Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 27 February 2019, www.thecommunists.net
1) On 26 February, the Indian Air Force launched a military attack against Pakistan. 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets crossed into the country and bombed a target in Balakot, a small town located in the hills of eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. While India media reports claimed 300 were killed, the Pakistani side denies any causality. On the next day, Pakistan military shot down two Indian aircraft inside its airspace and captured one pilot. At least four Pakistani civilians were killed later on the same day in the cross-border fire between the rivals.
2) India’s government claims to act “in retaliation” for a guerilla attack in Pulwama, in Indian-occupied Kashmir, which took place on 14 February and which killed 42 Indian paramilitaries. New Delhi accused Islamabad of harboring the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the militant group that claimed responsibility for the attack.
3) This is the worst escalation of the conflict between the two South Asian neighbors was the first time since the 1971 war. A crucial factor behind this development is the fact that India’s right-wing Modi government faces general elections to be held in April and May 2019. According to current poll, Modi’s National Democratic Alliance – a coalition led by the Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party – is set to lose its parliamentary majority. Modi is therefore determined to utilize any possibility to wipe up Hindu chauvinism against the country’s arch-enemy. The explosive potential of such military aggression between India and Pakistan is evident given the fact that both sides possess between 130 and 150 nuclear warheads each, according to SIPRI.
4) Meanwhile, Indian occupation forces are accelerating the repression against Kashmiri popular organizations. They conducted raids on the houses of four senior Kashmiri nationalist leaders, including the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik. A joint group of nationalist leaders have called for a two-day shutdown in Kashmir from 27 February to protest against the raids and "spree of arrests".
5) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and its South Asian members unreservedly condemn the Indian aggression. It is a cynical attempt of the increasingly unpopular Modi government to avoid electoral defeat. At the same time, we can neither support the neoliberal Pakistani government of Imran Khan. In a military conflict between India and Pakistan the RCIT calls socialists to lend no support to any side. In such a case, we call for a revolutionary defeatist position on both sides.
6) At the same time, we unconditionally support the liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people. Their land is divided and occupied between three powers – Indian, Pakistan and China. The majority of the 14 million people live under Indian occupation; most of the rest live under Pakistan occupation. The people of Kashmir have always strived for an independent state. Since the beginning of the popular uprising in 1989 in the Indian-occupied part of Kashmir, nearly 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been killed by Indian security forces. In addition, nearly 10,000 women have been gang raped by marauding bands of Indian soldiers. The Indian state has stationed about 750,000 soldiers and police forces in Kashmir which has a population of only 8 million. This means that there is about one Indian soldier for every ten Kashmiris!
7) The RCIT calls for the withdrawal of all foreign troops (i.e. Indian, Pakistani and Chinese forces) from Kashmir. We call the Kashmiri workers, poor and youth to organize for a perspective of mass struggle against the occupation. While we defend the heroic guerilla fighters against the Indian repression forces, we consider their strategy as wrong and self-defeating. Neither do we support the ideology of petty-bourgeois nationalist and Islamist organizations in Kashmir. We call for the building of action committees in the work places and neighborhoods to organize the popular masses.
8) The RCIT fully supports the struggle of the Kashmiri people for independence. Such a free and independent Kashmir should be a country controlled by the workers and peasants and not by a small clique of capitalists and land owners. This is why we fight for an independent socialist Kashmir, i.e. a free, united and red Kashmir! As Marxists we combine such a slogan with the perspective of a socialist federation of South Asia. We call the international workers’ and popular organizations to support the liberation struggle of the Kashmiri people.
9) We strongly condemn pseudo-Marxist or even “Trotskyist” groups in Pakistan and India which denounce the armed guerilla attack on 14 February, directed against Indian occupation forces, as “terrorism”. They are unashamed to express their “sympathies and condolences” for the families of the soldiers which is nothing but a concealed form of solidarity with the Indian occupation forces! Worse, they even demand that “the Pakistan government must in any case be pressured to take action against the JeM”! (Joint Statement by the Jammu Kashmir Awami Workers Party, Radical Socialist (India) and the Pakistan Trade Unions Defense, 23 February 2019). These right-wing centrist forces, which all have relations with the Mandelist “Fourth International”, capitulate once more to the pressure of bourgeois liberalism!
10) It is urgent to advance the creation of a revolutionary party in Kashmir, Pakistan, India and internationally. Only such a party can lead the liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed people to victory! The RCIT and its Pakistani section call revolutionaries to join us in building such a party!
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We refer reader also to other statements of the RCIT on this issue:
After the Killing of Burhan Wani: Long Live the Kashmiri Intifada! Organize the Workers’ and Popular Struggle to End the Indian Occupation! For a Free, United and Red Kashmir!, 21.07.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-uprising/
RWO: Pakistan – Prospects for revolutionary class struggle (2102), http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/pakistan-action-program/
Resolution on the Kashmir Question (2010), http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/kashmir-resolution/