Millennium Post

Pak’s ‘new doctrine’ just a camouflage?

Will the past few years’ relative stability in the Jammu and Kashmir situation prove lasting or will the state again get destabilised, even if partially, in the foreseeable future? An answer to the question can be attempted by analysing the possible implications of the happenings that have lately been taking place in the state. First, the cross LoC infiltrations.

Infiltrations from across the LoC are not a new phenomenon. These have been going on for years with the Pakistani Army providing firing cover to the infiltrators. Pakistan’s strategy on infiltrations, however, changed this year. Previously, Pakistan generally used to help the armed terrorists infiltrate the state through selected routes of the 740 km long Line of Control before the start of winters when the snow on the mountain passes made it difficult to cross-over. The motive behind the infiltrations during the summers then used to be that the terrorists did not let the state acquire stability during the winters. But this year, there has been an escalation in infiltrations during the winter months.

It is not for the first time that 2003 ceasefire violations have taken place. Such violations had sporadically been taking place in the past too, often resulting in casualties and injuries to security men of the two countries guarding the LoC. However, in the past few weeks, the ceasefire violations by the Pakistani Army escalated. Pakistani Army lent these violations a dangerous dimension by not only brutally mutilating the bodies of the two Indian Army jawans it killed, but also by taking away the head of one of the jawans whom it had beheaded.

What raises suspicion about the intentions of the Pakistani Army is its stepping up of ceasefire violations a week after declaring its new doctrine. The doctrine describes that in place of India as Pakistan’s ‘Enemy Number One’, it now treats homegrown militant groups and their unabated terrorist attacks on government installations, besides Taliban fighters in the restive tribal regions, as the biggest security threat to the country.

Pakistan seems to have adopted a two-pronged strategy towards India: continue the peace process, thus increasing the scope of trade between the two countries; and, bring the Kashmir issue back on the live agenda and make fresh efforts to internationalise it. This is indicated by the fact that Pakistan demanded an inquiry by a UNO agency into the Indian government’s charge against Pakistan Army’s cruelty in beheading the killed Indian jawan and decamping with his head.  
The question whether declaration of the ‘New Doctrine’ was meant to serve as camouflage for Pakistan’s aggressive designs on the Jammu and Kashmir front needs to be seen in this context. Three reasons highlight such a possibility. The most important reason is that Pakistan wants to resurrect the Kashmir issue, which, in the eyes of even the UNO, has lost its relevance. This view is supported by the fact that after last week’s stepped-up ceasefire violations and the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers, Pakistan has suspended trans-LoC trade and bus service only between Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The travel and trade via Attari-Wagah land route continues uninterrupted. Another reason behind the attempts to bring back the Kashmir issue on the live agenda appears to be the forthcoming elections in Pakistan, which the army bosses might be thinking of influencing for helping the party of their choice. They might be calculating that by raising tensions on the Kashmir issue they might be able to divert the Pakistanis attention from the failure of the government and the army to check rising terrorist violence within the country.

Besides, it also might help divert the Pakistanis anti-US anger as America has since softened its tough anti-Pakistan stance it had adopted a few months ago. The US has also resumed paying the suspended financial grants to Pakistan.

The most important development that needs to be watched is the likely impact of the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 on Jammu and Kashmir situation. Although during their last week’s talks in Washington US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai have recommitted their countries to a reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban, it will be ignoring the history that any reconciliation, even if reached with the Taliban, will stop Taliban violence in Afghanistan. It is likely to prove shallow. As Pakistan’s own experience shows that it has become a victim of Taliban attacks although it, supported by the USA, had helped Taliban assume power in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988.

If the maniacally armed Taliban continued their violence, as they are likely to, it will spill over not only into Pakistan but also into Kashmir.

The UPA government will have to devise strategies and tactics on security and political fronts to meet the post-2014 situation. A new government will also take over in New Delhi in 2014.

But if new governments, irrespective their political labels, change policies which are designed to safeguard the country’s security and integrity they do so at their own peril. (IPA)
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