India-Pakistan border clashes and two news reports

The recent clashes between the Indian and the Pakistani armed forces in the Kashmir region and the beheading of two Indian soldiers have raised tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours. The news of the brutal killing of Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh has outraged people in India and there are already calls for a military retaliation.

But amidst all the jingoism, two newspaper reports have suggested that the latest clashes may have been provoked by the Indian Army.

Praveen Swami, in his report in The Hindu on January 10, writes that:

“Indian bunker construction on the northern reaches of the Line of Control — initiated after a grandmother crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir to be with her sons — sparked off a spiral of violence which culminated in the brutal killing of two soldiers in an ambush earlier this week, highly placed military and government sources have told The Hindu.”

Saikat Dutta, in his report in DNA on the same day, writes:

“As New Delhi raged over the attack by Pakistani troops claiming the lives of two Indian soldiers on Indian soil, and the mutilation of the bodies, the Union ministry of home has received inputs that suggest that Indian army units in the Uri sector could have provoked the incident. While there was sporadic firing exchanged in some parts of the LoC, a cross-border raid by the ghatak (commando) platoon of the 9th Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) in the early hours of Sunday could have been the provocation.”

Both the reports have been written with inputs from military and government sources. The journalists who have written the reports have also been accused of committing treason by filing stories that challenges the official Army version. But Canary Trap believes that the motive of these sources mentioned in both the reports is to make the government stand a little distance away from the Indian Army. This to convey that:

  • Indian Army takes local operational decisions.
  • Therefore, the Pakistani retaliatory action must also be taken in light of this context. But the articles, based on inputs from sources, are trying to localize the issue to decision of the respective local commanders.
  • Therefore, immediately removing the context of conflict of Kashmir away from mainstream India-Pakistan political agenda.
  • This is finely etched strategy to isolate Kashmir from the India-Pakistan agenda.
  • Therefore, anything that happens in Kashmir or related to Kashmir is now a local issue to be sorted out locally.
  • Over time this principle will settle down in the minds of people.
  • It gives both India and Pakistan enough space to take a contrarian point of view and chastise the army if it does anything wrong.
  • This gives enough space to India and Pakistan to take their armies out of the conflict resolution equation.
  • This creates space to settle Siachen. First issue to be settled will be Siachen
The next set of strategic pointers are based on our assumptions:
  • The broad strategic contour is to map a position which goes back to Musharraf’s four-point proposal, which found broad acceptance in both Pakistan and India.
  • Both armies (Indian and Pakistan) support the above mentioned proposal.
  • Eventually Imran Khan comes to power on this agenda with Musharraf as the President.

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