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Why India is firing on our border?

A lot of media coverage has been given to skirmishes on India-Pakistan border and whether Pakistan’s reply to unprovoked firing has been befitting. I believe and say ‘unprovoked’ not because we have been the icons of peace in past, but because of simple logic that at this moment, Pakistan army is not looking to open a battle front on eastern border- at least not until it crushes Taliban on the western border. Countering threats from internal elements is now a part of new army doctrine and current political and military leadership is convinced that the biggest danger to Pakistan lies within its borders. It is therefore rather logical to believe that firing is being provoked by India.

 Now lets come to the real question. What provokes India to start these skirmishes when it is clear that destabilization in the region as a result of a conflict between India and Pakistan will harm both nuclear armed countries and not just Pakistan? Is India willing to sacrifice its economic growth and push itself into a war with Pakistan?

 The answer is complex but explainable. Some key points are to be noted first:

1. India, in last decade, enjoyed the liberty of playing with Jihadi narrative and using it against Pakistan. This was the other way around throughout the history and never has India felt such comfort in its dealings with Pakistan as it did when terrorism was at a peak inside the country.

 2. A full scale war will do great damage to both India and Pakistan. For a growing economy which sees itself as a future superpower, a full scale war at this stage is unacceptable. However, tensions remain high between both countries over Kashmir issue. India believes that Pakistan will escalate its efforts to increase its foothold in Kashmir as soon as it gets done with internal threats.

 3. Politics in India still revolves around anti-Pakistan sentiment. BJP criticized Congress bluntly over the last decade for its soft stance against Pakistan. It is of outmost importance for Modi’s government to show to Indian public that they are being ‘tough’ with Pakistan.

 Once these key points are understood, one may ask: why now? The answer to this lies not on the eastern border but on the western one with Afghanistan. New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who is a friend of Pakistan replaced Hamid Karzai, who was anti Pakistan and pro India. This is a problem for India’s friends in Pak-Afghan border i.e Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan. Not only Afghanistan intelligence has halted their support, operation is going on against them in Pakistan. They were dumbfounded when operation Zarb-e-Azb started and Pakistan army attacked them with full force and they ran away leaving everything behind. Since Pakistan convinced Nato forces and Afghan army to attack them in Afghanistan also, TTP’s only friend left in region is India who now by trying to divert attention of Pakistan army on eastern border is trying to relieve pressure from TTP. This works well for India strategically as well as politically and hence India is continuously firing on our border.

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