LAHORE - Two former military commanders think that unprovoked firing by India at the LoC and Working Boundary could ultimately lead to a “limited war” between the two nuclear neighbours. The firing has been going on for the last many days as a result of which many civilians have been killed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the combined conference of his armed forces commanders was quoted as saying that “the duration of future conflicts will be shorter” and that “full-scale wars may become rare” but “force will remain an instrument of deterrence and influencing behaviour”.

Defence analysts interpreted Modi’s message of short wars as India’s new military policy of limited military adventures to pursue Indian establishment’s designs in the region under BJP rule.

Former military commander and defence analyst Lt General (r) Ghulam Mustafa said while talking to The Nation on Sunday that Indian aggression at the LoC and Working Boundary might be in pursuance of limited war policy but it could turn into a bigger conflict. The dynamics of the war could not be controlled and if escalation continued, nobody would be able to predict what could be outcome of such misadventures.

He observed: New Delhi, in pursuit of its “hegemonic designs” for a dominant role in Afghanistan, securing easy trade route through Pakistan up to Central Asian States and making Occupied Kashmir an integral part of India, is trying to pressure Islamabad through military action at the LoC and Working Boundary.

General Mustafa said while the top leaders of Pakistan were content with some press statements, there was a need for aggressive diplomatic offensive to internationalise the situation along LoC and the Working Boundary.

When asked about the options available to Pakistan to counter Indian threats, the former military commander proposed seeking Russian assistance. In his opinion, Moscow too needs space in the region which Islamabad can provide against the backdrop of new alignments of international powers in the region.

The second option, which is military one, he said, was putting pressure on India by showing military dominance in some sectors at LoC where our forces are in advantageous position. In response to a question about China’s role, the former general said he did not see any effective role of Beijing unless it twists India’s arm in Laddakh.

General Mustafa warned: The BJP government is striving to bring a friendly government in Occupied Kashmir, which would demand abolition of the ‘special status’ of the disputed territory under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and make it a permanent unit of the federation. “We need most immediate actions to deal with the extraordinary situation without shying away from taking tough decisions,” he added.

Another former military commander, Lt General (r) Amjad Shoib believes that continued violations by Indian forces at the LoC and Working Boundary could lead to greater border skirmishes or even a limited war. He observed: What if the situation gets aggravated to a point which forces the soldiers to go for a direct action – and thus a limited war.

General Amjad remarked: The LoC is not an international border between India and Pakistan but firing of 31,000 rounds of various ammunitions at the Working Boundary, which is considered a formal border, would compels our military commanders to think that Indian establishment has something bigger in mind.

He opined: The current Indian government is trying to advance its hegemonic designs in the region through brutal use of force. The Indian forces’ actions so far have established the fact that they want to create a warlike situation with Pakistan for their political needs in Held Kashmir and elsewhere in the region. I think that tensions might not end unless the United Nations plays its proactive role.

When asked about options to settle the issue, General Amjad also suggested an aggressive diplomatic offensive to deal with the situation, saying that so far the Foreign Office has failed to play an effective role. He remarked: Our soldiers are giving a befitting reply to the Indian aggression and I can say with utmost certainty that our armed forces are ready to face any threat in case of any major action from Indian side. But political leadership should also extend complete backing to the armed forces to counter this threat.