Ever since the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abolished earlier this month, Pakistan has unilaterally pushed further down the slide its relations with India, which were anyway not normal because of continued cross-border terrorism emanating from that country.
A frustrated Pakistan has downgraded its diplomatic ties with India, escalated military tensions on the Line of Control (LoC) and has been creating a war hysteria over the last few weeks.
The Modi government on August 5 initiated the surprise legislative move to scrap applicability of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and converted it into a Union Territory while carving out a separate Union Territory of Ladakh. The process was completed on August 6, with both Houses of Parliament approving the measures with overwhelming majority.
Pakistan, which claims to be a stakeholder in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, cried foul over these decisions and has since been resorting to all kinds of steps as “retaliation” against India.
Among the measures it took was expelling India”s High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and deciding not to send its newly-appointed envoy to New Delhi. It also ensured stoppage of the cross-border Samjhauta Express train service.
On the LoC, there have been increased incidents of ceasefire violation and stepped up efforts to push terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. Indian forces have already foiled some of such infiltration attempts and are ever ready to thwart any more such bids.
The Pakistani leaders and army have also been indulging in war-mongering by insinuating that India would carry out an attack, bigger than the one in Balakot on February 26. In Balakot, India had carried out an air strike at Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror in retaliation to the ghastly terror attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Kashmir, in which 40 security personnel were killed.
Analysts feel that since the Balakot strike was a retaliatory action by India, the Pakistani statements about perceived Indian attack could be a pretext for some major terror attack that its notorious intelligence agency ISI may be planning. Indian intelligence agencies have already sounded alerts in various parts of the country on this count.
However, some analysts are of the view that Pakistan may not dare to organize any major terror attack in India till October as its behavior regarding actions against terrorism is under watch of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The UN-mandated body has placed Pakistan in the ”Grey” list and if it does not find the country having done enough to curb terrorism by September-end, it will be placed in ”Black” list. It will mean that Pakistan cannot get any international aid, particularly at a time when its economy is in shambles.
As India continues to maintain that it can have no talks with Pakistan till it ends cross-border terrorism, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers, who are facing questions at home, have also been abusing Modi and RSS.
Khan, in fact, devoted most of his Independence Day speech on August 14 to hurling abuses at Modi and RSS.
India has been playing cool to the theatrics across the border, with Modi completely ignoring Khan”s utterances and making no mention of Pakistan at all in his Independence Day address a day later.
At the same time, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has made it amply clear that India may not hesitate in using even the nuclear weapons if “circumstances” so demand.
A few days back, he said India has “strictly adhered” to the doctrine of ”No First Use” but “what happens in future depends on the circumstances”.
Some see it as a clear warning to Pakistan not to escalate the situation.