What is going to happen now between India and Pakistan? On December 6, The Hindu reported that, according to Dr Manmohan Singh, ?Indians are angry and hurt as never before.? So what will India do? We are told that the government of India is waiting for the outcome of the demarches served on Pakistan. The anger of India was best expressed by an editorial in The Hitavada (November 28), which said: ?If the government does not want to declare an out and out war against terror now, then it must resign today morning. If the invasion of terrorists on the country'scommercial capital Mumbai does not motivate the government to take war on terror as its only agenda, then it has no moral right to continue in power.? Strong words, but Delhi seems wary. It is going to ?wait and see?. But how long? And what will it do if Pakistan does not respond to the demands made on it by both the US and India?
According to Pakistan'sdaily Dawn, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice warned the Pakistan government that if it does not act fast, the US will. What the US do? Again, according to the Washington Post, Pakistan was told on December 6 that it will be given 48 hours to act. On this subject, there are conflicting reports. According to one report: Pakistan has agreed to act. Another quoted a retired ISI official as saying that Pakistan is not anybody'scolony to be ordered around. But then on December 8, The Hindu'sIslamabad correspondent reported that Pakistan'ssecurity forces have cracked down on an office of the Jamat-ud-Dawa, the front organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, and taken 20 cadres into custody. Is that all that needs to be done? Will India rest content with this? If it does so it will be a shame, and an insult to those killed in Mumbai by the jehadi terrorists.
Nothing short of dismantling the Pakistani Army would do, if India is really serious. Bombing a few Lashkar-e-Toiba camps will be symbolic but nothing more. The LeT will set up camps somewhere else. The enemy in Pakistan is not the Zardari government. The enemy is the Pakistan Army. The Lashkar-e-Toiba is merely a tool of the India-and-Hindu-hating Pakistani Army, which has to be brought to book. Will the US seek to limit, if not dismantle, the Pak Army? For India, a war is the only option open now and it can'tduck its responsibilities.
As Deccan Herald (December 5) sees it, ?Pakistan can afford to dillydally because it knows its roles is critically important for the US in the war against Afghanistan.? Also, wrote Deccan Herald: ?Though there is revulsion against terrorism in Pakistan'scivil society, it may not accept the situation where the government has taken measures under coercion especially where India is involved.? According to the paper, ?The military intelligence establishment would also be against it (and) in fact there would be elements there which would want the crisis to deepen.? A deepening to the crisis can only, in the end, mean war.
Indeed, according to The Hindu'sIslamabad correspondent, Nirupama Subramaniam (December 6), ?The majority of the country (Pakistan) led by the disproportionately influenced electronic media has gone into a denial mode that the attacks could have anything to do with Pakistan and is dismissive of the evidence reportedly stacking up on the Indian side as just so much ?anti-Pakistani hype?. And, meaningfully, she adds: ?The minority of opinion-makers that wants the government to make use of the Mumbai attacks to act decisively to dismantle terror network on its own soil, not just for India, but for the sake of Jinnah'svision of Pakistan as a modern civilised and progressive Muslim nation, is resigning itself to either President Zardari caving in again to the Army, or a confrontation in which the civilian government will die an early death.? That is an ominous development. We, here in India, must remember that for all their support, western countries do not and will not support another Indo-Pak war. Listen to what The Times (London) has to say on the subject. It said in an editorial (December 1): ?Official warnings that Pakistan could turn its attention from the West to Kashmir should be taken seriously. Kashmir, not the western border, has been the army'shistoric pre-occupation?There is a risk that the army re-discovers its first love.?
Time On Line also has been arguing against a war between India and Pakistan, maintaining that ?the main objective of the militants involved in the Mumbai attack was to destabilise the region (and) they will thrive in the event of war between the two countries?. The Times may not necessarily reflect the views of the UK government but its views cannot be dismissed lightly. The point is that many in the west may be sympathetic towards India as a matter of routine but they would not like to see a major conflict between Pakistan and India involving large-scale warfare and bombing. What the West?and that would include the European Union as well,?wants to see is India ?moving towards agreement over Kashmir?. But nobody has the slightest idea what that ?agreement? should be like.
With whom should India strike an agreement: with the Lashkar-e-Toiba? With the Pakistani Army? If the Zardari government has no power whatsoever, what will India gain by holding talks on Kashmir with the Pakistan President or the Pakistan government? One could at least have talked meaningfully with Gen. Musharraf who was the Army'sface. With Musharraf out who will be the one force that can speak authoritatively for Pakistan? Which only means that India'sonly option is a decisive war in which the Pakistan Army is routed, disbanded and thus disemboweled.
But there are other points that India must take into consideration. Military defeat means spreading chaos and confusion in Pakistan. Possibly Baluchistan will opt out of Pakistan as could Sindh, leaving a fractured Punjab as a remnant of Mohammad Ali Jinnah's?moth-eaten? state. India will then have to reckon not with one but four separate states: Baluchistan, Sindh, Punjab and Northwest Frontier Province. Would that be in India'sinterests? More importantly, will it serve the interests of the West, notably the United States? So we have many ticklish problems to resolve and no matter what decision India ultimately will take, it will have to reckon with the West. As of new, there is no Pakistan but only a fractured state with no one fraction with a mandate to speak for the whole country. And that remains India'smajor dilemma.