Surgical strikes on Pakistan have been grabbing headlines in India especially after Pakistan’s foreign minister SM Qureshi again alleged that India is preparing for a “surgical strike” to divert attention from the country’s internal issues.
However, an Indian security expert has claimed Pakistan could be planning a terror attack in India and would expect a retaliation ‘surgical strike’
Speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi, Qureshi claimed that India is trying to seek “tacit approval” from “important players who they consider to be their partners”.
“An important development has cropped up… I’ve learned through our intelligence forces… that India is planning a surgical strike against Pakistan,” said Qureshi. “This is a serious development and I also have knowledge that they have tried to seek tacit approval from important players who they consider to be their partners.”
India hasn’t officially responded to this allegation yet. Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a senior fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi says Pakistan has a history of making such claims.
He said after these claims were made by the Pakistani government, he checked satellite imagery. “There is no unusual activity on any of the Indian Army and Air Force bases. They have a history of making such claims,” Iyer-Mitra told EurAsian Times.
During the press conference, Qureshi claimed that the Indian government is trying to divert attention “serious internal issues.” Elaborating on this, he said that the situation in Kashmir “was never good but has deteriorated further”. He also pointed out the ongoing farmer’s protest against the central government resulting from “the policies of this regime, the BJP regime”.
“The mishandling of the coronavirus by Indian authorities is known to everyone. The impact that it is having on their economy is known to all,” Qureshi said. He further issued a warning that Pakistan would retaliate with a strike “a notch above” if India carries out the strike.
“I want to tell India very clearly that Pakistan is fully prepared to respond and to defeat their designs,” he said. “We will do it effectively as we did respond immediately and effectively in February 2019. And we will respond effectively if they choose this path.”
Terror Attack In India?
Challenging Pakistan’s claims, Iyer-Mitra said that he tried verifying the Pakistani government claims from officials in the Pentagon and National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States but nothing has shown up on their radars as well.
However, Iyer-Mitra made a startling claim saying that such a statement from Pakistan may be followed by a terror attack in India.
“Such statements are a marker that there is going to be a terror attack in India, intended to provoke us [India] and to force a reaction after,” he claimed.
He emphasized that Pakistan had made similar claims of India starting a war with Pakistan before Uri Attack and the Pulwama terror attack happened. “Such claims were made before the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 claiming such an action would help Modi win the election.”
“By making these claims right now, Pakistan will later say that the attack was launched by the government itself,” Iyer noted.
“It is a calculated shield to later plan a terror attack. He claimed that the statistics supporting this are only 40-45%.”
Affect On Afghan Peace Process
Briefing the media in the United Arab Emirates, Quershi issued a warning that if India attacks Pakistan, it could have “catastrophic consequences” and would “seriously undermine” the Afghan peace process.
“In our opinion, Pakistan feels that if they undertake this misadventure, it will seriously undermine the Afghan peace process, which has moved forward, and if things go wrong, India would be held responsible for this,” he said.
“I urge the global community to caution India to refrain and desist. And to not test Pakistan’s resolve.”
Spoke with H.H @ABZayed on the situation in South Asia, conditions in #IIOJK and discussed peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan appreciates UAE's cooperation during the #COVID19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/eNeiZOAhdr
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) December 17, 2020
On this, Iyer-Mitra said that Pakistan has been peddling this lie for a long time that the solution to Afghanistan lies in Kashmir. Explaining Pakistan’s theory, he said that Islamabad believed that if the Kashmir issue was resolved, there wouldn’t be anger in the people fuelling insurgency in Afghanistan.
“What Pakistan is saying is the more secure Pakistan feels the more they can crack down on internal terror organizations. and therefore attacks in Afghanistan will reduce.”