The Indo-Pakistani tensions sparked by a Kashmiri suicide bomber claimed by Jaish-e-Muhammad, in Pulwama district of Indian occupied Kashmir, must be viewed not simply as an anti-Indian terror act, but also as part of a broader strategy to destabilise the government of Imran Khan, which that group and others like it do not support.
However, the bombing took place at a very critical time in India where Narendra Modi Government is facing a losable election in a couple of month time.
Modi, his BJP and RSS, are no lovers of Muslims. In fact, it was during his time as Chief Minister that Muslims in Gujarat experienced the worst anti-Muslim riots, masterminded by him, according to impeccable journalist reports and analyses.
Therefore, there is every reason to believe that he would love to escalate the Pulwama incident into an all-out war against Pakistan, while inflaming at the same time a xenophobic Islamophobia.
On the opposite side is Imran Khan, a rationalist, who wants to build his nation after years of misrule by Generals and oligarchs. He is not prepared to waste precious resources on wars provoked by fanatics.
Nothing can portray Imran’s sanity more than his words on Modi’s provocations: “From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom. All wars are miscalculated and no one knows where they lead to. I ask India, with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation?” With these words, Imran Khan has already won an undeclared war.
There is also another factor that would help things remain under control. The army commanders and air-force fighters on both sides are trained by the same source and they all have respect to each other’s capabilities and expertise. They also have the same tastes and preferences.
Left alone, they would even be willing to play a friendly cricket match. But they are bound by the wishes of political leaders. This is what makes the difference. All wars are caused by the follies of politicians. Modi may start a military misadventure just to win an election.
The Indian pilot, Abinadhan Varthaman, captured by the Pakistani army is a South Indian Tamil like many other Tamils in the Indian air-force, and he confessed that he was treated with dignity, and Imran Khan has released him from captivity.
This pilot hails from a high caste in the South, which the Pakistani side must have known already, and that must be an added reason why he was treated with respect and dignity.
All this show that Indo-Pakistani provocations and skirmishes have certain automatic stabilizers that will keep things under control. It is the politician who is a problem.
Thankfully, Pakistan at the moment is in the hands of Imran Khan, a successful cricketer, well versed in the art of winning matches without losing too many wickets.
But Modi is another story. Hope he listens to reason.