Nuclear Arsenal and Pakistan: Wrong Medicine for the bruised identity

Another thought provoking piece by Raza Habib Raja.

Right now more than anything, the nuclear status of Pakistan is constantly being discussed and drummed up in the national media. A state which by all accounts has failed to deliver even the basic necessities is being widely projected as one of the most important states by the rightwing intelligentsia. However it goes beyond this. The nuclear arsenal has become our sole “credible” claim to glory and consequently the justification for all the conspiracy theories according to which the entire world is wary of the “mighty” Pakistan. This conspiracy theory culture which is outwardly looking shifts the blame to foreign powers, jealous of Pakistan’s nuclear might, and aiming to purge the country of its “crowning” jewel. Right wingers like Ahmed Qureshi and Dr. Shireen Mazari have constructed entire careers on perpetuating this culture of suspicion which is fueled by mythology built around glorification of Islamic fortress, Pakistan.

But why have we come to this stage? Why are we seeking a strange delusional solace in a device which is supposed to kill millions? Why our entire intellectual thrust is on perpetuating a strange culture of suspicion where every barbaric act, EVEN IF CONDUCTED AND FULLY CLAIMED, by our home grown Frankenstein monster, is construed to be planned by the foreign powers solely to take hold of nuclear arsenal.

The answer lies in the thoroughly bruised identity, particularly the way it has evolved after the debacle of East Pakistan. East Pakistan debacle among many other things shattered the myth of superiority of Pakistani army’s quality. Before 1971, even within army circles, a martial race myth had gradually been constructed. According to this myth a Muslim soldier is far superior in quality due to extraordinary valor originating out of faith. Besides faith, this myth was also fed by marshal race theory according to which areas belonging to Northern Pakistan were inhabited by a genetically marshal race which was superior in fighting quality. The proof cited was that the British largely recruited from this area. The glorification of army was not merely restricted to army as a fighting unit but stretched to include the state of Pakistan as Ayub era was a military rule. Military rule practically defined state. Ayub’s tenor was a far cry from the earlier “chaos” and it also saw active nation building done and supervised by the military. While in power and at the helm of the affairs, the army’s image also became the national image. Middleclass which is actually identity conscious started to perceive army as an integral part of Pakistan’s identity.

The debacle of East Pakistan shattered the army’s repute as an invincible fighting force and had lasting impact on the identity. West Pakistani populace, particularly the middle class felt humiliated and could not believe that their cherished army had been routed. It was a moment of national humiliation. Moreover since at that time no one came to “rescue” Pakistan, and India had actively collaborated with the Bengali nationalists, it gave rise to conspiracy mode of thinking. For majority of the middle class, it was not that East Pakistan has been given unfair treatment, but rather an Indian and global conspiracy to break up Pakistan. To this date, majority of Pakistanis see the problems of Pakistan particularly relating to security through this conspiracy paradigm.

Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) after taking power immediately started taking steps to curtail army’s political role. Among these steps was forcible removal of the existing army chief, promotion of apparently “weak’ officers like general Zia, creation of FSF etc.

However, the 1974 nuclear blast once again reopened the wounds of the 1971 humiliation and warranted some kind of response to settle ‘scores’ with India. It was under these circumstances that ZAB decided to embark upon the nuclear program. Being extremely intelligent ZAB understood that renewed threat from India would once again restore the army’s position and importance. Hence the best bet was to actually match India and become a nuclear power. In this way, the army in its conventional role would not be required to that extent and consequently in the long run its political power would diminish as well. THUS THE REASON FOR BECOMINGTHE NUCLEAR POWER WAS IN SOMEWAYS AN EXTENSION OF THE DESIRE TO CURTAIL ARMY’S POLITICAL AMBITIONS. Plus the nuclear arsenal would soothe the bruised identity.

However, the reality unfortunately has not conformed to the wishes of the initiator of the nuclear program. Although the nuclear arsenal has proven to be apparently successful in soothing the bruised identity of Pakistani middleclass, but the cost has been tremendous.

Nuclear program has successfully soothed the bruised identity as it has apparently “settled” scores with India and given some importance to Pakistan in the international arena which it desperately needed. With the passage of time, as the failed state label becomes more justified the nuclear arsenal keeps on getting elevated in terms of our “success”. UNFORTUNATELY THE MORE PAKISTAN LAGS BEHIND IN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL INDICATORS, MORE OBSESSIVE WE BECOME ABOUT NUCLEAR ARSENAL AND TRY TO SEEK COMPENSATORY COMFORT IN IT.

Today whether we admit it or not, the fact is that Pakistan ranks low in important social indicators pertaining to transparency, literacy, economy and healthcare even when compared to developing economies of similar characteristics.  According to Asian Development Bank, compared with Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, Pakistan’s school enrolment is lower, adult illiteracy is higher, and infant and child mortality rates are higher. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index developed by Transparency International, Pakistan ranks 134th out of 180 countries, “beating” even African poor countries like Zambia, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Nuclear arsenal thus becomes the only citable achievement and therefore talked to death in our rightwing circles. At times it becomes actually embarrassing that we are not able to provide basic things like education and electricity and yet assume ourselves to be the centre of the world due to nuclear status. Even when given the chance to have more aid and reduction of foreign debt in exchange for not conducting the tests in 1997, we unanimously opted for going nuclear. The irony was that within one month’s time, we as a nation proved how hollow we were, when instead of showing mettle and inner strength to face sanctions, we were busy betting on the devaluation of rupee!!

In addition this “achievement” has made us deeply paranoid about the rest of the world and with terrifying consequences. As Pakistan falls deeply into insecurity and terrorism, instead of correctly identifying the causes, the nuclear obsession leads us to believe that everything is a grand conspiracy to take hold of the nuclear arsenal. Rather than hating the monsters like Taliban, we keep on coming with the similar conspiracy logics and in the process end up strengthening dark forces of extremism.

Moreover, the nuclear status has not provided protection to Pakistan and rather it has exposed it to needless international scrutiny. Pakistan’s security problems are no longer emanating from India but are rather homegrown and ironically are in some ways an outcome of the nuclear status itself. The nuclear status actually enabled the state to train Jihadi elements without fearing a full scale war.

In addition, contrary to ZAB’s original aim of weakening the army, the nuclear arsenal has actually strengthened it. Once army took over, the nuclear program actually became its shield to undertake covert activities in the neighboring countries. In fact, army and nuclear “image’ have intertwined and army has successfully positioned itself as the guardian of the nuclear program.

Right now the ultranationalist section of the population has to redirect its concerns and energies to real issues rather than on this nuclear paranoia. The government needs political support from its media and people to win a battle against extremists and instead of support we are under this illusion that some bad Taliban have been planted to give an excuse to the West to purge the nuclear arsenal. Frankly the nuclear arsenal has proven to be one of our greatest drawbacks. It has so far clearly been the wrong medicine for our thoroughly bruised identity. Even if it is purged, it may actually be a blessing in disguise.

108 Comments

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108 responses to “Nuclear Arsenal and Pakistan: Wrong Medicine for the bruised identity

  1. PMA

    Raza Habib Raja has come out full force – slashing air with sweeping stroke of his bare hand.

  2. Raj

    An otherwise well written article is (slightly) spoiled by the funny incorrect spelling.

    It is not marshal race, but….martial race….

  3. Brilliant piece.

    Cuba does not have nukes and look what they have achieved:-

    Infant Mortality rate-
    Cuba(before the age 1)- 5(probability of dying per 1000 live births)
    USA(before the age 1)- 6 (probability of dying per 1000 live births)

    Cuba(before the age 5)- 6(probability of dying per 1000 live births)
    USA(before the age 5)- 8 (probability of dying per 1000 live births)
    Source: World Health Statistics 2009 by WHO.

  4. Anwar

    Over simplistic..
    Nukes were actually exploited more by the politicians. During one of my visits to PK I myself saw, to my dismay, in the capital the model of a mountain where nuclear tests were conducted…
    Achieving this knowledge alone was a great achievement and the hard work of a number of dedicated scientists and engineers does not deserve to be belittled by silly tantrums…

  5. Parvez

    Yes, all that money spent on Nukes should have been in Raja’s pocket and he would fix all the problems of poverty. Why don’t you talk of budget or economic policy or justice and equity.
    Regarding Bangladesh, Bhartis have a few questions to answer. In seventies, it was their mantra that the jute was golden fiber and Punjabi are stealing all the wealth. Where is the economic standing of Bangladesh today.
    There are serious problems which current govt is ignoring and your advice, Mr. Raja, is backward looking, not even worth the paper it is written on.

  6. Raza

    Frankly if our media was not so obsessed with this nuclear arsenal and if we had managed to conduct real efforts in solving real issues, I would have not written this piece.
    I can already see our much ingrained is this device in our national identity.

    I remember a spat between Hamid Gul and Dr. Hoodboy on TV (It was Shahid Masud’s program and Shahid talked both guys on phone) where the latter pointed out about the lack of basic facilties and our obsession with the nuclear arsenal. Mr. Gul replied by alleging Mr Hoodboy to be naive and too dumb to understand the complex games. However he went one step further and said Pakistan was ready to self sacrifice and ready to face hunger poverty to “save” nuclear arsenal.
    What I really found amusing was that I clearly remembered when we went nuclear. At that time the Government had requested us to show sacrifice and people were out in the street barely 15 days after the blast protesting GST (which was levied on the pretext of “sacrifice”)
    And very soon people were betting on US dollar also forcing the central bank to issue circular after circular.
    Is a device which has clearly proven counterproductive really worth so much of hue and cry?
    Ok we are now nuclear and that is, I admit a fact. But can’t we just shrug off this conspiracy theory mindset?
    National Pride is very important but it should be emanating from real achievements which have brought properity to people of our country.
    Tomorrow if pakistan becomes a leading exporter of something, then it is a real matter of pride.

  7. Raza

    And yes Mr Parvey (above) if the money and time spent on nuclear arsenal had gone to solving poverty at grass root level problems, things would have been better.

  8. shiv

    As with many other things about Pakistan, I have spent time studying the material available on the Pakistani nuclear weapons program.

    Raza Habib Raja’s article above is one of a few that have appeared in recent days putting a question mark on the nuclear program and as such the article itself is likely to be unpopular among Pakistanis who read it.

    Unfortunately there is another aspect of Pakistani nuclear weapons that is not mentioned in most articles that refer to them and that is the role of foreign powers in “utilizing” Pakistan as a tool/middleman for their geopolitical games. Raza Habib writes of a “thoroughly bruised identity”, which is true, but this bruising only made the people who mattered in Pakistan to become even more pliable in the hands of anyone who promised them something to help stave off the Indian threat in exchange for selling a part of their souls.

    Both China and the US have cynically utilized Pakistan for their ends. This is what astounds me. Any expert from wither of these two countries could have told Pakistani leaders that the route to national strength is linekd with education, development and industrialization. Military strength is the least important except on a short term basis. It is a surreal joke to see how Pakistan’s “Tarrest fliend” China and “ally” the US plied the Pakistani military with money and weapons on demand and never once cautied Pakistanis that this was not the route to national survival or strength.

    Air Cmde Sajad Haider writes in his memoirs that the US gave Pakistan 100 combat aircraft before the 1965 war, and after the war (but before 1971) China provided 70 fighters while Germany sold Pakistan another 70 second hand F-86 Sabres.

    These nations have played with Pakistan in an era when their own fears of the USSR and its suspected sidekick India ensured that they did not give two hoots for idiotic Paki Generals whom they suckered. They threw scraps at Pakistanis in exchange for long term favors. None of them was interested in telling Pakistanis what was required to build a nation. Please forgive me for quoting from my own e-book on Pakistan

    Populations grow by what is called “geometric progression”. That means that if a population of 1 million people doubles to 2 million in ten years, it will double to 4 million in a further ten years, and then become 8 million in ten more years and so on. In fifty years, a population of 1 million can increase to 32 million. If the original 1 million people lived in a poor, developing country that is barely able to feed and provide employment for 1 million people, it will have to look after 32 million people just fifty years later.

    Unless a great deal of money and effort is put into
    planning for population growth such as food production, healthcare and education, a rapid rise in population typically leads to more hunger, more poverty, more diseases from malnutrition and more unemployment. That means more people who are unhappy and have reason to be
    angry.

    This is exactly what is happening in Pakistan (11,12).The population has increased by 50 million people in the last 15 years and the number of poor has doubled. All these extra people have to have food and opportunities for employment, and they need to be educated regarding the importance of birth control and family planning, since that is essential for slowing down
    the population explosion.

    Unfortunately Pakistan’s leaders have never put in the required amount of money and effort into education of the Pakistani masses. Generations of Pakistanis have been born into poverty and deprivation without the knowledge or the means to slow down population growth or earn a living though a modern job from a modernizing economy.

  9. Raza

    @shiv
    “Unfortunately Pakistan’s leaders have never put in the required amount of money and effort into education of the Pakistani masses. Generations of Pakistanis have been born into poverty and deprivation without the knowledge or the means to slow down population growth or earn a living though a modern job from a modernizing economy.”

    I fully agree…One of the main reasons of writing this article was to point out that national discourse should be on these things rather than overhyped nuclear arsenal

  10. Parvez

    Raza, Thank you for your response. I consider it a waste of time to talk about identity crisis, nukes, conspiracy theories. I agree with you that we need to invest more in education and open employment opportunities for younger generation. We also need to invest more in infrastructure. Foreign investment would come in after the Afghan war ends.
    Meanwhile, we need to persist with improving law and order by improving justice system.

  11. Bin Ismail

    @ Raza Habib Raja

    “…..The nuclear arsenal has become our sole “credible” claim to glory…..”

    The only true glory Pakistan should aspire after, is a State and Society functioning on the ever-sterling principle of
    “equality, justice and fairplay for ‘all’ its citizens”. It will either be this glory or no glory at all.

  12. Raza

    @Bin Ismail

    I fully agree…that is why this article was written and the word credible has been written as “credible” (i.e in a sarcastic way)

    I wish all of my countrymen start thinking like you. National pride should emanate from real achievement. Achievements which benefit the less privileged.

  13. yasserlatifhamdani

    A timely piece. I’ve frankly never felt even a little bit of pride about the nukes…

    In a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan… Pakistan would be annihilated… and India in a comatose state.

    What would then history say about Pakistan?

    Reminds me of the Simpson episode where Krusty tells the joke:

    “What is the difference between Pancake and Pakistani?

    Ans: How many pancakes do you know that got bombed out of existence by India?”

    Nuclear war is bad for everyone concerned…

  14. Raza

    @Sardar khan

    Sir it is precisely this kind of thinking which explains why we are here!!!
    I have nothing to add

  15. lal

    @sardarkhan
    hw many people u ve lost n d wars vth india & hw many r u losing with the daily bombings

  16. sober

    Nuclear Weapons are a curse on humanity.Indians don’t need them,neither do pakistanis.And certainly we do not need them to use against each other.We are bound by an umbilical chord that goes much deeper than destruction and catastrophe.Nature will survive,whether us foolish human beings do or not.Cheers to that.

  17. Hayyer

    In an otherwise well written piece I have two points of disagreements.

    Pakistan’s nuclear programme was not taken up after India’s Pokhran blasts of 1974. I have read that Bhutto initiated Pakistan’s programme well before 1974.

    Second, Pakistan’s security may not have been enhanced by the nuclear threat but India’s options have diminished in dealing with brinkmanship by the Pakistani army. It is doubtful what benefits our nuclear capacity brings us vis a vis China; but India’s options are certainly reduced when Pakistan uses its non nuclear assets as in Mumbai and the attack on India’s Parliament building.

    The larger question is who or what nuclear weapons helps at all, including Russia the USA and China, let alone faded imperialists such as in Britain and France.

  18. Raza

    @Hayyer

    Although the nuclear program was being planned before 1974, but the blast actually gave it a really sense of urgency and sealed the fate. Since India actually carried out blast in 1974 therefore their capability was developed much more than Pakistan’s earliest efforts.

    Secondly I have never said that NA has enhanced our security. In fact the later half of the article argues that it has been counterproductive

  19. Hayyer

    Raza:
    It is a unique insight that instead of the nuclear weapons looking after Pakistan it is the country sacrificing itself to look after them.
    I meant to say that they have enhanced the army’s potential to keep at its mischief of brinkmanship.

  20. shiv

    @ Sardar Khan
    Do not forget it is our asset and forced our arch enemy indians to think 100 times before even contemplating an attack on us.Remeber it a pride of the nation that matters not the money.Ask any Pakistani in the street and you will find how much support there is.You liberals only have one agenda to make Pakistan as weak as possible,so that we will be at the mercy of hindu samraj and will make akhand baharat a reality.Look at the comments made by hindus from bunderstan to prove my point.Why don’t you give same advice to bunderstan[baharat]?

    LOL ! Welcome fellow bunderstani!

    On the internet, a lot of Indians have started writing this sort of stuff on Pakistani sites because this thinking in the long term helps Pakistan defend against India, but does not help Pakistan if India fails to attack.

    It gives India a choice of damaging Pakistan and getting damaged in return, or sitting back in their trees with Hanuman and watching Pakistanis screw themselves.

  21. Kaalket

    Sardar Khan is a sincere, wise fellow and Pakistan will be well served heeding his advise. You cant buy honor and man dont live by bread alone. If Pakistan want Kashmir and undo the unjust partition of Punjab as well to regain the glory of ancestral Moguls then they must have strong military. Hindus must understand this and not object to it. Pakistani are martial Qaum and killing comes naturally to martial people. By the sheer strength of its scientific institutions and iman ,Pakistan is much ahead of Nuclear know how comparing to india and must maintain this superiorty over kuffar. Sardar Khan, any idea about the where abouts of the genius scientist fellow who calculated the speed by which jannat was speeding away from this Jameen. I belive he made precise calculations about the daily distance between Earth and high Paradise.

  22. shiv

    @ kaalket

    Sardar Khan is an Indian I betcha. Don’t you think that name is suspicious? I mean who would call himself “Sardar Khan”? Most internet savvy Pakistanis are now giving themselves names like “Indiablasta”, “FightinforAllah” or “DeenMachine”

  23. Mustafa Shaban

    I think everybody is missing the point. US, France, UK, Israel and many other countries have nukes. Do they have same problems as Pakistan? Nukes arent the reason Pakistan is facing various problems. Nukes or no nukes, if you have no rule of law, if you lack the skills to lead and manage a nation you will fail. I am proud of our nuclear capability because it has defended us from India. India would have already attacked us once or multiple times by now if we did not have nuclear weapons. The problems in our country do not come from nuclear weapons but from corruption and mismanagement.

  24. Mustafa Shaban

    There are many countries that have nuclear weapons and are doing well, there are also many countries that dont have nuclear weapons and doing well and vice versa. So this debate is pretty pointless.

  25. Raza

    @ Mustafa Shaban

    The central idea is not whether a country has nukes but what kind of association you have with those nukes. It will vary from country to country.

    This article is all about the identity association with nuclear arsenal and the way nukes have affected Pakistani mindset along with the behaviour of important stakeholders such as army.

    Ok Britain has nukes but the populace is not paranoid about it. Here nukes have been elevated to a totally different level.

  26. Nusrat Pasha

    A national identity based on weapons of mass destruction is no identity.

  27. shiv

    @ Mustafa Shaban
    I am proud of our nuclear capability because it has defended us from India. India would have already attacked us once or multiple times by now if we did not have nuclear weapons.
    I said elsewhere on this forum that there is a “fear of India” among Pakistanis. That statement usually bruises Pakistani ego enough for people to go into denial. But the above statement is a clear indicator of how a fear of Indian invasion has translate into a feeling of security because of nuclear weapons.

    As a hypothetical exercise one could ask “What if India never ever intended to invade Pakistan? What if Indians are the cowards they are said to be and could never have invaded?”

    This is a difficult question to answer because one can go back to the period after the 1965 war and ask that question again and again for every year of Pakistan’s existence. “Did India really want to invade at this time?”

    No Pakistani that I know of has ever managed to answer that question with the doubt “Maybe India is/was not going to invade” The myth of an Indian invasion has assiduously been built up in Pakistan mainly for the survival of the Army and a particular political grouping. The identity of Pakistan has got linked up with “India about to invade”

    India has been a pretty screwed up land and Indian leaders have always known that they could never invade Pakistan and get away with it. If nothing else Indian military leaders have been pretty sensible about their capabilities. Bangladesh was an unique circumstance – all Pakistanis know that. Of course Pakistanis need their reasons to feel secure and have a right to develop whatever weapons system they think they need for their security. But connecting that security up with an Indian intent to invade has a layer of extra paranoia that plays a role in making Pakistan what it is today.

    Pakistan today is a paranoid state that fears Indian invasion on one side. Pakistan has gone to great lengths to cosy up to the US and China to help protect against this big Indian threat. And despite the cosying up, Pakistan has spent huge proportions of its budget on defence, because the Indian threat never goes away.

    This has given 3 countries a handle on Pakistan. China and the US both arm Pakistan in exchange for Pakistani favors. India gets the opportunity to threaten an invasion even when it has neither the will nor the capacity to invade and stay – but the Indian threat is taken very seriously by Pakistan and that allows India to help squeeze Pakistan with the US on the other side.

    I stated when I first started posting on here that I am reconciled to not caring what Pakistan does, because I have no control, but I think Pakistan’s biggest hope for a safe future is to get rid of the paranoia of India. Clearly this is not going to happen easily or soon. For too long Pakistan’s unity has been linked to the Indian threat.

    You guys have to get rid of this paranoia. This is a claimed “liberal” site. Do you guys really believe that India is waiting to invade and has appeared to be that way for decades? If the answer is yes, why do you think so? I would really like to know. I suspect the reasons are linked up to an Islamic identity and the possible drowning out of that by kafirs. But I am wiling to learn if there is anything about India that is particularly threatening.

    I mean Pakistanis are always so contemptuous of India. Even in 1965 Ayub was saying “A blow at the right time and place will break the morale of the Hindu”. Then why the great fear of India? Alternatively, why the bravado if India is scary? Is that some kind of nervous self reassurance?

    Sitting in India and watching Pakistanis I get the feeling that a whole nation has infected itself with a mental disease requiring mass psychotherapy.

  28. @Shiv

    The person you are castigating is in no way representative of the general opinion on this site. He believes that the way forward is the way backward, by adopting the rule of the four just Caliphs, that there is nothing wrong with Pakistan except ‘curropt’ politicians, and by lecturing them sternly, all problems will be resolved, he is sure that Hamid Gul, Zaid Hamid and Imran Khan are the salt of the earth, and are constantly misunderstood as being pro-Taliban and anti-peace, and a set of similar things.

    You have insulted a lot of people in a lot of ways. This is the worst, to describe this irresponsible fan-boy as representative in any way of either PTH or of liberal opinion.

  29. shiv

    Vajragaru

    Chillax. Have a Charminar. I have not insulted anyone who is not as hypersensitive as you are vicariously hypersensitive. I have merely stated my observations based on my experiences.

    I have asked a question based on my views and have stated that I am willing to be corrected. I am looking for answers – not an indignant Miss Prissy rant.

    Why phor you are finger wagging like Miss Wordsworth in class 2? How is it that you speak for everyone in here? A lot of people have given me more level headed and sensible answers than you have and I have learned something. In this case you are serving merely as comic relief pretending to be some kind of chowkidar protecting the sensitive feelings of people on this board.

    Shoo.

  30. @Shiv

    Comic relief is important. Think if we were all as solemn and portentous as you.

  31. Ummi

    “The myth of an Indian invasion has assiduously been built up in Pakistan mainly for the survival of the Army and a particular political grouping. The identity of Pakistan has got linked up with “India about to invade”

    Ok let’s agree for sake of argument. What fear causing India to build piles of weapons every year, or I say every month?

  32. Raza

    @ ummi and shiv

    The nuclear arsenal is no longer just a derivative of Indian paranoia though its genesis was due to that threat. In Pakistan case it is now a “national pride” and the most important “citable” evidence of prestige.
    In India’s case the nuclear arsenal is an expression to be a global power in terms of military might. India did not make nuclear bomb for Pakistan.

  33. Hayyer

    Ummi:

    Pakistan has one enemy, India has two. China is almost a world power. It is India’s main enemy. We have to defend ourselves against China and Pakistan which is why we go in for all those piles of weapons.

    Further India has never attacked Pakistan. It has once in 1971 provoked Pakistan into attacking it over Bangladesh. In 1947, April 65, August 65 and April/ May 99 it was Pakistan doing the attacking.

    Pakistan was not a nuclear power till 1998. If your nukes are essential how did you cope before then.

  34. Bin Ismail

    @Kaalket (June 28, 2010 at 12:46 am)

    “…..While India is essentially Asian , Pakistan is part of Middle Eastern far periphery…..”

    …and the Mid East, I suppose, is essentially Australian?

  35. Mustafa Shaban

    @Shiv: my friend there is no paranoia of India invading Pakistan. There has alwayz been that possibility of India invading Pakistan. Indian elite is very rightist and aggressive. Indian elite also has a very imperialist mindset. Indias relations are not only problematic with Pakistan, but with all its neighbours. You can argue that India may not attack Pakistan and I can say the opposite. We do not think like this out of fear. We are not afraid of India, we just are ensuring our own security. Maybe there are people obsessing about it, but just because they are dusnt mean it was wrong to attain them.

    I am not obsessed with nuclear weapons. Yes some people talk about a lot but generelly people accept the fact that we need to put our house in order. Nobody says that nukes have helped our society or economy.

    Its not only Pakistan that is in a tense situation but also countries like Iran as well. Becuase in the new security paradigm in todayz world unfortunately those that do not have deterrence especially in the form of nuclear weapons are at risk of invasion from thier enemies. Thats why US and the West would invade Iraq and Iran but would never touch North Korea. These kind of moves sends a message to other countries that they better get some deterrence otherwise they will remain at risk.

    I am not against hindu people or indian people. Indian people and hindus are very nnice people and are brothers in humanity. My only problem is with those that form your foreign policy.

    I blame Pakistan just as much as I do India so I am not anti indian or anything. But if there is to be peace and prosperity both sides really need to change thier behavior to ensure balance. I appreciate that you are asking questions to figure out the pakistani mindset.

    @Vajra: I never said that we should go backwards , all I said is that we should use the principles and values of the first 4 caliphs which is humanity, self esteem and justice. We need rule of law where corruption is punished and not ignored. You have every right to disagree with me and rightfully say that I do not represent the opinion of the members of this forum and the forum itself, but please dont misrepresent my views and distort them.

    @Raza: I disagree with you on the point that you think that Pakistani people have made nuclear weapons a part of thier identity. This is not the case, its just a matter of great pride as it is for all countries that ahcieve different things. India made a nuclear weapon to gain a foothold in the region and to play a dominating role in the region. They did have Pakistan in mind while they were building it. Nobody builds nukes as a form of expression, its built mainly for a strategic purpose or deterrence.

    @Hayyer: I know China and India have a few dents in their relationship but I dont think I would see them as enemies. Also we did not cope before 1998, we were alwayz nervous or expecting an attack. Just because something didnt happen for a long time dusnt mean its not going to happen especially if political trends were pointing in that direction. Nobody is so arrogant and/or stupid to make nukes or to make important decisions for no reason, when a nation does something, there is usually a reason behind it.

    @Kaalkeet: Pakistan was not made to avoid hindus. Pakistan was made because Ghandi and Jinnah rightfully saw a powerful hindu right influence growing in india which meant problems for muslims, especially as a minority.

  36. bciv

    it is important to look at this from a senior military officer’s point of view been asked to forsake his ‘civilian duties’ and be ‘eyeball-to-eyeball’ at the border.

    now there obviously were some details that these selfless servants more than willing to take on all roles military and civilian did not quite work out.. correctly: nuclear weapons, if not a bit of a liability, are in any case no help when it comes to having to deal with blow-back.

  37. Bin Ismail

    Without going into the details of the Pakistan/India situation, we have to ask ourselves: can we weave a “national identity” around weapons? Is this what national identity is all about?

    Nukes or no nukes, the identity of a nation – any nation – has to be built on true values.

  38. Kaalket

    So per Mustafa, Ghandi was Zinnah ‘s partner in making Pakistan to avoid the influence of Hindu right over Musalmans. Then why did Ghandi isnsist upon stopping the migration of Musalmans to Pakistan and Pakistan also did not fulfill Zinna’s dream by shutting its door for the millions of Musalmans stuck in India waiting life long to enjoy the Pakistani dream. Mustafa , you have your work cut out and ask tour government, country to accept and welcome their left over berrathers in India and share the land and resources with them .

  39. Hayyer

    Mohammad Shahban:

    “I know China and India have a few dents in their relationship but I dont think I would see them as enemies.”

    We have as many dents with them as we have with you. Do you see us as enemies-without India ever having invaded Pakistan? China invades us and has been threatening ever since. We had another skirmish in the eastern sector in the eighties. China is also your main supporter. She has always come to your aid, or at least promised to. India has to think of defending itself against both of you good friends operating together militarily. For the last 50 years China has provided support to all the insurgencies in India’s north east.

    “Also we did not cope before 1998, we were alwayz nervous or expecting an attack. Just because something didnt happen for a long time dusnt mean its not going to happen ….”

    Why were you expecting an attack? Because you were inclined to attack yourselves, if you had had the ability? You assumed that we were an aggressive lot, just like your lot?

    “Nobody is so arrogant and/or stupid to make nukes or to make important decisions for no reason, when a nation does something, there is usually a reason behind it.”

    The reason behind it? The Americans built one because they thought that the Germans were building one, and they used it to save American lives they say( though Gore Vidal disagrees saying the Japanese had sent messages for a negotiated peace but the Americans were keen to test anyway the effects anyway).

    So the USSR made it because of the US and China and then India because of China and now Pakistan, because of India not because India had it, but anyway against India, and Israel because it felt threatened.

    So, the bomb was meant to be defensive, but what is it defending Pakistan against-an Indian invasion? Why not against Iran which has invaded Pakistan far more often than India has.

  40. shiv

    OK let me take it that the opinion on this board is that there is no (or no longer any) paranoia of India. But that does not seem to reflect in opinion polls from Pakistan where India is cited as the biggest threat. One poll from 2009 had nearly 80% of Pakistanis placing India as the biggest threat.

    If India is not a military threat and can no longer occupy Pakistan, what is it about India that the people of Pakistan are convinced constitute the India threat? I know for a fact (from articles and online interactions) that many Pakistanis have claimed, or used to claim that India is a threat to Muslims or Islam. That Indian Muslims are not allowed to do azan. Muslims are being treated as slaves etc. It appears to me that an entire mythology about India has been built up in Pakistan. Why has this mythology been built up? What use was it to Pakistanis – either leaders or the people?

    Was it a need to unify Pakistanis using a commonly applicable grievance?

    Was it a way of forcing Pakistanis to accept adversity and defeats in war by blaming and external agent?

    Was it the misapplication of Islam for the benefit of a few?

    Paranoia of India is more beneficial to India in the short term and detrimental to Pakistan. In the long term India will have to pick up the pieces whether Pakistan survives or not. I am not joking when I write such things.

    If you look at those opinion polls of Pakistanis you find that the things that top the list of “major threats” that Pakistanis face are (not necessarily in the exact order given below)
    1) India
    2) Corruption
    3) Terrorism
    4) High prices

    This thread is about nuclear weapons so let me point out that nuclear weapons are supposed have neutralised the India threat. Many Pakistani leaders openly point that out using pretty much the same language that Mustafa Shaban used.

    In theory, Pakistan should be able to dismiss the India threat and start dealing with corruption, terrorism and high prices. But that is not being done as far as I can tell. Even as recently as in the last few months gen Kiyani has stated that India remains the gravest threat. I can launch off into an explanation of why Kiyani may need to say that – but whatever his rationale it is bound to spill into the consciousness of the average Pakistani because the army has, if nothing else, managed to retain respect for itself. For Pakistan it seems to be as follows: We need to deal with corruption, but we must first face the India threat. We need to deal with terrorism but we must first face the India threat. We must deal with high prices but we must first face the India threat. We must develop Pakistan but we must first face the India threat

    There is no urgency or demand in Pakistan to see India as a lesser threat. I will not say how this is convenient for India, but I will allege that it is convenient for a small oligarchy in Pakistan to perpetuate the India threat. And this can eventually lead to one more split of Pakistan unless Pakistanis can sort their real priorities out.

    Sorry to write so much. I can write a book chapter on how I think paranoia of India, corruption, high prices and terrorism in Pakistan are interconnected. But let me stop for now.

  41. Raza

    @shiv

    One poll had 80% of people citing India as the biggest threat?
    Which Poll is that? I have the gallop poll results which seem to contradict that poll. It is gallop-aljazeera july 2009.
    Yes India is still perceived as a threat but no longer the number one threat. Yes nuclear arsenal was orginally developed to counter India but now occupies a much broader sphere in the Pakistani mindset. Nuclear arsenal is now considered something beyond a mere deterrant (deterrant part is still there though)
    Threat is still there but is not considered that important. Post 9/11 the onus has shifted to West a lot. India is still there but no longer considered the top threat.

  42. shiv

    The Pew Global attitudes project Aug 13 2009 says:

    The Threat of India

    There is widespread concern over the threat
    posed to Pakistan by India. More than eight-in-ten
    (83%) believe that India is a serious threat to their
    country, with most saying it is a very serious threat
    (69%). By comparison, only a handful of respondents think that India is a minor threat (5%) or not a threat at all (4%). Notably, more Pakistanis cite India as a serious threat to their country than say the same about the Taliban (73%) and al Qaeda (61%).

    Anxiety over India is nearly universal
    among Pakistanis in the Punjab province, where
    over nine-in-ten (95%) believe that their
    country’s neighbor is a serious threat. A similar
    fear of India is common among those living in
    the North West Frontier Province (NWFP)
    (88%), and to a lesser extent among respondents
    in the Sindh province (63%).

    The Al Jazeera poll of 2009 has the following results:

    Greatest threat to Pakistan -US, India or Taliban?
    US – 59%
    India – 18%
    (Pakistani) Taliban – 11%
    Don’t know – 12%

    Center for Public Opinion poll 2008 (New America Foundation)
    Results of a New Nationwide Public Opinion Survey of Pakistan before the June 2008 Pakistani By-Elections

    Which of the following Countries or Groups do you Think Pose the Greatest Threat to your Personal Safety?

    USA 44%
    India 14%
    Pakistani Taliban 8%
    Al Qaeda 6%
    Pakistani military and ISI 5%
    Afghan Taliban 4%

  43. razaraja

    Yes I was refering to the above Poll which places USA way ahead of India.

  44. Kaalket

    Let me explain a bit to few indians here . India threat is Hindu threat and Hindu threat is cultural,education as well religious threat. My humble suggestion for Paki people is that since they dont have national language or script originated in the land they currently reside in , Holy Arabic language can fulfil all these cultural, social , religious and even economic requirements . 2-3 generation , no one will understand the language of Indian side thus the perceived hegmonial threat will disappear.

  45. shiv

    Gen Kiyani, in various statements in which he sought to reassure people that the India threat was not forgotten has said, like a military man would “We prepare for our adversary’s capabilities, not his intention”

    If we take this at face value and not pose the various rhetorical arguments possible that show up the contradictions in that statement, we must assume that the Pakistan military is preparing itself based on the capability of its adversaries, never mind their intention.

    Who are the Pakistan army’s adversaries?
    1) India
    2) USA
    3) Taliban/terrorists

    The Pakistani army, as stated by some on this thread is well prepared against India

    Is the Pakistan army preparing against the US’s capabilities? Clearly this is an unrealistic goal.

    Is the Pakistan army preparing itself against the Taliban/terrorists? Yes.

    In principle the army has 3 adversaries and is unable to prepare against all

    What is the best way forward for the army?

    1) Try and prepare to fight all three
    2) Make peace with the US and fight the Taliban and prepare to fight India
    3) Make peace with the Taliban and try and fight the US while keeping India at bay
    4) Make peace with India and the US and fight the Taliban
    5) Make peace with India and the Taliban and fight the US
    6) Make peace with the US and Taliban and fight India?
    7) Make peace with all and proceed with development?

    If the Pakistani people had a choice in guiding the army’s actions which route would they choose?

  46. razaraja

    @shiv

    First of all pakistanis never had much choice for guiding army!

    Assuming they have, I would prefer that they opt for last choice but in reality we know it is somewhat farfetched.

    So as you have rightly pointed out that USA is too strong an “enemy” for the army to fight so despite hatred the majority of pakistanis wont like army to take on them.

    As far as india is concerned people no longer percieve it as threat no 1 but are mindful of the fact that India may take advantage due to pakistan’s weak position due to engagement in war on terror. So they would always like army to be strong enough to defend pakistan successfully.

  47. Mustafa Shaban

    @Bin Ismail: We are not making nukes as part of our national indentity. Our national identity is based on values laid out by Quad E Azam and Allama Iqbal. Any military or civilian achievement by local pakistanis or overseas pakistanis is a source of pride.

    @kalkeet: From what I know at one point Ghandhi wanted a united India but then he also supported the creation of Pakistan. I dont think he stopped muslims from migration. Also Pakistan doors are alwayz open for indian muslims. Some of them got left behind and are finding it difficult to move but most of them actually decided to stay there. Its thier freedom as to where they want to stay, nobody can force them into anything.

    @Hayyer: China has clashed with India but not as much as Pakistan and also economic relations between the countries are good. China’s stance towards india has changed over time. It is India that still feels threatened by China. I do not believe that China is an imperialist minded country. China only desires economic dominance in the region not military dominance like the US or regional dominance like Israel and India.

    First of all I do not make Pakistans foriegn policy and I do not represent those who do either so I pretty much did not assume anything. I never said that Indian people are aggressive, I said that the indian ruling class has its own hegemonic designs in the region, like you blame China for backing certain insurgencies, Some countries blame India for backing insurgencies in their countries. Many analysts see India as a regional bully like Israel in the Middle East.

    I am amazed at what you say, when did Iran ever invade Pakistan?? Also when India had nuclear weapons the balance of power in the region was towards india. In 1998 the nuclear blasts gave Pakistan a sort of balance though ofcourse not a perfect balance. The possibility is alwayz there and a smart leader alwayz considers all possibilities and prepares for it. There is no gaurantee for any country. Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, even though Israel and US always threaten the Iranians and are mobilizing in the Persian Gulf some analysts say correctly that US and Israel may not attack Iran as the retaliation would be too costly. But does that mean they wont? Does that mean Iran should just sit back and relax? There is alwayz a threat and you cannot trust nations and geopolitics, you cannot predict what people will do so you alwayz have to be prepared.

    @Shiv: I am not aware of any such myth being developed in Pakistan. Referring to the polls, you are right that Pakistanis consider India a threat. Its not paranoia. See the Indian army chief and political leaders on one hand do Aman Ki Aasha, and on the other hand they give statements like ”we better be prepared to go to war with China and Pakistan” or that Pakistan is a threat because it sponsors terrorism in India. In fact its the huge paranoia of Pakistan in India gives potential to an Indian reaction to this unnecessary fear that makes Pakistanis feel threatened by India. Pakistani media does talk about India being a threat, but it does not obsess about India in the same way India obsesses about Pakistan. Indian media time and again demonizes Pakistan. Pakistani media does not demonize but talk about India. As for nukes, they did to a certain extent nuetralize the Indian threat. But again India spends a lot more , 6 times more than Pakistan does on its defence and hence buys a lot military hardware from other nations. Pakistanis cannot understand the need for such a buildup, ofcourse some of it is needed to deter Pakistan but whats with this mammoth like budget? Who does India want to defend itself against? Whos much bigger than Pakistan that India is worried about? Certainly China has clashed with India but its not such a rocky relationship anymore. So whats going on?

    Nobody is saying that corruption, education and healthcare is not important. Human developement is the most important thing in Pakistan and it needs it very badly. Unfortunately our incompetent government has reduced health care and education in the budget from beofre rather than increase it.

    Kayani did not say that we should prioritize our external issues over internal ones, nobody said that. We need to do both. I will not dismiss the fact that an oligarchy can misuse the prescense of a threat for thier own benefits but I dont think this is the case with India.

    @kalkeet: I dont know what makes it so hard for people to understand, Islam is an eglatarian religion and preaches respect for all religions.

    @Shiv: Kayani does not feel that US is a threat. In fact Pak Army and US Army and ISI and CIA have a strong relationship and communication. Kayani is mainly talking about TTP and India and we can only try our best, and we have. Just because we dislike US doesnt mean we want to attack them or go to war with them, no we just want them out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and stop meddling in our affairs, thats all we want. Nothing else. Pakistanis are not confrontational contrary to what most people think. We just want peace and stability. I am not like Tony Stark aand saying peace means having the bigger stick. What I am saying is that balance in power is the best way to ensure peace.

  48. shiv

    @Mustafa Shaban
    But again India spends a lot more , 6 times more than Pakistan does on its defence and hence buys a lot military hardware from other nations. Pakistanis cannot understand the need for such a buildup, ofcourse some of it is needed to deter Pakistan but whats with this mammoth like budget? Who does India want to defend itself against? Whos much bigger than Pakistan that India is worried about? Certainly China has clashed with India but its not such a rocky relationship anymore. So whats going on?

    OK thanks for saying what makes Pakistanis see a threat from India.

    That means that If India starts spending 12 times more than Pakistan on defence Pakistanis would see a bigger threat. And if an RSS/BJP person were paid to say in the media that Pakistan should be eliminated, that too would pressurize Pakistan.

    This is exactly what I thought, and that is fairly well known so you are confirming what is known. A conventional Indian military build up can be used to apply pressure on Pakistan despite the fact that nuclear weapons are there. The military threat of India (which you say is not paranoia) is not removed by Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. I think you know the implication of that without my having to spell it out.

    @ Mustafa Shaban
    Kayani does not feel that US is a threat. In fact Pak Army and US Army and ISI and CIA have a strong relationship and communication. Kayani is mainly talking about TTP and India and we can only try our best, and we have. Just because we dislike US doesnt mean we want to attack them or go to war with them, no we just want them out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and stop meddling in our affairs, thats all we want. Nothing else. Pakistanis are not confrontational contrary to what most people think. We just want peace and stability.

    Kayani does not feel the US is a threat. But Pakistanis do not like the US. The people of Pakistan see the US as a bigger threat than the Taliban as per the opinion polls. Kayani and the Pakistani people have a different view. Kayani has an army. The people have no way of controlling what the army thinks

    Would you like to hazard a guess as to what the Pakistani people would say if they were democratically allowed to decide about giving the US bases from which Predator and reaper drones operate?

    You know very well that the US cannot operate without bases and transit from Pakistan? Would you say that the Pakistan army is fiercely implementing the will of the Pakistani people?

  49. Hayyer

    Mohammad Shahban:

    Where did you get the idea that the China India relationship has smoothened out. The two countries have territorial differences with the armies eye ball to eye ball over a vast mountainous border. They sit on what we claim is our land. We sit on what they claim is their land. They don’t like our hosting the Dalai Lama and oppose us on every forum internationally at every opportunity. But we trade, which is more than we do with Pakistan. China and Pakistan became friends only to counter India after the 62 Indo China war. Before that Pakistan was China’s enemy through its membership of SEATO.

    Persia attacked Pakistan in Achaemnid times, under the Parthians and under Nadir Shah. Iran also has issues with Pakistan over the treatment of the minority sect of Shias, over handling of Afghanistan affairs and probably over Balochistan.

    By your logic you should be prepared against Iran too- why just India.

  50. Bin Ismail

    @razaraja (June 28, 2010 at 10:19 am)

    “…..As far as india is concerned people no longer percieve it as threat no 1…..”

    Very true. Threat #1 for Pakistan today is mullaism. I’ve said this again and again that our army has sacrificed approximately 3000 men in its fight against these militant mullahs. And the fight continues. These 3000 men were killed neither by Hindu militants, nor by Indian soldiers. They were killed by Muslims who were Pakistani. They were killed by the traitors of this nation. Our army, today battles the worst and bloodiest form of high treason. The nation owes a continuation of this fight to our 3000 martyrs.

    @Mustafa Shaban (June 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm)

    “…..We are not making nukes as part of our national identity…..”

    What we’re discussing is that whether Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is the right remedy for our bruised national identity on not. This was the agenda before us. So, let’s stick to the agenda. Wishful thinking aside, we as a nation do have a tendency of pushing the real issues beneath the rug. As I said earlier, equality among all citizens, justice for all citizens and fairplay are the values that need to be established at the levels of both state and society. This would be the true remedy for our bruised national identity. What we have to realize is that none of these values can be achieved in a pro-theocracy environment.

  51. Hayyer

    Sorry, Mustafa Shaban for repeatedly addressing you with the wrong name. There is someone I know by that name and it slips in unwittingly.

  52. Mustafa Shaban

    @shiv: Nuclear weapons does not eliminate the threat of indian invasion. It reduces the threat by a lot but that does not mean its still not there. There is no paranoia but a cause for concern.

    Concerning the relationship with US, the threat seen by Pakistanis is not from US directly but from US foriegn policy and involvment in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the effects, intended or unintended will damage Pakistan greatly. As for the drone attacks you are right the government simply needs to order the Army to shoot it down and the Army has its capabilites but contrary to popular belief the Army is independant but does follow orders from the civilian government.

    @Hayyer: To a certain extent i do agree with you that India and China relations are still very tense but they do not have the same rivalry as with Pakistan.

    That invasion was a long time ago, Iran has a different government, ideology and position than it did at that time. Iran isa peaceful country and has never attacked another country in a long time except it needed to defend itself during iran iraq war in 1980’s. Iran does have some problems with Pakistan but its solving these problems diplomatically. The treatment of Shias though worse in Pakistan is not a problem unique to Pakistan. I agree that Iran has a lot of disagreements with Pakistan but its not at the level of hostility. In fact Pakistan Iran relations are getting bettter especially since the Iran Pakistan deal despite US pressure. Iran right now is not in a position like India to attack anyone. Its a completely different case.

    @Bin Ismail: I agree to what you say.

    @Hayyer: No problem

  53. skyview

    Ours is a case of madness breeding more madness and no one dares stop it.

    Examine the textbooks used in schools – especially in Pakistan. Are pakistani adults not sick of what is being taught to the youngsters? Are any parents in Pakistan going on the streets to protest against the contents of these textbooks? These textbooks are the real threat and cause of ever-increasing madness. Recently I wrote to a pakistani friend: may his grandchidren have the fortune of growing up without such textbooks. It is these textbooks which are the real arsenal of Pakistan as medicine for the bruised ego/identity.

  54. shiv

    @ Mustafa Shaban
    Nuclear weapons does not eliminate the threat of indian invasion. It reduces the threat by a lot but that does not mean its still not there. There is no paranoia but a cause for concern.

    It is the concern that makes it possible for India to ramp up or ramp down the level of concern.

    Please re read your own post. You have made what appears to be a litany of complaints about India’s military spending and threats.

    I will only point out what I have done earlier. An attacking force needs to have a 2:1 or 3:1 superiority over a defending force (in conventional terms). That may be modified in modern warfare, but if Pakistan has to feel safe (and less “concerned”) it will have to keep on spending huge amounts of money on defence, as it has been doing for many years to prevent India from reaching that level of superiority.

    I have references (they may be wrong, or accused of being wrong) that point out that at times 40% of Pakistan’s entire budget has gone towards the military. Even otherwise, because of the India “concern” Pakistan has to keep on spending more and more as long as India spends more and more.

    This is not paranoia. This is abundant “concern”, but that concern can have no end unless India stops spending money on expanding its military which makes Pakistanis “concerned”. India is showing no sign of stopping spending. Therefore Pakistan has to keep on spending more and more.

    If you were an Indian bent on screwing Pakistan would you or would you not make Pakistan spend more than it can afford on armament. After a stage Pakistanis will have to say “Poverty and deprivation mean nothing. Honor and security are everything”and sacrifice development in favor of defence spending. And as expected this thread already has a post by a man calling himself “Sardar Khan” who said:

    Remeber it a pride of the nation that matters not the money

    So as long as the India “concern” is there and as long as India spends more and more and more on defence Pakistan will have to sacrifice development in favor of security against India. Now development statistics in Pakistan are gradually sinking. There are more people, there is more poverty, more illiteracy and the economy is depending on bailouts from the World Bank. And Pakistan has to spend even more to fight America’s war.

    Don’t you think that this is good for anyone in India who wants to see Pakistan flushing itself down the toilet trying to keep up with India in defence spending? And what are the nuclear weapons doing if they are not helping ordinary Pakistanis feel better – but instead ordinary Indians are having a laugh watching Pakistanis show “concern” every year the Indian defence budget goes up. It is already bigger that Pakistan’s annual budget if I am not mistaken.

    Where do you see the solution to this? India is in no way interested in seeing Pakistan get out of this mess easily unless Pakistan can give something in exchange. Yes it is a dirty game, but that is how the world works.

  55. Hayyer

    Mustafa Shaban:

    My interest is to understand why Pakistan feels threatened by India. You say that Pakistan is compelled to follow suit as India spends or overspends. That is not correct.
    From 1947 to 1963, India spent practically nothing on the military, except for the purchase of fighters for the air force. The army continued to use WW 2 weapons and even earlier. Arms training manuals written in the 1930s were still in use as late as 1960. The Indian Navy was headed by a Rear Admiral, the equivalent of a Major General.
    Nehru wanted all the country’s resources devoted to development. He ignored defence. Pakistan, you will recall had modernized its military in the 50s and 60s without any provocation from India. So, it is not India that leads Pakistan on. Pakistan was doing it on its on long before India got a bashing from China and woke up. In 1965 Ayub Khan felt confident about his superiority to start war. India was aid dependent then and without the resources it has now. India did not provoke Pakistan, it is Pakistan which along with China provoked India. Nowadays we try to build our capacity so that we can defend against both simultaneously.

  56. Tilsim

    @ Hayyer

    Arguments about defence spending aside durable peace requires political will. That requires sacrifices which both countries, mired in their own hubris, have not been able to make. If India choses not to engage with Pakistan’s more moderate elements who have been trying to reverse the legacy of Zia, then they will end up dealing with the heirs of Zia. War or at least greater terrorism will most certainly follow – an uneasy status quo is an unlikely outcome as the Taliban’s hosting of Al Qaeda has proven. Peace between India and Pakistan threatens extremists and that is why they are hell bent on sabotage. These saboteurs often find unwitting but powerful right wing hand maidens on the Indian side. These Indians are very skeptical about all things Pakistan and see relations as a zero sum game. The lack of peace has also undermined the power of the moderate constituency in Pakistan. Indian liberals must recognise what is at stake before there is no Pakistani peace constituency left. With PM Manmohan Singh, there is the leadership to change the course of our history but more work is required amongst the parties to build trust and sell peace to the public (which must involve compromises on both sides) . We must all encourage these current Pakistan-India efforts even if they produce little tangible results straight away.

  57. Girish

    Tilsim,

    There is a lot of skepticism in India about the so-called Pakistani liberals. Apart from a handful of inconsequential individuals, the Pakistani liberal elite is seen as almost as harmful to India and Indian citizens as the extreme elements. To take examples, the first Jihad was launched during the rule of the ultimate Pakistani liberal – Jinnah. Ayub Khan was another liberal who launched a totally unnecessary war under racist assumptions of “Hindu” morale and of the racial superiority of Muslim soldiers to Hindu soldiers. Yet another liberal, Bhutto, tore apart an honorable peace deal in Simla the moment he landed in Pakistan. And his daughter, another liberal, launched the “war of a thousand cuts” and yet another jihad in the 1990s. Yet another liberal, Musharraf, launched another jihad using extremists that he supposed held by the balls (refer to his tapped telephone conversation with his deputy from China). And the current, supposedly liberal Government, has done everything to ensure that the capabilities for future wars of thousand cuts remain intact.

    So is the skepticism towards the intentions and/or abilities of the supposed Pakistani liberals unjustified? Why should it be any better than the more extreme elements such as Zia, when the outcomes were no different? Zia was immensely harmful to Pakistan and to India as well. But the supposed liberals were equally harmful and in some cases more harmful than the extremists. Unless actions demonstrate a change in attitudes of the liberals, I doubt that the skepticism will go away.

  58. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    You are right that Pakistan cannot continue to carry on with a conventional arms race that is why it covertly resorted to assymetrical warfare. The more Pakistan turns into a sort of North Korea, the more this gets even more dangerous. India’s policy of outspending Pakistan on the military only goes so far in neutralising the threat of war. Do you think that India’s national interest might be better served by political compromise (to establish peace) and fostering trade and people to people relations (to make it durable) – rather than isolating Pakistan?

  59. Tilsim

    @ Girish

    Perhaps the” supposed Pakistani liberals interests “are more aligned with peace with India now than in the past. That said, we all have every chance to miss another historic opportunity. Let’s see what happens.

  60. Girish

    Perhaps, but only time will tell. Meanwhile, your prescription is exactly the position of successive Indian Governments, across the political spectrum. Both Vajpayee and now MMS have aimed for political accommodation with Pakistan, coupled with trade and people to people to contact. There is a broad political consensus on the desirability of these objectives. All that is asked for from Pakistan is to throw away the gun that it has on India’s (and in recent years its own) temple before coming to the negotiating table. Not an unreasonable request, one would think!

  61. Tilsim

    @ Girish

    Pakistan keeps on repeating that political compromise on Kashmir is the core issue. This is the part where everything gets stuck. Musharraf at least made some headway here (signalling that Pakistan was moving from it’s stated position) but it was only the beginning of a process. The militants and others are hell bent on sabotaging this process through terrorism. They read Indian leaderships limitations with its own public very well. Whilst this dialogue is critical, I know that it also increases the risk of a war provoked by militants.

  62. androidguy

    @Hayyer,

    “India did not provoke Pakistan, it is Pakistan which along with China provoked India. Nowadays we try to build our capacity so that we can defend against both simultaneously…”

    to reinforce your point above, in the event of a India-China war, there is a likelihood that the Chinese will invade India through Pakistan, whether the Pakistanis like it or not. Actually, during the “eyeball to eyeball” episode in the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping wanted in his words to “teach India a lesson” and asked his generals to attack India. Answer from the Chinese Generals, ” can’t be done, India too strong defensively on the McMahon line”, unless we attack them through Pakistan”. It is believed that China has operational plans to do such thing in future, if need be. Obviously, India is prepared for it, something to the effect that India can take both China & Pakistan simultaneously was alluded to by the Indian Army Chief a few months back.

  63. androidguy

    @Tilsim,

    All India is asking for is to have the talk about political compromise as long as you stop pointing a gun at it. How unreasonable is that? As for the Kashmir “core” issue, what exactly are the expectations of Pakistan realistically? If Pakistanis expect that India will agree to give the valley to them, that’s delusional. The best that can be expected is making the borders “irrelevant” whatever that means in practical terms. India has withstood the worst of Pak sponsored insurgency and come out of it relatively successfully. India simply won’t give up what it has shed blood & treasure to preserve over the last two decades.

  64. Tilsim

    @ Androidguy

    Restating existing positions is not political compromise. I don’t know where the ultimate political solution lies exactly – that is too much to ask me but I do recall seeing various possibilities set out helpfully by the BBC a few years ago. Recognising LOC as the international border, maximum autonomy for the valley and making the borders irrelevant may be one solution acceptable to Pakistan’s ‘supposed liberals’. However there are various constituencies amongst Kashmiris. It’s not clear to me what the majority want and who represents them best.

    As for the gun, it’s naive to think that Pakistan’s establishment is in full control of it’s renegade offspring. Pakistan is in an existential struggle because of these policy mistakes.

  65. Girish

    Tilsim:

    Renegade offspring indeed. Then why were serving military officials acting as controllers for the terrorists in Mumbai as they were going about their killing spree? If they were “renegade” as well, why is there no action against them? And why is the Government of Pakistan not even attempting to go after the real masterminds, both within the state establishment and outside? And this is merely one attack in a two-decade long “war of a thousand cuts” in which tens of thousands of civilians have lost their lives.

    You know as well as I do that the anti-India elements, such as the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba are no renegades, but state-supported entities. The fact that Pakistan has lost control of other renegades who are now pointing their guns towards their former masters has no bearing on the fact that the entities built up against India are still patronized by the Pakistani state.

  66. Tilsim

    @ Girish

    I think you have much greater belief in the Pakistani establishment coherence and competence then any reasonable Pakistani would. If they were really so competent and coherent we would not be facing such a massive crisis. I think Indians have no idea. Note, I am not absolving Pakistan’s establishment from it’s failures to take a tough stance against anti-India terrorists. I am also not absolving them from their failure to purge those elements that are not falling into line with a new direction.

  67. bciv

    @Hayyer

    this is a slightly late response to something you said earlier. isn’t kayani right about pak’s responsible decision to maintain capability than to irresponsibly assume intentions? maintaining capability would require some relevant benchmark. the rational thing about such a benchmark is that it is likely to be far less potentially ephemeral than mere intentions, assumed or not.

  68. androidguy

    @Tilsim,

    If by “compromise” you mean giving up territory as a grand gesture of goodwill, or because India is the “biggest nation in this region”, then foggetaboutit.
    I can’t obviously speak for the political establishment of India, but I can say with fair amount of confidence that India won’t “compromise” in that sense of the word. “Existing poistions” in a cartographic sense is all we’ll get–the Pakistanis on one side of the LOC and the Indians on the other side, with people and goods crossing it, after presenting their passports to customs, of course.

  69. Tilsim

    @androidguy

    Thanks but I don’t want to get into a debate of what sort of compromise is needed – I am not competent to conduct such a debate. I am not at all clear what the Kashmiris want and who best represents them. In my previous comment, I set out one possibility which is similar to your thought. However for there to be peace, the various Kashmiri groups have to be willing to lay down their arms and those who don’t, have to be dealt with by Pakistan and India.

    From where I stand, India does not seem to recognise that Kashmir is an unfinished political problem of partition which even Jammu & Kashmir’s special status has not resolved. It is simply seeing it as a terrorism problem sponsored by Pakistan. That is clearly not the whole story.

  70. Girish

    Tilsim,

    If the Pakistani sponsored violence is stopped, I am sure there will be a political solution to the problem, with Kashmiris fully involved in the process. Why do I have that confidence? Because every other issue of this kind has led to a political solution with compromises involved. The Mizo insurgency is an example. It was sponsored by the Pakistani state. The physical infrastructure for supporting the insurgency existed in E. Pakistan. After Bangladesh was created, the sponsorship ended. There was a political settelement in Mizoram, with the former anti-India insurgents in power since then. It is one of the most peaceful states in India today, with relatively high HDI levels. The same story is repeated everywhere, including the process underway in Nagaland just now.

    Why take examples from elsewhere? In Kashmir, there were serious negotiations underway between the Vajpayee Government and the Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest group fighting in Pakistan. What happened? The ceasefire and talks were ended in a dramatic fashion by the Hizbul Mujahideen under Pakistani instructions by killing scores of people, including pilgrims going to pray in the Amarnath shrine.

    I have full confidence that political solutions will emerge if the sponsorship of terrorism is ended. It might not result in the outcomes that Pakistan wants necessarily, and that is why there is no desire in Pakistan to allow such a process to take place.

  71. Hayyer

    bciv:

    To try and answer your question I have to go back to my question, which is, why does Pakistan feel threatened by India when all the wars (except perhaps 1971) were begun by Pakistan. In other words why bench mark against us?

    I have read on PTH that India has never accepted the reality of Pakistan, that Indian leaders expected Pakistan to collapse anyway, that they encouraged the process by withholding Pakistan’s share of the sterling balances, that it was wholly unfair in the division of resources in ’47, and so on. But except for the ’71 affair, which is arguably a consequence of Pakistani political and military bungling, has India ever attacked Pakistan? What makes it the enemy that needs benchmarking? Is it the propaganda of Muslims being oppressed in Kashmir. Before 1990 there were no HR violations and no militancy but India was even then the enemy.

    Kiyani’s thesis is perfectly valid. India is working on the same basis with China; preparing for its capabilities. Our former Defence Minister is on record saying that China is the real enemy. Except for the Communist Party of India everyone in India would agree. And we prepare for it.

    But what if India is not the real enemy? Would Kiyani then not be guilty of doing Pakistan harm instead of good?

    The intentions may be more ephemeral but what if they don’t exist on India’s side. In that case the bench mark wastes scarce resources and creates tensions.

    But Kiyani was implying more than he said. The benchmark is not just against India’s capabilities, it is also about the PA’s intentions. PA has no intention of letting matters cool down between India and Pakistan till Kashmir is solved to its satisfaction, and perhaps not even then (as Musharraf said soon after dismissing NS). If India had no intentions at all why should the PA bench mark itself?

    Which brings me to Tilsim’s point. Liberals in India respond to liberals in Pakistan these days but it was possible at one time to be a Pakistani liberal and rather dismissive of India, or even to orchestrate Pakistani opinion against its neighbour. I presume there were plenty of liberals in the AIML, but they too carried the hangover of the poisonous decade before ’47 and its immediate aftermath. So I presume did all Hindus and Sikhs. We are more than two generations away from that time. Must we carry the cross forever?

    So what is the way forward; we should be concerned with that rather than fault finding in the past. The initiative was taken by Vajpayee but where did it get him? MM Singh goes against the general mood to create openings and he gets slapped down. The Pakistani Foreign Minister repeatedly asked for talks but the moment India agreed there was old Qureshi in a public meeting, actually crowing that India had been forced to talk to Pakistan; and then your PM immediately interjected the K word.

    Certainly Kashmir needs solving. It absolutely cannot carry on as things are; but its rather like slapping him in the face with a wet fish to tell the Indian PM so whenever he opens his mouth to talk. Kashmir will take some quiet diplomacy not up front declarations.

    Some days ago PMA and I had a discussion on another thread about Kashmir. I have come to believe that even knowledgeable and intelligent Pakistanis have no idea what an incredibly complicated mosaic J&K is. Even the simple solution of open borders and local autonomy is going to cause problems within the state.

    Liberal Pakistanis can exert an influence beyond their numbers because I presume they are over represented in the urban literate and articulate sections of Pakistani society. Yet there is increasing despair among this very section. Kiyani is reported to be negotiating with Karzai for a share of power for the Taliban and the Haqqani network. Does the PA believe that this will weaken the fundamentalists in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa? What consequences for Pakistan then?This has nothing to do with India’s capabilities or intentions. It is a Pakistani intention to re-empower a violent fundamental group to drive India out of its backyard. What if the NA re-forms and Afghanistan collapses again.

    There is little India can do. We talk on PTH, but it is the liberal politicians of Pakistan and Pakistani civil society who must stand up, like some on PTH do. It means facing up to the mullahs and their quiet allies in the PA. So far, despite the promising start Zardari seemed to make on Indo Pak relations the government is playing to the PA’s foreign policy.

  72. Chote Miyan

    Thanks Hayyer. Thanks for writing so eloquently that, I am sure, captures the dilemma of a lot of us. Liberals in India sympathetic to Pakistan have to face kicks from both sides. In our country we are labeled as too naive, idiots, etc. And, as I have found out, our friends across the border lose no time in lumping us with Bal Thackeray and co. Worse still, any attempts to stand in India for Pakistani’s plight is undercut by the civilian leadership itself. They say that it’s done to satisfy the hawks and assuage the public opinion. One then asks with increasing dismay about the real public opinion in Pakistan. Does it still believe in collecting funds to finance Jud? Apparently, the Punjab Govt. sanctioned funds for Jud at a time our foreign ministers are going to meet. Isn’t that insulting?

  73. Tilsim

    @ Hayyer

    “Kiyani is reported to be negotiating with Karzai for a share of power for the Taliban and the Haqqani network. Does the PA believe that this will weaken the fundamentalists in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa? What consequences for Pakistan then?”

    The US wants to get out of Afghanistan next year so Pakistan’s position vz Haqqani group is also likely to be a consequence of this policy. If the US was staying, it would be harder for Pakistan not to move decisively against them. Indians think they have no responsibility in the current mess but their neutralizing moves in Afghanistan help PA stick to it’s good Taliban/bad Taliban policy. What a mess.

  74. Girish

    Tilsim,

    What are these neutralizing moves? Building the first greenfield highway to be built since the 1960s? Building a Parliament building so that lawmakers can meet in a permanent place rather than in tents or in buildings of Kabul University? Supplying buses for setting up a rudimentary public transport service in Kabul and other major cities? Supplying civilian aircraft for their national airline so that it can fly again? Building a high voltage power line from Uzbekistan, so that people have power at least for a few hours a day? Supplying high energy biscuits to allow the setting up of a rudimentary version of India’s mid-day meal scheme in Government schools? And things of this nature?

    I have not seen anybody referring to tangible, identifiable aspects of the alleged neutralizing moves. Or any concrete evidence of anything that impinges on Pakistan’s security. Can you help me here?

  75. Hayyer

    Mess it is. India got into Afghanistan originally I suppose in line with Pakhtun sentiment when Afghanistan opposed Pakistan. But it is now lining up with the anti Pakhtun Tajiks.

    I do not think the US will quit A’stan next year, or even very early. Pakistan may be playing its hand too early by promoting Haqqani.

    Aren’t they alternative strategies for Pakistan except to back violent fundamentalists?

  76. Tilsim

    The reality is that without a big stick bearing down on a permanent basis as well as practical measures to improve the lot of the people, motivated fundamentalists will win this through fear. The US/NATO is looking all set to fail again in Afghanistan and as a result the danger is that it will strengthen the fundamentalist lobby within Pakistan’s establishment and move the political centre further to the right. The PA will have to respond to these new developments by also purging itself of more liberal thinkers within it’s ranks. An important counter to this can be a breakthrough in relations with India which allows Pakistan’s liberals some identifiable success. The militants know this and therefore there is a high level of risk that they may try something spectacular again.

    The other thing that Pakistan’s moderates have to do (to stay relevant to the public) is to engage with and help solve the multiple crises of governance and provide effective leadership. Easier said than done.

  77. Tilsim

    @ Girish

    The Durand line is not accepted by Afghanistan. All these nation building activities help build India’s influence over Afghanistan. Pakistan has serious unresolved issues with both Afghanistan and India. If India and Pakistan resolve their issues, Afghanistan will also move on with Pakistan.

  78. shiv

    @ bciv
    isn’t kayani right about pak’s responsible decision to maintain capability than to irresponsibly assume intentions? maintaining capability would require some relevant benchmark. the rational thing about such a benchmark is that it is likely to be far less potentially ephemeral than mere intentions, assumed or not.

    It is actually mere rhetoric if you examine reality.

    You want to match capability when you believe there is an intention to wage war.

    By failing to mention the role of perception of intent one can sound sensible. Why does Pakistan not match capability with Iran or China? Because the intent to wage war is not perceived from those sources.

    Kayani’s bluff has been called by India long before Kayani even became a brigadier. But that is another issue. I don’t blame him for saying that. That is all it is possible for him to say without being trapped by his own words. The issue in any case is irrelevant.

  79. @Girish

    I have not seen anybody referring to tangible, identifiable aspects of the alleged neutralizing moves. Or any concrete evidence of anything that impinges on Pakistan’s security.

    We have to remember that just as we inherited in India a truly untenable frontier policy based on long-past imperial arrogance and high-handed behaviour towards bordering states other than Pakistan, so did Pakistan, vis-a-vis Afghanistan. If one is permitted to quote:

    the NWFP/KP portion became the boundary line only since 1893, when Henry Durand signed an agreement with the Emir of Afghanistan defining the Durand line as the boundary.

    Prior to that date, Afghanistan existed with a fluid frontier, which sometimes included the Punjab and beyond, right up to the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, and sometimes shrank, for instance in the face of the expansion of the Lahore Durbar and its outstanding general, Hari Singh Nalwa.

    The Hindu Kush being a natural boundary is due to a habit of thinking loosely of ‘India’ as being bounded by the peaks on the north and the west; unfortunately for this sloppy habit, the trans-Indus territories were at least as often (I am being polite) under the rule of the ruling power in what we call Afghanistan today, as under any other rule this side of the mountains.

    If I may be permitted to remind readers, these trans-montane rulers of the trans-Indus sections include the Achaemenids, the Alexandrian (Macedonian) Greeks, the Bactrian Greeks, the Saka (Scythians), the Parthians, the Kushanas, the Ephthalite Huns, then after a gap during the Gupta Empire, the Hindu-Shahi/Turk-Shahi kingdom (ruling both sides of the mountains), the Ghaznavids, the Ghorids, again a gap during the Delhi Sultanate, or parts of it, the Mongols (specifically the Il-Khanate), and finally the Afshar and Abdali Empires. Against that, we have the Maurya Empire, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire, and Lahore under Ranjit Singh pushing the frontier back. This is not intended to be an accurate or comprehensive list.

    It would be interesting to know under these circumstances what makes the Hindu Kush to be considered the natural boundary of ‘India’, and by whom. Natural obstacle, yes; passages in a natural obstacle, yes; ‘deemed’ boundaries, a somewhat over-extended definition.

    The point is that the Pakistanis have two reasons to look at Afghanistan: the silly ‘strategic depth’ reason, and the old borders and zone of influence issue. Regarding old borders and zone of influence, a resurgent, strong and hostile Afghanistan, if it can be imagined, might at some future date make a push towards the Indus, claiming that much of its territories (including Baluchistan) were severed by superior force at a time when the state was weak or unable to protest the British. That would include K-P and Baluchistan.

    There was in fact such an Afghanistan in the making, though not fully evolved, not an Afghanistan that challenged Pakistan militarily, during the first few decades after independence, and thereafter under Khalq/Parcham rule and then during Soviet occupation.

    While it has never been mentioned in explicit terms, it is clearly on the minds of the Pakistan military. This may in their minds colour every action that everyone else takes in Afghanistan, or drive their actions within Afghanistan.

  80. shiv

    @ Tilsim

    You are right that Pakistan cannot continue to carry on with a conventional arms race that is why it covertly resorted to assymetrical warfare. The more Pakistan turns into a sort of North Korea, the more this gets even more dangerous. India’s policy of outspending Pakistan on the military only goes so far in neutralising the threat of war. Do you think that India’s national interest might be better served by political compromise (to establish peace) and fostering trade and people to people relations (to make it durable) – rather than isolating Pakistan?

    You have asked a whale of a question.

    It would be simplest (and hopefully brief) for me to state Indian perceptions of Pakistani intent. The fact that those Indian perceptions are correct despite denials in Pakistan is bore out by a number of recent books by Pakistani authors. But I digress.

    Pakistan has a long history of using “irregulars” or men in mufti to fight its wars. The occupation of Kashmir in 1947 started with such irregulars abd their evacuation from the outskirts of Srinagar was precisely because they were not regular, disciplined army.

    In 1965 Pakistani special forces personnel in mufti were inflitrated into Kashmir as saboteurs in operation Gibraltar. This was followed by a devastating Pakistani attack (operation Grand lam) which India could scarcely hold bak. That is what prompted Shastri to open a front in Punjab. This has been called an “Indian invasion of Pakistan” with no one being told the whole story.

    In 1999, elements of the Northern Light Infantry were sent into the heights in Mufti as “mujahideen”

    Hundreds of captured inflitrators in Kashmir have spoken of how they were trained and funded and who was involved. And how many are Pakistani citizens.

    So asymmetric war is not a new tactic. It is a tactic used by the Pakistan army for deniability. It helps to create a facade of a “spontaneous indigenous rebellion” .

    Pressure on the Pakistani army does help in reducing asymmetric war incidents. It may not eliminate them, but it does reduce them because many of these “asymmetric warriors” are deeply connected with the Pakistani army and are hardly an independent force as is claimed. Every time the Pakistani army has been put under pressure the asymmetric war slows down to a trickle or stops.

    So from the Indian viewpoint putting the Pakistani army, and indirectly the Pakistani economy under intense pressure makes good sense. Another point is that the army are really the only people capable of ruling Pakistan. I say “ruling” Pakistan, not governing. What the army does is hardly good governance. When the Pakistan army rules Pakistan, they are too busy to create terror in India, It is when civilian governments are in power in Pakistan that the army hands are freed up to create terror.

    No matter how ill behaved the Pakisani army is with regard to India, it is the only friend the US has in the region. The US wants to see the Pakistani army survive. US power in the region hinges around the capability of the Pakistani army.

    In a sense the US and India are in a proxy war. believe it or not. But unless I stop here I will end up writing another book chapter.

    Peace and trade will come in the absence of war. From the Indian viewpoint asymmetric war is war. From the Pakistani viewpoint it has been “What war? Its your problem. They are freedom fighters”

    The only problem is that groups like the Lashkar e Toiba have leaders who have been at it for 2 decades. They are hardly likely to take orders from Kayani or his juniors when these people were in their diapers when the likes of Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar were already fighting. The Pakistan army is now seeing the effect of loss of control of some of its former allies.

    Must stop NOW.

  81. shiv

    @ Tilsim
    The US/NATO is looking all set to fail again in Afghanistan and as a result the danger is that it will strengthen the fundamentalist lobby within Pakistan’s establishment and move the political centre further to the right. The PA will have to respond to these new developments by also purging itself of more liberal thinkers within it’s ranks. An important counter to this can be a breakthrough in relations with India which allows Pakistan’s liberals some identifiable success. The militants know this and therefore there is a high level of risk that they may try something spectacular again.

    I agree that a breakthrough in relations with India is a good idea here.

    But the dark horse here is the Pakistani army. There is a perception in India that the Pakistani army wants to retain its covert war capability with India.

    India has only two options here.

    One is to ask (beg) the US to use is influence with the Pakistani army to help stop that. But that puts India at the mercy of US vicissitudes.

    The other option is the threaten the Pakistan army and prepare for war. Everyone is at risk then.

    The key lies in exerting a moderating influence on the Pakistani army. In recent TV debates, Indian experts (Parthasarathy, Maroof Raza) have been derisive of the Indian governments efforts at talks. The viewpoint is that the only serious talks anyone can have with Pakistanis is with the army. Short of that everything else is a waste of time.

    I don’t really know.

  82. Chote Miyan

    @Vajra,
    Excellent post, but I have a question regarding the following lines:
    “We have to remember that just as we inherited in India a truly untenable frontier policy based on long-past imperial arrogance and high-handed behaviour towards bordering states other than Pakistan, so did Pakistan, vis-a-vis Afghanistan. ”

    Can you point out any one of our neighboring countries that have been so devastated by India as Afghanistan has been by Pakistan. You should talk to some overseas Afghanis and hear them go ballistic the moment Pakistan’s name comes up. We messed up in Sri Lanka but compared to what has been happening in Afghanistan, it was a mere picnic. The day PA stops punching above its weight and gets rid of its modern day Al-Mansurs, there would be peace all around.

  83. @Chote Miyan

    No, I cannot point out any one of our neighboring countries that have been so devastated by India as Afghanistan has been by Pakistan. But then, that was not the point being made.

    First, I was referring to the complications that we were wrapped in, thanks to British stupidity and arrogance, in making arbitrary lines on the map which our bureaucrats and our singularly obtuse leadership in those days took as holy writ. Both the Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh lines were not worth the paper they were written on, thanks to the racist arrogance of the British at the time that these were decided.

    That confusion led to a military debacle. Pakistan had reason, not huge reason, to fear a military outcome of their own problem.

    They went in when they saw a chance to twist things in their favour ‘permanently’. They made a hash of it, but may yet recover.

    Was it uniquely ill-omened? Let us see.

    We went in (elsewhere, at the other end of South Asia) when we saw a chance; by great good fortune, we didn’t land up in their position. But if Mujib had succeeded in his BAKSAL reforms, we would have been singing a different tune today. As it is, I can introduce you to enough Bangladeshis who go ballistic when India’s name comes up. The figure is approximately 30/35%.

    When I was engaged in doing business in Bangladesh, I found it expedient to display a Singapore visiting card, which opened every door, not 50% of the doors.

    What we did or didn’t do in Sri Lanka is far away from these questions and is not really comparable.

    That did not happen in any of the periods mentioned, Afghanistan under Zaheer Shah, Afghanistan under Khalq/Parcham and Afghanistan under Soviet occupation. At these points of time, there was sufficient tension on both sides for a reflexive response to be injected into Pakistani military thinking, never very illuminated by intellect as it was.

    It is illogical to ignore these influences and do a fast-forward to their devastation of Afghanistan, clumsy, inept and maladroit as it was.

    What I sought to highlight was not the iniquity of the Pakistani military, but the influences that brought them to think warily of Afghanistan in the first place. There is not much to link our posts.

  84. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    “There is a perception in India that the Pakistani army wants to retain its covert war capability with India. ”

    The hope must be that if we settle central disputes, the impetus will be gone and militant and fundamentalist forces will lose a rallying cry.

    It will take time before more moderate progressive forces dominate the State. Trade and people to people contact can help to empower moderate political forces and diminish the threat of war.

    Pushing Pakistan into a corner whilst these problems are unresolved provides an easy out for extremists or those who are extremely sceptical about India’s intentions.

  85. Tilsim

    “In recent TV debates, Indian experts (Parthasarathy, Maroof Raza) have been derisive of the Indian governments efforts at talks. The viewpoint is that the only serious talks anyone can have with Pakistanis is with the army. Short of that everything else is a waste of time. ”

    Of course there is truth in the fear that the PA calls the shots on Kashmir policy. However like any institution it is an evolving creature. Challenge the politicians and it with a political solution. Politicians and the PA do not always see eye to eye as we have seen in Pakistan’s domestic politics. The policy of no talks is also having a predictable and catastrophic outcome. We need to move away from this. My fear is that the militant forces/ hawks will not let these talks take place by stepping up their activity. Do politicians have the stomach to proceed through the bullet storm?

  86. shiv

    Well if Anato Lieven is to be believed – his very ve-ry interesting piece suggests there may be a hidden hand behind talks

    All Kayani’s Men
    Anatol Lieven
    2 June 2010

    But whether or not the ISI is involved in future attacks, India will certainly blame Pakistan for them.

    This creates the real possibility of a range of harsh Indian responses, stretching from economic pressure through blockade to outright war. Such a war would in the short term unite Pakistanis and greatly increase the morale of the army. The long-term consequences for Pakistan’s economic development would, however, be quite disastrous. And if the United States were perceived to back India in such a war, anti-American feelings and extremist recruitment in Pakistan would soar to new heights. All of this gives the United States every reason to push the Pakistani military to suppress some extremist groups and keep others on a very tight rein. But Washington also needs to press New Delhi to seek reconciliation with Islamabad over Kashmir, and to refrain from actions which will create even more fear of India in the Pakistani military.

  87. bciv

    @Hayyer

    “But what if India is not the real enemy? Would Kiyani then not be guilty of doing Pakistan harm instead of good?”

    there is the very general principle of weakness attracting aggression or exploitation where there might have been no intention for either before. the doctrine is called ‘minimum deterrence’, after all.

    india need not be the benchmark, but it can be the relevant benchmark given the state of relations today, whatever the details of history of partition or of pakistani dictatorships. the general principle mentioned above also applies to other neighbours and countries further afield. but not every country is an equally relevant benchmark. relevance would take into account things like state relations, geography, history, limits on resources etc. also, using india as a benchmark might include within it – as a bonus – preparedness in terms of the same general principle in relation to one or more of other countries too.

    of course the decision is not kayani’s to make. his political masters have the prerogative. if they were as answerable to the electorate as their counterparts in india, the electorate would decide whether they wished to ‘eat grass’ or not.

    So what is the way forward; we should be concerned with that rather than fault finding in the past. The initiative was taken by Vajpayee but where did it get him?

    and where did it get musharraf? and his newly billionaire son?

    The Pakistani Foreign Minister repeatedly asked for talks but the moment India agreed there was old Qureshi in a public meeting, actually crowing that India had been forced to talk to Pakistan; and then your PM immediately interjected the K word.

    qureshi is a gaddi nashin and, conveniently, a politician. his grandfather was a unionist even in the 1946 elections. gillani’s joined AIML only in 1946. the two were political opponents. gillani started his political ‘career’ in the PML, probably, after obediently seeking the advice of the ISI chief of Multan.

    zardari’s inability to follow his words, or even having to eat his own words, is not limited to foreign policy viz a viz india. he has had to go through the same on balochistan as well (the reality of his own commitment is, largely, irrelevant).

    It is a Pakistani intention to re-empower a violent fundamental group to drive India out of its backyard. What if the NA re-forms and Afghanistan collapses again.

    absolutely right. their claim that US will leave and they must make their own preparations for that is just them trying to prove something that they have already proven to be suicidally stupid.

    The US ‘left’ – the first time round – 20 years ago. the PA tried exactly all these stupid things then and have landed themselves and the country(ies) in the bloody mess they are in today. how would it be any different if they try every underhanded stupid tactic all over again? nothing more stupid, immoral and illegal is left for them to pioneer. perhaps they would realise that the only option left to them now is to try the normal, honest and positive ways to try and initiate and build an equal and mutually advantageous and respectful relationship with a’stan. the same applies to pak’s stance towards india too, of course, as far as going forward is concerned, despite the fact that the history is somewhat different than that with a’stan.

  88. Tilsim

    @ Shiv

    I read the article by Anatol Lieven. It is indeed interesting. I have posted the relevant link so that the entire article can be read:

    http://newamerica.net/publications/articles/2010/all_kayani_s_men_30792

    The confluence of interest is high so that gives the possibility of a political settlement a good window. However my fear is that once again the leadership in both India and Pakistan have not prepared the ground with public sentiment so these talks will get easily derailed by saboteurs within and outside Pakistan’s institutions.

    For one, I can see many of the Indian posters on this blog coming down like a tonne of bricks on Pakistanis when the next incident happens. Whilst the reality will be that Pakistanis will be the greatest victims of this facism. The India Pakistan narrative is like a Greek tragedy in its predictability. We need to turn into a Bollywood type tale with a happy ending!

  89. skyview

    What would India gain by attacking Pakistan? Or by winning territory in Pakistan? No pakistani can give a believable answer to this.

    Truth is Pakistan cannot survive without slandering and vilifying India, hindus, hindu history. Whatever hatred and slander of hindus was necessary for getting (creating the mental need for) Pakistan, that was the seed that remained in the earth after August 1947. It has now grown to be a mighty tree with very attractive but bitter poisonous fruits. And everytime someone tastes this fruit he becomes maddened and spreads more seeds around.

    Kayani or no Kayani – we have seen them all. They are all very clever – but none is wise. They can give sharp-cynical quick answers to questions – but they are blind in hatred and fear resulting from this hatred. That is an integral part of pakistani identity now. There is no one in Pakistan to lead them out of it. The political selection mechanism eliminates anyone, who could be soft-hearted towards India, hindus and hindu religions. Even Jinnah was not soft-hearted towards hindus and hindu religions. the absolutist-finalist religion of the arabs makes it impossible to be soft-hearted towards hindus. This was demonstrated in Mumbai by 10 pakistani killers and their pakistani handlers in Nov. 2008.

  90. Hayyer

    bciv:

    I didn’t get the meaning of newly billionaire son of Musharraf. Is this the gent who lives in the US. When Musharraf made his opening India should have jumped at it. India’s deafening public silence was probably being complemented by backstairs diplomacy. Some have claimed that Kashmir was nearly clinched when Musharraf fell. And now the proposals seem to be dead, or so it was announced in your NA.

  91. @Shiv

    Lieven, is it?
    Looks like you’re lurking on PDF.

  92. bciv

    yes, hayyer, it is bilal mush, and the sudden acquisition and meteoric rise of his wealth. but our judiciary, media and (therefore) its audience is pre-occupied with zardari and his (so far) alleged corruption.

  93. bciv

    When Musharraf made his opening

    our generals are slightly better aware of ‘aattay daal ka bhaao’ when in islamabad than when they are trying to dominate and control a civilian government sitting in rawalpindi. perhaps vajpayee didn’t realise that when he took the bus to lahore, or when the general was in aagra.

  94. Mustafa Shaban

    @Shiv: I do not deny that there is an arms race and that also India aims to put pressure on Pakistan. Either Pakistan spends a lot less on defence and risks keeping the balance or spends a lot on defence and maintain its security. What we need is a real leadership that will eliminate corruption. Most of our money goes in the pockets of ruling elite who spend on foreign assets and properties. IF we can stop curroption than we can spend on everything else including Defence and meet everyones needs.

    @Hayyer: I did not say that this was alwayz the case. This is not something that has been going on since the beginning.

    I also do accept that China and Pakistan are allies and that they will group together if war breaks out between India and Pakistan.

    @Girish: Pakistan is suffering the most losses in the W.O.T. How can you say that Pakistani government is involved in terrorism on Indian soil when Pakistan is the one on the frontlines sacrificing more than the West has in this war?? Not to mention theories of internal rightwing elements within India itself that commits these terrorists acts.

  95. Giri

    Mustafa,

    What kind of argument is it that because Pakistan is involved in America’s WOT on its western borders, it cannot be involved in promoting terror on the eastern side. The groups involved are different in this instance.

    BTW, it has been well known (and recently written about extensively once again) that even on the western front, Pakistan has been playing a double game all along.

  96. shiv

    @ Mustafa Shaban
    I do not deny that there is an arms race and that also India aims to put pressure on Pakistan. Either Pakistan spends a lot less on defence and risks keeping the balance or spends a lot on defence and maintain its security.

    Mustafa the word “balance” is cold war terminology. In fact it predates that and has been used by the “great powers” even before the cold war.

    Britain, and European states in general were convinced of their own moral superiority over everyone else at a time when the exerted military power that could defeat anyone in the world except each other.

    Time and time again they set one idiot colonial native against the other. They gave arms to both sides and made money from both sides, or else they armed one side while a European rival armed the other side. As long as idiot natives were at each others threats the superior race would rule.

    I lived in the UK and every day in Manchester I used to drive past a factory that supplied arms to both Iran and Iraq for 8 years during the war they fought, despite an “arms embargo”.

    In India Tipu Sultan was defeated by the British and a dynasty that ruled the area before Tipu was installed. Tribes in Africa were set against each other. The Ibn Saud family whose descendants control Saudi were paid and supported by the British.

    In the same way a sections of Muslims of India were also encouraged to take their own route – helping to keep the colonials warring. Pakistan is one consequence of that.

    The concept of “balance of power” can be used in two ways. One, by a controlling power such as imperial Britain or modern USA who could and would “balance two warring powers”. The other way is the way a subservient power who is being paid and armed by the primary power talks of “balance”. Pakistan was one of the subsidiary powers that has been used by Britain initially and the US later to “balance” out powers that were seen as inimical to British/US interests. I do not mean to be insulting, but the fact is the Pakistani army has served this role well for its colonial masters, in exchange for support against India.

    It makes me laugh (it’s an ironic laugh, not one of mockery) to see Pakistanis talking of honor and the need to “balance” India. Pakistani honor was sold to America a long long time ago so that America could preserve Pakistani honor relative to India. Ironically it is India that Pakistan is much closer to in history and culture. It was the British who coined the term “martial race” and conned the people of Northwest India that they were so tough they would not get syphilis if they slept with a prostitute. An article exists in an online Pakistani Defence journal that says how this “Martial race” thing came about.

    India has played its own “balancing game” ensuring that it is not dependent on any one nation. That puts India on a collision course with existing powers. But that is another story.

    Pakistanis have been exposed to a peculiar version of history. It is easy for an Indian to say “Your history is cooked up. Mine is correct” but the fact is that when you look at history you find that there are many different versions and sub stories that emerge. If you are fed with only one story, there is no guarantee that you have been told everything there is to tell.

  97. Mustafa Shaban

    @Shiv: You have given a good analysis and your point that both sides in a conflict have been backed by the same people is well documented and I agree with you.

    I disagree on that point when it comes to India and Pakistan. However I completely understnad where you are coming from and many respected scholars drew similar conclusions. However Britian may have wanted to neutralize or control India by dividing it, but the fact remains that indian muslims were not safe and did need a homeland. Our elites in both countries are part of the problem and answer to thier colonial masters. I wouldnt say the same for Pakistan Army because they have very closely watched out for our national security. Pakistan and India are not in the hands of foreign elites like other countries.

    Pakistan and India also have a lot of potential to regain independance of thier countries, to a certain extent they already are independant but in order to be completely independant the elites neeed to be overthrown. Pakistan especially has the capability for the poeple to take control of thier nation as we have an independant media and judiciary and a public especially youth that is ready to bring change. People are sick and tired of seeing the same problems over and over again.

    Balance is still important and going off balance can result in a war which will be devastating especially if there is a nuclear exchange and then there is alwayz a risk of it escalating to a global conflict so we need to avoid that.

  98. Tilsim

    @ Mustafa Shaban

    “Our elites in both countries are part of the problem and answer to thier colonial masters. ”

    I hear this accusation often but not sure I understand the substance of the accusation. Could you kindly elaborate which particular policies reflect this slavery and which particularly have been consequential. What do you think an independent minded elite should have done in its place?

  99. Mustafa Shaban

    @Tilism: An independant elite would have developed our natural resources and spread wealth among the masses rather than concentrate it into the hands of a few. They would have spend money on education and healthcare to develope people rather than loot the nation and fill thier pockets with money and buy huge mansions in US UK and elsewhere. They would not adopt IMF economic policies which impoverish nations and destroy economies. They would not be intimidated by US and UK and would make thier own independant foreign policy. They would have not let any Pakistani go missing or get charged with crimes without a fair trial and due process. Theyy would talk to countries based on thier terms and not on thier terms. They would have had relations with everyone even if they are not friendly with everyone. Why dont we have relations with Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and other countries? Its because our elites feel they will make Washington angry if they try to extend thier hand to anyone else.

  100. Mustafa Shaban

    This article describes our sad state of affairs in foreign policy and international relations. An independant elite would never let this happen.

    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/132/pakistans-unhealthy-obsession-with-us-uk-india/

  101. Mustafa Shaban

    Due to their corrupt practices the elite class can be charged with money laundering among other things according to the law and hence are blackmailed by foreign powers into doing thier bidding.

  102. Bin Ismail

    Jinnah never envisioned Pakistan and India as rival neighbours, one representing Belief and the other Disbelief – certainly not. In November 1946, he said, “The two states [Pakistan and India] will be friends and will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Munroe Doctrine more solid than in America.”

  103. Tilsim

    @ Mustafa Shaban

    Thanks for sharing your view. Elites are just elites. They act in their own interest. No such thing as an independent elite. Elitism itself is the problem.

    In a true democracy, the power of elites to act arbitrarily should be less but in reality it never seems to quite go away. And then are communist elites any better – the Russian version was n’t? One could argue that the Chinese ‘communist’ party has been an elite that has benefitted it’s people in the last couple of decades. Is the Islamic elite of Iran benefitting it’s people or exposing to them economic disaster. Not clearcut.

    In Pakistan elite bashing can simply imply knee jerk anti-West motivation of the basher rather than a broader concern. That is why I asked the question and I think I can discern your motivation here from your comments

  104. Androidguy

    ““The two states [Pakistan and India] will be friends and will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Munroe Doctrine more solid than in America.”

    This makes me laugh.

  105. Mustafa Shaban

    @Tilism: I agree with you, elitism itself is a problem. Elites usually influence government and try to control them. Without elites we can have independant governance. My motivation is not anti west. I am not anti west, just disagree with current western foriegn policy. We need a just economic model where there are no elites.

  106. Bin Ismail

    @Androidguy (July 1, 2010 at 4:30 am)

    “…..This makes me laugh…..”

    If visions of peace had not been laughed at, there would have been peace.

  107. That’s dangerous. Maybe we can give right medicine for them?