standoff now.

It was the same Sunderaji as Indian army chief that ordered the ill organized, ill prepared IPKF into SL in 1987.He did not anticipate the disaster that followed. The IPKF went back in ignominy nearly 3 years later leaving 1,200 of its own dead, dreadful memories and visceral hate among the Tamils. These are hard lessons that Taranjit Singh should read up, before he starts hallucinating about India being the ‘best friend’ of SL.

It is best that India takes a step back like China would in similar circumstances. It should attempt to solve the festering problem instead of wasting its efforts blaming Pakistan. Its faults of governance and cavalier disregard for human rights are of little help. In Kashmir there is little of that vaunted democracy India boasts about. Brutality by Indian troops is the stamp of authority. The majority of Kashmiris have for 70 years wanted independence not India. India will not allow it and not only because Nehru was a Kashmiri. Are these shades of the West bank of Palestine? Is there a nexus with Israel?

India was at first a non-aligned nation and admired. It even supported a nuclear free Indian ocean. It stood tall. After it reneged and built a nuclear capability it then avowed it would not go for a ‘first strike’. It then renounced its ‘no first strike’ policy when Pakistan acquired a nuclear capability. India has now become a bully and is a feared neighbor among the Sub Continent’s states. A nuclear war could mean Armageddon for all.

India’s ruthless conduct against its own people not only in Kashmir but especially in the Punjab from ‘Operation Blue Star' to the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodha by the now governing BJP’s allies, is not re assuring. Its reckless response to the Pulwama attack is a warning of its fickleness. India led by bullies of its own people is a great danger to all countries in the entire sub-continent. It cannot be a friend of SL if it makes an enemy of a long-trusted friend.

Thankfully there has been a tradition of prisoner swaps between the two countries. Pakistan repatriated the downed IAF pilot. India became hysterical. It showered praise, support and even proclaimed love for the returned prisoner. The pilot was getting ready to down a Pakistan jet fighter, a US F sixteen jet fighter when he was shot down. There was no love for him in Pakistan. From India there was not even a word of thanks to Pakistan for releasing him. That’s par for the neighbors.

Pakistan should continue to occupy the high ground and take the initiative from now on –for HR, freedom, peace and good will in Kashmir.

- Asian Tribune -

Lalin's Column :  Kashmir - India’s holier than thou men
Lalin's Column :  Kashmir - India’s holier than thou men
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