India’s Ambassador To Russia Lied About Rejecting International Mediation

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Emirati Ambassador To India, and several unnamed US diplomatic sources all released statements around the same time disproving the Indian Ambassador to Russia’s previous on-the-record statement that “no country has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan” and that his government “will not accept” any such offer even if it was made, making one wonder whether New Delhi’s highest-ranking diplomat in Moscow lied as shamelessly as he did in a desperate attempt to “save face” for shockingly shooting down Russia’s mediation interest despite secretly accepting other countries’ diplomatic assistance in this respect instead.

America Cracks The Whip

The Indian Ambassador to Russia was just caught red-handed shamelessly lying to his host country after he went on record a few days after Foreign Minister Lavrov expressed his interest in having Russia mediate between India and Pakistan to shockingly shoot down the peacemaking proposal by what his government misleadingly portrays as its closest international partner, saying in no uncertain terms that “no country has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan” and that his government “will not accept” any such offer even if it was made. It’s now been revealed that Ambassador D. Bala Venkatesh Varma wasn’t telling the truth after Reuters released a report this weekend citing several unnamed US diplomatic sources who alleged that Washington intervened to crack the whip and get its new military-strategic ally to back down from its threat to launch missiles against Pakistan and escalate the unprovoked crisis with its neighbor to the dangerous level of risking a nuclear war.

India’s Secret Diplomacy Deliberately Snubbed Russia

Evidently, it seems that while the US probably greenlit India’s dramatic but ultimately fake “surgical strike” stunt against Pakistan in a bid to improve Modi’s reelection prospects and send negative fake news signals about the viability of CPEC, it didn’t approve of New Delhi responding to the epic humiliation of the Pakistan Air Force shooting down one of its counterpart’s “vintage” (but possibly upgraded) Russian jets by irresponsibly taking tensions to the next level, suggesting that Modi might have “gone rogue” from even his American handlers and seriously considered starting World War III for a brief moment. Before National Security Advisor Bolton’s reported intervention, it’s now known from the Emirati Ambassador to India that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed “had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Modi and the Pakistani PM Imran Khan” “on the day of the huge escalation”, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry officially said that it “pro-actively promoted peace talks” between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

All of this proves beyond any credible doubt that the Indian Ambassador to Russia was lying when he said in early March a day after Wing Commander Abhinandan’s release and the consequent de-escalation of the crisis that “no country has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan” and that his government “will not accept” any such offer even if it was made despite it now being known that New Delhi had secretly accepted other countries’ diplomatic assistance in this respect instead, even including its chief geopolitical rival China’s though stunningly not its “bhai” (“brother”) Russia’s. This suggests an attempt on the part of India’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) to deliberately snub Russia after Lavrov unintentionally “offended” them by challenging the ruling BJP’s self-assumed supremacist stance against Pakistan by treating the two countries as international equals by expressing an interest to mediate between them. Curiously, New Delhi seemingly didn’t care that others did this too and only singled out Russia.

Bhadrakumar’s Insight Into The Indian “Deep State”

The reason why it was “unforgivably offensive” for Russia to hold this implied position as opposed to any other country doing the same is because India assumed that it could “buy off” Russia’s support through multibillion-dollar arms deals and therefore get it to sacrifice its geostrategic interests in the global pivot state of Pakistan as a result. This isn’t just the author’s own interpretation but it also reflects the one that career diplomat, Indian “deep state” insider (especially regarding the attitude of his government’s multipolar-leaning faction towards Russia), and well-known columnist on international affairs Mr. M.K. Bhadrakumarrecently wrote in his article for The Tribune about “The big let-down”. This highly respected expert has an extensive track record of Russian-friendly analyses but suddenly switched his tune in the aftermath of “The Latest Kashmir Crisis Proving That India, Not Pakistan, Is The Real Rogue State” by lashing out against the Russian people for what he disrespectfully described as their “notorious avarice”:

“What comes as a total surprise is in regard of the Russian attitude. Moscow’s mediation offer is not the point here, but its demonstrative attempt to be ‘neutral’. The mega multi-billion dollar arms deals that the Modi government presented to Russian vendors, defying the threat of US sanctions, have apparently not placated the Kremlin. Curiously, the Kremlin-funded news channel RT featured a half-hour interview only last week with former Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar fulminating against Modi, Indian media and politics, and Hindutva meta-nationalism. Why are Russians so mighty upset? It must have something to do with money. Is it about Essar Steel not going to the Russian bidder? Or, about Saudi Aramco likely trumping Gazprom in the race for the highly lucrative Indian retail energy market? Or, about some pending arms deal? No matter the notorious Russian avarice, Moscow’s choice to ‘balance’ between India and Pakistan when Delhi needed its support most is the unkindest cut of all.”

Mr. Bhadrakumar’s ad hominem attack against the same people with whom he spent a large portion of his entire career building bridges was apparently triggered by his “total surprise in regard” to “[Russia’s] demonstrative attempt to be ‘neutral’” in spite of “the mega multi-billion dollar arms deals that the Modi government presented to Russian vendors”, which actually shouldn’t have been unexpected at all for a man who served in Russia for slightly less than half as many years as I am old had he been following the many articles that I’ve written about this topic and which I compiled in my recent piece about how “Russia Officially Returns To South Asia By Offering To Host Indo-Pak Peace Talks” that was released a full half-month before his “big let-down” article. It’s not that Mr. Bhadrakumar isn’t aware of my work either since he wrongly speculated about the intention of one of my older pieces, which I clarified last year.

“The Unkindest Cut Of All”

Mr. Oleg Barabanov – a programme director at the Valdai Club (Russia’s most prestigious think tank), a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO, which is run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and a professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences – raised a very relevant point earlier this month in his recent analysis about “Russia and the Search for Balance Between India and Pakistan” when he wrote that “Sometimes the Indian expert community expresses mistrust of Russia because of what they consider the excessively close Russia-China partnership, as a result of which Russia is losing its independent political image in India. Obviously, viewing Russia exclusively through the prism of Indo-Chinese divergences does not promote trust. Thus, US policy in the region (and probably the potential Indo-US link) serves as an additional external impetus for Russia-Pakistan dialogue.” As Mr. Bhadrakumar’s words prove, Mr. Barabanov was entirely right, but even more so than he could have imagined.

Bearing in mind the Valdai Club expert’s piercing insight into one of the many recent US-encouraged problems plaguing Russian-Indian relations and recalling how “Russia Regards The ‘Indo-Pacific Region’ As An ‘Artificially Imposed’ Pro-US Concept” to “contain” China, “the unkindest cut of all” (to channel Mr.Bhadrakumar) is that the Indian Ambassador to Russia shamelessly lied to his host country about the apparent absence of any previous mediation proposals when shooting own Moscow’s own informal one despite having already secretly relied upon the diplomatic services of the US, the UAE, and even India’s chief geopolitical rival China. There couldn’t be any stronger signal from India to Russia that their Soviet-era “brotherhood” is over and that their strategic partnership is now purely transactional after losing the “romantic allure” that it once held for decades in the minds of both of their “deep states” (contrary to whatever “feel-good” rhetoric they might each espouse during this “sensitive” time).

Concluding Thoughts

There’s no doubt that India will continue to be one of Russia’s priority partners for the indefinite future by virtue of its enormous market size and the billions of dollars’ worth of military deals that they agreed to in the past six months alone, but the mutual trust that they enjoyed during the Old Cold War days of “Rusi-Hindi Bhai Bhai” (“Russians and Indians are brothers”) is forever lost after New Delhi succumbed to the pressure of its new American patron by deliberating snubbing Russia from the international mediation process with Pakistan. Even worse, the Indian Ambassador to Russia flat-out lied about the secret diplomatic assistance that his country received from others in this respect, with it later being revealed that even India’s chief geopolitical rival China played a role in the same process that New Delhi denied its “bhai” Moscow a chance to participate in. In response, Russia is expected to “recalibrate” its regional “balancing” strategy in the direction of its newfound Pakistani strategic partner.

The Latest Kashmir Crisis Proved That India, Not Pakistan, Is the Real Rogue State

Kashmir, Korea, Venezuela, Iran: hot, cold, hybrid war

Source

March 01, 2019

Kashmir, Korea, Venezuela, Iran: hot, cold, hybrid war

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Turning and turning in a widening gyre, the geopolitics of the young  21st century resembles a psychedelic mandala conceived by Yama, the Lord of Death.

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, fresh from a 70-hour train journey, meets in prosperous, communist Hanoi with fellow Nobel Peace Prize contender Donald Trump under the benevolent gaze of Uncle Ho.

This very sentence, if announced not long ago, would have elicited transcontinental howls of derision.

Chairman Kim, owner of a small nuclear arsenal, is deemed worthy of dialogue by the hyperpower while the nuclear-deprived leadership in Iran is not, even as the hyperpower ditched a multilateral, UN-approved, working nuclear deal.

In parallel, the hottest border in Asia reveals itself not to be the DMZ between the Koreas, but once again the Line of Control between nuclear powers India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

Although Islamabad and Delhi might, in theory, escalate to pointing nuclear missiles towards each other, the DPRK won’t point a nuclear-tipped missile at Guam and Tehran points to nothing at all, as it does not hold any nuclear missiles.

In a lighter, Looney Tunes vein, exit regime change in Pyongyang, while regime change in Iran stays, and enter regime change in Venezuela. Iran may still be placed in the Axis of Evil, but the new motto is the troika of tyranny (Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua) as the government in Caracas plays ‘Beep Beep’ to the hyperpower’s Wily Coyote.

An array of dodgy US neocons and shady “foundations” keep the flame of regime change in Iran alive, even fabricating a Tehran-al-Qaeda axis, while in Venezuela a stealth scenario advances. An astonishing briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Moscow this past Friday revealed that “US special forces and tech units will be delivered closer to Venezuela’s borders. We do have information that the US and its NATO partners are organizing for a mass delivery of weapons for the opposition in Venezuela, which will come from an Eastern European country.”

Facts are implacable. NATO, after nearly two decades, was miserably defeated in Afghanistan. The NATO-Gulf Cooperation Council war by proxy in Syria failed. The winners are Damascus, Tehran and Moscow. The conflict in Donbass is frozen. So, a remixed Monroe doctrine is back, even as a humanitarian ploy – reminiscent of the “humanitarian imperialism” that led to the destruction of Libya – may have failed, for now.

Brazilian Vice-President General Hamilton Mourao has introduced a dose of sanity going against the “all options on the table” regime change of his own President, Jair Bolsonaro. Mourao constantly insists “the Venezuela question must be decided by Venezuelans”, adding that US threats sound “more like rhetoric than action” as a military attack would be “purposeless”.

Watch that K

What’s in a name? Pakistan may indeed mean “land of the pure” in Urdu, but the key is in the acronym; K stands for Kashmir – alongside P for Punjab, A for Afghania (actually the Pashtun tribal areas), S for Sindh and T for the “tan” in Balochistan. K is a matter of national identity.

The first Indo-Pak war after Partition in 1947 was over Kashmir. In the following year, Kashmir was divided by the Line of Control (LoC), which remains the de facto Berlin Wall of Asia, way more dangerous than the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the Koreas. Another mini-war across the LoC took place in 1999.

Kashmir is a crucial geostrategic prize. Assuming India would ever own it all, that would represent a direct bridge to Central Asia and a border with Afghanistan while depriving Pakistan of a border with China, thus nullifying to a great extent the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one of the key projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

If Pakistan ever owned it all, that would solve the country’s worries about water security. The Indus River starts in the Himalayas, in Tibet, and skirts through Indian-controlled Kashmir before entering Pakistan and running all the way down to the Arabian Sea. The Indus and its tributaries provide water to two-thirds of Pakistan. New Delhi has just threatened to weaponize the flow of water to Pakistan.

There’s no end in sight to Kashmir being roiled over and over by skirmishes or even partial conflagration between jihadis – protected by Islamabad at different levels – and the Indian army. The Islamist Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) wants the whole of Kashmir annexed to a Pakistan governed by Sharia law.

JeM’s Kashmir obsession is also shared by their de facto allies Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Both are supported – with degrees of nuance – by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. Most of all, both are heavily supported, financially, by the Wahhabi House of Saud and the United Arab Emirates.

There’s no solution for Kashmir that does not involve cutting off Saudi proselytizing, financing and weaponizing – the toxic cocktail that nurtured Pakistan’s famous Kalashnikov culture. And there can be no solution when the House of Saud’s ability to have nuclear weapons “on order” from Islamabad remains the number-one open secret in South Asia.

Russia and China as voices of reason

Were this a sensible realm, oblivious of Yama, India and Pakistan would talk, like Prime Minister Imran Khan has just offered, within a framework such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which both are members, with Russia and China as mediators.

And that brings us to what happened in Yueqing, China, on Wednesday, totally under the Western radar; a de facto, ministerial-level meeting of the “RIC” in BRICS, uniting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Lavrov may have denounced “absolutely brazen attempts” to “artificially create a pretext for military intervention” in Venezuela. But the game-changer should have been what Russia, China and India discussed on Kashmir, which may eventually have a direct impact on both Islamabad and New Delhi attempting to defuse a still explosive scenario.

China and Russia’s coordinated positions were absolutely instrumental in facilitating North Korea’s dialogue with the Trump administration. Yet it’s still a long way away from South Korean President Moon’s dream: Trump officially declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean war, via a peace treaty replacing the current armistice with iron-clad security guarantees. After all, that is the number-one condition for the DPRK to start contemplating denuclearization.

China and Russia, in theory, also have what it takes to bring India and Pakistan to reason – plus the clout to put pressure on Saudi Arabia’s weaponized Wahhabism.

And yet, from Washington’s perspective, China and Russia are “threats” – from the National Security Strategy all the way down to functionaries such as Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the Northcom commander, who just told a Senate committee that Russia’s “intent to hold the US at risk” presents an urgent threat.

Some more equal than others

China, Russia and Iran are essential nodes of Eurasia integration, which interlock key vectors of the New Silk Roads, via Iran’s trade agreement with the Eurasia Economic Union and expansion of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). Considering the stakes, Lavrov and Yi could not but be stunned by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif resigning from his post via Instagram.

Sources in Tehran maintained that the key reason for Zarif resigning was that he was not informed – and did not attend – an ultra high-level meeting in Tehran on Monday of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, the IRGC’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and President Hassan Rouhani when they discussed strictly Syrian military matters, not diplomacy. Zarif may not have been in the room, but his number two, Abbas Araghchi, was.

In the end, Rouhani rejected Zarif’s resignation, stressing that it was against Iran’s national interests. And crucially, Soleimani said that Zarif had total support from Khamenei. Even as various factions of Iran’s hardliners may be fuming with both Zarif and Rouhani, characterizing them as fools who fell into an American trap, the last thing Tehran needs at the moment – under pressure by hybrid war – is internal division. In parallel, support from both Russia and China won’t waiver.

Washington may deploy variations of Hybrid War but most reflexes remain undiluted Cold War. The mechanism remains the same. A fortune in US taxpayers’ money is showered on the industrial-military complex, with defense contractors and major corporations paying back fabulous campaign contributions to the political class. That’s why someone like Tulsi Gabbard, who is anti-war – hot, cold and hybrid – and anti-regime change, will be smeared to Kingdom Come by the weapons lobby, and prevented from making a run for the presidency.

The Global South has learned that turning and turning in the widening gyre, some countries are indeed more equal than others. Even though some may be relentlessly blasted as terrorist enablers (Pakistan), and nuclear powers as a rule must be appeased (DPRK) and seduced (India as a plank of the “Indo-Pacific” strategy). Chairman Kim is now a “great leader” who can hand his nation a “tremendous future”.

Non-nuclear powers, especially those rich in natural resources and implementing strategies such as bypassing the US dollar, like Iran and Venezuela, face the fate of being regime change targets, slowly and painfully devoured by Yama, the Lord of Death.

Modi’s Office was Very Misleading About His Conversation with Putin — Astute News

According to the Kremlin’s official website, President Putin never said anything about “Russia’s steadfast support for India’s efforts to protect its interests against cross-border terror attacks”, but that didn’t stop Prime Minister Modi’s office from misleadingly implying that he did as India continues doing whatever it can to save face after Pakistan gave it a […]

via Modi’s Office was Very Misleading About His Conversation with Putin — Astute News

Pakistan Turned The Latest Bollywood “Surgical Strike” Flick Into Reality

By Andrew Korybko
Source

India thought that it pulled off an infowar coup by pretending to have carried out a “surgical strike” against 200-300 Jaish-e-Mohammed fighters in Azad Kashmir in the early hours of 26 February, but this vote-grabbing stunt by Indian Prime Minister Modi totally backfired on him after Pakistan turned this latest Bollywood flick into a reality by defending its airspace and downing two Indian MiGs that violated the Line of Control.

The Movie That Came To Life

The hottest Bollywood flick in the world right now is “Surgical Strike 2.0”, which is the big-budget and high-stakes sequel to its predecessor that India claims to have carried out in 2016 with no evidence either. The author wrote about this in his piece titled “’Surgical Strike 2.0’ Or Big Bollywood Spectacle?”, which compared India’s lies about a second “surgical strike” in the early hours of 26 February to a re-election movie by Prime Minister Modi, one which he hoped would amount to an infowar coup that would simultaneously boost his own nation’s international “prestige” while denigrating Pakistan’s. It was predicted at the end of that piece that “Like all Bollywood productions, ‘the show must go on’, but the “surgical strike” series won’t have a happy ending for India” after Pakistan promised to retaliate “at a time and place of its choosing”, which is exactly what happened the next day.

Pakistan downed two Indian MiGs that violated the Line of Control (LoC) and even managed to capture a pilot who was recorded on camera as proof against India’s original fake news assertions that it didn’t suffer such a humiliating military defeat. Speaking of false claims, India says that it downed a Pakistani F-16 that violated its airspace, yet just like it bragged about killing 200-300 Jaish-e-Mohammed fighters in its “surgical strike” the day earlier without presenting any evidence whatsoever that anything other than a few trees were destroyed (and even those were targeted accidentally after its jet released its payload to jettison extra weight as it fled Pakistani airspace), so too is this also fake news intended to deceive the domestic and international audiences. What actually happened on the morning of 27 February is expectedly much different than how India is portraying it.

Fake News Has Real-World Consequences

Islamabad acknowledged in an official press release that it retaliated tit-for-tat by striking non-military targets in Indian-Occupied Kashmir in order “to demonstrate [its] right, will and capability for self defence”, not to escalate the situation. It also hinted at carrying out actual anti-terrorist “surgical strikes” against the Indian-backed terrorists participating in the Hybrid War on CPEC when it declared that “If India is striking at so called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan.” Had India’s elected leadership and its military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) not fancied themselves starring in a Bollywood film and took Pakistan’s words seriously, they wouldn’t have even staged “Surgical Strike 2.0” after Islamabad promised there’d be a response should that happen, but regrettably, New Delhi decided to escalate tensions even further.

Instead of letting Pakistan’s principled tit-for-tat retaliation be the end of their recent tensions, India turned up the notch by dispatching two more of its MiGs to violate the LoC and possibly stage another episode of its “surgical strike” drama, though they were predictably shot down by the Pakistani Air Force. Displaying the maturing that a rising Great Power such as the global pivot state of Pakistan is expected to have, Prime Minister Khan promptly went on national TV to reiterate that his country doesn’t want to take the situation any further but that “No sovereign country can allow another country to become judge, jury and executioners” by using unverified claims such as the Pakistani state’s involvement in the Pulwama attack to violate its airspace and stage a “surgical strike” stunt. India refused to jointly investigate that “trigger” incident with Pakistan, instead choosing to unilaterally act aggressively against it.

Pakistan Is Protecting The Rules-Based International Order From India (And Its US & “Israeli” Allies)

This pattern of behavior is strongly influenced by the modus operandi of its new American and “Israeli” allies, who never have any compunction against striking whatever state they feel like, though once again, India’s Bollywood delusions deceived it. Nuclear-armed and battle-tested Pakistan isn’t anywhere in the same league as “Arab Spring”-afflicted Libya or war-torn Syria, so Modi’s fantasy of carrying out an American- and “Israeli”-like strike against it – to say nothing of an Iraqi-style “shock and awe” campaign – with impunity was a fantasy from the very beginning, though one which the Indian leadership has dangerously decided to play out in real life. Unlike those aforementioned targeted states, however, Pakistan is strong enough to defend the principles of international law, especially sovereignty and territorial integrity, by militantly upholding the UN Charter, which is why it promptly shot down both Indian jets that tried to stage another “surgical strike” provocation.

It’s become fashionable over the past few years for world leaders to lament the demise of the so-called “rules-based international order”, yet Pakistan just proved that it’s possible to defend it if states have the political will and military capabilities to do so. Whether it’s India, “Israel”, or America, this actual “Troika of Tyranny” (unlike the Latin American one that US National Security Advisor Bolton spoke about late last year) is destabilizing South Asia, West Asia/Mideast, and the whole world, respectively, and doing more than any others to throw International Relations into chaos as they desperately try to stop the emerging Multipolar World Order at all costs.  It shouldn’t be seen as coincidental that India is the US’ only “Major Defense Partner” and bragged about using “Israeli” missiles in its latest “surgical strike” stunt that it intended to indirectly destabilize the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRICPEC megaproject.

Russia’s “Balancing” Pragmatism At Its Finest

Russia expressed concern about the US’ geopolitical intentions for India earlier this week when Foreign Minister Lavrov presciently warned against using the South Asian state to “contain China” through the “artificially imposed” “Indo-Pacific Region” concept, and Head of the Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov (who’s also President Putin’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan) confirmed his country’s pragmatism by “balancing” between its traditional India partner and its newfound strategic one in Pakistan after refusing to take sides and reiterating that both are “friendly to Russia”. This would have been unthinkable had Moscow believed that New Delhi was on the right geopolitical path, but it evidently places such importance on Islamabad’s role in protecting the rules-based international order which India’s American patron is trying to destroy that it decided not to take New Delhi’s side this time around, which speaks volumes if soberly analyzed by objective observers.

Concluding Thoughts

“Surgical Strike 2.0”, the latest Bollywood flick to come out of Modi’s India, was supposed to be an action-packed comedy that would highlight the “bravery” of the Indian Armed Forces as they “humiliated” Pakistan, but the movie abruptly transformed into real life after New Delhi forgot that military stunts have real-world consequences and Islamabad showed that it’s more than willing to turn this comedy into a tragedy for its main protagonists. This “plot twist” revealed that far from being the “heroes”, the Indian Armed Forces are actually the antagonists while their opponents in the Pakistani Armed Forces are the real protagonists fighting to safeguard the principles of the UN Charter upon which the rules-based international order is based.

Usually when a movie is going as bad as this one is, it’s a good idea to walk away even if the viewer can’t forget that the experience ever happened, but Modi seems to have a morbid fascination in seeing how much worse things will get. He’s forgotten that he’s not in a flick but is the main player an ultra-risky high-stakes gamble over the fate of his entire nation. The “surgical strike” charade was exposed as the fake news infowar that it was from the very beginning, but unless Modi wakes up and realizes the damage that this vote-grabbing stunt has inflicted on his country, Pakistan will ensure that “Surgical Strike 2.0” has the worst ending in Bollywood history.

Pakistan’s Restrained Self-Defence is a Wake-up Call to an International Community That Continues to Ignore Kashmir

By Adam Garrie
Source

Two jets down 

This morning, in broad daylight, Pakistan downed two Indian fighter jets which had breached Pakistani airspace. One of the jets landed in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) and one landed in Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir province.

Subsequent to the downing of the jets, two Indian pilots were taken into custody. One is currently receiving medial treatment.

Why it happened in a specific sense

According to Pakistan armed forces spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, today’s action taken in the morning light, was a necessary and non-lethal effort which demonstrates that Pakistan will never tolerate any illegal infringements of its air space as was witnessed today and moreover as occurred during yesterday’s attempted but ultimately failed Indian aerial assault on Pakistani territory.

Speaking at a press conference Major General Ghafoor further elaborated on the situation as follows:

“Pakistan’s armed forces have capability, will, resolve and nation’s support. But because we are a responsible state and want peace, we decided first of all that we won’t take any military targets.

Secondly we decided that there be no loss of life or collateral damage in our engaging of targets.

Our planes locked targets, then in open air we carried out strikes. We locked all targets with accuracy, and when we had option to fire, we acted responsibly from a safe distance. We have capability to do anything, but we don’t want escalation. We don’t want to go towards war”.

Why it happened in a wider sense 

Although the Kashmir crisis has burnt since 1947 and has been rapidly escalating into a major human rights crisis since 1989 in particular, the international community has come to ignore the Kashmir crisis more so than just about any other lingering conflict on the planet. By contrast, the Israel-Palestine conflict, wars against Daesh terrorism in the Arab world and even elements of the ongoing civil conflicts in Myanmar, tend to receive far more international attention.

As a result, India has been able to act with impunity against the people of occupied Kashmir, while India’s narrative which blames Pakistan for inciting a resistance to occupation that has in reality been incited by India’s own policies in occupied Kashmir – is rarely challenged outside of Pakistan.

The reason this reality has come about is because of the fact that in today’s age of modern warfare, there is little chance that a conventional war between India and Pakistan would directly impact the security of any other nation. In this sense, the vastness of the wider south Asian space has given the wider world a convenient excuse to ignore the crisis, with the noble exception of Turkey.

As such, whilst China refuses Indian calls to scapegoat Pakistan and label local groups as “international terrorist groups”, China nevertheless does not want to risk a further deterioration of its relations with India by taking a firm stance on the Kashmir issue. For the United States that in recent years has pivoted closer to India and further away from Pakistan, Washington seeks to balance its rhetorical support of the Indian narrative against a desire not to totally alienate a Pakistani state that even Donald Trump now realises is required to secure any lasting and meaningful peace process in Afghanistan. Finally, whilst Russia tries to maintain its strong Cold War bond with India whilst also availing itself of opportunities that a Pakistani partnership presents, Russia tends to say as little as possible while at times, an historic pro-India basis is still detectable.

As such, when Pakistan is faced with a large Indian neighbour that seems unchecked in its arrogance and its willingness to use military force in order to engender domestic political gain for the ruling BJP, there is no choice for Pakistan but to demonstrate its material capacity for self-defence.

This is why Pakistan did not attack India under the cover of night, but instead used its military power to actively punish Indian jets that had violated Pakistani airspace with utter impunity. Pakistan wants the world to see the situation for what it is. Beyond this, the only way to break this cycle is for India to realise that bullying a geographically smaller but still nuclear armed neighbour, is totally unacceptable and that moreover, the root cause of all hostility between India and Pakistan is the fact that New Delhi refuses to grant Kashmiris their UN mandated plebiscite on political self-determination.

A wake up call for the rest of the world 

Almost every country in the world has issued a statement on the Israel-Palestine conflict at one time or another. Similarly, the US continues to criticise the Chinese and Russian military superpowers. China makes very firm statements criticising the US when it violates China’s maritime rights in the South China Sea, Iran and Israel constantly criticise one another, Russia constantly criticises the military policies of the United States – and yet this same international community continues to fall silent on the Kashmir issue, in spite of the fact that Kashmir’s crisis is the sole cause of tensions between nuclear neighbours in south Asia.

In this sense, the wider world ought to listen to the following statement, also given at this morning’s press conference by Major General Asif Ghafoor:

“The state, government, armed forces and people of Pakistan have always conveyed a message of peace to India. The road to peace goes through dialogue. Both countries have the capability and capacity but war is the failure of policy which India needs to understand. We do not want to escalate and follow a path which leads to peace. The people of both countries and region at large have a right to live and live in peace. War is not the solution to problems. India should think with a cool head on this offer from Pakistan”.

Conclusion 

Both India, its traditional partners and other major members of the international community must think with a cool head on Pakistan’s offer. Pakistan’s doors to dialogue continue to remain open, but likewise, Pakistan will always respond robustly to any acts of provocation committed by any of its neighbours. If the world truly cares about peace, the international community must tackle this matter at its root. This is to say, the international community that for decades has ignored Kashmir, must cease to do so.

Balakot and Batgram

Spearhead Analysis – 27.02.2019
Source

Pulwama happened and even a moron could connect two dots and decide that its roots lay in India’s disastrous policy in Kashmir. PM Modi (no doubt assisted by his National Security Adviser) jumped the gun, mounted his bandwagon and made the hare-brained unilateral determination (without an investigation) that Pakistan was behind the attack. He also committed India to retaliation closing the door to any deniable response. The die was well and truly cast. The world ignored the mounting evidence of linkage behind the Pulwama and Zahedan attacks and the conclusion that India was the sole beneficiary of the two linked attacks.

India’s retaliation (that is now being seen as a damp squib) came in the form of a pre-dawn attack by Mirage 2000 aircraft loaded with bombs from India’s Avantipura base. The bomb load clearly indicates the intention to bomb an area target and in this case it turned out to be an open area near Village Jabba close to Balakot in Pakistan’s KPK province. Did the pilots have wrong coordinates or was an area chosen, rather than a specific target, to lessen the impact of the attack hoping that Pakistan would not respond and India’s baying Hindu population and its frenzied media would be satisfied. The problem is that India chose a target area outside the disputed Kashmir area well within Pakistan. Pakistan’s interceptors responded and their rapid response has led to the perception that the Indian pilots exited hastily jettisoning their bombs. What was meant to be a retaliation to Pulwama turned out to be a disaster and within the Indian Armed Forces the feeling grew that they had been used for political purposes with no strategic or even tactical goal assigned. The only success for India was that it did not lose a Mirage in the attack because its pilots hightailed it out quickly. Subsequent press conferences and briefings by Indian officials have been confusing but the people and the media celebrated without restraint till reality began to kick in.

India’s second intrusion into Pakistani airspace came today with MIG 21 aircraft. It came in response to Pakistan’s carefully calibrated standoff early morning air attacks on six infrastructure targets in IOK— carefully selected to avoid human casualties. Pakistan Air Force (no doubt flying CAP-Combat Air Patrol Missions) swooped on the MIG 21 aircraft and shot down both aircraft. One fell on the Pakistan side of the LOC and Pakistan claims three pilots captured. The other aircraft fell in IOK and apparently the pilot was killed. India had perhaps decided to make cross border air intrusions and attacks a regular feature of its coercive policy on the LOC—that was so far restricted to cease fire violations on the ground. Pakistan’s measured response has put paid to any such policy and also signaled its competence and capacity as well its desire not to escalate to war. The DGISPR made this clear in his briefing.

What India does after this incident is unclear but another facet of the situation is the post- Pulwama crackdown in IOK that is inflicting unbelievable atrocities on the Kashmiris presaging a major upheaval in the valley. India’s economic attraction may have shut the world’s eyes to the gross human rights violations by India but the escalation of state sponsored terror in IOK and subsequent irresponsible actions could lead to a conflict that in the Pakistani PM’s words ‘no one could predict how it would end”.

Pakistan has rightly stated that all it is doing is defending. After the Balakot bomb run Pakistan had reserved the right to respond at a time and place of its choosing. And it responded responsibly through carefully calibrated attacks from within its territory and within IOK. Now with Indian aggression fully exposed and its policy in tatters Pakistan does not have to respond further and it can keep its right to respond reserved for the time being. The Indians have had their celebration and just as they were basking in the after-glow they have been given a dose of reality. It is time for introspection in India. It is time for diplomacy to kick in so that madness does not take over. Rein in the media. Educate public opinion. Listen to the voices advocating sanity. It is easy to plunge into the abyss but you cannot climb back out. Pakistan has again offered unconditional dialogue to defuse the situation and set the scene for regional stability. The world needs to support Pakistan especially as it moves to eradicate militancy from its soil in its own interest.

Surgical Strike 2.0: “…A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound And Fury Signifying Nothing” — Astute News

As soon as the term “fake news” entered the public lexicon, governments began to invoke the phrase in order to censor opposition opinion. At the forefront of this drive towards censorship has been India’s BJP government of Narendra Modi. In late 2018, geopolitical expert Andrew Korybko wrote about the immense pressure that New Delhi is […]

via Surgical Strike 2.0: “…A Tale Told by an Idiot, Full of Sound And Fury Signifying Nothing” — Astute News

“Surgical Strike 2.0” Or Big Bollywood Spectacle?

By Andrew Korybko
Source

India is portraying its first aerial violation of the Line of Control (LoC) in nearly half a century as another “surgical strike” against Pakistan that followed in the footsteps of the operation that it claimed to have pulled off without evidence in 2016, but in the absence of any proof to once again back up its assertion and considering that Pakistan already presented contradictory photographic evidence proving that the so-called “attack” only destroyed a couple of trees, it’s clear that this was just another big Bollywood spectacle for infowar purposes.

Facts First

India dramatically claimed to have pulled off another “surgical strike” against Pakistan in the early hours of 26 February, declaring that 200-300 members of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) were killed in retaliation for the group’s involvement in the Pulwama attack. The country’s media is wildly celebrating what their government portrayed as a massive victory over Pakistan after the Indian Air Force violated the Line of Control (LoC) for the first time since the 1971 war with their neighbor and didn’t instantly trigger a larger conflict. The message being conveyed to their citizens is that India can “surgically strike” Pakistan at will without repercussions, but the actual facts of the matter state something altogether different and show that this is nothing more than a big Bollywood spectacle for infowar purposes.

Here are the facts as they objectively exist at the time of writing:

  1. The Pulwama attack was the worst Indian military loss in a generation;
  1. India reactively blamed the Pakistani state for involvement in the attack without presenting evidence;
  1. The Indian Air Force violated the LoC for the first time since 1971;
  1. Pakistan proved that only a few trees were destroyed and no infrastructure damaged or people killed;
  1. Islamabad says that the Indian jets shed their payload in fright to jettison extra weight as they fled;
  1. New Delhi denies that its jets were chased out of Pakistani airspace by its neighbors’;
  1. India presented no evidence to back up its claims that it killed 200-300 JeM fighters;
  1. and Pakistan vowed to respond to this border violation at a “time and place of its choosing”.

Modi’s Motivations

Accepting the publicly verifiable veracity of the abovementioned facts, it’s possible to piece together the motivations that Indian Prime Minister Modi had for ordering this stunt. The first and most obvious one that comes to mind is that it was a re-election ploy to ensure his victory ahead of this May’s polls, seeing as how it temporarily appeased his party’s chest-thumping ultra-jingoist base that’s been braying for blood even prior to the Pulwama attack. He’s able to present this as an “unprecedented foreign policy success” against his countrymen’s hated neighbor and show that he’s “tough on terror”. Correspondingly, he can continue to contrast his two “surgical strikes” with the lack of a “kinetic response” to the 2008 Mumbai attack that the Congress opposition blamed on Pakistan when it was in power at the time.

In parallel with this, Modi also wants to shape international perceptions about his country and Pakistan. Per the first-mentioned, he wants it to appear like a “rising military superpower” capable of carrying out “surgical strikes” against another nuclear-armed state without triggering World War III, something that neither the US nor Russia have ever claimed to do against one another even during the height of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Pertaining to Pakistan, Modi wants to paint the country as a “state sponsor of terrorism” that’s “militarily weak” and perennially on the edge of “sliding into instability” because it “can’t control its own borders”. These weaponized narratives are supposed to deter states and private citizens alike from investing in the globally game-changing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which India opposes on the basis of its maximalist claims to the Kashmir Conflict.

Strategic Context

All of this is occurring in a specific strategic context. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov warned earlier this week against India being used by the US to “contain” China through what he said is the “artificially imposed” concept of the “Indo-Pacific Region”. Seeing as how CPEC is the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project, the latter of which is the engine of the emerging Multipolar World Order, it makes sense why India and its American ally are jointly waging a Hybrid War on CPECthrough interconnected terrorist and infowar aggression, especially in the strategically located Pakistani province of Balochistan where the megaproject’s terminal port of Gwadar is based. About that aspect of this unconventional conflict, India recently succeeded in manipulating Iran into blaming Pakistan for the spillover effect of this campaign and even getting Tehran to imply the threat of its own cross-border strike last week.

Bearing this backdrop in mind, India’s latest claim to have carried out its second “surgical strike” against Pakistan in less than three years correlates perfectly with its desire to destabilize its neighbor and the CPEC project that it hosts on behalf of its new American patron in the larger context of the US’ New Cold War competition against China. Neither “surgical strike” accomplished anything of military significance because both were intended from the get-go to be infowar provocations that would negatively shape international perceptions about Pakistan and scare off foreign investment in CPEC, which could have in turn indirectly led to setbacks for China’s grand strategy if they were successful. The latest one, however, saw India dangerously violating the LoC for the first time in almost half a century, which it may have partially done in an attempt to inspire Iran to do something similar.

Debunking The Bollywood Bluster

Three simple points debunk the Bollywood bluster behind India’s false claims of “victory”:

  1. The absence of any evidence implicating Pakistani state institutions for involvement in the Pulwama attack means that India’s “surgical strike” claim is technically an aggressive violation of international law, which is counterproductive for its desired soft power gains.
  1. The absence of any evidence proving that 200-300 JeM members were killed means that India’s “surgical strike” claim is a lie and intended to cover up its military failure of being too fearful to attack Pakistan while inside of its territory, which is counterproductive for its desired military reputation.
  1. In view of the aforementioned and the fact that Pakistan is unfazed by this “surgical strike” claim and wasn’t destabilized by it in the least, India’s stunt actually bolstered its rival’s international standing and counterproductively proved why the global pivot state is more than suitable for foreign investment.

Concluding Thoughts

Far from being the “devastating blow” against Pakistan that many in both the Mainstream and Alternative Medias are presenting it as, India’s latest claims of a “surgical strike” backfired against it after the absence of any evidence confirming the attack or even the supposed “justification” for it (i.e. that Pakistani state institutions were involved in the Pulwama attack) exposed this stunt as being nothing more than a big Bollywood spectacle for infowar purposes. This entire operation failed with every one of its intended objectives because the easily obtainable truth actually harms India’s soft power and military reputation instead of Pakistan’s, Iran wisely didn’t emulate India’s example, and CPEC has yet to be destabilized by New Delhi’s hand at its American ally’s behest. Like all Bollywood productions, “the show must go on”, but the “surgical strike” series won’t have a happy ending for India.

Is another war in South Asia imminent?

On September 22, 2018, the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat while talking to media said, “India needs to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that the terrorists and Pakistan Army have been carrying out. Yes, it’s time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain”.

This statement by the senior most Indian Army officer came in the wake of the news of alleged killing and mutilation of a BSF soldier a day earlier. Shortly after Times of India reported inflammatory statements by Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday, the Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor responded by saying: “We [Pakistan Army] are ready for war but choose to walk the path of peace in the interest of the people of Pakistan, the neighbors, and the region”.

Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor added that Pakistan has a long-standing record of fighting terrorism, adding “we know the price [that is paid] for peace”.

“We have struggled to achieve peace in the last two decades. We can never do anything to disgrace any soldier,” he asserted, strongly denying the claims made by India that hold the Pakistan Army responsible for the killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier. “They have in the past as well laid the blame on us for mutilating the body of a fallen soldier. We are a professional army. We never engage in such acts,” the ISPR chief said.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry also promptly issued a response, backing the DG ISPR’s statement. “Pakistan and India are nuclear powers; a war is out of the question,” he said.

The information minister termed the Indian army chief’s statement an attempt to divert the attention of Indian public from the mega corruption scandal and the subsequent calls for resignation faced by PM Modi-led BJP government.

Is war Inevitable now?

The inflammatory statements by Indian military chief came at a time when Indian Occupied Kashmir is burning. In IOK, Indian troops launched a massive cordon and search operation in several villages of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday.

The operation comes following the killing of three Indian police personnel posted in India-held Kashmir reportedly by armed Kashmiris, who have been waging a struggle for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. Several unarmed Kashmiri protestors have been killed in the past several days in addition to hundreds being injured and arrested by the Indian security forces.

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