ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dangerous Gamble on Balochistan

The manner in which the Prime Minister has sought to "expand" the Kashmir issue is self-damaging.

In a move which is becoming typical of his “style,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought up, in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort in Delhi, the track record of the Pakistani state in Balochistan, where its security forces have waged a long and bloody battle with local insurgents who want independence. Without mentioning the violence in Kashmir which had by then killed over 40 people and injured many hundreds, many of them blinded and disabled for life after being hit by the pellets fired by the police, Modi sought to convey a “message to Pakistan.”

Conveniently for him, the message conveyed fit the ideological and political predilections of the listener. It could be read as a warning to the neighbour that now India would be willing to “support” the Balochistan independence movement as a tit-for-tat measure for Pakistan’s “support” for the Kashmiri separatists. It could also be read as suggesting that the policies and actions of the Indian state were not responsible for the troubles and alienation in Kashmir but were merely due to interference from across the border. It could mean both or either and the government, spokespersons of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the sundry strategic experts who populate New Delhi all picked and chose what inference and inflection they preferred.

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