During the 63 years that India has been a free country, only once has an army chief ever veered close to planning a coup along the lines of the Pakistan model. That was Joyanto Nath Choudhuri, who was better at writing than at war, having conceded a stalemate to a vastly inferior Pakistan force in 1965.
Before him and since, the military has remained loyal to its civilian masters, even during the many periods when they’ve indulged in favouritism or in procurement scams. But there are signs now that a revolt may be brewing within the uniformed services over what they see as the United Progressive Front government's unwillingness to back them in their often bloody battle against Maoists, insurgents and jihadists across the country.
The resentment is greatest in Kashmir, a consequence of Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi's ‘Look the other way’ policy towards the well-organized intifada now taking place in that state. The movement is designed to attract international intervention in the state—preferably of a military nature—similar to that which occurred in Kosovo. This might seem like an outlandish idea, but the separatist leaders in Kashmir (who preach their venom openly while living in opulence) have been made to believe by their handlers in Pakistan that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and CIA chief Leon Panetta are in favour of robust US mediation in Kashmir. Such intervention, they believe, would ultimately ensure that the state would, in effect, become independent from India.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
They claim that Pakistan's army chief of staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has made it clear to the US trio that his military's support for NATO operations in the Af-Pak Pashtun belt is conditional on such an outcome in Kashmir.
Certainly, US and other Western diplomats have ensured there’s a steady diet of reports on the intifada in Western media, almost none of which point out that the movement is confined to just a section of the Sunni population in the Kashmir Valley and is opposed by the majority of the population in the region comprising Shias, Gujjars, Bakkerwals, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. Indeed, the Western media reports also ignore the reality that what the Valley Sunni separatists seek is a religious state where the Saudi version of Sharia law would form the basis of jurisprudence.
Whatever the compulsions of Clinton, Gates and Panetta, the fact remains that the Sonia-led UPA has followed the Western press and diplomatic corps in ignoring the ‘silent majority’ in Kashmir, refusing to factor in the views of the non-Valley Sunni elements in the state.