I’ve spent a lifetime in pursuit of understanding the intricate geopolitical wiles of the Subcontinent, especially Pakistan. In short, its not a democracy and it just may well be the perfect challenge for any sitting President, to undertake dealings with Islamabad’s extraordinary civil-military opacity, a bulwark against modernity if there ever was one. I write this to underline a strident point: the encirclement of Pakistan has begun, I’m not sure it will end well.
The recent killing of a Kashmiri terrorist named Burhan Wani by India’s special operation rangers was a longtime coming. The valley’s nearly 7 million muslim inhabitants are a devoted proxy between the rival ambitions of India & Pakistan. The LoC (line of control) is the most heavily nuclearized place on the planet. India devotes over 600,000 (you read that right) troops to the LoC. Pakistan’s vision has turned inward and it has sharply curbed the export of guns to its Islamic proxies. The only location that resembles the satanic political manipulation and repression of Kashmir is Northern Ireland. Given the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, Kashmir reigns as no-mans-land, it remains a playground for Pakistani sponsored terrorism (read Kabul).
As it currently stands, the current state of governance of Jammu and Kashmir is an aggrieved coalition polity between Narendra Modi’s BJP (Hindu-Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party) and a representative of Kashmir. The locals look upon this arrangement as permanently favorable to New Delhi, however, in truth, the arrangement only works if Pakistan’s jihadi interests recede.
As of this writing, the number of armed militants has shrunk to less than 200 armed Kashmiri’s, most from well respected southern families taken in by the romanticism of jihad. Wani exemplified this trend prior to his killing. New Delhi views the issue through a bilateral lens and often seeks redress through unofficial channels. The current calm resembles a quiet insight that Islamabad is playing for time. The Punjabi’s throughout this dangerous frontier have yet to grapple with their history of jihadi proxies. They won’t until they drop the pretensions of seeking out larger client states to finance their jihadi ambitions.