Home Contact Us  
   

Indo-Pak - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4160, 31 October 2013
 
Making Sense of LoC: Internal Politics & Bilateral Firings
D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS
Email: subachandran@ipcs.org
 

Why have our Line of Control (LoC) and the international border in J&K has suddenly become violent? After ceasing fire for almost a decade, what has substantially changed between India and Pakistan that is echoing along the LoC/IB in J&K? Especially, when there is a democratically elected government and the civil society at large in Pakistan prefer a positive bilateral relationship between the two countries? On its part, even if the Congress government has not made positive utilization of the ceasefire, certainly has never wanted to derail the process. So why has our LoC become violent now?

Primary reasons are on the other side of the LoC and international border, especially over the relationship between the military and the elected government under Nawaz Sharif. It is no secret that the relationship between Nawaz Sharif and the military, despite the efforts by his brother Shabaz Sharif, is not positive. Though the Sharifs were the product and protégés of the military and its ISI in the late 1980s and 90s, the relationship has changed dramatically between the two, when Nawaz Sharif sacked Jehangir Karamat and also his successor Pervez Musharraf. While Karamat left silently, a gentleman officer he is, his successor, the Commando staged a coup and imprisoned Sharif. The relationship between the PML-N and the military ever since is well known to everyone.

Before and after his electoral victory, Nawaz Sharif has been openly advocating better Indo-Pak relations, for two simple reasons. First, he is well aware, as a businessman, given the economic situation within Pakistan, he cannot pursue a hostile strategy towards India. A better relationship, especially over trade, J&K and gas pipelines will substantially help Pakistan. Second, he is also well aware, a positive relationship with India will also undermine military’s inputs into foreign policy making, especially relating to New Delhi and J&K.

For Pakistan’s military, any independent foreign policy by the elected government vis-a-vis Afghanistan and India is unacceptable. While the civil society at large, including the retired military officials within Pakistan have been demanding a positive approach towards Kabul and Islamabad, they are not powerful enough to make an impact on the military. The military leadership is unlikely to accept any negotiations through the back channel between the two Prime Minsiters, as it happened between Sharif and Vajpayee through Niaz Naik and RK Mishra. Immediately after the elections, it was clear for the military that Sharif would revive the back channel diplomacy vis-a-vis India.

While the military in Pakistan is not averse to allow a track-II dialogue between the two countries, and even between the two parts of J&K, it is less likely to accept back channel diplomacy between the two Prime Ministers. Of course, even the track-II dialogue between the two countries today is packed by former military officials; hence the GHQ is comfortable with such an approach. In fact, it would be surprising to note, for some track-II dialogues, the military in Pakistan even sent serving officials!

Besides the domestic equation with the elected government and its reluctance to accept a civilian led dialogue with India, the military in Pakistan perhaps also perceives that the changing regional environment from Kabul to Kashmir is in its favour.  The US today needs Pakistan more than ever, as it is winding up its operations in Afghanistan. Especially for two reasons: first, the US needs to get back all its military hardware from Pakistan via the Chaman and Khyber passes into Pakistan and then exit via the Karachi port. Second, the US also needs Pakistan’s active inputs to ensure that the next government in Afghanistan remains stable. Pakistan can make the US plans to go haywire simply by not cooperating. Geographically, the US will have no other options, unless it reaches an agreement with Iran!

For Pakistan, an added advantage is the growing political divide between China and India. It is unfortunate, that Beijing sees Indo-US strategic partnership as essentially anti-China, and hence been attempting to expand the relationship with Pakistan. The new cooperation on nuclear reactors is certainly a part of this Chinese strategy to prop Pakistan and checkmate India within the region. Perhaps, the larger Sino-Indian relations and the military hostilities along the Line of Actual Control between the two militaries make Pakistan’s military leadership to feel confident that the regional environment favors them.

So what would be primary aim of Pakistan military in violating the ceasefire along the LoC? Is it attempting to send more infiltrators into J&K, or using it as a strategy to scuttle any Indo-Pak rapprochement between Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif, or both? A section in the rest of India also links it with forthcoming elections in J&K and impending winter. The last two are less likely to be primary reasons; the political situation within J&K is not in favour any mainstream political party, hence there should be no reason for Pakistan to plan now to upset an already confusing situation. Why would winter and infiltration suddenly become an issue in 2013, when it was not the case since 2004?

Primary reason from Pakistan’s side seems to be in terms of the differences between the military and elected government, and the former’s effort to scuttle any back channel diplomacy between India and Pakistan.

Now, what about India? From the Indian side, more than the military response, the media, especially electronic media in New Delhi has taken over the responsibility of charting the course. The political leadership led by Manmohan Singh seems to have abdicated its responsibility to pursue a coherent strategy, and more importantly, explaining to the Indian nation what it has in mind vis-a-vis Pakistan and the firing across LoC. Why blame only General Goswamis of the electronic media, when the political leadership provide that space to prime time boardroom warriors?

What is evident is the Prime Minister’s un-confusing stand in terms of not making any decisions. Narasimha Rao, the former Prime Minister who was known for such a strategy in not taking decisions, should be extremely proud of his protégé. Well done, Manmohan Singh.

While the national media in India is on an offensive strategizing an Indian response, what has been under focussed, is the impact on villages along the LoC and the IB. When everyone was dreaming of a the new generation not getting exposed to cross-border firing, positive developments in the last few years to the families along the LoC will now be pushed into back seat. Once again, children in their teens and below ten are likely to use “shelling” and “firing” in their regular vocabulary, while their fellow brothers and sisters elsewhere will be talking about facebook and twitter. What have we done?

Even more importantly, a section within Pakistan’s civil society, however feeble, was in fact talking about normalizing relationship with India. Despite the general belief that Pakistan’s media is free, there are numerous “embedded” anchors on the other side, who are now using and being used to propagate the classic – Indians are not serious about improving bilateral relationship. After seeing the Prime Minister in action, or inaction during the last two years, perhaps, there is an element of truth.

By arrangement with Rising Kashmir

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Salma Malik,
"Ten Years of Ceasefire along the LoC: Through Elections and Media Ratings," 27 December 2013
Shujaat Bukhari,
"DGMOs Break the Ice," 26 December 2013
Muhammad Faisal,
"Ten Years of Ceasefire along the LoC: Recent Violations," 20 December 2013
D Suba Chandran,
"Next Steps Across the LoC: The DGMO Meeting," 19 December 2013
KD Maini,
"Ten Years of Ceasefire along the LoC: Perspectives from Poonch," 3 December 2013
PR Chari,
"Ten Years of Ceasefire along the LoC: An Evaluation," 30 November 2013
Rana Banerji,
"Intrusions along LoC/IB in J&K: Pakistan’s Objectives," 15 October 2013
Dr. Ashok Bhan,
"Intrusions along LoC/IB in J&K: A Wake Up Call," 12 October 2013

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Will the Genie Want to Go Back?

The Fall of Rajapaksa: Why Democracies Fail Strongmen

Pakistan: The Military Courts

From Kashmir to Kabul

A Fractured Mandate: The Big Picture

And Now, They Are Coming For Our Children

Pak-Afghan Reset: Will the Taliban and al Qaeda follow?

Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues

Rise India, avoid regional pitfalls

Foreign Fighters of Pakistan: Why Pashtuns and Punjabis?

Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?

The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Strong Leaders, Hard Issues

Pakistan: The Coup that didn’t take

Pakistan: Crouching Democrats, Hidden Khakis

Processes at the cost of peace?

Cost of Peace

Rise of Democratic Anarchists

Don’t steal the election now

Mullah Fazlullah: Challenges to the “Eliminate or Extradite” Approach

The Tahirul Qadri Affair

Dhaka as the Gateway to India’s Look East Policy

Modi, Sharif and the Cross-LoC Interactions

Region by Sub-regions

Civil-Military Equations in Pakistan: Que Sera Sera

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.