Despite longstanding Pakistani claims that India’s Research and Analysis Wing has provided covert support to Baloch separatists, the truth is India is in no position to play such a game — even if it wanted to. Baloch separatist leaders, in fact, often complain how India has done nothing for them. Here’s why India isn’t there:
First, India’s covert capabilities in Pakistan, painstakingly built up during the regimes of Indira Gandhi and P V Narasimha Rao, were unilaterally shut down by then Prime Minister I. K. Gujral in 1997-98 as part of his peace initiative. As a result, India today has virtually no reliable and capable human intelligence assets within Pakistani territory.
Second, Iran would take serious objection to any Indian effort to encourage Baloch secessionism. Teheran fears this would encourage their own Baloch province to secede and try to form a greater Balochistan. Even Kabul would be concerned as the Baloch also live in south Afghanistan.
Third, Baloch separatist movements would have little chance of success. The massive influx of Punjabis and other ethnic groups into Balochistan has reduced the Baloch share of the province’s population to barely half. The Baloch independence movement is split into several rival factions and poorly organised.
Fourth, India’s past experience with separatists has been unpleasant. Though it created the Mukti Bahini, India could not prevent Tikka Khan’s genocide in March 1971. Bangladesh then showed little gratitude for India’s role.
India played a similar role in backing Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka only to find itself mired in battle against the LTTE.
Fifth, India has carefully built a case against Pakistan as the main exporter of terrorism in the region over many years. This position now has far greater global resonance than it did before. Being caught with its hands in Balochistan would undermine this position, allowing Pakistan to argue India is also a rogue state.