The Indian Proxy War in Balochistan and its Threat to CPEC
By Nadeem Raza
The Indian had made Balochistan a battleground for its proxy war to target China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is dubbed as game changer and futuristic oriented project for Pakistan and China.
In this context, India is following multipronged strategy to counter this project. Although India is using national and international forums to highlight the issues relating to CPEC in its perspective, its most lethal and aggressive campaign against the project is fanning militancy and terrorism inside Pakistan targeting projects within Pakistan particularly in Balochistan. The projects which are by and large manned by the Chinese nationals are main focus of Indian state-sponsored terrorism.
The footprints of Indian terrorism have been traced in many instances as episode of Kulbushen Jadhev, Indian naval officer and RAW operative who was nabbed by Pakistan security forces in Balochistan is enough to prove that India has hell bent upon sabotaging the CPEC. It has been reported in media that India has established a fund of over $50,000 to carry out subversive and aggressive activities in Balochistan to scare away the Chinese working on road infrastructure, construction of dams and other development projects.
Moreover, India is using its proxies in Balochistan to carry out terrorism against the CPEC particularly Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) Balochistan Republic Army (BRA), Balochistan Students Organisation (BSO) and the most lethal and hardened among them is Majeed Brigade which has targeted the Chinese in recent months. The group had issued warning to Pakistan in most explicit term, “Majeed Brigade will surprise you”. The Indian-backed group attacked a convoy of 23 Chinese engineers on August 13 which left two militants killed in Gwadar.
Two Pakistani soldiers suffered injuries, and one in critical condition was executed by the Majeed Brigade suicide squad of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) active in Balochistan. Jeeyand Baloch, spokesman for the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), made a claim that at least four Chinese and 11 Pakistani military personnel were killed. The BLA also announced accomplishment of the third phase of its “Operation Zir Pehazag” and gave 90 days ultimatum to Beijing to abandon China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Hammal Rehan Baloch is the Majeed Brigade’s operational chief. It is a suicide squad of BLA and have access to most modern weapons and ammunitions obviously provided by India. There are not two opinions that India provided the group with explosives, weapons and finances. The first suicide attack was executed in December 2011. After seven years, the suicide attack was on a bus carrying Chinese engineers targeted in Dalbandin in August 2018. Majeed Brigade suicide bombers also targeted the Chinese Consulate in Karachi on November 23, 2018, Gwadar’s Pearl Continental Hotel on May 11, 2019, and the Pakistan Stock Exchange on June 29, 2020.
The strength of BLA is estimated at 1,000 to 1,500 fighters, while the Majeed Brigade has 100 to 150 members in its ranks, including women. The chief of the Free Balochistan Movement (FBM), said to have links with Indian spy agency RAW is based in the UK. His doctrine propagates that China is actively guiding and backing Iran and Pakistan against the Baloch people, as China has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in Balochistan. China finds the Baloch to be the biggest obstacle to its investment in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as Balochistan is situated at a globally strategic location.
Although Indian threats cast shadow at the CPEC project but Pakistan and China are determined to complete the project despite all odds. Pakistan is making all out efforts to provide foolproof security to the Chinese as it has established special unit for the security and safety of the Chinese nationals. In this regard, China and Pakistan should pursue a well-thought-out and multi-pronged strategy to counter threats posed by India and its proxies particularly in Balochistan.
Both the countries, first of all, should pursue a strong, vibrant and aggressive diplomatic policy to expose the Indian nefarious designs against the regional countries particularly China and Pakistan on international and regional forums. Moreover, Pakistan and China should resolve all the outstanding issues with India through negotiations.
Both the countries should make all-out efforts to bring India on the negotiation table as it would help push India on the back-foot with the focus of the world on the outcome of the negotiations if these happen. Pakistan and India should extend a hand of friendship to India for their economic well-being. At least, this initiative will be enough to highlight Indian belligerent designs against CPEC.
Pakistan should come forward and hold dialogue with the disgruntled segments of Balochistan. They should be convinced to surrender their arms and come to the table for the solution of their problems. Pakistan should address their concerns and facilitate them to bring them to the mainstream of development and well-being. It is the need of the hour that these splinter groups should be brought to the main tent. Pakistan should use all available avenues such as political, tribal economic, financial and others to appease them.
In addition to it, the Chinese nationals should be provided with multilayer, foolproof and stringent security for their satisfaction, peace of mind and sense of being well-guarded so that they should carry out the CPEC projects with ease and utmost professionalism. No doubt, CPEC is the most significant project for Pakistan and China as it can usher in a new chapter of progress and prosperity for the Pakistanis in the field of science, technology, agriculture, energy, IT etc as it will boost the economic and trade activities for the people of Pakistan.
The unemployment would be addressed to the large extent and poverty alleviation would be ensured with the boost of economic activities. So, it is vital for Pakistan that this project should the see the light of the day.
The writer can be reached on [email protected]