Article by Prajakta Gupte
The Indian Army carried out surgical strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on the morning of September 29. According to media reports, nine Pakistani soldiers and 35 terrorists were killed in the seven launch pads across the Line of Control.
While the Pakistani government refuses to accept that any such attack has taken place, they are definitely shaken up. Their fear can be sensed especially after the United States asked Pakistan to combat the terrorist groups operating on its soil after the attack. The United States has always been a crucial supporter of Pakistan, however, the relationship between India and the U.S. has become stronger in recent years and Pakistan can feel its heat.
Since the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, both countries have seldom seen eye-to-eye. Apart from the religious differences, there have also been territorial and water disputes. Moreover, in recent years, terrorist attacks in India have been attributed to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. Despite this, Pakistan has not taken any substantial steps to combat terrorism within its borders.
Over the years, the Indian government has tried every diplomatic solution possible, such as a ceasefire agreement in 2003, a Delhi-Lahore Bus Service, increased cultural exchanges and more. But none of these measures have urged the Pakistani government to take action against its terrorists.
In this scenario, with domestic pressure building on the Indian government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a series of actions to bring terrorism in Pakistan under international radar. It is important to look at these attacks not as isolated events, but as part of the bigger picture. Furthermore, these are the strongest actions any Indian government has taken against Pakistan.
Along with the surgical strikes, India also boycotted the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s annual summit, which was hosted in Islamabad on November 9 and 10. Following India’s initiative, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also pulled out of the summit, stating that Pakistan had created an environment wherein such a meeting could not be successfully conducted. It is the first time India has refused to attend this summit and effectively convinced the neighboring nations to do the same. This event not only isolated Pakistan diplomatically in its own neighborhood, but it also brought to the forefront how other countries of the region perceive Pakistan and its lack of efforts in fighting terrorism.
On September 22, India suggested revoking the Indus Water Treaty as a response to Pakistan’s irresponsibility towards terrorism. While India cannot revoke the treaty unilaterally, it can definitely control the amount of water that Pakistan receives.
Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. Three rivers are allocated to India and Pakistan each, with Pakistan having three large western rivers within its region. These three rivers bring about 80 percent of the water into the basin and provide water to 65 percent of Pakistan’s population.
Under the treaty, India can currently use up to 20 percent of the water from Pakistan’s allocations. By completely using this share and building dams, India can substantially reduce the amount of water Pakistan receives. These two measures would put immense pressure on the Pakistani government.
Kashmir continues to be the problem of greatest contention between the two countries. Both the countries are nuclear powers, which also makes this the most volatile region in the world. Although both countries prefer not to engage in war, the continued smaller skirmishes can also prove to be detrimental for the economic and political systems of these countries.
Glimpse into Raahgiriday organized by Times of India in Connaught Place Delhi-027 Feature Image Credit: Ramesh Lalwani