Pak Army publication focuses on Kashmir; Bajwa writes on Art 370, Balakot
Kashmir appears to be the focus of the 2020 edition of an internal publication of the Pakistan Army, with its chief Gen Qamar Bajwa describing last year’s Balakot air strike and the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status as events that impacted regional geo-politics.
A majority of articles in the latest edition by army officers, former diplomats, academics and journalists reference the Kashmir issue, and offer suggestions ranging from creating a Kashmir Fund to support people in the Indian Union Territory, and adopting information and cyber warfare by establishing communications links inside the Kashmir Valley.
The Green Book 2020, a biennial publication of the Pakistan Army with essays by both serving and retired officers that reflect the military’s overall strategy and objectives, also has a message by Bajwa that describes Kashmir as a “nuclear flashpoint”.
In his message in Green Book 2020, posted on the website of Pakistan’s National Defence University (NDU), Bajwa says the environment in South continues to be complex, with the lines getting blurred between different types of warfare.
“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 [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi on 5th August, through abrogation of Article 370 and 35A,” Bajwa wrote in the message issued as patron-in-chief of the publication.
“Former was a coercive attempt to carve out space for war under nuclear overhang and enforce compellence; adroitly denied by Pakistan Air Force the very next day, through a calibrated and proportionate response – Indian craving for establishing a New Normal was stymied comprehensively. The latter, despite condemnation by the world at large, continues to haunt the lives of over eight million Muslims of [Kashmir]…,” he added.
“Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint 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. The scholarly discourse in current edition of Pakistan Army Green Book has accordingly spotlighted the implications of these events from diverse perspectives and dimensions,” Bajwa further wrote.
Some recent editions of the Green Book had focused on the internal threat posed by terrorist groups but this year’s edition marks a return to the traditional focus on India as Pakistan’s greatest threat.
Several articles in the Green Book dwell at length on the Pulwama terror attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in February last year that triggered a fresh stand-off between India and Pakistan, the Indian Air Force strike on a JeM facility at Balakot and the retaliatory action by the Pakistan Air Force.
The articles make references to other events such as the 1999 Kargil conflict and the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which led to face-offs between the two countries, but make no mention of the role of Pakistan-based elements in triggering these events.
Lt Gen (retired) Raza Muhammad Khan, a former Corps Commander and former president of NDU, in his article, “The prospects and panacea of peace in South Asia”, recommended the creation of a “domestic and international Kashmir Fund”, saying it could crowd sourced and the Pakistan government “should provide tax incentives for donations”.
The federal government, in the absence of resources, “must encourage the provinces to allocate at least one percent of their NFC [National Finance Corporation] shares and earnings” and the Kashmir Fund should be controlled by the prime minister to prevent human rights violations in Kashmir, “informing the Indian masses and liberal intellectuals about the colossal cost…of enslaving nine million Kashmiris…and exposing the lies of the Indian government,” Khan wrote.
Khan also recommends that 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”.
Journalist Farzana Shah, who focuses on defence issues, wrote in her article “National security & emerging geopolitical scenario: Post Article 370 obliteration”, that Pakistan should adopt am out of the box solution by taking “the war into non-kinetic domains” such as information and cyber warfare and electronic warfare.
Pakistan’s establishments “must provide support to diplomatic efforts being done by government through operations in these two domains with focused goal of extracting authentic information from stakeholders in [Kashmir], most importantly from general public…Once information [is] gathered, FO [Foreign Office] must disseminate it with proper narrative of the state of Pakistan,” she wrote.
“A single video clip or picture can change the perception of India, which it has built so painstakingly over the years. Pakistan needs to keep world attention on [Kashmir] and in order to do that communication links inside the [Kashmir] valley must be established…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 [Kashmir], it will make it extremely difficult for India to keep selling the terrorism card….”
“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,” she added.
Lawmaker Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the parliamentary committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), wrote that Pakistan needs to pursue a multi-pronged strategy with regard to India and Kashmir with the “kind of clarity and commitment that Pakistani policy-makers demonstrated while building the Nuclear Bomb”.
“Such a strategy should target Modi and his RSS Gang, and separate them from the broader Indian society and polity that opposes Modi, along with a united front of all Kashmiris and the linkup of the Kashmiri resistance with other insurgencies inside India,” he added.
Former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, in his article “India-Pakistan relations in perspective”, wrote that “India’s continued ascendancy in Afghanistan will remain a danger of no less gravity to the already volatile security environment of this nuclearised region” than the Soviet presence in Cuba in the early 1960s.
“Our main concern has always been to offset India’s superior conventional strength. The only credible response has to be a counter force which in the dreary India-Pakistan scenario could only be tactical warheads,” he added.
The former diplomat wrote that US President Donald Trump’s offer during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington in July 2019 to play a “facilitating role in resolving the Kashmir issue” was the “best-ever position taken by an American president in recent history on India-Pakistan issues”.
While continuing to support the Kashmiris’ “freedom movement”, Pakistan should resume the composite dialogue with India to build trust and develop mutually beneficial cooperation, he wrote.