Clearly, the Indian government is not leaving any room for de-escalation in Occupied Kashmir. Whatever little hope had finally built up of an international community-driven gradual drawdown was rubbished by how Delhi clamped down on the funeral of the late Syed Ali Geelani. His dead body was snatched from his family members, who were not even allowed burial where they wanted. There are at least two very important reasons for this. One, things have changed for the Modi administration since it revoked Kashmir’s special status in August 2019. It has been isolated internationally, a good example of which comes from the Asian region itself. None of India’s immediate neighbours, presidents and prime ministers–who Modi once hugged in typical fashion as he made bold claims about the way forward–want to have anything to do with it anymore. Foreign capital, which salivated at the prospect of India’s huge consumer market for breakneck profits, is also very disappointed and on its way out of the country since well before the pandemic. These things have led to Modi’s domestic support base shrinking considerably. Now, the only gallery left for him to sing to is the extreme right Hindutva brigade, which would settle for nothing less than the transformation of the whole country into a Hindu Rashtra. Secondly, since Modi is now unable to roll back from his actions in Kashmir without a considerable loss of face and political legitimacy, the only option hawks in his cabinet saw fit was going deeper. Not only is the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status permanent now, for all intents and purposes, but Modi is also bent upon completely changing the demographics of the occupied valley. In fact, if this goes on unchecked for a while longer, the beautiful hills of Kashmir will, for the first time in their history, become home to an irresistible influx of Hindu pandits, with very obvious results and repercussions. Pakistan’s position is enhanced by the professionalism of its military, which ranks among the best in the world and whose Special Forces regularly come out on top in war games with the finest armies in the world. Regrettably, such things were bound to happen. Delhi’s never been soft on Kashmir. Its actions there, even in the Congress days, were harsh and barbaric. But the BJP’s return to power with the Butcher of Gujarat in the lead greatly escalated the situation. First, it jailed anybody who even came out to see protests in the streets. When that didn’t work, it blinded a whole generation of boys and girls by using banned pellet guns as the world watched silently. When even that didn’t crush the spirit of Kashmiris, it stole the valley’s special status; made liars out of India’s founding fathers like Nehru who had promised that such things would never happen, and subjected the Kashmiri people to second-grade lives and the worst form of imprisonment. Pakistan has done all it can short of a proper military engagement. It has methodically gathered proof and shared all relevant data with all top international platforms, including the UN. But even as foreign investors line up and leave India, its huge market is just too inviting, especially in the backdrop of the pandemic, for most rich, powerful and relevant countries to ignore. And that makes India, quite literally, get away with murder. But if there’s going to be no de-escalation, and everybody knows that constantly increasing the temperature leads to an uptick in cross-LoC mortar exchanges and threats of outright war, the future of the subcontinent is in very serious danger unless some countries intervene and put India in its place. There is no way Pakistan would back down from this issue, as the whole world knows very well. If that means an active border and dogfights in the sky, then so be it. Surely, Indians haven’t forgotten what happened when they unleashed their air force jets along with their media onslaught just a couple of years ago. The Pakistani air force had downed their jets, captured their pilot, and shut their media up just by taking appropriate actions at the right time. Pakistan’s position is enhanced by the professionalism of its military, which ranks among the best in the world and whose Special Forces regularly come out on top in war games with the finest armies in the world. It’s actually the iron will and elite professionalism of the Pakistani armed forces that has kept India from being too adventurous for its own good, especially during the last six or seven years. It’s also because of this military and its ability to provide complete security under its jurisdiction that Azad and Occupied Kashmir differ so much. Not after the Balakot incident and the air battle mentioned above, the Pakistani government, with the help of its military, arranged for dozens of foreign diplomats and foreign media to visit the LoC and see the truth for themselves. Prime Minister Imran Khan dared his Indian counterpart at the time to carry out a similar exercise on the other side of the line to back his tall claims in front of the international community. It was no surprise that Delhi suddenly flinched and retreated from the argument. The visit of foreign diplomats on our side of the border, however, was covered by the entire international press. India’s military establishment knows well enough that it does not have the teeth to match Pakistan. Its high command, generals and air marshals and admirals had cut a very sorry figure in front of their journalists not long after the Pakistani air force shot down their aircraft. What will happen next in Kashmir, therefore, depends entirely on the world’s top countries. India has very clearly been violating human rights and international law in Kashmir, which now threaten to plunge the entire region into war–possibly nuclear. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s warnings have not been taken seriously enough so far. Thus, if the situation deteriorates any further, the countries who’ve been turning a blind eye to India’s excesses (because its large market can make them richer) will have to carry the biggest part of the blame. The writer is an old Aitchisonian who believes in freedom of expression, a freelance columnist, entrepreneur and social activist.