Why did India hastily give out statements about Pakistan?
Why are the Indian opposition and Indian media involved in hysteria of Pakphobia?
Why did Antony revise his statements, confusing all the diplomatic and rational circles around the globe and in the region?
Why is Kashmir suffering and Pakistan facing a wave of terror during this fiasco of LoC?
Why is the Indian Army Chief outraged at his Commanding Officers of J&K?
What actually happened at the Sarlah post of Poonch Brigade?
Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. –Carl von Clausewitz
May 28, 2013: Dismayed by the heated response during a night time argument with a fellow army personnel of 33 Rashtriya Rifles, Ritender Kumar did not think twice before pumping seven bullets in Mukesh Tiwari’s body, causing his on the spot death. This happened at the Baramulla district of Kashmir.
To start with, this event has a purpose, which we will discuss later on in this piece.
However, the focus of our report is on the recent case of the LoC, where five soldiers of the Indian army were killed, after which the Indian media and the opposition forces remonstrated and showed their hatred towards Pakistan within a few hours of the incident. Later, the government of India also joined the same bandwagon of Pakphobia. What little surfaced afterwards is somewhat a differentstory.
The Indian parliament issued a statement where they alleged this incident as the handiwork of Pakistan’s “specialist troops”. Before this event, on the 27th of July, it was reported that Indian troops crossed the LoC near Neelam Valley and kidnapped 4 Kashmiris. There was no strong statement given by Pakistan at that time, upon which a few from Pakistan accused the government of having a weak foreign policy towards India and having a soft tone even over the violations of the Indian troops. But to some it was a mature approach, as there were not sufficient evidence to prove the incident, which opinion, to us, seems more appropriate in such a scenario.
However, after the event of the 6th of August, where five Indian troops were killed, the Indian opposition, Media and even the government came up with an adolescent approach and attitude. The opposition parties at first reacted and cornered the Congress led government in parliament, it as inept.
Response and Reaction
The parliamentarians lambasted the government response, insisting that the Government needs to follow a strict ‘no dialogue’ policy with Pakistan. “Dastardly ambush“, says Narendra Modi of BJP over Indian soldiers’ killing. “Pak kills Indian soldiers. No talks if even a single bullet is fired.” Meanwhile, the Indian government was in a fixation, whether to call it a direct or a supported attack by Pakistan’s troops. The Indian defence minister, Antony, first termed it as an attack by the Pakistani supported militant organization LeT, who were allegedly wearing the uniform of the Pakistan armed forces, but later, they issued a statement where they termed it as a wing of the armed forces known as Mujahideen 801/802.
But the most irrational and hilarious statements were the ones about the visit of Hafiz Saeed at the LoC, as reported by different Indian media outlets based upon “intel inputs” and statements of Indian officials, where they claimed that the ISI may be trying to push Afghan Taliban into J&K. Afghan Taliban, however, rejected the same categorically and termed it “Illogical”.
Further, to fend off the opposition parties’ uproar, Antony took a U-turn for the second time and issued a fresh statement; thereby once again indicting Pakistan army for the LoC violation. Furthermore, the fiery statements in the parliament – coupled with the media’s fixation on Pakistan army’s supposed role in the Poonch district ambush – resulted in the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi being attacked by the youth wing of Congress party.
Pakistan strongly rejected its involvement and claimed that the reports of ‘some sections of Indian media’ were ‘baseless and unfounded’; the Foreign Ministry in its press release asserted, “Our military authorities have confirmed that there had been no exchange of fire that could have resulted in such an incident.”
Concerns and the Search for Facts
However, eyebrows were raised in certain quarters of Pakistan upon such a chain of events and misfit statements by the Indian opposition, officials and especially by General Bikram Singh. The credibility of Indian officials’ reports became highly controversial when dissonance was discovered in the statements issued by the Indian Defense Minister, firstly accusing the Pakistan army, changing its course within hours and then again taking a U-turn.
This concern was shown by ex-military officers of Pakistan, where they exhibited their distress about the current chief of Indian forces, Bikram Singh. Upon inquiry, one of the high profile ex-officers of the Pak forces told us, that Bikram Singh is known for his anti-Kashmir stance, labeling him the master of “fake encounters” and “false flags”. The immediate visit of Bikram Singh, after this incident, to the same place and, later on, his having unleashed his anger upon his commanders in J&K for not retaliating with “hard” and “heavy” power on Pakistani posts, were together a ground for suspicions.
What actually happened?
During inquiries, we stumbled upon a source in the Indian military camp who revealed that the portrayal of Indian soldiers’ annihilation, purportedly by the Pakistani army, is baseless. The source, who personally oversaw this complete scenario, stressed that these Indian soldiers killed each other with their service rifles after a heated debate. The source further asserted that the outpost in Poonch–Rajouri strip – where these soldiers were stationed – got incinerated by fire. The post was burned down to the ground due to that fire having spread.
We contacted the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, Indian Ministry of Defense (ADGPI) through social media handles available on Twitter, but until now, no response has been given to us.
An issue which paved the way for Indian Adventurism against Pakistan – yet again
Here we remind the readers about the story from where we started this piece, the story of Ritender Kumar of 33 Rashtriya Rifles. This psychological disorder is discovered by many researchers of this subject within the Indian army itself.
Mariam Shah, a senior research fellow of the NDU and regular contributor at PKKH, who completed her thesis on a very rare subject of psychological disorders among troops around the world, told us that this complete case seems to be the result of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, commonly known as PTSD. The recent cases in Afghanistan, where US troop killed Afghan civilians, were later also diagnosed with a similar psychological disorder and behavioral pattern.
The same is validated by the records of Indian soldiers committing suicide or killing each other in such events. This trend of fratricidal violence in the Indian army is being observed since long. Generally brushed aside by Indian officials as stress-oriented events, the soldiers are increasingly committing suicide and turning their guns on each other. A. K. Antony, the Defense Minister of the Government of India, in an In-House briefing highlighted the suicidal deaths of 1,108 soldiers since 2003, with the yearly toll maintaining an average of over 100 soldiers taking the extreme step of taking their own lives.
If seen in the limelight of the fratricidal violence that has plagued the Indian soldiers’ ranks, the above-mentioned source-disseminated inside story is not surprising for the observers. We critically appraised the events, which will be presented to push back India’s retort about Pakistan’s involvement in these attacks.
Why and who wants to turn it against Pakistan?
Clausewitz rightly stated that: “War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means”. This again proves to be correct, when one goes on the task of finding out the truth about the unfolded events and tracks.
The visit to Poonch district by the Indian army top boss, General Bikram Singh, on an immediate basis, needs to be strictly scrutinized.
He did not turn up in Kashmir after the killing of two soldiers in January 8 attacks, and resorted to the issuance of a perfunctory statement in which he droned about attacking Pakistan. He was not bothered about Hizbul Mujahideen attack on an army convoy in Hyderpora – Srinagar, in which eight soldiers were killed, but he swiftly embarked to Kashmir dramatizing the killings of these Indian soldiers.
The same General pressed the idea of cornering Pakistan, early this year in January, when another allegation was thrown at the Pakistani troops for decapitating Indian patrolling troops on the LoC, resulting in severe skirmishes, . The recent outrage of Bikram Singh on his commanding officers of J&K, for not retaliating against Pakistan, is icing on the cake, exposing what might be hidden beneath.
The question is, why?
We believe that fears of post-2014 are looming in certain quarters of the Indian establishments and think tanks. Their investments and efforts of 12 years seem to be futile, as Qatar talks are in turmoil, where India were hoping for a relief during the negotiations between Taliban and the US. Further, the ghost of the 1980s, perhaps, is still haunting India, when the USSR exited Afghanistan and India, who jumped in the sinking ship of the USSR, suffered the most afterwards, by the closure of its offices in Afghanistan.
Indian think tanks and policy makers, like ex-Raw Chief Vikram Sood, are pushing the idea ,that India should play all its cards to ensure its presence in Afghanistan, the backyard of Pakistan, . The policy makers of India are linking all these efforts with the Kashmir movement, advising the Indian establishment for using any means necessary to safeguard and pursue its “national interests”.
On the other hand, since January, we are observing a certain pattern of suppression within Kashmir, where first India sent a message to Kashmir by hanging Afzal Guru, and later on, during peaceful protests, killed students.
Provoking incidents, such as Quran discretion in Ramban and upon protests of the people, killing them, in an in discriminated open fire order is also an indication of India’s intentions towards its disputed matters. It also fuels the idea of suppressing Kashmiris, before, as per Indian think tanks, Kashmiris may not take aspirations from the pull out of US and allied forces from the region. Recently arming the Village Defence Committees (VDC), even after the presence of more than 700,000 armed troops within J&K, and then provoking incidents like Kashtawar and Laddakh can also be taken as an example of impending situation of Kashmir in particular and of region in general. These events, later on, resulted in attacks by minority factions of Jammu and Kashmir on the Muslim majority areas, with the help of armed VDC and on behest of the Indian armed forces.
The General, perhaps, linking the indigenous movement of Kashmir with Pakistan and with the ghost of 1980s, is now orchestrating another false flag against Pakistan, completing the task based on various inputs given to him by Indian policy makers and think tanks. Outraged and fuming Bikram Singh is not at peace, resulting in another skirmish on the 11th of August, an attack on a Pakistani Rangers’ check post by Indian troops at Sialkot Sector injuring two Pakistani troops.
The Indian policy makers and intelligentsia need to learn the lesson, and should dissect themselves from the mentality of Hindutva, which is not only harming its neighbors, but, perhaps, it is also eating the Indians from the inside like a cancer, which is often diagnosed in its last stages. All these moves of cornering Pakistan are considered to be perilous; keeping in view the nuclear status of Pakistan.
Author : Salman Javed – is a Security & Strategies Analyst, alumni of NSW from NDU, Islamabad. He tweets at @FortressMSJ He can be reached at [email protected]