The operational environment in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) is pregnant with multifarious possibilities although ominously subdued at the moment. Is it the proverbial lull before the storm? Are the Indian Occupation Forces in a strategic pause waiting for the winters and snows to set in to limit Kashmiri reactions and resistance once the curfews and communications blackouts are lifted? Or is The Modi-Doval Duo now afflicted by strategic paralysis; unsure of how to proceed further in the face of Kashmiri’s never-say-die spirit, Pakistan’s very strong response and the international community’s clear stance opposing the brutal Human Rights (HR) violations there.

Nothing seems to be going as planned by The Duo. The Indian domestic opinion is gradually getting out of its Hindutva-laced stupor and starting to see the fallacious policies of The Duo in their correct perspective. Pakistan achieved strategic surprise, nay superiority, by its resounding counter strokes post Pulwama-Balakot, blowing two Indian fighter aircraft out of the skies over the LOC and promising much more. Furthermore, Pakistan’s diplomatic and media offensives are reaching and influencing the right quarters in the UN, UNSC, UNGA, UNSG, US, EU, GB, UN Human Rights Council Geneva, the OIC, etc. The international media/opinion is shifting away from India’s disinformation on IOJ&K and is gaining further momentum and influence. The Ummah/OIC might yet rise from its self-induced slumber and act. Although the balance between righteousness and commercial and economic interests of some countries is still tilted towards India, yet they will soon realise the injustices and atrocities being meted out to the Kashmiris and come around to support their Right to Self Determination.

The explosive strategic environment in IOJ&K thus foretells strident and compulsive unrest, rebellion and resistance once the restrictions are lifted - or are breached deliberately. Clouds of (nuclear) war hang ominously over Kashmir, the Indo-Pak subcontinent and the world at large!

The world needs to act now, lest it is too late - for everyone on the planet!  

The Indians have to first decide whether to lift the curfew and other restrictions in IOJ&K or not? The longer and harder the lid is kept compressed the stronger will be the backlash once the pressure is removed. If they maintain the status quo then they stand to face increasingly virulent even unsustainable pressure from the international community and media. The use of pellet guns to blind unarmed protestors and cluster bombs (across the LOC) are war crimes. So are mass rapes, and ethnic cleansing of Muslims (and other minorities) within the IOJ&K - as all across India now.  The world knows and watches, apprehensively!

If the Indians were to lift the curfew the backlash is bound to be massive, despite the fact that they have already arrested thousands of young men from the valley under the draconian and diabolical Public Safety Act (PSA). Frustrated, humiliated and wounded in body and spirit, the Kashmiris will rise in a kinetic, proactive, indigenous, resistance movement to challenge the atrocious Occupation Forces. The resultant clashes will certainly attract the attention of the international watchdogs and the global powers that be. Reports indicate, that in its obsessive imitation of PM Netanyahu’s Palestine model, The Duo intends to force the Muslim population into Refugee Camps along the LOC (a la Gaza Strip) and then push them across it. That will certainly warrant a kinetic response from Pakistan, who will pick up the gauntlet without blinking. Furthermore, trying to re-engineer the 

 De mographic balance might not work either. Settling Hindus including Pandits and retired Armed Forces personnel in settlements, a la the West Bank in Palestine, will be unsustainable under local opposition and international pressures. 

The Duo’s plans for the so-called economic rejuvenation and development of the IOJ&K are bound to fail too. Regardless of the conferences and road shows planned, the investment climate is just not conducive at all. No investor worth his salt will risk his or his shareholders’ money in such an unpredictable, hostile, polarized, destabilized (possibly nuclear) war zone. Furthermore, local unrest, hostility and imminent clashes are bound to be the new normal there. Or will the Kashmiris remain locked up in their homes till the investments mature up? The time-space relationship and the destabilized strategic environment make it impractical and undoable.

The Indian politicians and their military leaders are now talking of “reclaiming” Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. Any misadventure across the LOC is bound to explode across the international borders as well. The war will move into the nuclear dimension very rapidly leaving the international community precious little time to intervene to restore sanity in the subcontinent.  

The Duo needs a massive reality check; Kashmir is no Palestine and India is no Israel!  Kashmir needs a different approach and a different solution. 

The world needs to realize the strategic connotations of the fast deteriorating situation in IOJ&K. It must intervene, now. Pakistan’s priority will be a Plebiscite under the UNSC Resolutions. However, President Trump’s offer of mediation should only be accepted if it is multilateral in nature. China must be included in the mediation process. Pakistan cannot afford to put all its eggs in the American basket alone. The Ummah and the international community must realize that Realpolitik is a two-way street, working both ways. If the Ummah’s oil rich members and the West’s super rich economies are hesitant in censuring India for its diabolical annexation of IOJ&K because of their respective national interests, they could also use their investments as a leverage to mould and temper India’s conduct and behaviour there.

If atrocities visited upon the Palestinians and the Kashmiris will not anger the Ummah, then God knows what will. It is this collective inertia of the Ummah that has allowed the West to destroy and devour it piecemeal. The same dangers and threats persist today as they did a century ago. It is time now for the Ummah to unite, unify and act primarily in the Ummah’s collective interest before they are totally annihilated piecemeal, one by one! 

Kashmir is now the test case for the Ummah and its hopefully resurgent Realpolitik!

The author is a retired Brigadier from the Pakistan Army. E Mail:

Twitter: @K846IM

The explosive strategic environment in IOJ&K thus foretells strident and compulsive unrest, rebellion and resistance once the restrictions are lifted - or are breached deliberately