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Amidst India-China Standoff, India-Pakistan ‘Limited War’ Over Kashmir Remains High: Experts

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As India-China standoff in Ladakh grabs worldwide attention, the Indian Army continues to engage – what Delhi terms as ‘Pakistan-backed militants’ in Kashmir with many experts speculating a ‘limited war’ between two nuclear-armed nations.

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Cross-border infiltration and militancy have been on a sudden rise in the along the LoC and Kashmir valley and at the same time, Pakistan has consistently warned the international community of an Indian ‘false flag’ operation.

Despite being heavily involved in the conflict between India and China in Ladakh, the Indian Army remains proactive in Kashmir. The valley has not seen any drop in the engagement level of the Indian armed forces as they continue to batter militants and foil infiltrations bids.

In their latest mission, the security forces eliminated three militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) in an encounter. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) expert was also identified amongst the slain militants.

According to sources, a joint contingent of police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Indian Army laid siege around Kangan village of Pulwama district after receiving intelligence reports highlighting the presence of militants in the area.

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As the armed forces conducted door to door searches, the militants opened fire and later died in the heavy gun-battle which ensued. Defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a statement that the militants were offered an opportunity to surrender but decided not to do so.

The three militants neutralized in Pulwama add to the 13 terrorists that Indian security forces claimed to have eliminated recently. As earlier reported by EurAsian Times, Indian armed forces eliminated three terrorists in the Naushera Sector and an additional 10 heavily-armed terrorists in Mendhar along the Line of Control (LoC).

The armed forces also recovered arms and ammunition including 2 AK assault rifles, a US-made M-16A2 rifle, a 9MM Chinese pistol, a UBGL with 6 grenades, 5 hand grenades and knives. Medicines, Indian currency amounting Rupees 17,000 and food packets were also recovered from encounter sites.

Ever since the dastardly attack in Pulwama in 2019 in which more than 40 CRPF soldiers were killed, the Indian armed forces maintain extra vigilance in Kashmir. Near the end of May, Indian security forces foiled Pulwama 2.0, a plot to recreate the fatal attack of 2019.

False Flag Operation

While the Indian military is busy engaging infiltrators and militants in Kashmir, Pakistan is raising concerns about a ‘false flag’ operation. The concerns are led by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who has on several occasions tweeted about an impending ‘false flag’ operation by India.

The allegations from Khan came at the heels of reported ceasefire violations by India following its counter-insurgency operations.’’I am reiterating again that a false flag operation is imminent from India in order to divert world attention away from its ongoing genocide in India Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoJK),’’ Khan had earlier tweeted.

Khan’s warning of a ‘false flag’ operation was later echoed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Qureshi not only supported Imran Khan but also urged the United Nations to block any military confrontation between New Delhi and Islamabad and offered UN Observer Groups to visit the LoC.

Qureshi also highlighted the intentional targeting of innocent civilians by India during cross-border shelling.

India claims that Pakistan is involved in harbouring terrorists who train militants to infiltrate the LoC and wreak havoc in Kashmir. The Indian army has recognized 15 terrorist launch pads across the LoC which are used for the purposes mentioned above.

Pakistan refutes these allegations and believes that India plans to conduct a ‘false flag’ operation under the disguise of these claims. Qureshi had also rejected the ‘launch pad’ allegations as baseless.

While India and China lock horns in Ladakh, experts at EurAsian Times believe that the international community should keep a close eye on Kashmir. Nitin J Ticku, an expert on Kashmir, says while tensions with Beijing will not escalate into a  war, however, the possibility of a ‘limited’ military conflict with Islamabad remains high.

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Pakistan Undoubtedly The Biggest Beneficiary Of India-China Military Stand-Off – Experts

India-China military standoff.: Exploiting India’s vulnerabilities is an essential element of China’s “contain India” policy”. Experts believe that Pakistan has been undoubtedly the largest beneficiary of the indo-Sino conflict.

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India-China military stand-off has tremendously benefitted Pakistan according to experts. Pakistan recently signed a $2.4 billion deal with China for a massive hydropower project in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir which shows how three nations (India, Pakistan and  China) are striving to out-do each other in the highly-contested region.

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Experts have claimed that China is prioritizing dam and hydropower construction projects in Pakistan-controlled-Kashmir over other BRI corridor projects to spite New Delhi.

Amid the flaring tensions between India and China that led to a bloody clash between the troops of two neighbouring countries on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) leaving 20 Indian troops dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties, Islamabad has been surprisingly silent on the issue, given the close ties between China and Pakistan.

The hydropower project marks the largest power sector investment by an independent power producer under China’s multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

India has opposed the CPEC project stating that carrying out of such projects in territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation was illegal. “Our position is consistent and clear that entire territory of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are and will continue to be integral and inalienable part of India,” said the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi.

“We have consistently conveyed our protests and shared concerns with both Pakistan and China on all such projects in the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation,” it said.

Border and Road Initiative (BRI) launched the CPEC programme in 2015 intending to connect Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes. The program was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

After completion of key projects in the first phase, “the second phase will focus on the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), strengthening trade and cultural ties through joint ventures and exchange of delegations,” said Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan.

“Exploiting India’s vulnerabilities is an essential element of China’s “contain India” policy,” said Mohan Malik, a professor of strategic studies at the National Defense College UAE. He added that Pakistan is undoubtedly the largest beneficiary of the China-India military face-off. “The looming threat of a two-front war with China and Pakistan is New Delhi’s worst-case scenario,” he said.

According to NAR, it was revealed in an audit report by the power division of Pakistan that two Chinese companies had inflated the costs of power projects in the corridor by $3 billion. The revelation has made it easy for Pakistan to ask China to delay repayment schedules for corridor power project loans.

Malik said that Islamabad could take advantage of the crisis to renegotiate unfavourable loan terms regarding financially unviable projects.

Last week, Pakistan’s Stock Exchange in Karachi was attacked by four gunmen. The attack was orchestrated by Balochistan Liberation Army, which has been demanding for separation of the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces for decades now.

Incidentally, Chinese companies have a 40% stake in the Stock Exchange. However, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was quick to blame India for the attack. “By blaming India for [the] stock exchange attack, Pakistan has tried to gain the sympathies of China,” said James Dorsey, a senior fellow at the RSIS at Singapore. Dorsey added that Pakistan is trying to exploit Indo-China border tensions for its own financial benefit.

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Has Top Separatist Leader SAS Geelani Laid Down His Arms Or Making Last Attempt On Kashmir?

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Syed Ali Shah Geelani (SAS Geelani) recently announced his resignation from the Hurriyat Conference. Geelani has been vehemently pitching for complete independence of Jammu and Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan and refusing to negotiate with New Delhi.

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In an audio message, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said, “In view of the present situation, I resign from All Parties Hurriyat Conference. I have informed all the constituents of the Hurriyat about the decision.”

According to reports in HindustanTimes, Syed Ali Shah Geelani – the former Hurriyat boss and seen by many as an icon of resistance in Kashmir had been upset about his weakening grip over his grouping’s faction in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).

90+-year-old Geelani, the most prominent pro-Pakistan leader in Jammu and Kashmir had been chairman of Hurriyat Conference since its inception in 2003. He has been politically inactive especially since the abrogation of Article 370 by Modi-Government.

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HT report claims that Pakistani intelligence agency – ISI had been promoting lesser-known leaders which ignited differences with Pakistan. Geelani had nominated Abdullah Gilani to the top post who is the brother SAR Gilani – acquitted in the 2001 Parliament attack case in New Delhi.

However, Pakistan declined Geelani’s nomination and preferred Mohammad Hussain Khateeb. Mustafa Mohammad Hussain Khateeb as per Pakistan’s media was unanimously elected as the interim convener of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

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HT claims that Geelani had been deeply offended that representatives of the PaK chapter had been sending their relatives to the PaK assembly over the last two years, were indisciplined, engaged in widespread corruption and loot.

As per reports, Pakistan wanted to expel the old horse and bring in younger members to assume a leadership role so that they are more competitive in battling India. Pakistan agencies had been frustrated with Geelani for his incompetence in inciting people to hit streets after New Delhi revoked Article 370 last year.

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In this letter, Geelani had stated – “The activities of these representatives were limited now to seeking access to assemblies and ministries for joining the government there. Some members were expelled while others started holding their own meetings. These activities were endorsed by you by holding a meeting here to ratify their decisions.”

“I sent messages to you through various means so that the next course of action could be decided but all my efforts went in vain. Now that the sword of accountability is hanging over your heads for the financial and other irregularities, you thought of calling the advisory committee meeting,” he alleged.

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“The lack of discipline and other deficiencies were ignored and you did not allow a robust accountability system to be established over the years but today, you have crossed all limits and indulged in rebellion against the leadership,” he added.

Kashmiri experts talking to EurAsian Times says that people are still with Geelani and he holds a massive sway in the valley. The only way to resolve the Kashmir issue is through dialogue and it would be interesting to see of Geelani lays his arms down (to Pakistan) or decides to go down in the history as the saviour of Kashmir (by initiating an earnest dialogue with India).

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Syed Ali Shah Geelani: Top Separatist Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani No More With Hurriyat Conference

The separatists in Kashmir, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani according to experts, are remote-controlled by Pakistan for anti-India activities mainly in the volatile Kashmir Valley.

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Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the senior Hurriyat Conference leader has resigned from the All Party Hurriyat Conference, reported news agency ANI on Monday, 29 June.

According to The Tribune, in an audio message, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said, “In view of the present situation, I resign from All Parties Hurriyat Conference. I have informed all the constituents of the Hurriyat about the decision.”

 

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Last year, Syed Ali Shah Geelani was reprimanded by Pakistan for his remarks on the condition of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province of China.  Geelani’s remarks did not go down well Pakistan — a country that many experts believe controls the separatist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Geelani had stated in his statement: China was “not behaving well” with Uighur Muslims and that they had been forced into camps forcibly.

The separatists in Kashmir, as experts have suggested, are remote-controlled by Pakistan for anti-India activities mainly in the volatile Kashmir Valley. While China has always been silent on overt Pakistani support to separatists, Geelani’s comments on Uighur Muslims drew angry reactions from Beijing.

Experts talking to EurAsian Times states that it is a chain reaction – China will rebuke Pakistan and Islamabad will reprimand the old-horse – Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

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