A few days ago US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper held bilateral talks with their Indian counter parts dubbed as two-plus-two ministerial dialogue and in the joint statement issued at the end of the parleys while reaffirming the growing strategic partnership and working in support of a free, open and inclusive Indo-pacific region, unwarrantedly asserted that the Pakistani territory was being used by the terrorists. The statements also asked Pakistan to take immediate and irreversible action against these networks and prevent its territory from being used in this manner.

The ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan reacting to this indiscreet assertion rightly rejected the statement terming it as anti-Pakistan. The reality is that US-India nexus is not only designed to promote the objective of contain China policy but is also essentially anti-Pakistan. The US and its allies blinded by their strategic and commercial interests are showing criminal indifference to the state terrorism by India in IOK and the ruthless killing spree in the valley at the hands of the Indian security forces and the Indian action to end the special status of the state which effectively nullifies the UN resolutions on the Kashmir dispute.

They have also kept mum on export of terrorism to Pakistan by India through the likes of Kalbhushan Jhadav whose confessional statement and later conviction by the military court present irrefutable evidence of Indian involvement. The conscience of the so-called champions of humanitarian causes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the Universal Human Rights Declaration does not seem to have been stirred neither by what is happening in IOK nor by the recent anti-Muslim legislation enacted by the Modi government which has provoked country-wide protest movement. They have not gone beyond mild rebuke and concern over what is happening.

The US and its allies have also shown utmost hypocrisy in regards to the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism. While they acknowledge that Pakistan as a frontline state in the war against terror has done a lot, they in the same breath also do not mince their words about the alleged presence of terrorist outfits on Pakistani soil to please their strategic partner India.

Their support and groveling attitude towards India encourages the latter to continue with its oppression in IOK and adoption of hostile posture towards Pakistan. My considered view is that Modi could not have made a move on Kashmir without approving nod by the US. He proceeded with that illegal action which even constituted an affront to UN and the world community after behind the scene assurances by US and its allies that there would be no harsh reaction against those indiscretions.

The continued firing along the LOC by the Indian forces and the threat hurled by the Indian army chief that the situation at the LOC could escalate any time are ominous portents that reinforce fears expressed by Pakistan that in an effort to divert the attention of the world community from the situation in IOK and compelled by deteriorating internal situation over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, India might try to re-enact a false flag operation which could easily lead to an armed conflict between the two countries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan reacting to the emerging situation rightly tried to invoke the attention of the international community to the lurking dangers in his twitter message saying”I have been warning the international community of this for some time and I am reiterating again, if India does such an operation to divert attention from its domestic chaos plus whip up war hysteria to mobilize Hindu nationalism, Pakistan will have no option but to give a befitting response. Over the last 5 years of Modi’s government India has been moving towards Hindu Rashtra with its Hindutva Supremacist and fascist ideology. Now with the Citizens Amendment Act, all those Indians who want a pluralist India are beginning to protest and it is becoming a mass movement. At the same time the siege by Indian Occupation forces in IOJK continues. A bloodbath can be expected when it is lifted. As these protests are increasing, threat to Pakistan from India is also increasing. Indian Army Chief’s statement adds to our concerns of a False Flag operation”

Under the circumstances, Pakistan has done well to convey her apprehensions to the P5 and other counties regarding Indian designs and seeking their support and intervention to de-escalate the situation. Pakistan needs to intensify the diplomatic offensive to sensitize the world about the dangers to peace and security in the region due to Indian action in IOK and the anti-Muslim legislations enacted by her.

Pakistan in spite of being capable of giving befitting reply to any aggression by India as it proved in February when the Indian planes crossed over to Pakistan and got hit, does not want an armed conflict with her. Pakistan and India are nuclear powers and any miscalculation on either side can have disastrous consequences for both of them. The countries of the world which believe in peace and tranquility need to play a role and use their influence on India to persuade her to reverse the situation in IOK and also refrain from the course it has adopted to make India a Hindu state, which can have a spillover effect in the region, particularly Pakistan. The US and her western allies also need to revisit their stratgy of extending unqualified support to India realizing that it could spell disaster in the region and also undermine their strategic interests.

Modi government also needs to realize that the course adopted by it is neither in the ultimate interest of India nor the entire region. Its war like disposition could endanger peace and security in the region and beyond and also jeopardizes for good its efforts to change the economic situation of teeming million in India. Peace and security in the region are pivotal to alleviation of poverty and shared economic prosperity. The only way this objective can be realized is through resolution of disputes between Pakistan and India including the core issue of Kashmir through dialogue in conformity with the UN resolutions. Sooner this reality sinks in the minds of the Indian leadership the better. Wars and confrontations bring death and destruction and not prosperity.

Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The writer is a freelance columnist.

ashpak10@gmail.com