On Wednesday, September 28, Indian armed forces allegedly carried out military expedition, termed as ‘surgical strikes’ 3 kms inside the Pak administered region of Kashmir, claiming 38 dead. The operation is claimed to have been conducted at seven different points between the two military sectors Poonch and Koopwara, in retaliation to the attack by Pakistan sponsored terrorists upon the Uri Military base of Indian forces, earlier this month. Later in the day,fearing retaliation from Pak army, territories over 10 kms strech on Indian side of the line of control passing through Kashmir and Punjab, have been ordered to be evacuated.
Pakistan however has denied any such surgical operation by Indian forces, claiming it to be ‘false boasting’ for oblique purposes, but admitting to casualties, two dead and nine injured, in heavy cross-border artillery shelling and firing. The feeble and half-hearted denial however does not inspire much confidence. Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan had called an emergency meeting of his cabinet after denouncing the ‘unprovoked and naked aggression’ by India.
Post strikes, the Indian Interior Minister Rajnath Singh, also called the all party meeting, at his North Block office on September 29, purportedly ‘to discuss the ensuing situation’. The explicit purpose of the meet was however to rope in all opposition parties, from Congress to Stalinists, in celebration of the aggression and to endorse and approve the policy of the saffron government aimed at escalation of war.
All leaders of the opposition parties, including Sitaram Yechury, leader of the Stalinist Left-front, supported the alleged military strike by the government, in one voice.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj drove across to 10, Janpath, at around 4 pm to brief and convince Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
After dubiously criticising the soft paddling by the Modi government in response to the Uri attack earlier this month, the Congress-led Opposition finally joined hands with it to back the Army’s “surgical strikes” on terrorist launchpads across the line of control, openly.
The leaders, present in the meeting, including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav, BSP’s S C Mishra and RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta, were informed about few details of the military operation, that took place allegedly at few points across Kupwara and Poonch.
The meeting was attended by top brass of the ruling party and the government, including the Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu, and Minister for Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.
Over the last ten days after Uri attack, the Congress and the opposition led by it, had been urging the government to respond strongly to Pakistan. On Thursday, it backed the government fully after the alleged retaliatory military strikes by it.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “All of us stand firmly united against terrorism and those who support and sponsor it. The Congress Party and I salute the Indian Army and our jawans for acting valiantly to defend our country and our people. Jai Hind.”
Sonia Gandhi, President of Congress party, said in a statement that the party “stands with the government in its actions today to protect our country’s security and deal with the menace of terrorism from across the border”. She said that the strike was a “strong message that conveys our country’s resolve to prevent further infiltration and attacks on our security forces and our people”. Congratulating the Army, she hoped that “Pakistan will recognise that it bears a great responsibility in the continuing cross-border terrorist attacks against India” and said that she expected Islamabad to take “effective action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism that it has supported…”
Former defence minister and senior Congress leader A K Antony said that the strike was “inevitable” since infiltration by terrorists trained by the Pakistan Army is continuing unabated. “Given the situation, it was an inevitable action. I congratulate the Army and the government. Pakistan should now stop sending terrorists into India. There is a limit to India’s patience.”
Venkaiya Naidu said after the all-party briefing, that “details were given by the DGMO about five-six places across the LoC along Kupwara to Poonch”. “All political parties complimented the Indian Army enormously. They assured that they were totally with the government to face any situation. They were all very happy,” said Venkaiyah Naidu. “The feedback we are receiving is that the entire country is very happy about the swift action taken by the Indian Army,” he said.
JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav said that “all parties spoke in one voice”. RJD’s Gupta said the leaders backed the government for “all actions being taken in the interest of the nation”.
Former Minister of State for Defence and Congress leader M M Pallam Raju, speaking to reporters in Hyderabad, supported the military action, cautioning the government that Pakistan was expected to retaliate.“I think this is a good retribution. But at the same time, we have to be prepared. We should also be prepared for retaliation from their end,” said Raju.
General Secretary of CPI (M) and leader of the Stalinist left-front, Sitaram Yechury assured the government of the support of the left on the issue and asked the government to “ensure the safety and security of the country from cross-border terrorism”.
Resorting to demagogy, Yechury expressed hope that now there would be no “further escalation in hostilities”. “We hope that now incidents like those at Pathankot and at Uri will not recur,” he said, implying that Pakistan must learn a lesson. Fully conscious of the fascist, warmonger character of the saffron government, Yechury continued to advise it to engage in ‘diplomatic and political moves to defuse tensions’.
Opposition parties, Stalinists included, have carefully prepared the ground for this support to fascist government. After the attack on Indian Army base in Uri, they dubiously criticized the Government, for its inaction and soft stance on the issue. Through such criticism, they in fact consciously facilitated the government to carry out the cross-border military expedition.
Bourgeois parties aside, the Stalinists were in the frontline in performing this dubious duty towards the government. Paying only lip service to the cause of peace and harmony, the Stalinists did never oppose the war efforts of the government and the conscious built-up of nationalist hysteria around it.
Stalinists are crisis managers of capitalist regimes. On all vital issues and important turns they have stood support to them and have rendered critical assistance to the regimes enabling them to overcome the crisis, again and again.
Hailing the military strike, Arvind Kejriwal, leader of AAP claimed, “the entire country stands behind the armed forces”. AAP Minister Kapil Mishra demanded the withdrawal of the status of ‘most favoured nation’ from Pakistan.
United resolve of all opposition parties on the issue of war and their tacit support to the war policy of the government underscores the class character of the war in the offing, in the interests of the class of the rich and the elites.
The strikes of September 28, are another step ahead that draws South Asia even more closer to first ever open armed conflict between the two nuclear armed states of India and Pakistan. Since 1965, both states of India and Pakistan have been in almost permanent war mode against each other, now covert, then overt.
Mounting tensions between India and Pakistan are offshoots of the military drive directed by the US led NATO military alliance, all over the globe. The deep geo-communal divide, the legacy of the reactionary partition of 1947, between implicit hindu India and an explicit muslim Pakistan, supplies necessary fuel to these rivalries. Indian sub-continent is fast turning into a battlefield between the rival imperialist powers and national states backed by them.
Recent backout of India and Afghanistan followed by Bangladesh and Bhutan from SAARC meeting at Lahore, is the clear sign of escalation of these tensions in the region and polarization of the national states into rival camps.
Both India and Pakistan are tilting to hostile big power alliances led by US and China, respectively. Both are armed with deadly nuclear weapons. Any conflict between them may develop into a nuclear conflagration and may turn entire South-Asia into a huge graveyard of human corpses. The damage is incalculable.
It is clear that the military strikes of 28 September, had followed the green signal from the US, as US officials have refused to condemn the strikes. For long, US is pampering and encouraging aggressive designs of India to balance the Chinese influence in Asiatic region and with express motive of roping in India into an anti-China alliance.
After coming into power in 2014, the saffron government under Modi has stepped up the offensive against Pakistan in covert war. Restraining itself from raking up a direct conflict against China, Modi government eyes the softer target Pakistan for a convenient ride. Last month, it had openly threatened to dismember Balochistan from Pakistan. In the process, Pakistan is driven closer to China, perfecting the military polarization in South Asia.
Massive military built-up in South Asia makes it spectacular that war is on the horizon and anytime the volcano may erupt, engulfing entire region to its flames.
As pseudo-left takes to sharp right turn to national chauvinism and war, the task before the working class is to oppose the war from an internationalist perspective and use the anti-war platform as ready bastion for socialist revolution.
Without necessary assistance of the lefts, to bind the youth and workers behind the war designs of their bourgeois regimes, it would not be easy for the regimes, if not at all impossible, to make through to the war. It is thus imperative for the working class, in the struggle against war, to expose the pseudo-left, primarily Stalinists, as stooges of their national bourgeoisie and nationalism. The fight against war is above all the fight against the false left, inside the camp of the working class, to foil their designs to befool the working class and youth and tie it down to the war agenda of bourgeois regime.
Youth and workers must oppose the war and jingoism and must muster their weight around the program of Workers’ Socialist Party that proposes to reverse the reactionary partition of 1947 through a revolution from below, reunify the Indian sub-continent and on that basis unify the South Asian Countries into a Union of Socialist Republics under a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government.