NEW DELHI: After a week of hysterical war mongering by Indian officialdom, the realisation seems to have sunk in that military adventurism against Pakistan is not an option as it would have catastrophic consequences not just for the two countries but for the entire region.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had been conferring with his top military commanders to look into the possibility of overt or covert military strikes in Pakistan, apparently backed down on Saturday when he talked about isolating Pakistan diplomatically.
New Delhi blamed Pakistan for the September 18 deadly attack on a military base near the Line of Control in Indian occupied Kashmir based on flimsy evidence, the authenticity of which is being questioned by some circles within India even.
On Saturday, Islamabad called for an international investigation into the attack in Uri sector in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.
The Indian media went into overdrive to create war hysteria in the country. But on Saturday, Modi sought to calm his right-wing supporters who have been clamouring for a muscular response to Islamabad, saying his government would continue its push to make Pakistan a pariah state in the eyes of the international community.
Addressing a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in Kerala, Modi threatened that India would intensify its efforts and force Pakistan ‘to be alone all over the world’. “We will leave no stone unturned to isolate Pakistan in the world,” he told the gathering of his hardline supporters.
The threat was the latest in the war of words Delhi has engaged in with Islamabad over unrest in IOK, where more than 100 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more wounded, including hundreds blinded, by Indian security forces firing live rounds and shotgun pellets at rock-throwing protesters.
Stepping back from his previous belligerence, the Indian premier instead resorted to petty taunts in his speech. “India is ready for a war but let us fight a war on poverty, unemployment, and let’s see who wins first, India or Pakistan,” he said.
Modi also claimed that the Indian army had foiled 17 infiltration attempts across the border, killing 110 ‘fidayeen terrorists’ in the last few months.
Pakistan demands ‘international’ probe
Rejecting Delhi’s accusation that Islamabad was somehow involved in the Uri assault, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday demanded an ‘international probe’ into the deadly attack.
“It is deplorable that India always chooses to blame Pakistan for any incident even prior to conducting a proper investigation. The statement is part of a pattern to mislead the world opinion and to cover up India’s reign of terror in IOK,” Aziz told BBC Urdu. “We demand that a probe, led by neutral, international bodies, be carried out into the incident that should be free of any bias.”
“At present, a liberation movement is ongoing in IOK,” he said, adding that “such attacks would dent the movement in Kashmir and Pakistan’s cause”.
Aziz contended that the allegations were a “blatant attempt on India’s part to deflect attention from the fast deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation” in Kashmir since the killing of young separatist leader Burhan Wani by Indian troops.
“This is not the first time that India did this [ie, blamed Pakistan]. During a visit by the then US president, Bill Clinton, to India, IOK was rattled by a similar big event and India, as usual, laid the blame at Pakistan’s doorstep. Later, it turned out that India had staged the incident just to malign Pakistan.”
He said it was impossible to stage a cross-border attack in such a heavily-fortified area, adding that despite dilly-dallying tactics of India in providing ‘solid evidence’ after the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, “Pakistan was ready to assist in the Uri attack probe.”