Approaching The Nuclear Prelude (Revelation 8)
1:52 PM 10/29/2016
India and Pakistan each expelled a high-ranking opposing diplomat Thursday amid increasing tensions over the disputed northern territory of Kashmir.
India expelled the Pakistani diplomat on charges of “espionage activities” on India’s security capabilities on the Kashmiri border. Pakistan angrily responded that the charges were “false and unsubstantiated” before itself expelling a member of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Tensions between the two countries skyrocketed after India suppressed a civilian uprising in Kashmir, culminating in the Indian killing of Kashmiri militant leader Burhan Wani. Wani was a major agitator against Indian administration of Kashmir, and frequently posted social media videos calling for violent uprising. His death sparked widespread protests across Kashmir, and was strongly condemned by the Pakistani government.
As angry rhetoric about terrorist sponsorship increased on both sides, a border clash between the two security forces erupted Sept. 17. Islamist militants stormed into an Indian Army base and gunned down 17 Indian soldiers, which the Indian government immediately blamed on Pakistan. “I am deeply disappointed with Pakistan’s continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups,” India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter after the attack.
The Indian government claimed two weeks later Oct. 3 to have conducted “surgical strikes” by special forces across the Pakistani line of control in Kashmir. Indian incursion into Pakistan without prior notice again inflamed tensions to higher levels. The Pakistani government denies any such raid took place.
Experts say Pakistan’s government insists the strikes did not took place, because if they did so they would be forced to respond. “The Pakistani military would be forced to retaliate in the event of a more prominent strike,” retired Indian Army Col. Ajai Shukla wrote in a New Delhi paper.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi even pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation scheduled for November. Modi then went so far as to denounce Pakistan as the “mothership of terrorism” at a Oct. 26 meeting with Russian, Chinese and Brazilian heads of state. Modi’s escalation rhetoric is meant to put pressure on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to crackdown on terrorist militant groups operating inside his borders.
The problem is Sharif has a limited amount of authority over the Pakistani Army, which is seen as the main sponsor of the militant groups. “Prime Minister Sharif knows better than most that there are limits to how far he can push the army without the army pushing him out the door,” he elaborated. Sharif was ousted in a 1999 coup d’état by Pakistani Army Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
The tensions even extend to the cultural realm. Nationalist fervor is sweeping India in the wake of the September attacks, as prominent Indian film directors came out pledging not to hire Pakistani actors, or screen films with Pakistani cast members. Pakistan angrily responded by banning all Indian radio and television shows from the country, despite their widespread popularity.
While nationalist fervor and strong rhetoric is good for Modi domestically, it is amplifying support for the army in Pakistan, according to Myra MacDonald’s, author of “Defeat Is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War.”
“When we get to the next terror attack, which is probably only a matter of time, the prime minister has boxed himself in, and he can’t take the route his predecessors did and choose to use solely diplomatic alternatives without some loss of face,” Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Riedel told The New York Times Oct. 23.