-Lt Gen (Retd) Kamal Davar –
India’s cup of patience in dealing with its highly perfidious neighbour, Pakistan, has been over-spilling since years with no let-up in the roguish behaviour of the latter. The latest terror strike at the Sunjwan army camp, near Jammu, was master-minded by Pakistan’s notorious spy agency, the ISI, and executed through one of its favourite terror ‘tanzeems’, the Jaish-e-Mohammad. It resulted in six army men and one civilian attaining martyrdom. Simultaneously, a CRPF camp in Srinagar was also targeted.
The year 2018 has dawned with 25 soldiers and many civilian fatalities in the border areas of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). That ceasefire violations and casualties to, both, the security forces and innocent civilians, since the last two years, have witnessed an alarming rise is a matter of serious concern for India’s security establishment. That India’s much-heralded surgical strike in Sep 2016 inside Pakistan after the terror strike at the Uri army establishment did not have a salutary effect on the treacherous Pakistanis is worth introspecting.
However, the fact also remains that a large number of Pakistani terrorists have been neutralised by the Indian forces after they infiltrated in J&K.
Four wars, uncalled for incidents of tension, regular cross-border artillery and machine gun duels on the LOC and IB in J&K have defined and bedevilled the vexed relationship between the two nations, since Independence. That poor, innocent civilians on both sides suffer for no fault of theirs, hardly bothers the Pakistanis.
Pakistan, the universally recognised perpetrator of terror, particularly in neighbouring India and Afghanistan, refuses to discard its myopic and self-destructive policies. It would surely be a cause of dismay to all those in both the nations, who believe that unproductive and
short-sighted policies of Pakistan are corroding Pakistan from within.
Deep State Ploys
But then the Pakistani Deep State (Pakistan Army, its notorious Inter Services Intelligence and their terrorist fraternity) will not budge from its highly anti-India agenda is nothing surprising even if it harms its own nation. The Pakistani Army has to keep the pot boiling for India to remain relevant in its nation while it guards its lordly privileges, vast corporate interests and burgeoning financial empires within Pakistan.
The sane among the Pakistani civil society, dwindling rapidly in numbers, are, perhaps, a dying breed in the foreseeable future. Pakistan’s future lies inexorably at the mercy of its Army, its infamous ISI and the likes of terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohd, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Hizb-ur-Tahrir, Sipahe Sanghvi among dozens of other similar outfits. It is clear that sooner than later, the most sinister global Islamic terrorist group spreading like a prairie fire, the ISIS, may soon establish a significant footprint in Pakistan.
That Pakistan’s ISI has successfully established formidable anti-India links in Afghanistan with the Afghan Talibans, Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network and now with the ISIS, must ring a bell within India.
The truism that extremism and supporting terror is self-destructive, in the long run, seems to have eluded the India-centric minds of the Pakistani Deep State. Thus India and its entire security establishment especially its Armed Forces and its intelligence agencies have their work more than cut-out.
Most importantly, the Modi government must enhance the combat capabilities of the three services to adequately confront a two and half front war (China, Pakistan and internal security threats), individually or in collusion. That achieving requisite combat capabilities is indeed a painfully long time consuming process brooks no elaboration. Thus India recently budgeting, barely under 1.6 per cent of its GDP, is hardly prudent. This meagre allocation gives no credit to the current government.
Secondly, we must impress upon the US and all global financial agencies, like the World Bank, IMF and others, that till Pakistan does not forsake terrorism with sincerity, strict economic sanctions must be imposed and no financial doles be given to them. Pakistan deserves to be diplomatically ostracised by the global community.
Downgrade Diplomatic Ties Additionally, India should downgrade its diplomatic representation with Pakistan and in each other’s capitals, just maintain a minimum staff for consular purposes. Further, India must not allow any separatists or anti-national elements to meet any visiting Pakistani delegations or their High Commission staff in New Delhi. No sporting or any other cultural ties should be allowed till Pakistan learns its lesson that cricket, cavorting with Bollywood and other cultural exchanges will only be permitted after it forsakes terror as an instrument of state policy.
Unquestionably, it is the dialogue between nations which resolves contentious matters but, for the time being, it will be prudent for India to refrain from indulging in any formal negotiations with Pakistan. Since Pakistan”s Deep State wields the baton in its country, New Delhi could consider some military to military contact from the Indian side also. As is well accepted, the Pakistani civil establishment is nothing short of a farce when it comes to policy decisions in Islamabad.
Importantly, India cannot afford to take lightly the ominous sabre rattling emanating from various sections of the Pakistani society since the last one week. The Pakistani establishment has frequently alluded to Pakistan being nuclear capable to defend itself! That Pakistani nukes falling into the hands of the many terrorists swarming the Pakistan landscape remains an alarming possibility. India has no choice but to remain in full preparedness, militarily and diplomatically, to thwart any Pakistani misadventures, including from their sponsored non-state actors.
(The writer is founder of The Defence Intelligence Agency and former GOC Ladakh and Chief of Staff of a Corps HQ in J&K)