Things are heating up on the Line of Control in Kashmir and the prophets of doom are laying out scenarios that do not preclude further escalation. It appears that the Hawks in the Indian military have successfully implemented a silent policy coup and are now calling the shots in shaping relationships between the two Sub-Continental Nuclear Powers. If this perception is true, then it is indeed a major development with reference to the Indian decision making mechanism, which was traditionally under total control of elected governments. Projected further, this development has far reaching security implications for Pakistan.

India has accused Pakistan of perpetrating Line of Control violations – allegations that have been vigorously refuted by the latter. Animosity between the two countries has a historical perspective dating back to pre-independence Hindu – Muslim tension, Partition and resultant birth of an Independent Muslim State, a controversial drawing up of borders by the British and an equally controversial accession of some princely states including Kashmir to India.

The Kashmir Issue has festered for more than six decades, thanks to an impotent UN Security Council, which has consistently failed to get its resolutions implemented and ascertain the will of the Kashmiri people with regards to their future. The issue has not only occupied resources and time of both Pakistan and India, but has affected attitudes of masses in both countries to the extent that none of the Governments can step back from their traditional positions to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.

Kashmirisin the Indian Occupied region and their animosity against what is viewed as a repressive occupation, coupled with eyeball to eyeball presence of Pakistani and Indian troops along the Line of Control are tools that are used by Indian policy makers to up-the-ante in order to meet ends of policy. Our Eastern Neighbor has wielded these tools to good effect and hasso far managed to dupe the World even in the face of later disclosures exposing Indian allegations and claims as cleverly orchestrated Bollywood type dramas. Cases in point are the Chittisinghpura Massacre and the Attack on the Indian Parliament.

The key question today is as to the motive behind the current wave of incidents along the Line of Control and India’s intransigent refusal to enter into a dialogue with Pakistan, unless the latter ‘takes care of ground realities’. One reason could be that with elections approaching Indian Politicians are taking up the popular ‘cry wolf’ slogan. The other motive could be more sinister, when viewed in tandem with the sudden escalation of militant and terrorist activity in Balochistan and Indian involvement in fermenting trouble in that province.

Nevertheless, ground realities are that an armed conflict with its neighbor is not the leading option with Pakistan, which is currently beset with domestic issues. This does not in any way imply that the latter is incapable of a befitting response if threatened by external adventurism. Another emerging reality isthat a growing number of people in both countries are desirous of peace, but this would only be possible when all parties lay its foundationon a mutually honest and reciprocally dignified relationship. Regretfully, the Indian dream of becoming a quasi-global power is based on the Chanakyan Doctrine, the cornerstone of which is use of any means, no matter how immoral, to achieve the ends of policy.

The bottom line however is that if asked to do so, I will put my money on the will of the people of both Pakistan and India – for it is this will that has the power to destroy mindsets and rancor. It is this power that will, in the future, bring lasting peace in the region.

The writer is a freelance columnist.