Modi Finds His Footing in Kashmir
The British can safely be blamed for the partitioning of Ireland and India, if not to mention Israel; but only with New Delhi did the calculus have overt geo-strategic calculation. It fell to England’s nemesis Maulana Azad to extrapolate Mountbatten’s plan of partition. In his memoirs India Wins Freedom he gapes agog at British perfidity at partition, Azad would finally admonish the British for seeking to contain India’s industrial growth by positioning two large Muslim majorities on India’s northwest and northeast corridor, effectively suffocating India’s inward bound consciousness. The British sought to impose hard geo-strategic thinking upon India, the consequences are the irreconcilable princely states of Jammu and Kashmir along the LoC (line of control) with nearly one million men stationed manned with nuclear missiles. A deadly trip wire.
September’s Pakistani policy of attrition has wrought deep policy changes in New Delhi.
In reality, Pakistani Islamic militants have long been the asymmetrical policy threat of Islamabad’s calculus. Pakistan’s Punjabi class of militants seek street credibility while serving the short sighted domestic consensus of “The Citadel”, the pejorative term for institutionalized opacity in Islamabad civil-military relations. Pakistan remains an army with a country, but even that is under review since India’s incursion across the LoC into Kashmir.
The Hindu-nationalist party of Modi has long since been viewed as fascist by northern Muslims aligned to Pakistan along India’s northern interior. This irreconcilable culture war has fielded militant proxies on both sides. India’s attempt to flank Islamabad in Balochistan deep inside Pakistani territory has yielded poor results while Islamabad remains tethered to jihadi’s throughout Waziristan seeking to flank New Delhi as evidenced in the 2008 Mumbai massacre. Few then admitted it, but Pakistan’s attempt to flush out jihadi’s deep in Waziristan was working. The jihadi calculus was right, to relieve pressure, they attacked India, flanking their dominant patrons in Islamabad. Pakistan today is surrounded, weak, poor and irreconcilable to western norms of governance. India isn’t.
Modi’s October incursion through the LoC to kill off Islamic militants is paying off. India’s government has opened new strategic initiatives in viewing the LoC not as an official border but as disputed territory. Pakistan has responded deftly seeking accommodation to relieve isolation. The risks of brinkmanship initiated by India are paying dividends.
Historically, Indian belligerence only strengthened Pakistani asymmetry. For now, it has subsided due to Pakistan’s domestic fiscal situation. Its new patron in Beijing hasn’t shown any interest in serving Pakistani ambitions. Even the U.S. has sought new relations with New Delhi given our failed pivot to Asia. India’s deeper problems with power projection are structural. American blue-water strategy is to develop redundancies throughout the Pacific to encircle Beijing.
As of now, India is forging ahead with a win. Pakistan is beleaguered, weak and prostrate.
The stasis will not last.
Originally published on William Holland’s website.