India's size has become "an unmanageable
liability," writes an analyst in Pakistan's Frontier Post of June 9.
"As a result, nearly one-third of its 25 states are at war, where
military troops are routinely called out to keep peace." The cause
for this is largely "India's exclusionary political, religious and
social order that is heavily biased against non-Hindu minorities,"
he says. This from an analyst whose own country is being torn apart
by killings of Shias by Sunnis, of Sindhis and Mohajirs by Punjabis,
by tensions between Baluchis, Pakhtuns and Punjabis. Second, except
for a brief period, he observes, India's economy has been stagnating
around "the Hindu pace of growth." This from an analyst whose
country is living from month to month on what is the seventeenth
bail-out package from the IMF since 1958, this from an analyst the
currency of whose country has been devalued over forty five times in
the last decade, this from the analyst in whose country even the
management of the Water and Power Development Authority, even of the
Karachi Electricity Board has had to be handed over to the Army!
Third, its military power has remained "less than decisive in its
conflicts with Pakistan except for its military action in East
Pakistan." The Pakistan Army has lost every single war it has fought
with India, yet India's military power has been "less than
decisive"! And as for that one exception which even he acknowledges,
the case of 1971, it seems that in the author's view, it is "the
backing of the overwhelming majority of native Bengalis" which
enabled Indian forces to prevail.
A bit of a change in that last bit, I must say in
fairness! For in their history textbooks, children are taught that
the "native Bengalis" very much wanted united-Pakistan to continue
and it was only the cunning of Hindu-Bharat which waylaid them.
The next point will truly be news to us. Recalling
some hare-brained proposals for "solving the Kashmir problem," he
says "Even if I were Indian, I couldn't help but support Pakistan's
so very obviously rational approach to the conflict on Kashmir." Not
just that, this analyst knows something we don't, for he continues,
"This rationality in Pakistan's position has the majority of Indians
re-looking at the Kashmir conflict in terms of 'justice' although
their immediate motive is economics. In survey after survey, the
majority of Indians have come to believe that the cost of keeping
Kashmir is higher than leaving it alone..." The only way out for
India is to resolve the Kashmir issue "in accordance with the wishes
of the people of Kashmir, and in accordance with UN resolutions,"
writes a former Army colonel in the June 11 issue of the same paper.
Till it does so, not only will it keep bleeding, such analysts
write, it will be exposing the region to "power-play by the West
under CIA machinations." "But India," the colonel continues, "with
typical narrow-minded bania mentality, refuses to see the realities
on the ground and the resultant fall-outs of a continuing impasse
over the Kashmir issue..."
"The latest Indian Army operations in Kashmir are
due to the adamance of the mujahidin who are waging war to achieve
their aim of self-determination," observes the Jang in its editorial
on June 4 - two lies in those few words: that the invaders are
mujahideen, and that the goal of their invasion is
self-determination! "History tells us that when people of any region
start sacrificing themselves for their rights then no power on earth
can restrain them from their goal. This time mujahideen have given a
new life to the movement and the Kashmir issue has become prominent.
The Indian government has tried to crush the mujahideen but all in
vain..." The invasion has given a new life to the secessionist
movement in Kashmir? That will certainly be news to the tourists in
"No doubt India is losing on the war front," the
Jang announces, "but at the same time the Indian propaganda
machinery has become very active with western media support..." In a
word: only mujahidin from within Kashmir are involved, militarily
they are prevailing, if at all India is scoring a point it is only
in propaganda, and that too only with western help! Still the latter
is a matter of concern to the paper. "We fail to understand," the
paper says, "why our 'grand official intellectuals' have failed in
convincing the foreign media that the Kargil war is not based on
fundamentalism. Why most of the foreign media reports on Kashmir are
anti-Pakistan and anti-mujahideen and why our diplomats and
embassies are unable to present the mujahideen's case in its right
perspective. And finally why western rulers are endorsing the views
of Vajpayee in the context of Indo-Pakistan relations and the Lahore
A week, and that lacuna too seems to have been made
up! "Its (India's) casualties are mounting," writes an analyst in
the Nation of June 13, "and there is a grudging acceptance that it
is also losing the media war to Pakistan. These twin pressures are
beginning to take their toll on a wary populace which has seen
political instability followed by military failure. Elections are
less than three months away and no one seems to know which way the
country is headed." "In such a situation," he concludes, "Pakistan
should stand its ground with grit and determination and appreciate
its brave men in uniform who are manning our territory with courage
and ensuring that India's aggressiveness is countered swiftly and
Soon, however, that Pakistan is completely isolated
diplomatically cannot be denied. But that only proves that it is a
martyr in the cause of Islam! Taking note of the US reluctance to
swallow the Pakistani version, the Army colonel observes that the US
has always been bending backwards to "placate India." And for
reason, he writes, "We may be aware of the US role the world over
against the interests of Muslims. And its desire to somehow contain
China, its only possible rival after the disintegration of the USSR.
It will like the dispute over Kashmir to be so resolved that as a
result of it the present land linkage between Pakistan and China is
severed. In this context, its best bet is India as a countervailing
power... In fact the US is / has been actively helping India in its
technological attainments through Israel." In a word, if the US is
not swallowing the Pakistani version that is because it is
congenitally anti-Muslim, and if India has achieved something
technologically that is because the US has been helping it via
Hence the colonel's ringing exhortation: "Let there
be no misconception about the US and Indian collusion where
interests of Muslims and the western nations clash. For the loss of
Muslims also becomes the gain of India. It is time we realised this
and the OIC, the Arab League and Mutamar-e-Islami worked together
towards unity and greater cohesion in their ranks to thwart the
designs of these enemies of Islam."
A complete rupture from reality. That one-third of
India's states are at war, that our economy is collapsing, that
India is losing on the war front, that Pakistan has overcome the
initial Indian advantage and is now winning the diplomatic battle
too, that to the extent that the US etc. are not endorsing
Pakistan's position that is because they are anti-Muslim, that
India's technological advances are due to American help via Israel,
that Pakistan's rational position on Kashmir has led every Indian to
re-think his country's stance... A psychological condition,
schizophrenia. To the onlooker the figments are so absurd that he
tends to disregard them. But the person concerned actually believes
the hallucinations. He acts on them.
That is one lesson: we must at all times be alert
to what Pakistani society and rulers are reading into developments
in India, for those inferences will tempt them to instigate, and to
invade. The manifest instability of our governments during the last
few years, their being pushed and pulled from every side would have
been an important factor in the Pakistani calculation. So myopic, so
self-centred are those who have been pulling down governments, those
who have fractured the electorate that it is useless asking them to
see the consequence of what they are doing. At least the rest of us
should heed this consequence -- of tempting a neighbour who is so
apt to misread the situation in any case -- and quarterise these
politicians and groups.
But that is just the preliminary lesson, almost an
First, we must bear in mind that the one --
Pakistan in this case -- who conceives of himself as an enemy has an
inherent advantage. He can prepare for one type of operation -- it
was sponsoring insurgency last time, it is high-altitude warfare
this time -- at a place and a time of his choosing. We have to
prepare ourselves to counter that entire gamut of possible
That will take resources. Therefore, we must not
cavil at sparing them. There is no other way to survive. Things
which have come to light during the past few months also show that
we must rethink management of defence at several levels.
The management of production and procurement of
defence equipment, for instance. The sorry tale of snowmobiles is
well known by now. But it is just one of many. From the fate of the
plan to produce ammunition for the Bofors guns within the country to
the way proposals to produce bullet-proof vests have been knocking
around - all speak to the same state of affairs.
The relationship that should prevail between the
defence forces and the defence ministry, for another. To refuse to
re-examine this on the cliché, "The forces must be subordinate to
civilian authority," is to ensure that many operational requirements
will not be attended to in time. It is also to ensure that
resentments which have erupted in the past few months will continue
The composition of the National Security Council,
the staffing of its secretariat, its function and role, for a third.
The council really has to be more than a version of the India
International Centre's Saturday Lunch Club.
But the basic lesson that Pakistan's Kargil
invasion holds out is the old one, an unfortunate one but an
inescapable one: Pakistan remains an implacable enemy. It sees only
one role for itself: to break India. It is doubly convinced of this
purpose because it sees itself as a state dedicated to Islam, and
India as a dar-ul-harb, the land of war to vanquish which is an
Allah-ordained duty. It stokes insurgency in Punjab, that leaves
21,000 dead. But it fails to wrest Punjab from India. Therefore, it
inflames insurgency in Kashmir.
That leaves 15,000 dead. But that too fails to
break India. So, it begins planning Kargil... Pakistan will just not
abandon these operations. It sees no other role for itself. It sees
that mission - of breaking India - as a divine mandate. At each turn
it is convinced that while the particular operation which has just
concluded has failed, the next one will break India.
Therefore, a united, prosperous Pakistan is not in
India's interest. It will only be that much more zealous, and more
effective in carrying out its mission.
And, therefore, we must engage Pakistan in the arms
race which it cannot afford, we must lift restrictions we have put
on our agencies and ask them to widen the fault-lines which have
developed in Pakistani society and polity.
That is the basic lesson. Do not shy away from it.
Listen to what the enemy is saying. Look at what he is doing. Look
at his nature - full-face. Look at what he conceives his nature to
be. As a first step, learn not to drown voices which try to awaken
you to that enemy, and his nature.