PM's Balochistan speech: Why is J&K Police worried?

  • Ahmed Lateef
  • Publish Date: Jan 5 2017 8:34PM
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  • Updated Date: Jan 5 2017 8:34PM
PM's Balochistan speech: Why is J&K Police worried?Illustration by Suhail Naqshband

In August soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raked up Balochistan in his Independence Day address, the Intelligence Wing ofJ&K Police prepared a secret report warning of its political and security repercussions in Kashmir.  

The document written in third person refers to unnamed analysts, while putting across the point of view of the State security apparatus on the emerging scenario in the state.

The document accessed by Kashmir Ink points at the possible increase in militancy, especially in Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley of the Jammu region and more aggressive interventions by China in Ladakh and even in Arunachal Pradesh. Besides, it says the issue will cause political ripples which can be felt as far as Hyderabad and Junagadh, which is now in Gujarat and supposed to accede to Pakistan after partition.

Security Ramifications

The 9-page document was prepared in August after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the Balochistan issue during his Independence Day speech.

“We could see more Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan residents joining militant ranks of United Jehad Council, Lashkar-e-Toiba and even Indian Mujahideen,” reads the document.

The document -- sent to the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi and other central intelligence agencies -- was prepared during the ongoing crisis to preempt any flare-up in the security situation of the state in the near future.

The Chinese presence across the Line of Control in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) is unprecedented and ‘India has to be ready for something in Ladakh on one pretext or the other,’ said the document.

China is building a US $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a network of roads and railway lines and other mega-economic undertakings with the potential to change the economic profile of the Pakistan - to connect Xinjiang in China's West with the Arabian Sea through Balochistan's strategic Gwadar port.

The CPEC passes through the PAK and India has raised concerns about it. “Besides, creating problems for India at an international level, China will do anything to safeguard huge investment in the CPEC which passes through GB and Balochistan. It could be more than regular incursions,” the document mentioned.

The report warns the Indian Army based in J&K especially in Ladakh to be prepared to face any kind of situation. “Army as of now is too much involved in activities, which happen to be the domain of civil administration,” it said.

Prime Minister Modi’s open support to the Baloch nationalist movement has lifted the veil from what Islamabad believes New Delhi’s covert operations in Balochistan.

Pakistan, the document pointed out, would also amplify anti-India rhetoric and prop up people who would openly make claims of India’s involvement in Baluchistan.

“Now you would see people claiming that Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) are supported by external agencies of India,” the document said.

Political Ramifications

After the CPEC became a reality, the cozying of China, Pakistan, Iran and lately India’s old friend Russia have caused hysteria in New Delhi.

Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on 15 August raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan and extended support to Baloch nationalist movement. Modi’s remarks brought excitement in New Delhi, particularly among his right wing writers, who thought solution to Kashmir passes through 

Balochistan.

However, the intelligence agencies have warned that Balochistan issue will cause political ripples which can be felt across India.

Islamabad has been accusing New Delhi of supporting the Baloch separatism and its involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan. Even Pakistan has leveled an allegation that India is using its consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad to train, arm and fund Baloch separatist militants.

However, by openly committing India to Balochistan’s cause, Ashok Swain a Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden in a London School of Economics blog wrote that Modi is likely to “expose New Delhi’s geo-strategic limitations without gaining” any additional advantage, and there is a lot to lose.

As India doesn’t share a common border with Balochistan, it has to engage in the region for supporting the separatist militants through Afghanistan.

With New Delhi increasing its efforts to engage in Balochistan, the Iran-Pakistan axis is developing rapidly to prevent Baloch aspirations for independence.

The Balochistan spans across Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which controls its western part after annexation in 1928. Despite being a miniscule Sunni population in Iran, the Balochis in Sistan and Baluchestan province are fighting for autonomy. The India’s engagement in Balochistan will bring Iran close to Pakistan and become India’s enemy.

“Modi’s bravado from the Red Fort on Balochistan will not deter Pakistani meddling in Kashmir now or in the future. Instead, it threatens to embolden Pakistan further in its desire to maintain its campaign and retaliate in India’s other soft spots like Punjab and Assam,” Prof Swain wrote.