Image courtesy of The Indian Express
Not a good time guys, for a topic like this. Emotions are sky-high; judgements are completely clouded. As is perhaps always intended. But this one is having quite a cannibalizing effect; am sure to the unbridled joy of a few. We would get to them, but let’s first check the current backdrop.
Rest of India: A fair bit of overt polarization during the past few years along the entire nation. Quite a juvenile move in the least. This was one crack that was always there; prying it open just for the fun of it was downright moronic. Social engineering projects during peace times are usually approached with a 30-40 years window. If you are god-level retard, you try to pack that in 5-8 years. In which case, all that you achieve is that your neighbour wraps his dog-poop in old newspaper and chucks them to your courtyard. Daily. And because you are a proven retard, you blame your household.
Kashmir: A completely blinkered approach, like with every other domain – domestic or international. Muscular policy, free-hand to XYZ etc have had a ‘burning of bridges’ effect across the diplomatic corridors. Perception management gone completely horribly wrong too. In the way the Kashmiri people feel about their future, and the way the rest of the country view their past. So you have half the country that sees a whole host of unfair advantages extended to a bunch of ungrateful exclusivist/racist (who murdered and drove away the KPs) who do not deserve a fraction… the other half of the country in their search for Kashmiriyat sees a bunch of hapless victims who are being provided the short end of the stick. The Kashmiris feel alienated due to the ISI-Separatist propaganda, the religious indoctrination, and the boots on ground… the ones that don’t feel that way and are okay integrating with India remain too scared to open their mouth.
Perceptions are managed to keep shareholders happy. This here however is one classic case where you have every damn shareholder pissed to the point of no return. And every Pulwama like incident is bound to drive the wedge deeper and deeper. Quite an unprecedented situation, with literally almost everyone – even the average Facebook user – suddenly hell-bent on settling scores: political, personal, ideological or otherwise.
That was your background. Now for the quintessential question: cui bono? And that’s like the entry of the main course to the dinner. Let’s take a look.
Pakistan has had a couple of serious successes – and you probably missed noticing a few of them. The one that you’ve definitely missed is that Imran Khan charmed the shit out of Christine Lagarde in Dubai at the sidelines of the World Government Summit. There are some structural reforms from the IMF in the offing as a result of that. Wasn’t there something about rubbing mustard seeds against one’s balls – not cricket balls, mind you – something that an ex-wife wrote… I don’t remember now. Anyway, the old lady and her dyed white hair is mighty pleased. Money en route.
Coupled close to that, the fact that Pindi has impressed upon Uncle their inevitability as far as Afghan Settlement is concerned [this I am sure you all know], puts up an interesting angle. In a repeat of ‘Pakistan negotiates with the world with a gun to its own head’ – Pindi can mess with you, but you can’t mess with Pindi. Think of it this way: Here is a financially bankrupt nation, trying “hard” to recover… and at the same time trying their best to “help” Uncle normalize Afghanistan and thus stabilize the entire region… so what if a few terrorists who may or may not have proven ties with Pindi blow up a few trucks or people? Who cares?
Checkmate. And welcome back to square one – just like the good old days of the 90s Militancy.
Back in India, the interesting thing is that Modi needs to do something because there is an election coming up here. But he most definitely won’t be allowed to do jack at least about Pakistan because Uncle doesn’t want Pindi needled now, when Afghan settlement is this bloody close. Fuck everyone’s election; Scrooge has an election next year. He’s had an impressive run with North Korea and Syria. He is cleaning up quick. Afghanistan would be a hattrick of sorts. He won’t let you fuck around with that.
So? Would New Delhi side-track Scrooge and talk to his Generals, who have a different view about Afghan settlement? That would be definitely ambitious. Or would our muscle man do some real quick course-corrections as far as getting the hypersensitive subcontinent back to normal levels is concerned? That would be less ambitious.
Which is it gonna be? I don’t know. Constructive intelligence has never been his strength.
An identical incident happened in Iran. Some Paki non-state guy(s) blew up and took down a few IRGs. Couple that with IK chauffeuring MBS in that car. What do you get?
What you get is strictly business. Gulf Guys pouring money into Pindi with a special eye on Sunni radicals that have the bandwidth to needle Iran. In a good time too. Iran can't overtly retort; Pindi is an important partner in the regional peace process. India has a sort of a working relation with Uncle – New Delhi can engage in some bargain… Iran has nothing. Couple that with the Gulfers bankrolling Pindi with the sole aim to sink Iran. Pakistan wants Iran and India to stay the fuck off Afghanistan; the Gulfers wants Iran to stay the fuck off the affairs of Middle East. They have lost a round in Syria; they will make sure that they try harder this round.
Pindi – a little slowed down by domestic disturbances of the madrassa kind – took a few years to tailor the current home-scene. And they are back on track. The Afghans, East Turkestani terror gang, the Uzbeks and sundry others that were threatening to break the line have been culled. The ones that remain are neatly chained and groomed. What we have as a result is now a tight group of thugs suitably trained and ready to run along three directions, under the complete control of their handlers. [Eventually they too, shall go rogue in a few decades, and you would have another Zarb e Azb in due time. The madrassas are a never-ending supply really; no worries there.]
So? At the one end you have an Army that’s sitting on a patch of land with all the frills required to put up the pretension of being a country; with a ready pool to recruit suicide bombers from. Coupled tightly with that is a wasteland that goes back to thousands of years of tribal conflicts and warlordism. And these two squat among a few others that are more or less functional states within reasonable stretch of imagination. But because both are of crucial geostrategic importance to the distal regional and global stakeholders of peace and/or dominance, they have enough leeway to kick up little shitstorms here and there in the neighbourhood, and no one is gonna bat a lid.
This enters in a particularly nasty phase from now on. The least India can do is to not cascade a civil war on social media.