After its bold move to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir, India expects Pakistan to mount a massive diplomatic offensive besides other steps with reports from Islamabad suggesting that the Imran Khan government and Pakistan military working on a series of actions against India.
On the diplomatic front, Pakistan has already approached the UN in New York and Indian officials expect Islamabad to go ballistic during the UN General Assembly session in September, which will also be addressed by PM Narendra Modi.
Islamabad has already approached the OIC to condemn India’s action. On Tuesday, UAE though broke ranks by describing it as an “internal matter” of India.
China came to Pakistan’s assistance, with a sharply worded criticism by Communist Party mouthpiece, Global Times, which criticised India’s decision to make Ladakh a Union Territory, “putting Chinese territory in the western section of the border under its administration which affects China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
On Monday, Pakistan approached UN Human Rights Council head Michelle Bachelet in Geneva with a complaint against India for allegedly using “cluster bombs” against civilians in the Neelum valley in POK. Pakistan had already lined up a number of events on the margins of the UN session to target India over human rights and J&K’s reorganisation will be on top of the agenda. Reports from Pakistan indicated that Islamabad could even approach the International Court of Justice in the Hague to file a case against India’s actions.
The Indian security establishment is preparing for a big spike in infiltration attempts. Over the past couple of months, Pakistan, under pressure from the FATF, had reduced infiltration and even thinned out terror launch pads. Indian officials also expect Pakistani entities to “reach out” to key persons in J&K to fan an indigenous uprising.
In addition, India also expects Pakistan to try to get the US to put pressure on India, leveraging Islamabad’s key role in the Afghan peace process and US pullout from the region. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had warned US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad that any “big development” in J&K would “negatively impact the peace process in Afghanistan”.
On Tuesday, Khalilzad held discussions with foreign minister S Jaishankar, following which the minister tweeted: “The conversation provided a comprehensive update on the situation in Afghanistan. Shared views on how we could work together effectively.”
India will also be a lot more vigilant about Pakistan going back to use its jihadi proxies against India. This has been a Pakistani promise to the FATF. Pakistan has until October to demonstrate good behaviour on a set of parameters, if it is to avoid the FATF blacklist. But there is a perception that the US would not like to push Pakistan into the blacklist as an incentive for help in return to get out of Afghanistan. Its not clear how the US would play if Pakistan goes back to its “good terrorists”.
Within J&K, Indian security action over the past few months emasculated the separatists by targeting the sources of finances. This could be stepped up. But India has also been concerned with the rise of Islamic State-inspired groups like Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind and ISJK in the valley. Pakistan can “control” traditional groups like LeT and JeM, but these new groups are out of their ken. India reckons that while Pakistan would like to keep India and J&K under terror pressure, the IS-affiliated groups would tie the unrest in the state with global Islamist terrorism, undermining the self-determination argument.