By Ali Hassnain
During the last 5 days India has rushed 25000 more troops to Kashmir, it appears Indian government is in a panic mode due to international support for Kashmiris.
In Kashmir there has been Indian initiated exchange of long range artillery fire, combat air patrols and the narrative of BJP has been aggressive. Some Indian opposition leaders are defending 370 and 35-A of Indian constitution. Omar Abdullah after meeting the Governor (who is ruling Occupied Kashmir by decree) said no one knows what’s going on. It appears BJP has decided to annex Kashmir, scrapping article 370 and 35-A which in theory protects Muslims majority Indian occupied Kashmir from Hindu majority India. It seems that after the failure of Indian diplomacy at international level the Government of India has decided to do something or compel Pakistan to do something that might help its narrative. Brinkmanship is dangerous especially when nuclear weapons are involved.
Assuming India has decided to annex Kashmir formally which it already occupies, what are Pakistan’s options? I would categorise them as 1) diplomatic, 2) military and 3) everything short of war, as was the case between US and USSR.
United Nation Security Council is the most preferred and rational option which India refuses. US can be approached and warned about the upcoming war, no one wants such a war. That’s how both world wars started and now the risk of nuclear war is real. India’s diplomacy has failed miserably. Pakistan should have acted a week earlier. Trump himself has talked twice about Kashmir issue and even India unlike past has been forced to admit it’s a bilateral issue (not an internal Indian problem). However, unfortunately our foreign office is not known for their proactive approach. So it is possible India annexes Kashmir at the cost of international opinion.
However as India would clearly be in the wrong and if Pakistan can get sanctions on India it would force India to reconsider. OIC, Turkey and Saudi Arabia can play an important role; an oil embargo by OIC can lead to resolution of Kashmir issue according to UNSC Resolution and the wishes of people of Kashmir.
Pakistan’s military is proactive. The Akhnoor dagger is hardly something Pakistan or India is unaware of. There are many other military options. In short an intense limited war would definitely ensue which would lead either to an all-out nuclear war or a stalemate like 1965 with both countries suffering losses and UN would have to intervene to stop an all-out war.
In an all-out war all bets are off. It is almost certain it would be a nuclear conflict. Unless Pakistan captures a huge chunk of Indian territory up to Delhi and decides to stop just there. But in the 101 possible scenarios, that’s just one of them.
- Everything short of war
Like 1965 Pakistan can send Azad Kashmir Regiment to fight in Indian occupied Kashmir, and Pakistan army defending the line of control and international border. With international opinion against Modi’s India it is possible within a year Kashmir issue would be resolved under United National Security Council Resolution no. 39. Any attempt by India (like 1965) by attacking Pakistani forces to divert any logistical help from Azad Kashmir Regiment would not yield much and would most likely be limited to border shelling, mostly failed aerial incursions and low intensity border conflicts. Pakistan would be fighting for freedom and India for occupation. If India decides to invade Pakistan like 1965. All bets are off; we might be looking at a nuclear winter.
So how mad is the Mad King of India (Modi) is to be seen but it must be noted that as General Ghafoor correctly pointed out in February, we have been studying you (India) for 70 years. You cannot surprise us, we shall surprise you. Pakistan armed forces and nation needs no warning, they are prepared. However if the war hysteria starts in Pakistan in response to Indian aggression as Indian shells have fallen up to 30 km inside Azad Kashmir there would be fatwas and calls for Jihad. Let’s not forget all the ulemas including Modudi issued Fatwas of Jihad in 1965. Where we go from there is difficult to ascertain.
Let’s hope that peace and good sense prevails at Indian side as Pakistan government is already showing more restraint and acting responsibly.