Will Indo-Pak tense ties benefit leaders?

It’s one month since India launched precision strikes on terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control in Occupied Kashmir, promising it would not hesitate to repeat such attacks if Pak-based militants continue to target our civilian and military establishments.

No major incident happened in these 30 days to prompt revenge action. But border firings and violations are continuing and in the latest incident a BSF jawan was killed on Saturday morning in a truce violation by Pak troops in Jammu and Kashmir’s Macchil sector. A day earlier, an Army man was gunned down and his body was mutilated. The ghastly act was said to have been perpetrated by terrorists from across the border under cover of darkness and with the help of Pak regulars. Reacting to the savagery, the Indian Army has vowed to avenge the soldier’s killing in an ‘appropriate way.’ In all, four Army and three BSF personnel had been killed in the ‘hot spots’ of border districts in J&K.

On the diplomatic front, in tit-for-tat actions, India expelled a staffer of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Mehmood Akhtar, on charges of spying and Pakistan reciprocated immediately by declaring an Indian High Commission official in Islamabad, Surjeet Singh, persona non grata.

Police detained Akhtar on October 27 following the arrest of two people from Rajasthan who were said to have leaked sensitive documents to him. The official was released later because of his diplomatic immunity and asked to leave the country within 48 hours.  The arrested duo, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, are being questioned now about their links with Pak spy agency ISI.  Meanwhile, Delhi police reported to have arrested another link in the spy ring on Saturday. Farhat is said to be an aide of Samajwadi Party leader Munawwar Salim who is a member of Rajya Sabha.

Thus, it is apparent that Indo-Pak ties which have been on a slippery slope since Pathankot and Uri attacks by Pakistan-aided militant groups are moving in an irreversible direction. The question being asked is, how long will this continue? Pakistan thinks as long as the BJP government is in power, peace talks are not possible. Islamabad’s attempts to make the US, China and Russia to intercede with Delhi in the Kashmir dispute, which Pak leaders say is the stumbling block for resuming a peace dialogue, have not made any headway.

For the time being, keeping the border situation tense and the Kashmir pot boiling suits both Indian and Pakistani leaders. For the BJP, rhetoric on border skirmishes is the best bet to win hearts and minds of Uttar Pradesh voters. For his Pak counterpart Nawaz Sharif, the perpetual war of words over Indo-Pak border and the Kashmir situation are two weapons to fight off the opposition’s mounting demand to quit over alleged money scandals.

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