New Delhi: The Balakot airstrike and the scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A by the Narendra Modi government are two significant events that will have a lasting imprint on the geopolitics of this region, Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said in the “Green Book” of his force.
The Green Book 2020, the latest edition published by the Pakistan Army featuring essays by serving officers and others, focuses on the implications of these events from diverse perspectives and dimensions.
The Green Book is published by the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army as an internal publication, which, as a matter of principle, is kept confidential from the public, according to a 2013 report in The News.
Some of the publications are, however, available on the website of Pakistan’s National Defence University.
In its latest edition, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint, the Pakistani Army chief has singled out the Balakot air strikes and Kashmir losing its special status as the significant events of 2019.
“Year 2019 witnessed two significant events which will have lasting imprint on the geopolitics of this region; first, the unwarranted Balakot Strike by Indian Air Force on 26th February and second, the unilateral annexation of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir by Mr Modi on 5th August, through abrogation of Article 370 and 35A,” Gen Bajwa has written.
He added that the Balakot strike “was a coercive attempt to carve out space for war under nuclear overhang and enforce compellence” and this was “adroitly denied by Pakistan Air Force the very next day, through a calibrated and proportionate response”.
He said the Indian craving for establishing a “new normal” was “stymied comprehensively”.
On J&K, Gen Bajwa also said Kashmir is a nuclear flash point and “in total disregard to international norms, Mr Modi has not only endangered the immediate neighbourhood, but has also raised the ante for the entire World”.
Non-state actors’ response could be ‘unpredictable, unrestricted’
Lieutenant General Raza Muhammad Khan (retd), former Corps Commander and former president of National Defence University, Islamabad, has in his essay said non-state actors will emerge again in Kashmir, “whose response could be unpredictable and unrestricted”.
This, he said, could be cataclysmic for Asian peace.
“Post August 5th environment suggests that India with obliteration of Article 370 actually risked a high intensity insurgency in an already volatile state of IOJK (Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir); something India could not have done alone without external backing,” he wrote.
Lt Gen Khan also said Pakistan must warn the US that frequent Indian threats will compel it to shift its forces from its Western borders. That could adversely affect peace in Afghanistan, for which Modi must be held accountable, he added.
The non-state actors refer to terror groups created, financed and supported by the Pakistan Army and its intelligence wing — ISI.
Calls for information warfare on Kashmir issue
Farzana Shah, a Peshawar-based journalist, has called for taking the “war into non-kinetic domains” — information/cyber warfare, electronic warfare (EW).
In her article in the Green Book, she said there should be a focused goal of extracting authentic information from stakeholders in Kashmir, “most importantly from the general public facing the brutalities of Indian oppressive forces”.
She argued that once information is gathered, the Foreign Office must disseminate it with a proper narrative of the state of Pakistan.
“A single video clip or picture can change the perception of India, which it has built so painstakingly over the years,” Shah has written. “Pakistan needs to keep world attention on IOJK and in order to do that communication links inside the valley must be established. Indian decision of communication blackout in IOJK was not random, but part of the but part of the planning.”
Shah underlined that Pakistan’s response in these two domains will be purely non-kinetic, denying any involvement of arms.
“If executed properly and a local uprising occurs inside IOJK, it will make it extremely difficult for India to keep selling the terrorism card on IOJK,” Shah said. “Burhan Wani (Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist) was a local hero, India could not blame his action on Pakistan. Only a native uprising will be just and politically defendable for Pakistan on international forums. Even such an uprising will need support in the information domain.”
ThePrint had reported on 22 April that heightened terror-related activities are expected in Kashmir this summer and that a new terror proxy has been formed by Pakistan to give an indigenous spin to it.
Senator Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and founding chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, a non-political and non-governmental think tank devoted to relations with China, quoted author Arundhati Roy.
“For starters, the focus should be on a Pakistani narrative. Indian writer Arundhati Roy’s classic article in The New York Times of August 15, 2019, ‘Silence is the Loudest Sound‘ provides some useful pointers, since it says it all,” he wrote.
In his essay, Lieutenant General Raza Muhammad Khan (retd) also called for a Kashmir fund, which could be used for various activities.
“Among other purposes, the fund must be used for preventing human rights violations in IOJK, informing the Indian masses and liberal intellectuals about the colossal cost in terms of treasure and blood, of enslaving nine million Kashmiris for over 70 years, and exposing the lies of the Indian government on the matter,” he said.
Dialogue or no dialogue, the confusion remains
Rizwana Karim Abbasi, an associate professor in the Department of International Relations at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad, made a case for bilateral dialogue between the countries.
She said India and Pakistan in parallel should resume bilateral dialogue and create a common ground to institutionalise restraint regimes in order to control the growing arms race and minimise risks of accidental wars.
“It is vital that the two states implement an early restraint regime to achieve regional strategic stability and peace,” she said.
However, Lt Gen Khan (retd) said Pakistan must make any dialogue with India conditional with the reversal of all “illegal measures”, taken by it in August, and inclusion of third party, preferably UN mediators, in the process.