India ups the ante with Pakistan on Kashmir

June 3, 2015 7:34 PM (UTC+8)

 

By M.K. Bhadrakumar

A sensational “leak” in the Indian press, possibly by the Indian security establishment, implicates Britain as having midwifed the recent agreement between the spy agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But it is an open secret that Britain closely coordinates and collaborates with the United States its moves on the Afghan chessboard. And if the Indian spooks are indeed correct, it follows that London acted in tandem with Washington.

Now, why would the U.S. and Britain mastermind a deal between Afghanistan’s National Security Directorate (NSD) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to humiliate India?

Can it be that Washington and London got so fed up with the conduct of the Indian spooks in the Hindu Kush that they decided to promote the ISI?

No, this Indian allegation is too bizarre for words. It must be seen for what it is – a classic blame game. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the spooks in India are livid that their Pakistani counterparts have comprehensively outplayed them in the “great game” on the Afghan turf.

To rub salt into the wound, the Pakistanis have been lately gloating over their success in the great game. Pakistan has announced that a high-level team visiting the U.S. currently will “share” with the Americans evidence of the Indian spy agency’s “increasing involvement in stoking terrorism in Pakistan.”

Unsurprisingly, the politicians on both sides have jumped into the fray and the mudslinging is becoming a daily affair.

To be sure, the India-Pakistan ties have sharply deteriorated. The communication lines between the two neighboring capitals have become dysfunctional. Where is it all leading?

Delhi doesn’t realize that if the tensions spiral, India’s regional policies are in danger of becoming Pakistan-centric – although the Indian pundits may claim just the opposite to be the case.

This deplorable state of affairs is not what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised when he came to power a year ago. Certainly, this is not the picture of India that Modi himself would wish to present to the world community – a country that cannot even sort out its nagging problems with its immediate neighbor and yet insisting that it is eager to assume the global responsibilities of a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Yet, the Modi government is only upping the ante lately. Of late it has begun asserting India’s claim over Pakistan’s Northern Areas (which were never really part of Kashmir, historically speaking) in addition to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

Logically, a solution to the Kashmir problem would have meant a settlement that doesn’t redraw the existing boundaries, and the only feasible solution would be to affirm the Line of Control dividing the disputed territory of Kashmir as a de facto border.

In geopolitical terms, however, the Modi government is demanding that India shall have a common border with Afghanistan, and Pakistan shall cease to have a common border with China. To the outside world, this can only appear to be a patently unrealistic stance way beyond India’s capacity to realize. In sum, the Modi government seems to be preparing for a prolonged period of tensions with Pakistan.

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