Suddenly Balochistan is in news. Credit goes to Shri Narendra Modi, the Indian PM. Most of the people in India never knew about Balochistan. Coming directly to the subject. Many of the people are getting an impression that India can easily separate Balochistan from Pakistan, as they did with Bangladesh (East Pakistan) in 1971. This perception is wrong because of the below key differences between Bangladesh & Balochistan.
Differences between possibility of Independence between Balochistan & Bangladesh
- India doesn't share any physical boundary with Balochistan as they did with Bangladesh.
- Ability for logistical support will be bare minimum.
- Direct Military action is not possible
- Pakistan mainland has a direct boundary with Balochistan which was not the case with Bangladesh.
- No Political direction or single political leader
- In case of Bangladesh, Sheik Mujib-ur-Rehman was a single united political force which could rally the masses of Bangladesh after him.
- In case of Baluchistan, there are different tribal chiefs with their own views. There is no single united binding futuristic view of them for Balochistan as a single Nation. Sardar's personal feuds and rivalries are pulling back a united attempt for freedom
- No clear vision on what could be a future Balochistan as a Nation. How the natural resources will be used? Will it be an Islamic republic?
- Population of Balochistan is much less as compared to Bangladesh. Its a sparsely populated province. Pakistan can change the ethnic demography of the province
- Terrain information, language & socio-cultural connect is low with India
- Iran Factor: Iran will not support idea of Baloch nationalism as it may impact the Baloch population in Iran. They may want to join the new Balochistan Nation. In case of Bangladesh, there was no such case with any other neighbor.
Fig 1. Ethnic Baloch Population
Based on above points, its very clear that India can't play a role in case of Balochistan as it did in case of Bangladesh. It has to use only covert means.
How India can support the Struggle:-
India can support the Baloch cause in various ways
- Give a voice to Balochistan Cause & build an opinion among various countries.
- India can provide a voice to Balochistan cause in various international forums.
- Many nations might be interested to know because of the geo-strategic location of Balochistan as well as resources & minerals in the biggest province of Pakistan
- Sardars have their own personal rivalries & feuds. A consensus is needed among them to work as a cohesive unit
- Make middle class & sardars work together for a common goal of Freedom for Balochistan
- Help define the dream of Balochistan as a single nation with a way forward.
- Baloch nationalism may directly impact the territorial integrity of Afghanistan as well as Iran. Both being friends of India, India should build an understanding that the new Balochistan state will only in Pakistan part and they won't start a new struggle to unite the whole Baloch population once they are independent.
- Support from Afghanistan & Iran can help provide India with some ground to help the Baloch Freedom Fighters
- Convince China that Free Balochistan will favor it with availability of resources and no impact will take place for existing projects.
- Chinese support will give a guarantee for Chinese civilians working on CPEC
- Connection of Gwadar & Chabahar port, once Balochistan is free state.
- Build confidence among Russia & US that resource rich Balochistan will provide a fair access to its resources
- For any insurgency to sustain for long they need arms training as well as money to feed themselves.
- Support from spy agencies with intelligence of Pakistani military movements
- 3 fronts pressure can keep Pakistani army spread accross
- Af-Pak Border -
- Waziristan operations : Pakistan is busy conducting Zarb-e-azb operations in this part.
- There has been some conflict between Afghanistan & Pakistan near Torkham gate
- LOC with India
- India needs to keep pressure on Pakistan to keep its bulk of army in LOC because of security threats from Indian side
- Ethnic tensions in different parts of pakistan will keep them busy internally. Like MQM's dictat in Karachi.
- Baloch Front
What India can attempt for below objectives:-
India can objectively achieve to target the below using Balochistan, as India is a peaceful democratic nation and may want to elevate more people out of poverty rather than war
- Get Kashmir issue kind of resolved with converting of LOC to actual border.
- Talk with Pakistan that if they don't stop, India will divide Pakistan into 4 nation
- China will want Gilgit-Baltistan to be settled as CPEC passes through it.
- Make Pakistan give more rights to Baloch people and some more autonomy. India can convince Balochs with autonomy and make compromise on separation.
- In-road access to Pakistan & India among themselves.
- India will benefit from trade with Afghanistan & Iran
- Pakistan can trade with Nepal, Bhutan & Bangladesh
- Better Economic prosperity
Hopefully, Balochistan can serve to fulfill the above three objective and make the people of Indian subcontinent improvise on their standard of living