Article: Perpetuated tension and conflict: Pakistan’s response to India’s delusional mindset

Malik Suhaib

The relationship between India and Pakistan has been a contentious one for the past quarter of the century, with both nations having different perspectives on historical events and political issues. India’s mindset towards Pakistan has often been characterized as that of suspicion and distrust, which can have a significant impact on Pakistan.

One of the primary impacts of India’s delusional mindset on Pakistan is the perpetuation of tension and conflict between the two nations. India’s perception that Pakistan poses a threat to its national security has led to a range of measures, such as military build-up, that have been perceived as aggressive by Pakistan. This has hindered progress toward resolving key issues, such as the dispute over Kashmir, which remains a flashpoint between the two countries.

India’s military hegemony

Indian military hegemony refers to India’s exorbitant military quantum in the region, it has had significant implications for both Pakistan and Kashmir. For Pakistan, the perceived Indian military dominance has created a sense of insecurity and led to an arms race between the two countries, and has even gone to the extent of developing nuclear weapons to counter each other’s military strength. The border disputes and intermittent clashes between the two countries, such as the Kargil conflict in 1999 and the Balakot skirmishes in 2019, have also been fuelled by India’s portrayal of purported military hegemony. In the case of Kashmir, the Indian military hegemony has led to the excessive militarization of the region and an increase in human rights violations.

Indian Army’s Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, who heads the northern command of the Indian army, last year said the Indian army is ready to execute orders to take Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In the context of the Indian Army’s proclamations vowing to wage war against Pakistan, such statements are certainly not in line with the principles of international law. Making such statements of war or aggressive intent can escalate tensions between countries and increase the risk of conflict.

Indian calls to annex AJK and GB

India has claimed the regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) as parts of its territory since the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, which led to a dispute over the region that has yet to be resolved. There have been calls from some quarters in India to annex AJK and GB, but such actions would likely be viewed as highly provocative by Pakistan and could lead to increased tensions between the two countries. Additionally, any attempt by India to forcibly annex these regions would likely be met with resistance from the local populations, who have their own distinct cultures and histories.

In October 2022, during a visit to the Budgam district of Kashmir to commemorate the day when India landed its troops in Kashmir, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his hope that Gilgit-Baltistan would become a part of India. He stated that this would complete the mission that the Modi government began by annexing IIOJK in August 2019. India has long claimed the area as a part of its territory, and the statement by the Indian Defence Minister has reignited the debate.

Indian calls to stop the flow of water to Pakistan

While there have been tensions between India and Pakistan over water-sharing issues in the past, the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) has largely been successful in preventing any major conflicts over water. The treaty has a dispute resolution mechanism, which allows for disagreements to be resolved through a neutral expert or a court of arbitration. Under the treaty, India has control over the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej), while Pakistan has control over the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab).

Pakistan’s readiness to thwart India’s misadventures

Pakistan views its readiness to counter potential aggression from India as crucial for maintaining peace and stability in the region. India’s actions in recent years, including the Balakot airstrike in 2019 and the abrogation of Article 370 in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir have been viewed as aggressive by Pakistan. To enhance its military capabilities and preparedness, Pakistan has invested heavily in modernizing its armed forces, including acquiring new fighter jets, submarines, and missile systems. The country has also conducted military exercises and tests to demonstrate its readiness to respond to any potential threats.

In December 2022, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir visited frontline troops in the Rakhchikri sector of the Line of Control (LoC) and emphasized that any misadventure from India would be met with a befitting response. He stated that Pakistan’s armed forces are always ready to defend the motherland and take the fight back to the enemy if war is imposed. The COAS, Syed Asim Munir further went on to say that any misconception resulting in a misadventure on India’s part would be met with the full might of the armed forces, backed by a resilient nation. While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment and stance on the Kashmir dispute COAS avowed that Pakistan is committed to ensuring its national security and sovereignty and is prepared to respond to any threat to its territorial integrity with strength and determination.

Pakistan has pursued diplomatic and political measures to address India’s aggressive actions. The country has raised the issue of Indian aggression and human rights violations in Kashmir at international forums, such as the United Nations, to bring attention to the situation and garner support from the international community. Pakistan has also continued to engage in dialogue with India to resolve key issues, such as the Kashmir dispute, through peaceful means. Despite India’s reluctance to engage in meaningful dialogue, Pakistan has shown commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to the longstanding issue.

The author is a Master’s scholar pursuing research in Peace and Conflict Studies.

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