India is caught up in a tidal wave of war hysteria, formed in part by the macho posturing of its military and political leaders and fired up the crazy imagination of its jingoistic media.
The sabre-rattling began after a deadly assault was mounted by militants in the disputed Kashmir state on Sunday, on an Indian military base in Uri. New Delhi blamed the assault on Pakistan, jumped the gun and started making menacing statements.
Going a step farther on Thursday, the Indian military moved heavy artillery to forward bases along the 778-kilometre Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Indian military officials confirmed to BBC Urdu that large-calibre guns, including Bofors, have now been deployed at forward positions in the region to target Pakistani defences. Indian military sources added they were not preparing for war but the most recent activities were carried “to preempt any assault in future”.
Though officials in Islamabad don’t view an imminent threat of war, Pakistani fighter jets have already been running high profile touchdown and take-off exercises on motorways for the previous two days. “The defenders of our heavens in circumstances of continuous preparedness, Alhamdolillah. Our motorways are our runways,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif wrote handle.
Foreign Office representative Nafees Zakaria played down the media hoopla about the ‘routine exercises’ but said the armed forces and the whole nation of Pakistan remain prepared to secure territorial integrity and state’s sovereignty at any cost.
There happen to be other top level meetings over the last two days, including with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, to discuss the operational scenario along the LoC, in addition to ” TOI, the military options.
Hawkish Indian officials have been talking about overt or covert strikes in Pakistan. And TOI reported that India’s choices vary from concentrated firepower assaults with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and 155mm artillery guns, Smerch rockets to ‘surgical air strikes’ by fighter jets to take out alleged terror camps through precision- guided munitions.
India has a history of knee-jerk reactions to every terrorist attack on its soil. In December 2001 when militants laid a siege to Indian parliament, New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and massed troops along the LoC within an operation, codenamed Parakram, triggering fears of an all-out war.
Notwithstanding India’s aggressive posturing, a strategic appraisal of Pakistani security agencies says opportunities of military adventurism are thin. “Although a lot is being said in the Indian media, our evaluation is that there’s no indication as yet that India is planning any type of assault against Pakistan,” a top military official, who was briefed about the newest assessment by intelligence agencies told.
Pakistani officials say the consequences of any kind of strike from India could not be much better than people realise on both side of the border. “Despite jingoism and sabre rattling, India will think twice before launching any strike against Pakistan, the official that was ” included while speaking on the condition of anonymity.
However, while India is thickening its competitive posture along the LoC, Pakistan too has shored up its edge defences, including fortifying its artillery locations. The official who spoke to The Express Tribune made it clear that Pakistan’s armed forces were on ‘high alarm’ to respond to any eventuality.
On Wednesday, authorities enforced ‘airspace limitations ’ and cancelled all flights to Gilgit Baltistan. On Thursday too, PAF shut Lahore-Peshawar motorway in what it said was routine training not related to heightened stress.
India Today decided a tweet of a Pakistani journalist to stir up war hysteria. “A journalist in Pakistan has tweeted about the presence of a group of fighter jets flying over Islamabad, ” it reported. “Twitter was flooded with the existence being mentioned by many panic posts on F-16 fighter jets roaring in the skies.”
A navy spokesperson said that keeping in mind the present scenario, no alert can be dismissed. “Our choppers are making sorties at and around Uran, ” he said.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi said that Pakistan wouldn’t be drawn into the war chat. “India has been beating the war drum in response to the diplomatic pressure (on prevailing rights human scenario in Kashmir). We don’t think any such threat of war is certain. Such a notion between two nuclear powers will not be rational she told a private TV channel.
Dr Lodhi said Pakistan never wanted to escalate the situation rather constantly wanted to solve the issues calmly. She said though a dossier had been presented on Kashmir situation to the UN Secretary General, as next step Pakistan would approach the members of the UN Security Council.