The Indian state is dealing with the repercussions of its own oppression – repercussions which include non-state actors attacking its interests in defence of their own. Accusing Pakistan of being behind such groups is a good way of detracting from the fact that they are the independent product of Indian state oppression.
Lately, it seems that the Indian state propaganda tape recorder has been stuck on repeat. Daily statements made by government officials and shoddily made reports from Delhi’s state sponsored media keep repeating the same lines: ‘Terrorists who are sponsored by the Pakistani state are using Pakistani soil to attack Indian interests.’ These statements are usually followed by demands that Pakistan should ‘dismantle’ its ‘terror network.’
There are some very serious problems with this narrative. Firstly, India has shown the world no proof whatsoever that the Pakistani state is sponsoring non-state actors who attack Indian targets within India proper. Even after the hullaballoo of Mumbai, India handed over no concrete evidence that Pakistani state help was gained by the perpetrators of the attack. Even if non-state actors based in Pakistan’s inaccessible areas are involved in operations against India, this does not mean that they have the support of state elements – there is simply no causal link here. This is even more apparent when we see that Pakistan is itself a daily victim of terrorist attacks from non-state actors. If the Pakistani government has difficulties protecting its own citizens, how can it protect India’s?
Secondly, sponsoring non-state actors against India makes little geo-political sense. It only decreases Pakistan’s international prestige and increases pressure, at a time when the Prime Minister is on a PR mission to promote peace ventures and economic growth. It would make little sense for Nawaz Sharif to sponsor non-state actors against India when he is literally falling over himself to appease them. Fourthly, reputable international think tanks and policy institutes have found no proof of Pakistani involvement in terrorism against India. Neither, for that matter, have foreign governments. Surely the Indian state will not doubt the impartiality of these sources?
So why does the Indian state keep repeating this narrative? There are a number of reasons why repeating this story is beneficial for the Indian government. Foremost, it detracts from the real issue of why the Indian state is being attacked by non-state actors. The Indian state’s crimes against its own people have fermented more than 240 separatist freedom movements across the country. Just in the seven North Eastern states of the country, there exist 15 separate major insurgencies. These include:
- People’s Liberation Army
- Nagaland and Tripura:
- National Liberation Front of Tripura
- All Tripura Tiger Force
- Meghalaya and Mizoram:
- Hmar People’s Convention-Democratic – HPC(D)
Kashmir is no different, here again, a freedom loving peoples’ aspirations have been brutally crushed. But this is but a drop in the ocean of discontent across India. Over the past 60 years, the Indian government has been involved in documented and proven crimes against humanity, including state sponsored genocide. The Indian state is dealing with the repercussions of its own oppression – repercussions which include non-state actors attacking its interests in defence of their own. These groups need no help from Pakistan, nor do they ask for it. Accusing Pakistan of being behind such groups is a good way of detracting from the fact that they are the independent product of Indian state oppression.
Another benefit of accusing Pakistan of terrorism is that it maligns Pakistan’s reputation internationally. India has a big voice in the international spotlight, much bigger than Pakistan’s. The Indian state has powerful loyalists in nearly every major news outlet in the West who can contribute to this media bashing of Pakistan. And thus, if Pakistan’s reputation is maligned, then less of the world believes it – especially when it rightly accuses India of cross border state terrorism. Yes, readers might wonder if this is just Pakistan accusing India of something which it itself is accused of doing, but no, Pakistan has proof – solid, concrete proof. Pakistani agencies have, over the past 10 odd years, recovered Indian-made propaganda, weapons and spies involved with terrorist groups such as the BLA and the TTP.
All the evidence points to a sophisticated operation, run mainly from Afghanistan, under the guidance of Indian intelligence agencies and funded by the Indian state, all with the aim of destabilising Pakistan. Recently, the U.S. State Department officials, too, recognized the evidence and gave statements in support of Pakistan’s claims.
The Indian state is a state sponsor of terror, both at home and abroad. No amount of rhetoric and false accusations against Pakistan can hide this. The international community would do better to recognize this fact; the sooner the better.