Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest province which was a princely state annexed by it by force. Baluchistan is least developed region and home to 13 million people most of whom belong to Baloch community.
After partition, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan of NWFP actively protested annexation of NWFP, Baluchistan and certain areas into West Pakistan as a single polity. Baluchistan issue is independence movement of Baloch nationals who occupy south west Pakistan, south eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan against government of Pakistan and Iran in need of greater autonomy and higher share in revenve from natural resources.
Why Baluchistan is in news recently:
Recently the issue of Baluchistan conflict got great momentum when prime minister of India endorsed the freedom struggle waged by the people of Baluchistan against Pakistan’s seizure.
After all party meeting also Prime Minister Modi made statement that the issue of atrocities by Pakistan govt in the areas Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK will later brought up on the international stages.
India’s Policy and Earlier stand in Human Rights Movement
Since independence India under Nehru keenly followed Non alignment policy and Panchasheel. But in certain circumstances India has broken its shell in expressing its concern on other countries and also openly aided Bangladesh, Srilanka and Nepal with respect to freedom struggle movement or human rights movement.
India’s stand in Baluchistan movement
In 2009 during shaem el sheikh joint statement where Pakistan was stressing on India to acknowledge its involvement in Baluchistan, government of the day was not able to cash that situation sternly and react.
PM’s decision to save Baluchistan is unprecedented because we have always traditionally shied away from mediating the freedom struggle in Baluchistan.
But in last few days what we have witnessed a departure from the past Pakistan appeasing policy. India always tried to bring Pakistan on negotiation table to discuss the unresolved issues bilaterally. But unfortunately all effort have proved failure. There are many instances where Pakistan has broken our effort.
Statement which PM had made are indicating a logical change in the tone of India reaction to Pakistan.
Reasons behind India’s Statement
1. To counter Pakistan interest in Kashmir
Recent crisis in Kashmir where Pakistan is instigating people of Kashmir against India with false propaganda of attributing India responsible for atrocities in Kashmir.
PM’s statement shows that now water has crossed the threshold and now its time for Pakistan to explain on what ground it is doing atrocities on Baloch people.
2. To divert Pakistan attention from Kashmir
Recently India raises the concerns like
• Why they are not allowed to participate in the formation of government?
• Why they are not appointed in government posts etc
India wants to expose the hypocrisy of Pakistan and truth of its crocodile tears which it used in international arena making false allegations of human rights violations against India.
3. India’s strategic interest in Balochistan
Following are some of strategic interest of India in Baluchistan
• Geostrategic location of Baluchistan
• Untapped mineral resources
• Very close to oil lanes of Persian Gulf
• Common border with Iran and Afghanistan
• Iran- Pakistan- India pipeline
If situation in Baluchistan is improved it will also be beneficial for India. Baluchistan is mineral rich area which provides opportunity for trade relationship in future.
It will also aid the long awaited project of IPI pipeline, which is delayed due to instability in Baluchistan region. It will decrease the dependence of India on other countries for oil needs.
4. To counter China presence
• China is also trying to develop strong relation with Pakistan and planning for developing an economic corridor from Pakistan to Baluchistan.
• It is also investing to develop Gwadar port of Baluchistan which will facilitate import of oil and raw materials from Middle East and Africa and export goods through land corridor from Gwadar to Sinkiang province of China.
• China’s string of pearls strategy to encircle India is of much concern to India.
What would be consequences?
• Certainly if Pakistan is exposed for its atrocities in Baluchistan in international arena, countries which are aiding Pakistan in Kashmir issue will feel hesitant.
• China – Pak infrastructure development will also meet undoubted setback which will be in favour of India.
If we analyse the PM’s statement on Baluchistan in the light of mentioned arguments we cannot say that India is adopting a carrot and stick policy against Pakistan or there is a major paradigm shift in India’s policy towards Pakistan. But it is the first time that India offered offensive statement rather than defensive statement. Though it may seem like carrot and stick approach in short term perspective, but it can be determined only in long run whether it is paradigm shift based on India’s stand in Baluchistan in International arena.