India and Pakistan: The hawks strike back

Just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan, there were two terrorist attacks: on the Pathankot air base in Indian Punjab and on the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. The hardliners of the region had struck with a vengeance. As in most terrorist acts there are many accusations and suspected individuals and organisations. A Kashmiri separatists’ alliance based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the UJC (United Jihad Council), claimed responsibility for the Pathankot attack, although the Indian media insists the attackers were members of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group.

The Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, on Tuesday admitted to “some gaps” that led to the terror attack. On Tuesday Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called Modi on the phone to “convey sorrow and grief on the loss of life in Pathankot terror attack,” a PM House statement said, adding, “terrorists always try to derail the peace process between the two countries.” Modi “strongly emphasised the need for Pakistan to take firm and immediate action against the organisations and individuals responsible for and linked to the Pathankot terrorist attack,” said the Indian government in a statement.

However, an unprecedented news item came out on Wednesday. “PM Nawaz Sharif assured PM Modi that his government would take prompt and decisive action against the terrorists,” the Indian Prime Minister’s office said in a press statement, after Mr Sharif called Mr Modi from Colombo to condemn the weekend strike in Pathankot and convey Pakistan’s promise to act on the intelligence given by India about suspected handlers and the mastermind of the terrorist attack.

The contradictions within the Pakistan establishment were evident in the statement by the Pakistani authorities. Unlike the Indian statement, the one issued by Mr Sharif’s office did not contain any explicit commitment about action on Islamabad’s part, but said, “Our (Pakistan) government is working on the leads and information provided by the Indian government. We would like to investigate the matter.”

But it was the day of the hawks. Shiv Sena, the party which shares an uneasy alliance with the BJP, hit out at Modi: “Seven of our soldiers get martyred in return of (Modi’s) cup of tea with Nawaz Sharif . . . The only national work being done is condoling the deaths of soldiers on Twitter,” it said in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna on Tuesday. Further on, the editorial said, “Had the Congress been in power today, there would have been demands to strike at Pakistan and avenge the deaths of soldiers, but now nothing is being done about the incident . . . The Prime Minister was in Lahore only last week as a guest of his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. At that time, we had warned him not to trust Pakistan . . . if India does not avenge the Pathankot terror attack, then displaying its military and arms and ammunition strength on Republic Day would be futile.”

With the television channels spewing venomous hatred on both sides of the Radcliffe Line, jingoism is peaking. The Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists, along with the secular national chauvinists, are having a heyday. However, the more serious representatives of the ruling classes are calling for caution. The so-called “doves” are warning that the terrorists want the “renewed” peace process to continue.

The serious representative of the Pakistan bourgeois, Dawn, wrote in its editorial on January 6th,

“The UJC leadership, which has with varying degrees of success put together a disparate group of militants over the past two decades, is believed to be politically close to the Pakistani state, but its role in militancy has been doubtful for many years, particularly since the Musharraf-era freeze on cross-LoC attacks. Has that changed? Or have elements inside the UJC gone rogue? If the state wants to convey that it speaks with one voice and that dialogue resumption between India and Pakistan is the result of a consultative process and consensus decision-making, then it must demonstrate that the UJC claim is being taken seriously. It cannot be that Mr Sharif tells his Indian counterpart that terrorists always try and derail the peace process between the two countries, and then the state here tries to sweep under the carpet the claims of an armed attack made by a group whose leadership is based in Pakistan. If the UJC claim is a ruse, it should be exposed as such. If not, the architects of the Pathankot attack need to be brought to justice.”

The imperialists, who have equally good connections with the so-called doves and hawks, are trying to defuse the rising tensions, although eliminating the hostility and enmity is and never has been their game plan. US Secretary of State John Kerry said he expressed his concerns to Pakistan’s prime minister on Tuesday about the recent increase in public tensions between his country and nuclear-armed rival India. “It’s of enormous concern to all of us for all the obvious reasons,” Kerry told reporters. “These are two very, very important countries, playing a critical role with respect to regional interests . . . Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ‘extremely forthcoming’ and said he had just spoken with his Indian counterpart.”

This vicious cycle of wars and peace, talks and cancellations of negotiations, and posturing of friendship and enmity has marred the relations of the two nuclear armed states ever since they were bloodily partitioned by the British imperialists in connivance with the native elites to defeat the 1946 revolution. That revolution was sparked by the famous and gallant sailors’ revolt against imperialist rule and the contorted capitalism that they had grafted on during the colonisation of the subcontinent. Almost two million innocent souls had perished in this reactionary cleavage of one of the most ancient and rich civilisations, where peoples of various religions, sects, races, and tribes lived together for almost seven thousand years. Pakistan was created in the name of religion as a separate state for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Hence, this gave the Islamic fundamentalists the basis to turn it into a theocratic state where they could impose their sectarian draconian laws and social practises.

However, it was the virgin Pakistan’s virgin proletariat and vibrant youth and students, rising in militant movements, that has held the Islamists back, and the religious parties never got more than five percent of the total vote in the elections held during Pakistan’s seventy-year existence. On the other hand, in spite of the secular and liberal stances taken and portrayed by its rulers in the past, particularly Nehru, the India of the partitioned subcontinent was never the India of the time before this forced bifurcation of the subcontinent. The intensification of the crisis of the postcolonial, distorted, and incapacitated capitalism has given rise to fundamentalist tendencies in India also. The surge of this new aggravated menace of terrorism in Pakistan and India over the last few decades is the distilled essence of this rotten system. The delay in the mass movements—and the betrayals of the struggles of the workers and the youth by their leaders—has further created a vacuum for these forces of dark reaction to rise, with the failure of the liberal and the so-called secular parties of the two countries to deliver and develop societies even slightly. The resulting poverty and misery has made the subcontinent world poverty’s largest reservoir. With no glimmer of hope for the masses in the political spectrum that encompasses the horizon of the subcontinent, a social malaise and streaks of reaction have swamped the region’s socio-economic milieu.

It’s not just in Pakistan, but also in India that the internecine conflicts and crisis of the state and the elite have created various centres of gravity in policy making strategies. And not only in the subcontinent, but also in various other regions, the crisis-ridden states have been using terrorist outfits as their non-state actors to further their interests and aims. As these procedures get prolonged, new contradictions and clashes erupt between these proxies and their mentors. Terrorism in India and Pakistan is not just the tool of the states, but now more frequently these pawns become rogues and hit their masters stealthily. This shadowy relationship between the bourgeois states and the terrorist outfits gives rise to serious allegations of the complicity of the states in the funding and orchestration of these acts of brutal terror and massacres by these religious bigots. The financing mechanisms, from drug production and smuggling to ransom and other criminal acts, designed originally by the CIA and other imperialist organs, have now become lucrative business networks in the hands of the bosses of these terrorist organisations.

The sections of state agencies and red tape have also amassed huge fortunes through this illicit financing. But the knowledge of these rogue elements about the methods of their trainers is deep, and they develop tactics that can cut through the state defences and security strategies without much difficulty. The material interests of the hawks lie in this continuum of hostility and conflict, while the doves want a relative peace to trade and get more access to markets to let their profits soar. But due to their character of a historical, financial, and technological debilitation, and the obsolete nature of their system, they cannot overcome these fissures of their states and overcome the unravelling socio-economic crisis. There are some difference between the two countries’ capabilities and the depth of crisis, but the fundamentals are the same. Hence, they can neither go to war nor sustain peace.

But terrorism has become a worldwide phenomena. Now the wars are not being fought on the frontiers, but in the towns, cities, and villages of numerous countries. Alan Woods, the editor of, wrote in a recent article,

“Terrorism, which is spreading through the globe like an uncontrollable epidemic, is itself a symptom of the diseased nature of capitalism in the 21st century. Further acts of terrorism are inevitable. The terrorists cannot be halted by police methods. There are not enough policemen in the world to deal with a large number of determined and fanatical individuals who wish to perpetrate acts of murder against unarmed and defenceless civilians. When Lenin wrote that capitalism is horror without end, he was speaking the truth. It is as useless to complain about these horrors, as it is to complain about the pains that accompany childbirth.”

From the harrowing scenario of a war looming between Saudi Arabia and Iran, to the ravaging of Iraq, Libya, and Syria, to the dangerously poised hostilities and tensions between Pakistan and India, along with the crisis in Europe and America, the turbulence in Africa, and the turmoil in Latin America, the world has been transformed into a terrible and dangerous place to live for the vast majority of the human race. The collapsing economic model of China has once again exposed the reactionary nature of the capitalist system. It’s imperialism in crisis, resorting to insane aggression, and decaying capitalism coercing humanity. Now their overthrow is overdue for the emancipation of mankind.