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Pakistan may ratchet up tension along LoC ahead of UNGA meet

MSN 2019-09-17 18:48:00

With its efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue not playing to script, Pakistan may rachet up tension along the Line of Control (LoC) — facilitating infiltration by militants and more ceasefire violations — in the runup to the beginning of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York between September 24 and 30.

The UNGA opens with the Climate Action summit on September 23, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking in the first of the three groups of speakers at the event.

According to diplomats and national security officials based here, New York and Geneva, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is not accompanying PM Modi on his US trip. He has decided to focus on J&K because New Delhi believes Islamabad will try to orchestrate violence in the valley ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's speech at the UNGA.

Full coverage: Kashmir turmoil

The diplomats added that at the Organization of Islamic Conference's (OIC) meeting this week, the Kashmir issue was not even discussed with Arab nations more worried about aggressive statement of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Palestine. This has been diplomatically conveyed to the Indian government, they added.

Similarly, other international groupings such as the Commonwealth of Nations have communicated that they have no appetite to raise the Kashmir issue in the context of abrogation of article 370 last month by the Modi government.

While Islamabad is running out of time to either force an urgent debate or a resolution (the time bar is September 19) at the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, the Indian assessment is that the human rights body is simply not convinced about Pakistan's claims of genocide in the Valley. Apart from PM Khan raising the Kashmir issue at his UNGA speech on September 27, Islamabad may also try to push the issue in some of the committee meetings that begin from October 2 and close by Christmas. Imran Khan reaches US for the UNGA on September 20 after spending two days in Saudi Arabia.

According to senior Indian officials, most countries buy India's argument that Kashmir is an internal issue.

However, the Indian assessment is that Islamabad will not give up and will try at least till the end of the year to engineer violence through Pakistan based jihadist groups in the Valley. Already, the ceasefire violations on the LoC and border are touching a new high, with last year's figure of 2140 violations almost certain to be crossed this month. The total number of ceasefire violations till August were 2047.

The Indian intelligence assessment is that the Pakistan Army will try to push as many jihadists as possible into the Valley before the onset of winter in north Kashmir with Keran, Kupwara, Gurez and Gulmarg sector being the prime routes for infiltration. " As of now the Indian Army has been able to foil infiltration attempts in the state both north and south of Pir Panjal. But as Islamabad's desperation mounts, jihadists will be pushed even under the cover of Pakistani fire till early October," said a national security official.