Friday, December 26, 2008

IS A NON-MILITARY OPTION REALLY AVAILABLE AGAINST PAKISTAN?

Pakistan has once again done enough to open the eyes of India's bleeding-heart romantics and corrupted-by-kebabs analysts to the real face of that country. Once again, it has given them enough opportunities to see behind the phoney smiles and elaborate PR efforts of its leaders who have conned them to the detriment of the interest of their own country.

Pakistan's civilian leaders have been loudly telling gullible Indians that Pakistan was itself a "victim of terror" and that they were determined to root out the reign of terror unleashed by "non-state actors" in that country. Their statements have made some Indian analysts hastily rush to the convenient conclusion that there are three distinct, independent and mutually hostile power centres in Pakistan - the terrorists, the military and the democratic government.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's statement, just before Mumbai 11/26, that "there is a little bit of Indian in every Pakistani" had so warmed the hearts of the analysts who have regularly been enjoying VIP hospitality and terrific kebabs in Pakistan, that they were convinced that he was one with India in its war on terror against "non-state actors" operating in Pakistan. After all, they argued, parroting Zardari's words, he had lost his own wife to them; how could he be on their side? Thus, he gullibly was taken on board as a true friend of India who deserved its trust.

The capture of Ajmal Kasab during the terror attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, and the admission of his father and relatives that he indeed was a Pakistani should have actually been just the evidence that should have got the state of Pakistan to come down heavily on terrorists operating from that country. But, Pakistan's response has again exposed its hostility that had been masked by fake social warmth and has left most Indians in no doubt about the real face of that country.

The so-called three power centres Indian analysts had been yelling about have seamlessly merged into one and there is now only one face that India can see. They are all united in dismissing the Indian claim that the 10 terrorists, including Kasab, who attacked Mumbai were from Pakistan. They are all united in protecting Maulana Azhar Mehmood and the leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. They are also together on one platform to make the banning of the organisation by the UN completely ineffective. And, the are all united in threatening India with an immediate and strong military response should India try to attack any terrorist camp located anywhere in Pakistan or across the LOC in occupied Kashmir.

Nawaz Sharif, smarting from Zardari's deceit, initially made a statement of the kind that is made by Indian politicians, by virtually accepting that Kasab was a Pakistani, despite the denials by the Pakistani government. But he soon retracted his position and is now in line with the official position. Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistan Taliban that is fighting against the Pakistani army in FATA, has also declared that the Taliban will send thousands of well armed Talibanis to fight alongside Pakistan army should India attack Pakistan, "the only Islamic nuclear power in the world".

The state of Pakistan is united with and behind its terrorists responsible for Mumbai 11/26, just like it has always been behind those responsible for previous attacks and those it has been sending to Kashmir. However, with the US sitting on its back and world opinion solidly against terrorism, it has now no choice but to keep vehemently denying that it is in any way responsible for any terror attack in India, including Kashmir. And, thanks to a very well organised network of motivated individuals trained to operate with military precision in dexterously structured and independent modules, it has been able to ensure that clinching, undeniable evidence of the direct and deliberate involvement of its powerful state organs is never available to India.

Kasab's statements, which describe in "chilling detail" what actually is going on in Pakistan, and Pakistan's response to his capture, have openly exposed for the first time the architecture of deception that the country has put in place to con the international community and India about its continuing involvement with, and promotion of, the use of terror against India as the cornerstone of its objective of bleeding India through a thousand cuts. That is why we have seen the denial in a chorus of unison about Kasab's nationality.

That completely unconvincing denial has now been sought to be given credibility by a clumsy riposte in the same coin. Pakistan claims to have captured an Indian, Satish Anand Shukla, in connection with a blast in Lahore on December 24, 2008. It has alleged that he is a resident of Kolkata, had worked with the Indian High Commission in London for three years and was living in Pakistan as Muneer. This sham allegation is clearly designed to take the heat off India's strident response to the involvement of Pakistan in the terror attack on Mumbai, and to ensure that India does not get the international support that it is seeking to take the military route.

Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has threatened that his country will respond "within minutes" if India carried out any surgical strikes within Pakistan. This coupled with the equally clear though cleverly worded statements of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the same lines, have one loud message for India: do not even think of retaliating against Pakistan for the proxy war that it is fighting against you in your territory. Do whatever you have to within your territorial limits for whatever you are facing from extra-territorial(Pakistani) terrorists (armed soldiers) there. Pakistan will disown them if they are caught, and will not stop clandestinely sending more of them or from turning Indians into instruments of its aggression against and in India.

Let us understand one thing very clearly. Pakistan is fighting an almost zero-cost war on India's territory without acknowledging that is doing so. The cost of this war is heavy and mounting for India. In one attack on Mumbai, for example, just 10 armed men from Pakistan held up the commercial nerve centre of India for three days, killing almost 200 people and inflicting an economic cost running into thousands of crores of rupees. To top it all was the immeasurable psychological cost that will continue to be paid by millions of Indians for a long time.

If there is a free lunch anywhere in the world, it is this and it is here in India. Forget one free lunch. India has been running a free langar (community kitchen) for Pakistan for decades. More Indians have been killed in this undeclared war than were killed in all the wars combined. More than half a million men in uniform are deployed full-time to protect citizens, installations and themselves from a few thousand terrorists who have little to lose except their lives for the promise of a very sexy after-life.

Why on earth should Pakistan ever abandon such an attractive terror agenda? With just about the perfect conditions generously provided to it by a weak and meek India, it is in fact being motivated to increase the scale and reach of this silent, deadly war. Mumbai 11/26 is an indication of what more is in store.

Therefore, all this cacophany about a quick response to an Indian attack on Pakistani territory, topped with the threats of a nuclear war, is designed to scare India into letting Pakistan to continue enjoying its free lunches in India. India has repeatedly chickened out at the last moment because it lacks informed political understanding and will. That is why till date it has not consciously created the military capabilities specifically needed to deliver a surgical knock-out punch to the terror infrastructure in Pakistan without getting drawn into a full-scale war in which victory is not guaranteed. Pakistan hopes to scare India this time too, and there is no reason to suggest that it will not succeed yet again.

Those who fancifully speak about India launching a similar proxy war in Pakistan never remember that the demographics of Pakistan make that option almost totally ineffective. Terrorism cannot be sustained anywhere in the world without local support. The patriotism of India's Muslims is not in doubt but it is not difficult to motivate isolated individuals on the basis of religion or to get the support of a critical few out of the lakhs whose whose families migrated partly to Pakistan after Partition.

"Coercive diplomacy", greater people to people contact, UN resolutions, international pressure, more trains and buses, increase in trade etc are some of the measures again being suggested by the kebab brigade to get Pakistan to dismantle its terror infrastructure. The same things have been said repeatedly for two decades. They have failed to have any effect on Pakistan except that it has now started claiming that it is also a helpless victim of terror, even though that terror is totally different. Though these analysts continue to copy-paste their proposals mindlessly, they must know in their hearts that two decades down the line they will still be doing the same, if India keeps pinning its hopes on such proposals.

India has to stop running a 24-hour langar to feed Pakistan's congenital and insatiable appetite for bleeding India to death by inflicting on it a silent one-sided war. Pakistan has to be made to pay heavily for the free lunch that it has been having and wants to continue having in India. Since India cannot hit back in a like covert manner, it has little choice but to strike overtly.

There is no soft option available, as should be crystal clear to any realistic and reasonably informed observer.

The only question that needs to be answered is not whether but when India should strike. That answer can be given only by professionals and not by the usual suspects in the government and the media who talk a lot despite knowing little.
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Readers may also read:
1. Understanding and defeating the ideology of terror
2. Take out Pakistan to tackle terror