Amid increasing tensions between India and Pakistan, Pakistan PM Imran Khan attended a supposedly ‘very important’ meeting at the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the country’s intelligence agency, on November 29.
Within 24 hours of the high-profile meeting, a Pakistani fighter plane is said to have intruded close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Nadeem Raza, Air Chief Mujahid Anwar, Navy Chief Amjad Khan Niazi, Chief of General staff Sahir Shamshad Mirza and General Faiz Hameed.
India and Pakistan, along with China, have been at loggerheads ever since India’s PM Narendra Modi abrogated Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, on August 5, 2019. India is now reportedly ‘planning’ to deploy the Rafael fighter jets to give it deterrence against Pakistan.
The latest provocation came on May 8, 2020, when India decided to air the Gilgit-Baltistan weather report on its public broadcasters — All India Radio and Doordarshan– which made China ‘see red’ and it led to India losing 20 soldiers on June 15, 2020, in Ladakh.
Thereafter, India’s defense minister went on to state in Parliament that China had already acquired 38,000 sq km of Indian land in Ladakh on September 17, 2020.
But, ironically, PM Modi had on June 20, 2020, stated that no one had intruded inside the Indian territory. China is also eying Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and even Himachal Pradesh.
India has vowed to fight it out with China. Every media outlet had been agog, since last May, with reports of Indian and China-Pakistan military build-up, with the situation day-by-day building towards a two-front war against India.
Pakistan, ironically, has been hampered by what may be called ‘deft diplomacy’ by India as its time-tested ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has ditched the country over Kashmir. This has forced Pakistan to return its remaining $2-billion loan and snapping the oil supply on deferred loan, with the UAE also canceling 3000 job visas to Pakistan.
There are now reports that the KSA and the UAE have threatened to undermine the Pakistan Stock Exchange as both want Pakistan to accept Israel, which the former has refused.
The two influential Arab countries have also been regularly threatening that they would send back millions of Pakistani workers, which India is too ready to replace, after substantive negotiations by India’s external affairs minister S. Jaishankar during his tour to Bahrain and the UAE on November 24-25. He is also to visit KSA soon.
India too has had a setback with its long-time ally Russia, which it sidelined going ahead with signing BECA with the US, to be able to counter-balance China, which has been the country’s long desire since the China war of 1962.
Meanwhile, Israel is backing India without any conditions to meet the two-front China-Pakistan threat on its north-west and north-east borders. Pakistan had distanced itself from KSA on August 6, 2020, and on August 14, the UAE accepted Israel. Israel’s creations are concomitant with India, both for its ideological and business interests with the country.
The stage is getting set for another ‘world war’. Iran is contemplating to attack the US and the Israeli assets after its nuclear scientist was murdered allegedly by the Israel intelligence agency, Mossad, and the US have been encircling China in its the South China Sea with the help of Japan, India, Australia, and Taiwan.
The situation in the Himalayas is also getting more and more intense as Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghe visited Nepal on November 28. India had raised strong objections to Nepal announcing a new map in its parliament comprising Indian territories, in May 2020.
Wei also visited Pakistan, barely a few hours after Pakistan aircraft had created a controversy, as reports suggest that India and China had already deployed elite commandos on either side of the Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh. Perhaps, Wei’s visit is the final call that war is coming.
As the world inches closer to war, it would have to be a catastrophe as India, China and Pakistan are nuclear powers, and the world today has certainly reached a point where a small ‘spark’ may snowball into a full-fledged war.
The killing of the Iranian scientist by Israel, which was on the cards for a long time, may turn out to be the next ‘Sarajevo’ incident, which Joseph Biden might inherit or has to face after ascending to power on January 21, 2021. The undeclared nuclear state Israel has just reportedly killed another Iranian commander Muslim Shahdan on December 1, 2020.
Iran, as a matter of fact, had avenged the killing of its General Qasem Soleimani by the US, within a month when top CIA official Michael D’Andrea aka ‘Ayatollah Mike’ was killed with the help of Afghan-Taliban, reported Asia Times, on February 7, 2020.
Maybe the long-anticipated war, which is expected to be nothing short in its propensity of a third world-war is round the corner as the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics.