It is now third month of India’s RSS-BJP government’s military annexation of the disputed Muslim-majority Indian Occupied State of Jammu & Kashmir (IOK) in blatant violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) existing resolution, which gives the right of self-determination to the people of IOK to decide through plebiscite to join either India or Pakistan.
And not only that, the Indian RSS-BJP government all through this period has kept IOK completely locked out under continuous curfew and complete blockade of all means of communication; as also meting out extreme inhuman brutalities to the majority Muslim population of IOK through extra-judicial killings, night raids in their houses to torture/arrest thousands of boys and men, and raping women, also denying them access to medical and food facilities, etc. For that purpose Indian government has deployed its 900000 military force (out of the 1400000 active service force) and thousands of its militant party RSS’ goons brought from India.
Callous Disregard of Human Values in Kashmir by Western Powers
All these facts are reported by world media. Pakistan government took this case to UNSC, asking it to compel Indian government to revoke this genocide and ethnic cleansing, and to restore the human rights of IOK Muslims. However, UNSC under the weightage of the major Western powers only showed ‘concern’, and did nothing to stop this immense human calamity meted out to IOK Muslims. The reason for that is also known, i.e. the Western world powers have their economic and strategic interests in India, for which they can anytime sell their otherwise much trumpeted claims of pride in human values.
That extremely callous disregard of human values by the countries like US, UK, France, etc, has brought forth the unfortunate fact that there is no hope of getting justice even from UNSC, which of course is a very dangerous realisation from the point of view of world peace – that frustrating hopelessness is at high pitch in most parts of the Muslim world, specially Pakistan which is directly affected.
The flash point Kashmir Issue is therefore now a ‘ticking bomb’ reflecting the potential of war between the two nuclear powers Pakistan and India, spreading devastation not only in the region but all around the world.
At this juncture, therefore, it is of significance to discern the intentions of the RSS-BJP Indian government, and the possible actions of Pakistan government.
Discernment of India’s RSS-BJP government ’s Intentions
As for India, it is now very clear that its RSS-BJP government had planned to actualise its intention in two phases. Phase one was what it has already actualised, i.e. annexation of IOK in open disregard of UNSC resolution, and IOK’s ethnic cleansing through Muslims’ genocide and settling of Indian Hindus in IOK to convert IOK’s Muslim majority into a minority. Its phase two is to capture Pakistani administered part of Kashmir along with the Northern Area (Baltistan, Gilgit) and Aksai Chin (area disputed with China). This phase two of Indian intention is well-known to media. Even Dr. D. K. Giri who is the Director of Schumacher Centre Delhi (India) has clearly mentioned it quoting India’s foreign minister, defence minister, home minister, and Army Chief, in his article titled “India Reclaiming POK Via War or Diplomacy”, published as recently as 19th of September (last month) by The Dispatch a daily newspaper published from North Carolina(US)(https://www.thedispatch.in/india-reclaiming-pok-via-war-or-diplomacy/).
Out of these India’s announced objectives – to capture Pakistani administered Kashmir along with the Northern Area, and Chinese controlled Aksai Chin –Pakistani Kashmir along with Northern Area is certainly the priority Indian objective. That is so because China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) enters Pakistan through the Pakistani administered Northern Area. CPEC is the most important developing economic-strategic lifeline of China and Pakistan; and is certainly a very effective geo-economic and geostrategic riposte to the anti-China designs of US-India strategic partnership; as also of their anti-Pakistan ‘affiliates’. If India captures this area that will obviously scuttle the CPEC. Hence, it would be unwise to rule out the chances of tacit support of US and its ‘affiliates’ for Indian effort to militarily capture Pakistani administered Kashmir along with Northern Area.
As for Indian intention of capturing Chinese controlled Aksai Chin, it is most likely to be a lower priority Indian objective – reasons being (a) India already has the 1962 experience of a thorough military defeat by China in this area; (b) Aksai Chin is strategically important for China because China’s National Highway 219 connecting Xinjiang with Tibet runs through it, hence this being a priority area for China to vigorously defend; and (c) it is easily accessible to Chinese, but difficult for the Indians from across the Karakorams.
As for the Indian intention of annexing Pakistani administered Kashmir and Northern Area, despite Indian diplomatic superiority due to the support of the ‘power wielding’ governments of US and its Western allies, it is well-nigh impossible for India to achieve that objective through diplomacy. The only way India may be contemplating to achieve that objective is through military aggression, as quoted by Dr. D K Giri in his aforementioned article that “Indian Army Chief said, “Army is ready to take PoK back from Pakistan. It is for the government to decide when”. In that context, it is therefore essential to have a careful assessment of Indian military capabilities vis-à-vis Pakistan’s military capabilities.
India’s Military Capabilities vis-a vis Pakistan’s Military Capabilities
There is no doubt that all three services of Indian military have clear numerical superiority over Pakistan military. However, recent media reports also indicate that Pakistan has marked military high-tech superiority over India, particularly in air force and missiles. Besides that, Indian military also reflects poor battle-worthiness while fighting a military force. All these aspects were clearly noted during the 27th February India-Pakistan air battle. In that air battle Pakistan Air Force, without suffering any loss of its own, shot down the two intruding Indian jet fighters; and not only that, in the pressure of that air battle, as admitted by Indian Air Force Chief, Indian air defence missile system also shot down India’s own Mi-17 helicopter killing the six Indian Air Force personnel aboard (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/budgam-mi-17-crash-iaf-chief-admits-big-mistake-1606217-2019-10-04).
Additionally, Pakistan Army being world renowned for its battle worthiness definitely has marked superiority over Indian Army. As for Indian military, despite official ‘quietness’, reports of significantly low morale in the officers and men of Indian military have at times been published. In that context the editorial of Indian national daily The Statesman dated 31 December 2017 mentioned that Indian forces serving in Jammu & Kashmir (IOK) and in North-East (another area of insurgencies) during last three years lost more lives in suicide and other cases than the deaths due to battle casualties. The editorial further highlighted “Information furnished to the apex legislature speaks of 425 suicides since 2014: with the Army losing nine officers and 326 soldiers, the Air Force five officers and 67 airmen and the Navy two officers and 16 sailors. Any suggestion that all of these were triggered by personal factors would be negated by the response to another query which revealed that during the same three-year time span 803 Army officers and 38,150 officers soldiers had sought premature retirement” (https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/an-unhappy-army-1502554878.html). That editorial was discussed again, to highlight the problem of low morale of Indian military’s officers and men, by former Lt. General Prakash Katoch of Special Forces Indian Army in his article titled ‘Armed Forces Suicides, Welfare and Morale’, published by Indian Defence Review dated 6 January 2018. (https://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/armed-forces-suicides-welfare-and-morale/ ).
Indian Plan for High-Tech Up-gradation of Its Air Force and Air Defence System
For some months now Indian media has been reporting that Indian Air Force is going to be technologically upgraded with 36 French Rafale fighter jets. However, India’s own media reports are conflicting as to when these fighter jets will actually be received. Certain reports indicated that the first of the 36 of these were to be received on 20 September, other reports mentioned 8 October, when Indian Defence Minister will be participating in the Rafale jets receiving ceremony. However the latest report by India TV dated 4 October has quoted the Indian Air Force Chief clarifying in a press conference that “India will receive the first four of the 36 Rafale fighter jets by May 2020”; and “By May 2020, we will be receiving four Rafale fighter jets. It will be only then that we will see the aircraft in the Indian skies. The advantage of getting the Rafale in May next year will be that our pilots will be substantially trained by then” (https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/ india/first-rafale-jets-to-be-seen-in-indian-skies-in-may-2020-554317). The same report has also been published by Indian daily newspaper The Economic Times dated 4 October (this month).
In a similar vein India is also going to upgrade its air defence system by inducting the most sophisticated Russian S-400 air defence system, despite US objection. According to the Wikipedia information, India and Russia had formally signed an agreement on 5 October 2018 for the supply to India by Russia of five regiments of S-400 missile air defence system, ignoring US’ sanctions on Russia. The induction of this system in Indian Service is expected by October 2020 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-400_missile_system#India).
These reports clearly indicate that India’s efforts for mitigating the high-tech inferiority of its air force are going to take about seven months; and for its air defence system about twelve months. Even if India’s government speeds up the process to induct and operationalise the 36 Rafale jet fighters and the S-400 air defence system, the complexities of training of operational and maintenance officers and crew, as also the development of the related logistics, will certainly require at least about six months for the 36 Rafale jet fighters and the S-400 air defence system to become battle-worthy in Indian military.
India’s Next Likely Action(s) Before Up-gradation of Its Military Capabilities
The very important question therefore is, as to what action(s) can be expected from India’s RSS-BJP government in this time span of about six months? Keeping in view all the foregoing factual information and inferences, following undeniable aspects related to the answer of this question can be discerned:-
- Under the current circumstances, there is no hope at all that either the UNSC, or governments of US and its ‘power-wielding’ Western allies will take any effective measure to stop the extreme inhuman brutalities meted out to the IOK Muslims by Modi’s RSS-BJP government. India’s RSS-BJP government can only be compelled to revoke its inhuman calamity of IOK Muslims if it faces very serious economic or military threat. Of course, none of these in the form of severe UN economic sanctions or UN military intervention is likely. So, Modi is going to remain unbothered.
- With such freedom of action available to Modi, any rash aggressive Indian action against Pakistan cannot be ruled out. However it is comparatively more likely that, after the experience of 27th February’s foolhardy belligerence of air battle, Modi’s military advisers will advise him not to indulge in any major military action against Pakistan till the Indian air force and air defence system is upgraded with Rafale jet fighters and S-400 air defence system.
- Otherwise too the known ingrained cunning and guile of Hindu psyche indicates high probability that Modi’s RSS-BJP government will prefer to utilise the current tacit acquiescence of UNSC and Western world powers to continue with the inhuman decimation and ethnic cleansing of IOK Muslims and settling of Indian Hindus in IOK – akin to the Israeli model; while keeping Pakistan embroiled in internal security and political destabilisation problems through sponsored terrorists and paid protégés, as also keeping the military violations of the Line of Control (LOC) between IOK and Pakistani administered Kashmir at a high pitch.
- However, it should also not be lost sight of that Modi’s RSS-BJP government is not going to drop its phase two objective of militarily capturing Pakistani administered Kashmir and Northern Area (Gilgit, Baltistan). As mentioned earlier in this article, the CPEC routes from China enter Pakistan through Northern Area; and capture of this area by India will scuttle the CPEC project altogether, which is one of the much desired objective not only India but also of its Western ‘Masters’ and their ‘affiliate’. Even a major Indian incursion reaching the vicinity of CPEC route may do that damage.
(Map: Courtesy National Highway Authority https://nha.gov.pk/en/maps/)
- The aspect as to whether and when such an Indian military offensive may be launched against Pakistan depends on two major factors: (i) when the up-gradation of Indian air force with the 36 Rafale jet fighters and of Indian air defence system with S-400 system reaches the stage of battle-worthiness; and (ii) when Indian military forces succeed in completely crushing the IOK Muslims’ will to fight to oust the Indian occupation. As for the attainment of first factor, it is probable around mid of next year. However – keeping in view the decades long relentless continuation of IOK Muslims’ struggle to oust Indian occupational yoke, and especially now that even the pro-India political faction of IOK has also united with the IOK Muslims to fight against the Indian occupation – attainment of the second factor appears least probable.
Likely Actions of Pakistan
Having thus inferred all the aspects related to the probable next action(s) of Modi’s RSS-BJP government, the all significant question arises as to what may be the action(s) of Pakistani Nation and Pakistani government under these prevailing and foreseen circumstances?
As for the Pakistani nation, it comprises of Muslims (96%), and Hindu, Christian, Sikh, and other communities (4%). The delegations of the Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities have already demonstrated and announced their pledge along with Muslims to fight to oust the Indian occupation of IOK to relieve the IOK Muslims from Indian forces’ atrocities. Besides that, Muslims of all schools of thought, tribal and political background have shown their united urge to cross the LOC to fight and liberate our IOK Muslim brothers, sister, sons and daughters. Twice they have already marched towards the LOC. However, the appeal by Pakistani PM Imran Khan to the people not to cross the LOC yet has worked. PM Imran Khan has promised the people that he himself will ask them to cross the LOC when so required. Pakistani masses are now waiting – and the officers and men of Pakistan armed forces are not detached from that urge.
To have a grasp of the gravity of this burning urge to fight to relieve the IOK Muslims, focus is required on four aspects of the 96% Muslims of the 220 million Pakistani masses – of course including the officers and men of Pakistan armed forces too. Those aspects are: (a) psyche, (b) historical background, (c) ethnic connection, and above all (d) the Islamic faith.
A brief appraisal of these aspects is: (a) Psyche. They are peaceful, but when required to fight they are fearless fighters always prepared to give supreme sacrifice for the cause – example: their voluntary fight and supreme sacrifices to liberate the Afghans from Soviet occupation; and now the extremely inhuman atrocities being meted out to IOK Muslims by Indian forces are unbearable for them and arousing the same urge in them to fight in IOK. (b) Historical background. Right from the days of the unlawful Indian occupation of IOK (27 October 1947), they have a deeply ingrained sense of owning the IOK Muslims who were thus wrongfully detached from them. (c) Ethnic connection. The divided IOK Muslim families are not only in Pakistani administered Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, but in other parts of Pakistan too in all professions. (d) And above all the Islamic Faith. Muslims are bound to fight to relieve the oppressed from the oppressor according to the binding command of Allah (SWT) as given in Quran, Surah Al-Nisa Ayah 75. Following is the Arabic text and English translation.
(“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”). (https://quran.com/4/75)
All the aforementioned facts on Kashmir issue clearly indicate that:-
- Being deprived of any option of a peaceful solution of this extremely unbearable situation in IOK, government and people of Pakistan are left with no option except for war with India; and that too sooner than later. Any delay in taking that option will be fatal for IOK Muslims and Pakistan, both from the moral and military points of view.
- Besides that, this time around, more than the wars of 1965 and 1971, Pakistan’s military will be supported not only by the logistical support of the united Pakistani Nation, but also by Nation’s large number of battle-worthy fighting contingents.
- On the other hand, in the case of this war Indian military while facing a ‘charged up’ Pakistani offensive from the west, will also have serious militarily-distracting trouble in its midst – the most likely simultaneous violent uprising of IOK Muslims, similar uprisings in India’s north-eastern states which have separatist movements, likely re-emergence of Khalistan uprising in Indian Punjab; and of course an ‘annoyed’ China in the north, which is deeply annoyed due to Indian unilateral declaration of Laddakh as its union territory, thereby re-triggering the Aksai Chin dispute with China.
- This war will of course start as a conventional military conflict, but there is no surety that it will not spill into a nuclear clash between Pakistan and India, which will cause widespread devastation not only in the entire region but also around the world. Indulging in that danger will be unfortunate. However UNSC and Western world powers have left no option to Pakistan other than war to relieve the IOK Muslims from the unbearable extreme inhuman atrocities by India; and may be, seeing the approaching danger of that devastation reaching their own people, the ‘UNSC-manipulating’ Western world powers intervene and compel the Modi RSS-BJP government to revoke these atrocities, and hold the since long existing UN-arranged plebiscite to let the IOK people to use their right of self determination and decide whether to join India or Pakistan.
Written by: Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan