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Security Brief: PACOM Week of July 5, 2021

Week of Monday, July 5, 2021 | Issue 21

Tiberius Hernandez, PACOM Team


Prime Minister Modi with Troops near the LOC[1]


Date: July 7, 2021

Location: Naoshera Sector, Rajouri district, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Parties involved: India; local terrorists; Pakistan

The event: On July 7, 2021, Indian authorities alleged that Pakistani terrorists attempted to breach the portion of the Line of Control (LOC) that ran through the Naoshera Sector of the Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.[2] During the attempted breach, the Indian Army exchanged fire with an unknown number of terrorists and recovered one body of a terrorist killed in the fight, with Indian forces taking no casualties.[3] Initial reports indicate that the terrorists attempted the breach by foot, shooting at guards stationed along the LOC.[4]

The implications:

  • The fact that this was a ground assault indicates that it is very unlikely that Pakistani-aligned forces have completely abandoned ground assaults in favor of drone combat, which has become common in the region. Since reports of the attack indicate that the breaching force was only composed of gunmen on foot, it is likely that these Pakistani-based forces could begin incorporating asymmetric land and air strategies in Jammu and Kashmir.[5] Should such strategies be executed, the Indian security forces at the LOC would be faced with the significant challenge of completely redrafting their rules of engagement and overall strategy to be able to respond to multi-faceted attacks occurring in the same theatre. This firefight also marked the first breach of the Line of Control since a ceasefire was brokered in February 2021, indicating a slightly likely chance that Pakistan-aligned forces are preparing to escalate hostilities at the Line of Control via more breaches of the ceasefire.[6]

  • The lack of intelligence regarding how many terrorists attempted to breach the Line of Control reveals that it is highly likely that there are more terrorists prepared to fight either in the Rajouri district or in Jammu and Kashmir as a whole. This is because if they were a very small fighting force, Indian security forces would be able to at least estimate how many gunmen were engaged on July 7, 2021, Additionally, it is highly improbable that Pakistani-based intruders would send all their assets into one attack. However, the fact that the LOC is highly guarded on both sides creates an intelligence vacuum, resulting in intelligence gathering regarding troop numbers being a difficult task.

  • Given this was the first breach of the February ceasefire, India may use this encroachment as a license to engage in more offensive posturing towards Pakistan. This could be manifested in the deployment of more assets to the LOC or even take the form of incursions into the Pakistani portion of the LOC, a scenario that has a roughly equal chance given India’s recent deployment of 50,000 more troops to Jammu and Kashmir.[7]

  • Four AK-47 magazines and two grenades were found on the body of the terrorist killed in the exchange, indicating the gunman was well equipped.[8] This suggests it is highly likely whatever organization he belonged to is receiving substantial resources in terms of armaments.


Date: July 7, 2021

Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Parties involved: President Dr. Arif Alvi of Pakistan

The event: In an official statement on July 7, 2021, Pakistan President Dr. Alvi accused India of engaging in “hybrid warfare” against Pakistan by funding and supporting terrorist activities in the country.[9] Dr. Alvi specifically stated that the June 23, 2021 bombing in Johar Town as well as the 2020 militant attack on the Pakistani stock exchange were carried out by militant groups funded and trained by the Indian government.[10] The President went on to posit that Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav was an operative for Indian Intelligence and ran a network of militants in Pakistan to destabilize the country.[11] Dr. Alvi ended his remarks on the subject by stating the readiness of the Pakistani armed forces to overcome these security threats, stating that Indian "not succeed in [its] evil designs,” referencing Pakistan’s capabilities for the “fifth-generation war,” meaning unconventional warfare tactics.[12]

The implications:

  • While Pakistan is known to regularly accuse India of plotting internal instability, the specificity and urgency of these statements could mean that it is unlikely but possible that Pakistani intelligence has unveiled some sort of plot by Indian actors to execute an attack or malicious influence campaign. Alternatively, it is more likely that the president’s comments could just be a continuation of a political talking point to rally his country amid heightened tensions with their neighbors to the south.

  • These statements by Dr. Alvi were made on the same day as the incursion into the LOC in Jammu and Kashmir, which Indian reports carefully described as being carried out by “terrorists” as opposed to uniformed soldiers. It is worth noting that these remarks were offered at a summit for the economic development of one of Pakistan’s most rural areas where terrorism was not a part of the agenda.[13] Thus, there is a roughly equal chance that the President may have been aware of the engagement at the LOC and offered these remarks as a subtle justification for the alleged incursion by Pakistani-supported forces.

  • By naming the individual Pakistan believes to be an Indian spy, Dr. Alvi has put pressure on the Indian government to provide tangible proof that Jadhav is not a spy, a move with international ramifications. If India chooses to deny that Jadhav is a spy but Pakistan has to prove that he is supporting terrorists and is an Indian operative, it is highly likely that Pakistan would speak out about this on the world stage, a scenario that would prove highly embarrassing for India.

  • These statements also are likely to increase social distrust in interpersonal relations, with the allegations by Dr. Alvi implying that a person of Indian nationality can be a spy with ill intent. This combined with the already tense social relations between Indians and Pakistanis is likely to heighten the distrust between the two governments and the two populations. There is a high likelihood that increased hostility between the nationals of India and Pakistan could have economic effects as non-trade business partners may stop working together out of distrust, as well as fear of a government crackdown on Indian-Pakistani commerce.


Date: July 8, 2021

Location: Delhi, India

Parties involved: Indian Ministry of External Affairs; Pakistan

The event: On July 8, 2021, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) directly refuted the claims made by Pakistani President Dr. Alvi on July 7, 2021, which accused India of engaging in “hybrid warfare” against Pakistan.[14] The Ministry spokesman stated that “it is not new for Pakistan to engage in baseless propaganda against India,” while also questioning the authenticity of Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, claiming that Pakistan’s government “glorifies” terrorists like Osama Bin Laden.[15] In the same statement, the MEA spokesman insisted that India is not leaving Afghanistan despite closing two embassies in the country.[16]

The implications:

  • These statements are a direct refutation of the allegations made by President Dr. Alvi, signaling a full resumption of the war of words between India and Pakistan, which will likely combine with physical hostilities as well. Since the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir in February of 2021, the hostility between India and Pakistan have mostly been limited to diplomatic slights and public statements.[17] However, now that the ceasefire has officially been breached on July 7, 2021, Indian and Pakistani relations are actively hostile on both the political and military fronts, creating the ideal conditions for an escalation between the countries.[18]

  • While the MEA statement refutes the claims of Dr. Alvi by overarchingly dismissing his rhetoric as “baseless,” the MEA spokesman did not specifically address the Pakistani President’s claims about Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav being a spy with a militant network designed to create instability in Pakistan.[19] Given that the Indian government would most likely find it easy to generate evidence to combat this claim, the refusal to even engage with Dr. Alvi’s assertion signals that either the Indian government is unwilling to even acknowledge what they see as a ridiculous claim, or they are refusing to acknowledge the accusation due to it being correct.

  • The reference to India’s recent diplomatic activity in Afghanistan, while seemingly unrelated to the issue of Indian militants in Pakistan, is very likely a purposeful maneuver meant to intimidate Pakistan. Several reports and Indian statements are suggesting that India has been holding backdoor talks with the Taliban, which, if correct, indicates India is trying to gain influence in Afghanistan, which is likely to displace the influence currently held in the Middle East by Pakistan. [20]

[1] The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi celebrating Diwali with the jawans of Indian Army and BSF, in the Gurez Valley, near the Line of Control, in Jammu and Kashmir by the Office of the Prime Minister licensed under Government Open Data License – India

[2] “Army foiled first infiltration bid across LoC since ceasefire; one terrorist killed: Centre, Indian Express, July 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ceasefire-loc-jammu-and-kashmir-pakistani-terrorist-army-7393894/

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] “Jammu & Kashmir: Infiltration Bid Foiled As Forces Gun Down One Pakistani Terrorist,” Republic World, July 2021, https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/jammu-and-kashmir-infiltration-bid-foiled-as-forces-gun-down-one-pakistani-terrorist.html

[7] “India Shifts 50,000 Troops to China Border in Historic Move,” Bloomberg, June 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-27/india-shifts-50-000-troops-to-china-border-in-historic-defense-shift

[8] “Army foiled first infiltration bid across LoC since ceasefire; one terrorist killed: Centre, Indian Express, July 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ceasefire-loc-jammu-and-kashmir-pakistani-terrorist-army-7393894/

[9] “India using Afghanistan's soil for hybrid warfare against Pakistan: President Alvi,” Dawn, July 2021, https://www.dawn.com/news/1633746/india-using-afghanistans-soil-for-hybrid-warfare-against-pakistan-president-alvi

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

[13] Ibid

[14] “India trashes Pak claim, says no role in Lahore attack,” The Tribune, July 2021, https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/india-trashes-pak-claim-says-no-role-in-lahore-attack-280327

[15] Ibid

[16] Ibid

[17] “After the lull,” Indian Express, July 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/indian-pakistan- relation-loc-ceasefire-7390645/

[18] “Army foiled first infiltration bid across LoC since ceasefire; one terrorist killed: Centre, Indian Express, July 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ceasefire-loc-jammu-and-kashmir-pakistani-terrorist-army-7393894/

[19] Ibid

[20] “India Is Scrambling to Get on the Taliban’s Good Side,” Foreign Policy, July 2021, https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/07/13/india-is-scrambling-to-get-on-the-talibans-good-side/

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