Mark Collins – The Asian Military Cockpit, Kashmir Section

Further to this July post,

Bloody Weekend in Indian Kashmir (Canadian media ignore)

things could get very hairy in a most dangerous part of the (nuclear-armed) world:

The Indian Army Just Suffered Its Biggest Attack in a Decade as Tensions Rise with Pakistan
Sunday’s [Sept. 18] terrorist attack that killed 17 New Delhi troops occurred alongside a new Kashmir crackdown that has killed 85 so far.

Yet again, India is wounded. And furious.

On Sept. 18, suspected terrorists of the Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed mounted a deadly attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), killing 17 of its soldiers and injuring many others.

This was the biggest such attack on the Indian Army in a decade.

It follows two other major offensives on Indian soil since the Narendra Modi government took charge in May 2014. First was an attack in Punjab where three civilians and four policemen were killed in Gurdaspur district besides three Pakistan-backed terrorists. A more alarming one came in January this year when terrorists struck one of India’s most important air force bases in Pathankot, Punjab [see “Pak Miscreancy vs India, or, ISI“].

Following the death of 17 soldiers in the latest strike, Indians, as much as the international community, will keenly watch how prime minister Narendra Modi’s government reacts…

Not taking the bait is called strategic restraint. And irrespective of the regime in charge, India’s response to militant attacks or military excursions from Pakistan till date has been to tackle it diplomatically, involving the international community and de-escalating tensions.

That may now be changing, though it remains to be seen if all-out military action is on the cards.

India’s new posturing

On Sept. 18, prime minister Narendra Modi said those behind the attack will not go unpunished. Ram Madhav, general secretary of Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), said, “We feel that the time for strategic restraint is over. India needs to tackle this menace with a firm hand and we need to take proactive measures.” Madhav looks after the party’s affairs in J&K…

Since July, Pakistan has been issuing statements condemning the use of force in Kashmir. Consequently, New Delhi changed its response to the uprising by shifting focus almost entirely on Pakistan.

In fact, the Modi government went a step further: it brought up Balochistan [see “Indian PM Modi Pours (RAW) Fat on Pakistan’s Baluchistan Fire“].

Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province has many similarities with Kashmir: locals [not necessarily all of them] want secession and this demand is met with a crackdown by the army, no questions asked about human rights. So India has decided to use the restive Pakistani province as part of its new aggressive strategy.

However, Pakistan has long been accusing India of meddling in Balochistan. As recently as March this year, it announced the arrest of one Kulbhushan Yadav, a former Indian naval officer who allegedly confessed to being an Indian spy in Balochistan…

Lovely neighborhood, what? A tweet from a former Indian ambassador:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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