16-Dec-16 World View — India-Pakistan tensions rise as India celebrates 1971 victory over Pakistan

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • India-Pakistan belligerent war of words continues to escalate
  • World Bank declines to mediate Pakistan-India water dispute
  • India celebrates its 1971 victory over Pakistan

India-Pakistan belligerent war of words continues to escalate

India celebrates its victory over Pakistan on December 16, 1971
India celebrates its victory over Pakistan on December 16, 1971

India and Pakistan continue on the path to war with new belligerent accusations.

The two countries maintained a veneer of civility for a few years, but it fell apart on January 2 of this year when there was a terrorist attack on an Indian air force base in Panthankot, Punjab. India blamed the attack on Pakistan, and Pakistan said that India has staged the encounter to defame Pakistan.

The most explosive event of the year occurred on July 8, when Burhan Wani, the leader of a separatist group in Kashmir, was killed by Indian police fire. Massive riots in Kashmir began the next day. Indian police responded with rubber bullets, leaving many protesters wounded or killed or blinded by the pellets, and that kind of violence has been an almost daily occurrence since then. India has accused Pakistan of actively supporting the riots, while Pakistan has incited further violence by glorifying Burhan Wani.

On September 18, terrorists made a major attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years. Once again, India blamed Pakistan.

So this week, the war of words took another spike. India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said:

“Pakistan is conspiring to divide India on religious lines, but it will not succeed. We were divided in 1947 on a religious basis. We have not been able to forget that… All Indians are brothers, whether they are born from the womb of a Hindu mother or a Muslim mother. … Pakistan came into existence [in 1947] after India got divided on religious lines, but it could not keep itself united.

Pakistan was divided into two countries in 1971. If it does not stop cross-border terrorism, it will soon be in 10 pieces.”

The interpretation of Singh’s remarks is as follows:

  • In 1947, the Indian subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan along religious lines, Hindu and Muslim, respectively. This triggered the Partition War, one of the largest and bloodiest wars of the 20th century. Kashmir was the epicenter of the Partition War.
  • After the 1947 partitioning, Pakistan was in two parts — West Pakistan, which is the Pakistan we know today, and East Pakistan, which was at the opposition end of India, and is today’s Bangladesh.
  • In 1971, there was an extremely bloody war in East Pakistan between the Bengali-speaking Bengalis and the Urdu-speaking Biharis who were from India. Pakistan was on the side of the Biharis, and India was on the side of the Bengalis. Finally, Pakistan and the Biharis were forced to surrender, and the state of Bangladesh was formed. This is what Rajnath meant when he said that Pakistan was divided into two countries.
  • Finally, Singh concludes with some hyperbole, saying that Pakistan will be broken up into 10 pieces unless it controls cross-border terrorism.

These remarks were interpreted by Pakistani officials as being a threat.

Nafees Zakaria from Pakistan’s foreign office responded by saying that Singh’s statement was an admission that India was involved in terrorism in Pakistan:

“Pakistan strongly condemned the absurd remarks of the Indian Home Minister [which were] in complete violation of all diplomatic norms, UN Charter and other international instruments. …

These remarks vindicate Pakistan’s long-standing position that Indian government and its intelligence agencies are involved in subversive and terrorist activities and terror financing in Pakistan to fuel tension and destabilize the country. The international community must take notice of such irresponsible statements and India-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan.”

Indian Express and Daily Times (Pakistan) and New Indian Express

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World Bank declines to mediate Pakistan-India water dispute

As we recently reported, India is threatening to divert water currently flowing from India to Pakistan back to India’s farmers, in violation of the Indus Water Treaty, signed by the two countries in 1960.

The Indus Water Treaty is considered a model, because it was mediated by the World Bank and it has survived despite several wars between the two countries. In September, India and Pakistan separately asked the World Bank to mediate the current dispute. The World Bank agreed at that time, but has now “suspended” its mediation efforts until at least February, with the following statement:

“We are announcing this pause to protect the treaty and to help India and Pakistan consider alternative approaches to resolve conflicting interests under it and its application to two hydroelectric power plants. This is an opportunity for the two countries to begin to resolve the issue in an amicable manner and in line with the spirit of the treaty rather than pursuing concurrent processes that could make the treaty unworkable. I hope the two countries will come to an agreement by the end of January.”

It’s really not surprising that the World Bank is trying hard to wash its hands of this matter. One has to laugh at the suggestion that India and Pakistan will “resolve the issue in an amicable manner.” This is just one more issue leading India and Pakistan to war. The Nation (Pakistan) and First Post

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India celebrates its 1971 victory over Pakistan

India on Friday is celebrating its victory over Pakistan in the India-Pakistan War of 1971, and Pakistan’s surrender on December 16, 1971, creating the country of Bangladesh.

The United Nations partitioned the Indian sub-continent following World War II into separate countries for Hindus and Muslims, India and Pakistan, respectively. What we now call Bangladesh was the eastern region of Pakistan. However, East Pakistan’s mostly dark-skinned Bengal population (language: Bengali) was in constant friction with West Pakistan’s more multiethnic population (language: Urdu). East and West Pakistan never really got along, and the fact that East Pakistan was more populous than West Pakistan meant that in Pakistan’s democracy, the Bengalis would dominate Pakistan’s parliament and government.

In 1971, Pakistan’s army attempted to bring East Pakistan’s Bengalis under control, triggering a war. Pakistan was supported by Urdu-speaking Biharis from India, while India supported the Bengalis, and won the war.

Today, with India gloating over the 1971 victory, that war is just one more issue driving India and Pakistan to a new war today. International Business Times and First Post and Dawn (Pakistan, 10-Dec-2012) and Kashmir Watch (Pakistan)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Burhan Wani, Rajnath Singh, Nafees Zakaria, Indus Water Treaty, World Bank, West Pakistan, East Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bengalis, Biharis
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