Published on Sunday, May 19, 2002 by Agence France Presse
India Choking Lines of Communication with Pakistan, Opening War Option: Analysts
By expelling Islamabad's high commissioner, India risks cutting lines of communication with Pakistan and increasing the likelihood of a military option in the fast deteriorating relations between the two nuclear rivals, analysts and reports said.
India blames Pakistan-based militants for the attack.
"Neither the reasons cited in the justification of the expulsion of Pakistan's top professional diplomat nor indeed the political logic of this ill-conceived move can really serve India's anti-terror cause," The Hindu newspaper wrote in an editorial.
The paper said if New Delhi thinks that sending the envoy back would be a "dramatic way" of expressing its anger at the Jammu incident, "nothing can be more fallacious than facile assumptions of this kind."
"India can suitably address the issues of incendiary cross-border terrorism itself in creative diplomatic exchanges with Pakistan," it said.
The paper added that "diplomatic expulsion in a highly interactive and globalized world" will not help India reduce or roll back "cross-border terrorism."
An influential separatist leader in Indian administered Kashmir, Omar Farooq, Sunday urged India to give up its "confrontationist" attitude and resume dialogue with Pakistan.
"The expulsion notice has only added fuel to the fire," said Farooq, who is also the head priest of Kashmir and an executive member of Kashmir's main separatist alliance -- the All Party Hurriyat Conference.
"This step (by India) will further strain the fast deteriorating relations between the two nuclear rivals," said Farooq, adding the move has choked the possibility of an immediate dialogue between the rival nuclear states.
In announcing Qazi's expulsion, India said the move was also necessary to maintain "parity" in mission staff in both countries.
Following a militant attack on the Indian parliament in December, India recalled its envoy from Islamabad and also asked Pakistan to cut down its mission staff in New Delhi by 50 percent.
The Indian high commission in Islamabad also reduced its strength by half.
Analysts here said New Delhi was once again taking graded diplomatic steps in response to the incident. Only this time, the options are very limited and a military punitive action is not being ruled out.
"This (expulsion of Pakistani envoy) is one of the smaller steps," said C. Raja Mohan, The Hindu's foreign editor.
"But if it doesn't work, they might consider going to war. If there is one more incident of this nature, I think they will go for it," he added.
A report published in The Hindustan Times Sunday hinted at India's military action plan in Kashmir.
The report, attributed to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq, said Pakistan fears India is readying to attack "militant camps" in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
"India's aim would be to redraw the Line of Control (the de facto border) by capturing parts of PoK so that militants based in Pakistan would not be able to wage Jihad (Islamic holy war) in India," the report quoted Haq as saying.
Mohan said before the military option is exercised, several other diplomatic strictures could be used to isolate Pakistan.
These could include withdrawing the most favored nation status from Pakistan, further downgrading its diplomatic mission and abrogating the Indus Water Treaty, which would effectively "starve" Punjab.
The warmongering has apparently alarmed the United States, which believes any full-scale conflict over Kashmir will interfere with its anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.
It has announced it is sending Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to the subcontinent, most likely next week, on a peace mission to silence the guns on both sides.
In cross-border fighting over the past three days, three people have been killed and around 30 injured on both sides and thousands have left their homes for safer places, according to various officials.
Copyright 2002 AFP