New Delhi continues with its militarisation of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), announcing plans to add some 5,500 troops to the massive security presence already in the region. Around 2,500 of these troops had already been deployed by midweek. While the number may seem small compared to the existing 900,000 strong presence, this is exactly how we got to this position in the first place — a few thousand new troops every month over the course of several years. The new increases, however, come after a period when it appeared as if India had capped the troop presence.
Authorities in Islamabad have voiced concern over the rising troop presence, with the Foreign Office noting, “Equally reprehensible is the housing of Indian occupation forces in community centres, erection of additional bunkers in cities and daily aggressive and humiliating frisking of Kashmiri men and women.”
Unfortunately, despite Pakistan’s efforts to draw the world’s attention to India’s continuing brutalities, including pellet guns on civilians, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions, and the use of torture on suspects and prisoners and custodial deaths, few countries have shown willingness even to speak out, let alone take action to put pressure on New Delhi. Some influential countries’ foreign ministries have claimed that their focus is on Afghanistan at the moment. That might have been an acceptable — albeit bitter — answer if they were actually doing anything about Afghanistan. But instead, their lack of action on the region means that people across Central and South Asia are suffering.
Even the recent OIC mission preparing a report on the conditions in the occupied region has not issued a strongly-worded statement, despite India’s refusal to cooperate with it. This is also concerning because the biggest OIC members have an outsized ability to pressure India due to their control of India’s energy supplies. Also, as opposed to Western and European countries, most OIC members are not concerned with India and China’s regional tussle.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2021.
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