The year 2016 was saturated with Indian blame games against Pakistan and several cross-border violations. January 2016 manifested the Pathankot attacks on an Indian airbase, the immediate Indian response pointed to militant outfits and Pakistani complicity. The Pathankot issue soon died down – without revealing any substantial links to Pakistan. Later in the year- in September 2016- India once again pointed fingers at Pakistan alleging its involvement in an attack on Uri base. In the wake of the Uri attacks, India launched a virulent media campaign against Pakistan. The Indian army issued alarming war mongering statements- regarding their intentions to attack Pakistani territories.
After nearly eleven days, Indian official statements claimed that they had carried out surgical strikes inside Pakistani territories- to target alleged militant hideouts. Preposterous narratives were enunciated by India regarding the nature and execution of the alleged surgical strikes. The Indian government spewed an array of malicious accusations. Modi invoked the Baloch insurgency issue and went to the extent of publicly challenging Pakistan’s territorial integrity. The Indian government made careful use of the global anti-terror mantra and Pakistan’s oscillating ties with Afghan government to spoil the SAARC conference- scheduled to be held in Islamabad.
The days following the Uri incident were shaping up prior to the upcoming UN General Assembly session. India designed a malicious plan as an attempt to diplomatically isolate Pakistan and deflect attention from regional realities. Prior to the Uri incident, India was facing an exhaustive situation in Indian occupied Kashmir- after Burhan Wani’s death in July 2016. Pakistan had also captured a serving Indian officer- Kulbushan Yadav- on charges of perpetuating terrorism in Balochistan. In this time, the Indian government was witnessing a plethora of internal pressures due to Kashmir situation, Kulbushan Yadav and other internal issues. The BJP was in dire need to deflect attention both internationally and locally- and gain political mileage before local elections that were due to take place in 2017- and the Uri propaganda served this cause.
It is widely noted that the new wave of Kashmiri freedom fighters is a direct outcome of India’s disproportionate use of force against Kashmiri’s and due to the denial of giving true political space to the occupied Kashmiris. The UNHCR report details the gruesome human rights abuses carried out by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir.
The older cadre of Kashmiri politicians has also showed concerns regarding the direct link between India’s unrestraint use of force and the formation of a new, loosely linked freedom fighters- who carry an undeterred will to fight the oppression. However, India continues to conceal this reality by placing blames on Pakistan.
The Uri incident was also utilized to deflect attention from ground realities. Pakistan repeatedly suggested involving an independent third party for investigations into the alleged attack, but India never responded to this offer. A few months after the Uri incident Indian National Investigative Agency could not even gather enough evidences against the two Kashmiri’s it had apprehended in relation to the alleged attack. It can still not be determined whether Uri attacks were real or a mere false flag operation. It further dilutes and raises serious questions on Indian accusations against Pakistan. It is also imperative to ask then under what justification was India raising claims of surgical strikes on a sovereign territory- especially in the absence of any evidences? India continues to make use of lawfare tactics and proactive diplomatic manoeuvres- to set a stage for future aggressions against Pakistan and to diplomatically malign Pakistan. India is relying on its bourgeoning relation with US, taking advantage of US-China divergences to entrench its regional hegemony, divert attention from human right abuses, challenging the security of its neighbours. Above all, it is encouraging a dangerous and tense security environment in South Asian region.