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India-Pakistan Relations With Reference To Balochistan

An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The relations between India and Pakistan has always been strained for the day both countries attained their independence from British in 1947. Both countries have fought four wars with India winning each time. The effect of cold war also had a major impact over the two countries with Pakistan backed by America and India backed by USSR even though neither the countries entered into the eastern bloc nor the western bloc throughout the whole conflict.

The roots of all the conflicts between the two nations can be traced back to Kashmir. Pakistan has always sponsored terrorism in the region of Kashmir as it has always maintained that Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan. India also claims Kashmir on the basis of Instrument of Accession (IOA) signed by India and King of Kashmir in the year 1947. The war in 1971 was fought for the liberation of East Pakistan from West Pakistan.

The Bengalis from East Pakistan were migrating into Indian territories due civil unrest and the fight for liberation from the West Pakistan. But there is also one more region were both nations are in a tug of war and that is Balochistan. This region has always been overshadowed by the issue of Kashmir. But the recent agreement of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan Officials increasing protest for the freedom of Balochistan an International forum have brought the attention of the world in this region.

Balochistan is one of the four provinces of the Pakistan. It is least populated even though it is the largest province in terms of land size. It is populated in ethnic Baloch people which can be found in the modern day Iran and Afghanistan though majority of Baloch can be found in Balochistan.

The culture and tradition of Baloch people is very distinct from the majority Sindhi and Pakistani Punjabis. Their language has more similarity with Indian languages than with the Urdu or Punjabi. Balochistan is rich in natural gas and oil and is one of the most important region of Pakistan. But during the withdrawal of British from the Indian sub-continent, Kingdom of Balochistan was offered the same offer, either to join India, join,Pakistan or remain independent.

The king of Balochistan chose to remain independent and it did remain independent for nearly a year. In the year 1948, the Pakistan government with combination of military and diplomacy, took control of the region and made it into a part of Pakistan. Pakistani government generate tons of revenue for the region in the form of taxes as it is an oil rich region but does nothing for the people of Balochistan. It is one of the most economically backward province in Pakistan in spite of being resource-rich region.

All the revenue that is generated goes for the development of Punjab and Karachi regions and the military and the nuclear project. The Baloch people get nothing in return from the Pakistani government. There has been growing concern in the international community for the human rights violations in the region done by the Pakistan military and terror groups. As the region dominated by Shias and Pakistan is dominated by Sunnis, Shias in the region have been facing discrimination for years. Hindus and the other minority group are also facing discrimination by Pakistan. The insurgency in Balochistan has been active since 1948.

Pakistan claims that New Delhi has been supporting these rebel fighters with arms and intelligence. Even though New Delhi has denied these allegations from the Pakistani authorities but tries to help Balochistan by supporting it in the United Nations General Assembly. But an Indian officer claimed that junior intelligence officer was very much active during the 1970s. If other claims that, like Pakistan and India, Iraq and Iran are also bitter rivals. As a result, Pakistan and Iran had developed closer relations with each other.

Likewise, India and Iraq also had developed similar relations. Arming Baloch insurgents on Iranian and Pakistani was also in the interest both Iraq and India. Militant group like Pasthun Zalmay which was made up of Baloch and Pasthun militant, was in direct contact with Kabul as well as with Indian and Iraqi mission in Afghanistan. Pasthun Zalmay was responsible for series of bomb blast and other insurgent activities in Pakistan. As a consequence, relations between Iran and India deteriorated. Afghan intelligence chief Amarullah Shleh and Indian diplomat Mayankote Kelath Narayan were closely engaged with Baloch militants.

He claims that even if Indian intelligence services deny direct support to Baloch insurgent, it was unlikely that they remained aloof from unfolding dynamics. Atul Khare, who had observed these events on regular basis, confirmed that India had contacts with Baloch militants. India had given limited protections to sons and grandsons of Baloch leaders as well as Akbar Bugti. However, Khare claims that India did not help Akbar Bugti when he was killed during the fight with Pakistani army. Indian newspaper, The Hindu, reported that the Balochistan liberation army commanders, in the past, had sought medical treatment in Indian hospitals, of an under disguised or false identity.

In one such case, militant commander in charge of Khuzdar city was based in Delhi for at least six months in 2017 when he underwent extensive treatment for kidney related ailments. Baloch militants visit to India were obtained under assumed identities similarly, another Baloch liberation army commander, Aslam Baloch, was also alleged to have visited India in the past where he met people who were sympathetic to his cause. Aslam Baloch was also alleged to have been treated in a hospital of New Delhi. The former American Afghanistan – Pakistan envoy Richard Holbrooke said in 2011 that while Pakistan had repeatedly shared its allegations with Washington, it had failed to provide any evidence to the United States that India was involved in separatist movement in Balochistan. He did not consider Pakistan’s accusations against India credible.

Holbrooke also strongly rejected the allegation that India was using its consulates in Afghanistan to facilitate Baloch rebel activity, saying he had ‘no reason to believe Islamabad’s charges’, and that ‘Pakistan would do well to examine its own internal problems’. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is another issue between these two countries.

The aim of CPEC is that china will help china and it will Pakistan to extract its resources and will take the raw materials to China and in return China will help Pakistan develop its infrastructure and increase its employment. Some of the proposed infrastructure that the Chinese have been developing for Pakistan are passing through the disputed region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) which India considers it to be a part of its own territory.

The infrastructure that China have been developing are oil pipelines that are coming from Gwadar port and from other parts of Pakistan which will reduce the cost of transportation oil for China. The agreement signed between Pakistan and China is a very complex and strict one in nature. As the net worth of the deal have been sky rocketed from $40 billion dollars to $60 billion dollars in 2017. India has declared the project as a debt trap for Pakistan. Nevertheless, Pakistan has borrowed the loan from Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank and ICBC.

Today, Pakistan’s total debt is more than $6 billion dollars to China and is expecting International Monetary Fund (IMF) for economic bailout. But American who controls the funds in IMF do not want IMF’s money to be used to repay China’s loan and want Pakistan to show all the accounts of CPEC project if they want monetary help from IMF but it will but geo-political disaster if Pakistan opens all the accounts to America as it will not only undermine the current projects that it has been working on in Pakistan but also its interest in Africa.

China has agreed to lend $2.54 billion dollars to Pakistan in order to repay it previous loan. One such project is the development of Gwadar port. China had promised Pakistan that it will increase its annual shipment capacity from 100 million tons to 400 million tons, making it one of the most sophisticated ports between Red sea and Arabian ocean. this port was also very essential for the trade in the Red sea as it is the only port where the ships can make port for refuelling for its further journey.

But after the completion of the development of the port, when the Pakistani government couldn’t repay its part to China, they struck a deal that China is taking Gwadar port on lease from Pakistan for 99 years. According this deal, all the taxes from the port will be collected by the Chinese and the management of the port will be also under the Chinese control. This means that Pakistan will not get a single penny for the project as the workers are also from china.

Under the deal the Chinese and also station its troops and navy in the port. It will create geo-political unbalance as Chinese military will be surrounding India from all the sides. The port is important for china as it will not only reduce the cost of the transportation of oil and other natural gas from Middle East to china but will also help to control the traffic and trade in the Red sea. Gwadar port will also help to strengthen its interest in Africa and will also help to solidify Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s pet project ‘one belt-one road’ initiative which aims to increase the connectivity between china and European countries and Africa.

India have raised strong objections in the international forum and have agreed to develop the Chabahar port in Iran and both the countries have agreed to manage it together. This deal was struck between India and Iran so that Indian ships will not have to rely on the Gwadar port. The Baloch people are protesting against this as Gwadar port is situated in their territory and as all the energy projects that the Chinese have been developing in the Balochistan region, they are not getting benefitted from this. They are not employed in the port nor they are a part of the management.

The Baloch insurgents have been started focusing their targets on the Chinese nations that are working on the projects. There has been an increase in the violence against the Chinese nations in the Baloch region and the recent kidnapping of Chinese citizen by Baloch insurgents have raised questions on the security that Pakistan had promised to provide to the Chinese workers. China have now insisting that it will provide protection to its own people and the projects in Pakistan.

There has been no generation on employment in Balochistan and the local leaders are raising their dissatisfaction on the promises made by Chinese to the Baloch people. They are accusing the Chinese and Punjabis for stealing their resources and land and not giving them anything in return. With the continuous bombardment by Pakistan Air Force on Balochistan and judicial killings of the inhabitants, the Baloch separatists have been calling on to Indian Prime Minister to intervene on the issue.

On 3rd March 2016 and Indian national was arrested from Balochistan during a counter- intelligence operation. Pakistan claims that Indian national called Kulbhusan Jadhav was a RAW operating and was aiding the Baloch rebels. The Pakistani government stated that he was serving commander in the Indian Navy who was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan.

The Indian government recognised Jadhav as a former naval officer but denied any current links with him and maintained that he took premature retirement and was abducted from Iran. Pakistan stated that Jadhav entered Chabahar with a visa stamped on a fake passport in 2003 where he got a new identity of Hussain Mubarak Patel – born in 30 August 1968, from Maharashtra, India. Pakistani officials claimed that his job was to destabilise Pakistan by strengthening a separatist movement in Balochistan and Karachi – a mission which officially began in 2013.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said that Jadhav was obviously working for RAW and was in contact with Baloch separatists and militants, fueling sectarian violence in the province and the country. He further added that he was involved in financially supporting militants and that Jadhav has admitted his involvements in Karachi's unrest.

Interrogation also reportedly revealed that naval combat training was being conferred to Baloch separatists, in an attempt to target the ports of Gwadar and Karachi. Pakistani authorities stated that Jadhav, during his interrogation, gave details about his funding, and plans to destabilise the country. They added that Jadhav also disclosed the presence of other Indian intelligence operatives in the southern metropolis.

During interrogation Jadhav also reportedly revealed that at Wadh, he was in contact with Haji Baloch, who provided financial and logistic support to Baloch separatists and the Islamic State network in Karachi. He also said that the masterminds of the Safoora bus attack, where gunmen shot dead 45 Ismaili passengers, were also in contact with Haji Baloch. Jadhav added that he had met Baloch several times, sometimes for planning sectarian violence in Karachi and the rest of Sindh. Pakistan said that, based on Jadhav's information, it had arrested hundreds of undercover operatives.

Asim Bajwa told the press that Jadhav converted to Islam, adopted a false identity and worked at Gadani under the cover of a scrap dealer. He stated that Jadhav established a network of operatives, provided funds, arranged to smuggle people into the country for the purpose of terrorism and reportedly purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in an alleged terrorist plot. According to him, Jadhav's goal was to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through propaganda – with Gwadar port as a special target – and also to create disharmony among the Baloch nationalist political parties.

On 3 April, it was reported that Iran was investigating whether Jadhav crossed the Pakistan-Iran border illegally after the matter was taken up by Pakistani officials in Hassan Rouhani's visit to Islamabad. However, Rouhani denied the report as a rumor, saying that the matter was not even mentioned. Iranian Ambassador to India Gholamreza Ansari said that Iran was probing into the matter. He said that once Iran completes the investigation, it will share the reports with friendly countries.

The Iranian embassy in Pakistan criticised certain elements in Pakistan for spreading undignified and offensive remarks that were attributed to Rouhani and added that these rumours will not impact the positive views of the two countries regarding each other as Pakistan had proven to be Iran's trusted partner and neighbour.On 10 April 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan, following a confession before the magistrate and court.

Jadhav's trial lasted three and a half months and the charges he was convicted for included spying for India, waging war against Pakistan, sponsoring terrorism, and destabilising the state.He was tried in a military court due to his naval background and the sensitive nature of his case, involving espionage and sabotage.

The sentence was confirmed by army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, and released via the ISPR. Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif stated that under the provisions of the Pakistan Army Act of 1952, Jadhav had the right to appeal against his conviction on three appellate forums within 40 days.India accused Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav despite several requests. Pakistan, it was said, had also not informed India about Jadhav's trial.

In May 2017, India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asserting that Pakistani authorities were denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav in violation of Vienna Convention.The ICJ proceedings began in The Hague on 15 May to review the case. India and Pakistan both sent their legal teams to put forward their arguments, led by Harish Salve and Khawar Qureshi respectively. On 18 May 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the hanging of Jadhav.

On 22 June 2017, Pakistani sources confirmed that Jadhav had sought clemency from the country's army chief following his conviction. Pakistan also released a new confessional video of Jadhav, in which he stated that he visited Karachi twice for gathering intelligence on naval facilities. He also admitted to supporting and funding, on behalf of India's RAW, Baloch militants affiliated with the BLA and BRA, in addition to infiltrating and establishing 30 to 40 RAW operatives along the Makran Coast for involvement in terrorist activities.

Jadhav said that RAW's activities in Balochistan and Sindh were conducted under the direction of Anil Kumar Dhasmana. India's Foreign Ministry again dismissed the confession as false propaganda, stating that Pakistan was trying to influence ICJ proceedings while denying the consular rights to Jadhav. ICJ did not allow Pakistan to play the video during the hearing.

On 25 December, Jadhav's mother and wife met Jadhav in Islamabad after being allowed permission by Pakistani authorities. India subsequently denounced Pakistan for its handling of the visit of the wife and mother of Jadhav, saying they were harassed and prevented from talking to Jadhav freely.On 17 July 2019, the ICJ, in its verdict, rejected India's appeal for Jadhav's release and directed Pakistan to allow consular access and effectively review the death sentence. The court observed that Pakistan had breached international law by not granting consular access. Pakistan and India both claimed victory and welcomed the judgement of ICJ.

The conflict between India and Pakistan will continue for the time being. People of Balochistan will continue demanding more freedom and autonomy. United Nations has been trying to resolve every issue India and Pakistan for the last 70 years but have failed to come to any conclusion.


Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Adya Aditi Das
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Authentication No: MA113204732156-12-0521

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