On February 25, Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control and all other sectors. It’s a welcome step. That it came after 12,969 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan since 2018, killing hundreds of civilians and security forces and destroying several military facilities, homes, schools and infrastructure on both sides of the border is a sad commentary on Pakistan Army’s visceral hatred for India since 1948.
The ceasefire neither came suddenly nor was it clinched by informal contacts between power brokers, back-channel diplomacy or nudge from the US and China. It began taking shape when Pakistan realised the futility of pursuing its twin objectives of keeping India destabilised and annexing J&K by using separatists and terror attacks. Its game plan went awry as it found itself pitched against an unyielding Indian political leadership it had encountered never before.
The Indian security forces were now counter-attacking fiercely against each violation of ceasefire, eliminating infiltrators and neutralising homegrown terrorists in heaps, immobilising stone-pelters and forcing collaborators to go in hiding. Islamabad’s bluff of using nuclear weapons was called twice when the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike against terrorists’ launch pads well inside Pakistan and the Indian Air Force bombed LeT base in Balakot. Pak Army Chief’s calculation to breach LoC at will to unleash mayhem in Kashmir when India was fully stretched in battling against Chinese forces also misfired, for India still had enough reserves to take care of Pakistani adventurism.
The abrogation of Article 370 put Islamabad literally on the mat. J&K was bifurcated, its status was reduced to that of a Union Territory, separatist leaders were sent to jail, development projects were launched and Panchayat elections were successfully held. The Valley neither burnt nor Kashmiris revolted en masse. Pakistan tried desperately to mobilise international support for restoration of status quo ante but in vain. Even support from China, a few countries of OIC and President Erdogan of Turkey proved inconsequential. The only choice left for Pakistan and its Army was to cool off for the time being. No wonder, it extended hands for truce that India wisely held.
New Delhi’s post-ceasefire reaction has been quite sensible; there will be no let-up in anti-terror operations, troops won’t be moved back from the border and preventing infiltration of terrorists will remain the Army’s primary focus. These measures are necessary because terror outfits like LeT, JeM and Al Badr continue to operate in Pakistan, all terror launch pads are intact and Pak leadership have not stopped ranting to find a solution to the Kashmir problem as per the defunct UN resolution. The ceasefire should hold good till they are sincere in maintaining it.
Amar Bhushan email@example.com
Former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing