SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)
Two recent explosions triggered by IEDs smuggled into India from Pakistan may have provided the backdrop for the present escalation of tension along the borders. One could add to it a host of local and international factors — from UN general assembly session to J&K elections and coming winter. The ceasefire violations usually coincide with the festival season with tension mounting through the Dussehra-Eid-Diwali period.
In an IED blast on October 4, a soldier was killed and five others were injured in Balnoi sector of Mendhar in Poonch district. The IED was planted several meters inside the Line of Control, and the only way for it to get to the spot was for it to have been smuggled into the Indian side by Pakistani regulars or someone authorized by them. The soldier killed in the blast was from 1 Mahar Regiment.
The other IED blast had taken place on September 15 in Sunea Gali in Mendhar, in which a porter was killed and two BSF jawans were injured.
In both the instances, Indian security forces were convinced that the IEDs were smuggled into the Indian side. The two blasts significantly contributed to the mistrust and heightened tension in the area. The situation has now deteriorated into the worst ceasefire violation in over a decade.
However, a series of other developments may also have contributed to the ongoing violation. In what began as stray firing around September 15 when the first IED blast took place, it intensified when Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed at New York to address the UN General Assembly session.
Some security experts suspect that Islamabad wanted the Indian PM to rake up the issue of ceasefire violation in his UN address, but Modi did not make any specific reference to it.
On the ground, Pakistani side seemed to have been preparing for a round of aggressive ceasefire violations. In the first couple of days of this month, people in many Pakistani villages close to the border were asked to vacate, and their religious prayers and festivities stopped. Pakistan on Monday complained that four of their villagers had been killed in cross-border firing.
Beyond all those reasons, there is another crucial factor which may have contributed to the escalation. This year, the Pakistani side has been very ineffective in pushing in their “bare minimum” number of militants into India. Usually, in a year about a 100 of them come into India before the heavy winter snow sets up. But this time just about 40 may have managed to enter. In fact, even as the present round of ceasefire violations were under way, in Tangdhar sector army killed three suspected militants while they were trying to cross over to India. As J&K prepares for assembly elections, militants are desperate to get active. It’s under the cover of cross-border fire that militants are pushed in.
Heightened tension with India would also serve a very important purpose for the Pakistani establishment at home with the Nawaz Sharif government facing opposition fire. There isn’t any other factor that could unite Pakistan more like Kashmir and tension with India.