Saturday August 24, 2019
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India Gets Global Support For Its Policy For Pakistan

In the situation obtaining after the Balakot episode, Pakistan is shifting the onus for initiating a conventional war onto India without at the same time relaxing on its planned covert offensive in Kashmir to keep what it calls the 'core issue' between India and Pakistan in the focus of the world attention.

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What is truly alarming from India's point of view is that the firm collaboration existing between the army and the Islamic militants in Pakistan has now acquired domestic legitimacy in that country. Pixabay

Pakistan unsurprisingly occupies a predominant place on our foreign policy turf for the reason that our approach to this hostile neighbour is impacted not only by India’s strategic partnership with the US but also by the state of our bilateral relations with Russia and China and the consistent stand India had taken against terror in spite of the uncertainties that had lately cropped up around the ‘war on terror’. In the context of the political narrative that the opposition in India has generated in the aftermath of India’s recent air strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camp at Balakot in Pakistan — wherein the virtues of talking to a ‘neighbour’ are invoked — our policy makers need to make it clear that India’s problem is with the deep state of Pakistan, not with the people of that country.

India-Pakistan relations are not about ‘people-to-people contact’ anymore, linked as they are to the challenge of dealing with a regime under the effective control of a hostile army that gave no space to the people’s voice. In any case, substantial chunks of the population there are now either under the influence of Islamic fundamentalists and the hardened Ulema or are swayed by the anti-India tirade of the extremely communal elite that had entrenched itself in the body politic of that country. The anti-India legacy of Partition is kept alive by them, particularly after the creation of Bangladesh, and this sustains the overriding hold of the Pakistan army as the ‘saviour’ of their country.

What is truly alarming from India’s point of view is that the firm collaboration existing between the army and the Islamic militants in Pakistan has now acquired domestic legitimacy in that country. This has enabled Pakistan’s rulers to survive the criticism of the democratic world against Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists across the Islamic spectrum — ranging from the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen — as also the American pressure on the Pakistan Army not to play a duplicitous role on the Afghan front.

Naremdra Modi
Modi’s message had conveyed India’s hope that the two countries would work for creating a climate free of terrorism. Pixabay

Pakistan is shrewdly aware of its geo-political importance for the US, Russia and China and is deftly positioning itself as a helping hand for them. American President Donald Trump wants Pakistan to facilitate the American pullout from Afghanistan, the oldest theatre of the ‘war on terror’, and smoothen the path of restoration of a peaceful regime there even with the participation of Taliban in that experiment.

Russia and China want Pakistan on their side in the matter of keeping their own Muslim lands insulated from external instigation from Islamic extremists. In the Cold War era, Pakistan operating through Afghanistan as a Western ally caused faith-based insurgency to grow in Uzbekistan and Xinjiang. Pakistan is watching the Afghan scene with smugness over the fact of some levers being in its hands and is prepared to go along with the US initiatives in Afghanistan provided India was kept out of the frame there.

India has to watch out for Pakistan trying to use whatever support it can muster for building a case for resumption of the India-Pakistan dialogue. Playing the underdog, Pakistan has cleverly asked China to give up its technical objection to the UN move against Masood Azhar in return for a guarantee of ‘de-escalation’ from India. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a display of cussedness that is easily traceable to his army, responded to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s message of greetings on Pakistan Day in a way that speaks for itself.

Modi’s message had conveyed India’s hope that the two countries would work for creating a climate free of terrorism but Imran’s reply abstained from making any mention of terror emanating from his soil and blandly asked for resumption of dialogue to discuss the ‘core issue’ of Jammu and Kashmir and other matters. Pakistan is brazening out the situation of potential isolation it finds itself in, after the Indian air strike at Balakot received validation from the world community — Pakistan’s plea that the militant outfits were not under its control gave a moral justification to the Indian operation. None of this, however, is keeping Pakistan from relentlessly trying to get India to climb down from its declared policy that ‘terror and talks do not go together’.

It would be prudent for India’s strategic planners to presume that the advantage India presently has over Pakistan is not static and that a combination of factors already seen on the horizon will tend to bail out Pakistan on the issue of cross border terrorism against India. Pakistan’s deep state cannot be pressured beyond a point to sever its political links with forces within the country that used the call of ‘defence of Islam’ or jihad to fight an identified enemy, since in Islam the faith embraces the entire life of the individual — personal, social and political.

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If Pakistan gets a strategic advantage in Afghanistan it will use it against India. Pixabay

Also, a major source of sustenance for Pakistan is the implied support it will always get in the Organisation of Islamic Conference(OIC) led by Saudi Arabia which runs on the philosophy that ‘Quran was the best Constitution’ and does not regard a democratic state as being any better than an Islamic state. The secular character of the Indian state has not come in the way of Imran Khan’s regime trying to fish in the troubled waters of our domestic politics in the run-up to the general election here. Imran Khan has again insinuated that the Modi regime was not resuming talks with Pakistan because of electoral politics.

If Pakistan gets a strategic advantage in Afghanistan it will use it against India. The US policy makers are not doing much to keep India as a stakeholder in the future set up of Afghanistan. American negotiator Zalmay Khalizad has been talking to the Taliban behind the back of Ashraf Ghani’s regime with which India has a good equation. The Taliban is not prepared to have anything to do with the legitimate Afghan government and is keeping up the pressure of violence to dictate terms in the negotiations. The US may pull out of Afghanistan on a half-baked deal which will benefit Pakistan, not India. Our defences on the western front will have to be strengthened to deal with an escalated proxy offensive of Pakistan in Kashmir in case the Pakistan-supported Taliban get into a position of power in Afghanistan.

In the situation obtaining after the Balakot episode, Pakistan is shifting the onus for initiating a conventional war onto India without at the same time relaxing on its planned covert offensive in Kashmir to keep what it calls the ‘core issue’ between India and Pakistan in the focus of the world attention. In the meanwhile it is hoping that after its wishy-washy attempts to show that action was being taken against the LeT and JeM, international opinion would gravitate towards the idea of resumption of India-Pakistan talks.

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Pakistan’s deep state is now too involved and collusive towards Islamic militants of all shades to give up on them as instruments of state policy. India is exposed to the unceasing attempts of Pakistan to exploit India’s domestic scene for spreading radicalisation here. India is rightly going ahead with its plans of modernising its defence forces and building capacities in missile and space technologies but the lasting threat nearer home is from the enlarging faith- based militancy emanating from the large Muslim world around us. The values of democracy in India need to be protected against the subversive violence whipped up in the name of religion and beamed at us from across the borders. This long range threat to our security should be kept above party politics. (IANS)

Next Story

Terrorist-Jis and Their Beloved Fans

Who knows the whole edifice of advanced modernity may reduce to ash if we continue to allow terrorism to have the last laugh!

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Balakot airstrike, pulwama attack, terrorism
They are now toying with the idea of inviting and encouraging more and more such anti-nation forces, giving free entry to terrorists from Pakistan. Pixabay
  1. BY: SALIL GEWALI   

This is indeed a wounded modern civilization. The frequent terror attacks have created more chaos. When the UN Security Council designated Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, it instantly brought back to my memory the famous statement made by the father of Atomic bomb – Robert Julius Oppenheimer. — “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Bhagavad-Gita… ‘Now, I become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’” It makes a lot of sense and is more relevant now if we think a little deeply. Yes, the nuclear scientist had said this with regret on the decision of making bombs and the consequential destruction of Japan.

Terrorism
The world is very unsafe because of such brutally inhumane terrorists.

Again, given the fact of how Masood Azar and his ilk have been bombing and killing the countless innocent lives across the world, our “silence” is more dangerous. The world is very unsafe because of such brutally inhumane terrorists. Moreover, it took so long to call a spade and spade!  Truly speaking, the “cry” against the terror is not at all shrill yet. The Balakot airstrike which followed Pulwama attack vis-à-vis the present Lok Sabha Election, has clearly exposed what our leaders can think about the country and its “security”. Many did not even hold back to “laugh” off the government action. They are now toying with the idea of inviting and encouraging more and more such anti-nation forces, giving free entry to terrorists from Pakistan. The leaders are also openly stating that they will withdraw all the power of our army forces in the borders. What will be the consequences then? So, the above-mentioned quote by the father of the atomic bomb perfectly resonates with the twists and turns of the politics, ego and destructive agendas of the devious political leaders.

Masood Azhar
Again, given the fact of how Masood Azar and his ilk have been bombing and killing the countless innocent lives across the world, our “silence” is more dangerous.

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Have you not noticed that our leaders are respectful of the terrorists than the martyred army personnel and the innocent civilians. They often tried hard to ignore the acts of the malevolence of Osama bin Laden-Ji and other “JIS”, lol!. While Afzal-JI is still a darling of many, we majority of us are quite mute and the confused spectators. I think this way we are only slipping from bad to worse.  I’m afraid, this our silence against the increasing rise of the terror will soon be driving humanity to the brink of disaster. Shall we still keep ourselves in the delusion of this great civilization? Who knows the whole edifice of advanced modernity may reduce to ash if we continue to allow terrorism to have the last laugh!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.