Reclaim PoK , Back Baloch: Modi moves to fix the largest geopolitical failure of India

The elephant isn't easily triggered. But if it incited with a thousand cuts and is boxed into a corner, the aggressor runs the risk of being trampled in the wake of its ultimate fury.

The elephant isn't easily triggered. But if it incited with a thousand cuts and is boxed into a corner, the aggressor runs the risk of being trampled in the wake of its ultimate fury.

For decades since Independence, India has historically and inexplicably let Pakistan run away with the Kashmir narrative. Pakistan has pushed three battles on us over the Valley and lost each of those. But Islamabad still managed a permanent seat. It got to set the terms despite being the vanquished. And as victors, all that successive Indian authorities could do was to adopt a defensive stance.

While we've consistently tended to ignore, even play down our legal claim over the part of Kashmir (the so called Northern Areas now referred to as Gilgit Baltistan) occupied by Pakistan, our neighbours haven't failed to maintain its writ on the region on our side of Line of Control through diplomatic, obvious and even secret means.

A combination of Pakistan's continual effort and India's sluggish response meant that the world now supposes "Kashmir issue" to be pertaining solely to the area under our possession. International limelight has hence stayed forever focused on India and the means it manages to handle an unquiet land, enabling Pakistan to carry on with largescale muffling of voices and untold atrocities on PoK. Recent Chinese interest has served to complicate matters even more.

Driven to deny alleged human rights breaches in the Valley, eternally on the defensive and repeatedly goaded by international bureaus to "repair" and "solve" the "Kashmir dispute", India has remained mired in its largest geopolitical failure.

In the last few days, yet, there happen to be visible signs of a remarkable shift in India's foreign policy. The green shoots of a new muscle, counter offensive strategy is observable.

The line of a fresh approach, then and first said through external affairs ministry representative Vikas Swarup hammered out on Friday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an all-party meeting on Kashmir is clear.

His categorical statement that "PoK is ours", is as huge a strategic shift as any. This refuses Pakistan the right to peddle an one sided story on Kashmir and concurrently stonewalls China's long term aspirations in altering the ground situation in South Asia. That is of enormous significance.

Security specialist Ajay Sahni concurred, explaining the statement, is important both for domestic discourse and international discussion and coming in the Prime Minister, sets Islamabad on the mat.

"It is extremely important that the Prime Minister has selected himself to put up a statement. It will have two crucial consequences — one, it is going to result in a much better educated national-international community because the world has consistently accepted the Pakistani place that's been very aggressively articulated."

Stories tend not to emerge on their own. Often it is the effect of an efficient communication strategy and meticulous effort. Expats who've fled PoK can voice concerns that have systematically been quieted by Pakistan.

"Foreign ministry should touch base with expats from PoK living in various parts of the world, assemble information from them on the pitiable condition in the area and let the international community know about it," said the Prime Minister. This takes the conflict straight up Islamabad's street.

India'a Place vis-à-vis Balochistan, whose struggle for Autonomy has encountered with large scale state-sponsored brutality has long been ambivalent and a lost chance.

During a recent visit to India, Balochistan activist and women’s leader Naela Quadri Baloch, who has been campaigning against Pakistan’s presence, opened up about the war imposed by Pakistan on her folks.

"For the last 15 years, we're facing war inflicted on us by Pakistan, human rights violations and their kill-and-dump policy. 25,000 individuals including women and missing are kids. They abducted in front of people and are abducted by Pakistan Army. There are witnesses and testimonies to these abductions. But it is not person’s problem that is missing or straightforward human rights infringements. It has reached the degree of genocide."

It truly is a war scenario; our villages are being combed by them. They fire indiscriminately; they kill anything–one-year-old babies, girls, women, anything living our cows. They abduct women; they get women together, they have rape cells… They have abducted thousands of women; their location is not known by any one. They have been using rape and dishonor as an instrument to beat a country."

In the interview ran in May this year, she also appealed to India, especially requesting Modi to give diplomatic and moral support to Balochistan in its battle for freedom.

"Modi is a daring and powerful leader. None of his forerunners had this sort of mandate with international support that is enormous and a flourishing economy. Indira Gandhi had internal issues and despite that she stood up for Bangladesh.

There is a clear case of Modi's remarks on Friday during the al-party and a clear Indian policy on Balochistan assembly suggested a shift in approach.

"The breach of human rights in Balochistan should be brought to the attention of the international audience," Modi said. "Time has now come that Pakistan will have to answer to the world about the atrocities being perpetrated on individuals in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir."

Not or whether Modi seizes it'll define his legacy.