India’s Limited Options To Counter Growing Resistance In Kashmir

By Ali Hassnain

As expected, Modi has brought sub-continent on the brink of war again. Near 100 innocent Kashmiris have been killed by Indian forces in Kashmir during the past weeks. Peaceful protesters have been killed by India’s shot gun shells which they call “pellets”.  Many have lost their eyesight. It is difficult to imagine the magnitude of atrocities committed by India. Kashmiri people want to accede to Pakistan; protesters in Indian Occupied Kashmir carry Pakistani flags and are buried  by their fellows wrapped in Pakistani flags. After a few weeks of absolute civil disobedience in Indian Held Kashmir some militants attacked Indian soldiers and killed 18 of them. Within minutes of the attack India started blaming Pakistan. Many in Pakistan see the incident as a false flag operation to malign Pakistan. However with the resentment against India in Kashmir, it can very well be Kashmiri freedom fighters who decided that non-violence is not enough any more. With the limited information we have it is very difficult to be certain, almost impossible to be sure.

Senior figures in Indian government are giving aggressive statements. From their statements it appears that they want to somehow bully or punish Pakistan for their support on Kashmir.

Who would they attack? There are no terrorists running around on the border with India. To cut a long story short, I have narrowed down Indian options.

  1. High altitude surgical strikes

India lacks the resources. They have no stealth bombers or any strategic bombers. Pakistan has some 50 000 soldiers’ strong Pakistan Army air defence corps along with long range, mid-range and short range modern surface to air missiles.  PAF has modern early warning airborne radars. PAF has some 76 F-16s and at least 90 JF-17 aircrafts beside upgraded Mirages (154) and F7s (186) which can thwart any such attempt. It is likely that PAF would engage Indian invaders in India or somewhere around the border. PAF is likely to counter-attack against Indian military targets within minutes of the Indian attack.

  1. Helicopters based targeted operation using special forces

India is not the US, they don’t have any such capability and not expected to have it in the foreseeable future.

  1. Total war

Events can lead to nuclear war in which the region will perish. Without nuclear option most likely outcome would be a stalemate like the 1965 war.

  1. Limited war using the cold start doctrine

Extremely dangerous option, Pakistan would mobilize faster than India, most likely defeat India. Tactical nuclear warheads are likely to be deployed if things get out of hand. It is possible it would lead to the scenario no.3.

  1. Terrorist attack using proxies

This is the most viable option for India and they would try to use it. It has been emphasized time and again that Pakistan needs to implement the National Action Plan. India would use Afghan territory against Pakistan like it has been doing for many years. Pakistani foreign office should wake up and move to UN against BLA and TTP. We need to cut their funding at source. It is certainly compelling for Pakistan to look at India’s fault-lines in response. India’s fault-lines start from Punjab and end in Mizoram.

International community is likely to stand with Pakistan if India initiates a conflict in current atmosphere. So basically, I don’t think there is going to be a serious conflict. There would be some sabre rattling, and that is about it.

India should sit with Pakistan and Kashmiri people. Kashmiris have the right of self-determination and they should get the right to vote for their future under the supervision of UN. War is not an option any more; they need to understand Kashmir wants to join Pakistan. Why do they want to keep Kashmir under forced occupation? They have no ethnic, cultural or religious links with Kashmir! After 69 years of Indian occupation the people of Kashmir still want freedom.  The answer is in the implementation of the UNSC resolution on Kashmir.