Srinagar: Prime minister Narendra Modi apparently wanted to blunt Pakistan’s rising stock in the valley, which has once again risen in revolt against Indian rule, by raising the issue of Balochistan. In doing so, has the Agenda for Alliance, which dictates the power-sharing terms with the PDP in J&K, been undermined? It seems so.
The Agenda for Alliance had been forumlated after lengthy talks between RSS ideologue and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and PDP leader Haseeb Drabu. Scroll reported on Saturday that Madhav was among the ruling party members who prevailed upon Modi to rake up Balochistan issue. Another member who pushed the Balochistan agenda was Dr Jitender Singh, BJP’s MP from Udhampur and minister in Modi’s office.
Modi had said in his independence day speech that anti-Pakistan dissidents in Balochistan and Pakistan administered Kashmir had written to him and urged Indian missions abroad to raise these issues internationally.
Madhav and Drabu had made engagement with Pakistan and all stakeholders, including the resistance leadership, as part of the measures the BJP-PDP alliance would take for resolution of Kashmir.
But Modi’s Balochistan bombshell has killed the prospect of any meaningful dialogue for now.
Dr Singh’s rise in politics has roots in his anti-Kashmir outlook. He was at the forefront of the agitation in Jammu during 2008 Amarnath land row, which had enforced an economic blockade of the valley. He is one of the staunch opponents of Article 370, which grants J&K special status.
A day after Modi’s I-Day speech, he surfaced in Jammu and described PM’s Balochistan remarks as “game changer.”
The PDP has not reacted to Balochistan remarks.
Invoking Balochistan is reportedly the idea of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Research and Analysis Wing chief, the Director of Intelligence Bureau, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and top Pakistan experts.
Political inputs were provided by Madhav and Jitendra, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh.
Traditionally, India has raised the issues of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan that formed part of the undivided state of Jammu & Kashmir, before the Indo-Pak war of 1947-48 that cleaved the state into two halves.
The political discussions did consider the relevance of Balochistan to the current stalemate between India and Pakistan and how it would help up the ante and force Pakistan to re-think its position on Kashmir.
However, Jitendra logic about raising the question of Balochistan and Pakistan’s track record in the region prevailed over the few concerns that were aired in the discussions.
Reports said that for years, Indian intelligence had maintained a close eye on Pakistan’s west, watching the growing insurgency in Balochistan and its implications for Pakistan’s security and economic progress.
They had also maintained links with Baloch leaders across the world, meeting them in state capitals like London, and keeping track of events. However, most of these meetings and discussions had been kept secret and were mostly used to gain insights into the Pakistani military operations being carried out in the region.