By Farooq Wani
The suicide bombing that killed 49 CRPF men in Kashmir’s Pulwama a couple of days back points to a dangerous new trend of militants jettisoning ambushes for tactics that aim to wreak maximum destruction on security forces while suffering minimum casualties themselves.
Thursday’s suicide bomber, Adil Ahmad Dar, a 20-year-old school dropout from Pulwama, who joined Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) last year was specifically trained for the suicide attack. He said in a video released by the outfit that he was eagerly waiting for this day. What followed was a year of reconnaissance and detailed planning, which culminated in Dar ramming a car packed with 300 kg of explosives into a CRPF bus carrying 51 soldiers as part of a large convoy.
The agencies were already devising plans to deal with rising incidents of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts which had returned to the state recently after a hiatus when this suicide attack took place.
The JeM claimed responsibility for the attack, which is said to be the deadliest in two decades, worse than the car bombing in 2001 which killed 38 persons. The Scorpio SUV being driven by local Kashmiri Adil Ahmed from Kakpora in Pulwama was said to be carrying 350 kgs of explosives.
While the JeM has been drawing inspiration “not just from the Taliban Al-Qaeda, which have been conducting large scale IED blasts and suicide missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan but from the Islamic State (IS) as well whose signature move is to destroy not by contact but by large-scale suicide attacks.”
The tactics in Jammu and Kashmir, however, was different as the militants, generally small in numbers, would break into a military installation inflicting heavy casualties in the initial breakthrough and engaging the forces for as long as possible. With the shift to suicide bombing, security forces will surely institute additional security measures for screening locals and this will make life more difficult for the average Kashmiri.
“In the aftermath of Pulwama attack, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has decided to initiate all possible diplomatic steps to ensure complete isolation of Pakistan from the international community.”
Soon after the attack, CCS meeting was conveyed with PM Modi in chai, which discussed the Kashmir situation threadbare. It was stated that there is “evidence” of Pakistan’s involvement and ‘direct hand’ in this incident.
“MEA will also engage with the international community to make sure that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which has been pending for over three decades before the UN particularly because of the differences in opinion on the definition of terrorism is now adopted at the earliest.”
On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned Pakistan that it will have to pay a ‘heavy price’ for the ‘blunder’ vis-a-vis Pulwama attack, 130 crore Indian will give a befitting reply to any such act or attack. Many big countries have strongly condemned this attack, have stood behind India and expressed support for India. ‘The menace of terror’ can be contained only when the nations are united in the fight against militancy.
The government decision on withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation (MNF) status given to the western neighbour in 1996 is seen as an attempt to mount further economic pressure on Imran Khan regime by squeezing Pakistan’s economy.
In terms of technicalities, removal of MFN status means India can enhance customs duties on goods from Pakistan and harm its trading interest.
In accordance with the MFN principle and its obligations under the WTO, India had accorded MFN status in 1996 but Pakistan had not done reciprocated.
Pakistan believes that its successes in Afghanistan can be replicated against India with particular reference to Kashmir Valley. Pakistan’s ISI has for decades attempted to turn Kashmir Valley into India’s Vietnam but could not do so. The simple reason is that the bulk of the people of Kashmir Valley with the exception of the hard-line fringe elements, the bulk of the people are not with the separatists or inclined towards Pakistan. This was evident in the 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Wars inflicted by Pakistan on India.
Withdrawing security cover from separatists is yet another challenge before them.
China’s intentions towards India have never been “benign”. The China-Pakistan Axis against India is now fully in play for some time. China for its own national security interests and safeguarding the Eastern Flank of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passing through Kashmir under Pakistan’s Occupation has deliberately synchronised its aims with those of the Pakistan Army in Kashmir which includes Pakistan based militancy and suicide bombings against India.
However China has condemned the Pulwama attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but once again declined to back India’s appeal to list chief Masood Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’ by the UN.
Those at the helm of affairs need to sit together and discuss what should be done to save future generations from decades of animosity and bloodshed. Peace can only return to Kashmir through dialogue rather than bullets and bombs. The Govt of India should formulate policy for greater cause to stop bloodshed in Kashmir. Protagonists needed to compromise for the greater common good .Kashmiri youth at risk of radicalization should be shown alternatives through an exchange of ideas.