It has been 75 years since India and Pakistan achieved independence from Imperial Britain amidst a paroxysm of sub-continental violence that killed millions of Indians during the partition. Today, India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a bigger economy than the UK with the fastest rate of economic growth for a big country in the world and Pakistan is scraping the bottom of the economic barrel. Despite all this, Britain still has delusions of an imperial power and has a colonial mindset towards India and still plays the Af-Pak region with a traditional bias towards Islamist Pakistan and Rawalpindi GHQ.
While UK state broadcaster BBC with directions from the foreign office chose to rake up the 2002 Gujarat riots despite Indian Supreme Court’s clean chit to PM Modi with an eye towards 2024 elections, the Pakistan and UK Army have decided to jointly host regional stability conference in England to discuss among other things the so-called Kashmir dispute.
While neither UK nor Pakistan has any locus standi in UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir at the invitation of the Rishi Sunak government is scheduled to address 5th joint UK-Pak stabilization conference at Wilton Park between Feb 5-8. Wilton Park is an executive agency of UK foreign office apparently providing a platform for strategic discussions. Co-hosted by UK Army Chief Gen P N Y M Sanders, the conference is themed “Regional Stability in South Asia: the return of geopolitics and other challenges.” The conference will focus on the Ukraine war impact on EU, UK, and its consideration for Pakistan, which has provided weapons and ammunition to Ukraine secretly using RAF aircraft. The duplicitous role of Pakistan in the Ukraine war must not be forgotten as it was then Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi who was feted by President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 24, 2022, when the Russian strongman decided to invade neighbouring Ukraine. The other topics of discussion are the role of information operations, cyber-attack in warfare, evolving south Asian regional stability, security challenges and an update on the Kashmir dispute.
When the Modi government decided to abrogate temporary Article 370 and Article 35 A in the context of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, the UK had expressed its concerns to India and advocated the situation to remain calm between India and Pakistan. UK played a double game in the UN post-abrogation Article 370 as on August 16, 2019, it sided with Pakistan’s iron brother China and Kuwait and wanted the UN Security Council to discuss the Kashmir issue but US would have nothing of it and said the matter should be discussed between India and Pakistan bilaterally. In the second round of meeting on the same day, UK and again appeared to be on the side of Pakistan in wanting a discussion on the issue but US and France again came to India’s support. Pakistan’s principal supporter China again tried its luck in the UNSC in January 2020 but by then UK under the strong pressure of the Modi government and the US decided to change tack and advocated the issue to be discussed bilaterally between India and Pakistan. The UK has also been playing a double game when it comes to the designation of Pakistan-based terrorists by the UNSC’s 1267 Sanctions committee at the behest of the US, France, and India. By discussing the so-called “Kashmir dispute” next month with Pakistan Army Chief Gen Asim Munir, the UK is trying to play the role of a third umpire, for which there is no provision under the rules of the Kashmir game.
Even though Gen Munir and Gen Sanders will discuss regional stability in South Asia, the role of then British Chief of Defence Staff Gen Nick Carter, who called murderous Taliban as country boys, and then Pakistan ISI chief Faiz Hameed in throwing Afghanistan’s minorities especially women under the bus cannot be forgotten. The two were instrumental in cooking up a secret agreement with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar that led to the disastrous Taliban take-over of Kabul on August 15, 2021, amidst murder and mayhem. Britain clearly had learnt no lessons from the 18th century Anglo-Afghan wars, yet it was the principal advisor to the US in handing over Kabul to the radical Sunni Pashtun force which has turned Afghanistan into Islamic Emirate with no role for women or minorities. The credit for the Islamic radicalization of the entire Af-Pak region goes to the UK and Pakistan, which today is suffering at the hands of ISI’s demon child on the Durand Line dispute with terrorists belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan taking on Gen Munir’s force with the latest US weapons.
While Gen Munir is expected to echo the sentiments of Shehbaz Sharif’s regime on the so-called Kashmir dispute at next month’s conference in UJK, the Modi government has no time for either of the two with Jammu and Kashmir taking rapid developmental strides nary a stray violent incident orchestrated by Pakistan based terror groups and their over ground workers in the Valley. Clearly, UK and Pakistan are still delusional about Kashmir and still choose not to read the writing on the wall of new India.
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