Both houses of Indian parliament _house of people (Lok sabha) and council of states (Rajya sabha) _supported, without a nudge, to extend Presidential Rule in occupied Kashmir, expiring on July 2, 2019. The rule is a cover to continue day and night cordon-and-search operations, haul up innocent Kashmiris, and kill them in the guise of `encounters.’ India’s dreaded draconian laws, like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and National Investigation Agency powers, outlaw judicial notice of the atrocities of `security’ forces.

To accentuate the reign of terror, India has appointed retiring or retired police officers, Samant Kumar Goel to head Research and Analysis Wing (relieving Anil Dhasmana) and Kumar (succeeding Rajiv Jain), as head of the Intelligence. Goel is touted as a specialist `who has handled issues like Kashmir and left-wing extremism over the years. He is architect of Balakot strikes, though botched by Bellingcat estimation. Kumar fathered `planning operations and strategic moves in insurgency-hit areas of the north-east.’ India is mulling to integrate armed forces by creating `a permanent Chief of Defence Staff, making the armed forces a part of the decision-making mechanism for cogent single-point military advice to the government.’

Indian troops are currently being trained in Russia to operate the S-400. India wants Pakistan to be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force in October 2019.

Despite trade-and-tariff differences, the US Congress has resolved to recognize India as a `NATO member’. USA is in no mood to clamp sanctions on India for S-400 purchase. To keep up bonhomie with the USA, India has stopped importing oil from Iran.

In spite of constant repression, India could not hold state-assembly elections in occupied Kashmir. Badgered by frequent shutdowns, it banned Jama’at-e-Islami and removed security protection of 130 Kashmiri leaders. It banned “Cross LoC trade’ as it `was being used to fund guns and ammunition’.

The clues are that India would re-play its surgical strikes by October. Modi 2.0 may uncannily push the two neighbors, usually at daggers drawn, into a nuclear Armageddon, say by October 2019. As for Pakistan, it needs to put its politico-economic house in order to meet expected trans-border mischiefs.

SA’AD MALICK,

Rawalpindi.