Chief of Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa seems to have had a change of heart. He no longer wants war with India. He wants "peaceful co-existence." Pakistan Army General expressing his desire for peace is a significant development. It could be a hint that the country wants to give up its obsession with Kashmir and tread on the path of peace and prosperity.
While addressing a graduation day ceremony at Pakistan Air Force Academy in Rawalpindi earlier this week, General Bajwa said, "It is time to extend a hand of peace in all directions." But he was quick to add that no one should misconstrue Pakistan's desire for peace as a sign of weakness. It's a matter of debate whether Pakistan is weak or strong as the developments that unfurled after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir have proven beyond doubt that Pakistan can raise the pitch but won't go for war as the neighboring country cannot afford it.
If General Bajwa means what he is saying, it could become a turning point in the sub-continent history. No one wants war. Everyone wants peace and development. But the fact is that Pakistan( after losing three conventional wars with India) has been fighting a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir for the past three decades and has lost that battle also.
The militants sent by the Pakistan Army have not been able even to take an inch of India's land. After getting killed, these militants were disowned even by their own country.
Peace needs to be given a chance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made an honest attempt to end the animosity between the two nuclear neighbors by paying a surprise visit to Pakistan on December 25, 2015. A few days after Modi landed in Lahore, Jaish-e-Mohammad militants attacked the airbase at Pathankot. They made it clear they wanted war and not peace.
The JeM militants carrying out a suicide attack in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, proved to be the last nail in the coffin of the attempts that were being made to establish peace. The Pulwama attack left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel dead.
India avenged it by carrying out an airstrike at the Jaish militant camp deep inside Pakistan territory in Balakot. Though Pakistan claimed that India did no damage, the reports revealed that many militants were killed. Their shelter was destroyed. Since the Pulwama attack, India's posture towards Pakistan has changed completely.
"The entire world is aware that it's the Army that runs Pakistan and the politicians are puppets. If the Pakistan General wants peace, he has to act."
The Pakistan Army has been on its toes. If it fires one shell, the Indian Army retaliates with five. India turning J&K into a union territory has also rattled Pakistan. After that move, Pakistan media started fighting the war within newsrooms. They tried to send a message that nuclear bombs are ready to be used.
It's the first time since August 5, 2019, the Pakistan Army Chief has spoken about peace and reconciliation. If he is really sincere, then he needs to be allowed to end the prevailing uncertainty.
The country has to dismantle the militant camps on its soil and stop supporting the people who preach hatred and violence. General Bajwa can play an important role as the Pakistan Army controls all militants' activities.
If he works towards establishing peace, he would be considered a true statesman. His country is grappling with too many issues and cannot afford a war. To save Pakistan, General Bajwa needs to take concrete steps and stop talking about Kashmir. If he ups the ante, there is every possibility about Pakistan getting a befitting reply and ending up in a big mess.
"No one can discount the fact that the historic Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims was opened in November 2019, just a few months after the abrogation of Article 370. At that point in time, General Bajwa played an important role."
India's neighbor needs to bear in mind that it cannot fight a full-fledged war even for seven days. Had Pakistan been able to go for a war, it would have fought thirty wars in three decades. Still, it has neither got resources nor the skills and weaponry to match the Indian Army. It has got nothing in its arsenal except a few nukes. If these are used, it can lead to large scale devastation.
By talking about peace, he is not doing any favor to India, but he helps his own country. The COVID times are about to get over. Once India comes out of it, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) can be next on the agenda as it's under Pakistan's illegal occupation. It is a part of Jammu and Kashmir and has to be merged with it. But things can change if the neighboring country works towards peaceful co-existence.
Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa seems to have taken the first step by talking about peace. Now, the ball is in India's court. It needs to give General Bajwa an opportunity by reducing pressure on Pakistan and adopting the policy of "wait and watch." If Pakistan Army Chief means business, he will take steps to translate his words into a reality.
No one can discount the fact that the historic Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims was opened in November 2019, just a few months after the abrogation of Article 370. At that point in time, General Bajwa played an important role. Despite simmering tensions between the two countries, he didn't object to the opening of it. Suppose the Pakistan Army Chief makes a dedicated effort for peace. In that case, the war clouds hovering over India and Pakistan can vanish, and the situation can change.
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(Report by Manoj Gupta, extracted from news aggregator 'Defence News'. Views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Mission Victory India.)