On 29 August (last month) Indian media, including Indian TV (NDTV), fervently started raising the alarm that
“Ports in Gujarat are on high alert after inputs that Pakistani commandos are likely to infiltrate into Indian waters through the Kutch area and use the sea route to try and incite communal trouble or carry out a terror attack in Gujarat, according to security agencies” (2).
Then just after 11 days, i.e. 9 September (this month) that alarm was re-strengthened by Indian media in which News 18 (one of India’s leading television broadcast network in partnership with CNN International) highlighted the warning given by Lt Gen SK Saini, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Indian Army Southern Command,
“We have inputs that there may be a terrorist attack in the southern part of India. Some abandoned boats have been recovered from Sir Creek. We’re taking precautions to ensure that designs of inimical elements and terrorists are stalled.”
News 18 also mentioned that following Army’s warning Police Chief alerted all district police chiefs to maintain tight security in busy areas like bus stands, railway stations and airports (3). That alarm was furthered by Indian TV (NDTV) which also highlighted,
“Last month, Adani Port and Logistics, which manages the country’s largest private port, issued a statement that inputs had been received from coast guard station that Pakistani commandos are likely to infiltrate into Indian territory through Kutch area preferably via sea route to create communal disturbance or terrorist attack in Gujarat”.
This was days after Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh had cited intelligence reports to claim that Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad is training members for under water attacks (4).
The type of the mentioned threat and the security arrangements ordered to be taken by the Indian police indicates that the false flag operation, if launched, could be in the form of ‘India’s own created’ bombing and firing attacks at public place (s) causing major human and material damage, so as to raise hue and cry of Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attack; thereby creating an excuse for applying an offensive military posture, or – if diplomatic response is not expected to be too forbidding – even launching military action against Pakistan, more likely along the Indian Gujarat/Rajasthan-Pakistani Sind axis.
Though details of the repeated and rather ridiculously failed false flag Indian operations to malign Pakistan as terrorism-sponsoring state are well-known; yet this particular Indian false flag operation in the making does appear to have certain serious aspects specially indicated by the three reasons: (a) the level of ‘alarm raising’ (Indian Naval Chief and GOC-in-C Indian Southern Command), and the contextually well-linked preamble of ‘alarm raising’, show a carefully calculated ‘build-up’ for the launching of this false flag operation; (b) the timings, when India’s grip on the international diplomatic forums’ support is dwindling – the peak of which is likely to be reached in the UN General Assembly Session on 27th of this month; and (c) in case India actualizes this false flag operation to create an excuse for retribution and applies a major military offensive posture threatening to attack Pakistan along the Axis Indian Gujarat/Rajasthan-Pakistani Sind, it will create the threat of delinking Karachi (the financial and industrial lifeline of Pakistan) and Karachi Port (Pakistan’s gateway for maritime trade) from rest of the country in the north; that will be a very serious economic threat to the already very weak economy of Pakistan, besides the military aspects of the threat.
Reading the situation as on 12 September (today), following pointers of the related aspects can be discerned:-
- Though India has not re-raised this ‘alarm’ for the last two days, and may not do so during few more days; yet India is most likely to ‘keep up its sleeve’ this particular ‘false flag operation’, because its actualization can provide India the excuse to militarily create very serious economic threat, besides military problems, to Pakistan.
- The basic objectives of posing such a serious economic and military threat to Pakistan (allegedly as a retribution of the Indian-claimed Pakistani-sponsored act of terrorism linked to the mentioned ‘false flag operation’) could be: firstly, diverting the attention of world powers from India’s open violations of United Nation Security Council’s resolutions relating to the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), as also from the gravest human rights violations meted out by Indian forces to the majority Muslim population in IOK; secondly, to browbeat Pakistani Nation’s strategic will to fight against these violations.
- Keeping the track record of UNO and world powers, the possibility of India attaining its first objective of diverting attention of world powers from IOK, cannot be ruled out. However, attainment of the second Indian objective, of browbeating the strategic will of Pakistani Nation to fight, is least likely – that is so, because of the psyche of Pakistani Nation and its almost ‘boiling point’ strategic urge to fight for relieving the Kashmiri Muslim men, women, and children from the extremely inhuman atrocities meted out to them by the Indian forces.
- As for the possible timings, when India may actualize that ‘false flag operation’ and follow it by posing the military threat against Pakistan in Sind sector, it is most likely to be if and when India finds itself in serious difficulty from the points of view of adverse public opinion of world power countries, and the resultant unfavourable ‘mood’ of the governments of those world powers – thereby facing the threat of serious economic (trade and investment) loss, as also the possibility (albeit less likely) of intervention in the IOK issue by UN backed by world powers.
- In case the eventuality of that Indian aggressive military posture against Pakistan in Sind sector actualizes, that ground and air aggressive posture is most likely to be in conjunction with aggressive Indian naval deployment to blockade Karachi port. That will add to the weight of Indian aggressive threat. However, the possibility of India also employing any amphibious operations anywhere along Pakistani coastline is almost remote, because India’s plan to have four amphibious assault ships, also known as Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) at the cost of Rs. 20,000 crores were approved by Indian government as recently as 25 July last year (6), and none of those have been reported operational so far.
- Despite the seriousness of this or any other threat from India, Pakistani Nation stands assured that our battle-hardened armed forces are not only well-prepared to meet any such challenge but also to ‘turn the tables’ on India.
- On the other hand, India has its own internal problems. There are many different autonomist, separatist, and independence movements in India since long, some having their militant wings too. So far India had managed to keep these under control. However, Indian action of 5 August (last month) of unconstitutionally revoking Articles 370 and 35-A of Indian constitution (which had provided to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) special category status of autonomy in State’s internal matters) has sent a wave of ‘destabilising uncertainty’ in different parts of India, especially in the remaining ten special category States.
- Those ten States, as mentioned in Indian financial daily newspaper Live Mint, are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand (7). It is important to note that IOK and all these remaining special category States are located very close to each other in the north-east of India, as shown in the following map. The extremely volatile condition of IOK is well-known and is most likely to blow up sooner than later. Besides that, last month on 14 August (one day before Indian Independence Day) Naga Land has celebrated its National Independence Day with huge public gatherings, hoisting Naga Land’s National Flag and singing its National Anthem. And, the Indian daily newspaper The Indian Express of 12 September (this month) has also highlighted that the “Special guest of that Celebration event Neingulo Krome, secretary-general Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), attributed the large public participation due to the prevailing situation in Kashmir, which according to him has triggered a sense of wariness of the government’s policy” (8).
9. Additionally, situation in Indian Punjab is also becoming problematic for Indian government. Revival of the struggle for attaining an independent Khalistan State is getting strengthened quite visibly both amongst the Sikhs in Indian Punjab and the Sikh Diaspora abroad. Out of the many Sikh organisations in India and abroad, the US-based ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) has announced a referendum in 2020 to ascertain its support and then plans to take their case to UNO. Certain other Sikh organisations emphasise an outright effort to get independent Khalistan without referendum. Besides that, Sikhs in Indian Punjab and abroad have also come out in strength in support of the IOK Muslim Kashmiris who are now being severely oppressed by Indian forces. Sikhs draw a parallel between the plight the IOK Muslim Kashmiris now with the plight of Sikhs in 1984 at the hands of the Indian government. Many publications about Sikhs’ support for IOK Muslim Kashmiris are available – example, article by Rajeev Khanna ‘Punjab Comes Out in Strong Support of Kashmiris’, published in The Citizen (10) dated 10 August 2019. According to certain media remarks, Sikhs expect that after the IOK Muslims the next target of Indian government will be the Sikhs. That feeling is one of the other factors which are strengthening their urge for independence; and there is also an unconfirmed report that the Sikhs may also present the Khalistan flag, like the Nagas, possibly on or around 13 October this year. Thus this joining of hands in their fight for freedom by the two highly committed adjacent neighbours, i.e. IOK Muslims and Indian Punjab’s Sikhs, will create an extremely difficult situation for India – a situation which will have more chances of getting out of Indian hands.
10. Due to the complexities of the involved aspects it is very difficult to foresee how the events may unfold further. However keeping all the foregoing factors and inferences in view, it appears comparatively more likely that the period about mid October to about mid November this year could be decisive. Resolution of the Kashmir Issue through the intervention of UN and major powers from the start cannot be ruled out, but its chances are lesser. So, alternatively there are comparatively more chances of India-Pakistan military conflict, in conjunction with bloody uprising of IOK Muslims and Indian Punjab’s Sikhs. It may be at that stage, with the danger of an India-Pakistan nuclear conflict ‘on the horizon’, that UN and major powers may intervene. However, the final outcome is more likely to be in favour of the IOK Muslims and Indian Punjab’s Sikhs, and with disastrous losses to India.