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Archive for category India Promoting Subversion in Pakistan Via Afghanistan

Could India’s Military Really Crush Pakistan? By Walter C. Ladwig III Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

Could India’s Military Really Crush Pakistan?


India’s conventional military superiority over Pakistan is exaggerated.

Walter C. Ladwig III

July 2, 2015

Following a raid by Indian special forces into Myanmar early this month, increasing attention has been given to the prospect that India might use similar means against Pakistan to pressure it to end support for anti-Indian militant groups. India’s on-going military modernization and headline-grabbing increases in defense spending have already raised concerns that it threatens to upset the delicate conventional military balance in the region and make military action a more attractive prospect for New Delhi. Taken at face value, there appears to be some validity to this line of thinking. Indian defense spending has doubled in real terms since 1997, growing at an average of 6.3 percent per year. The Modi announced a further 11 percent hike, raising the 2015–2016 military budget to $39.8 billion. Moreover, India is presently the world’s largest buyer of conventional weapons, with upwards of $100 billion expected to be spent on modernizing its defense forces over the next decade.

Consequently, a number of scholars and analysts have suggested Indian military modernization is threatening Pakistan’s conventional deterrence and pressuring Islamabad to embrace battlefield nuclear weapons as a tool of self defense. Yet, this line of thinking overlooks the fact that the Indian military is beset by obsolete platforms. Moreover, a pair of key structural factors mitigate whatever advantages India may be gaining through military modernization: terrain is not conducive to rapid successes in areas of significant strategic value, and in the most likely conflict scenarios, India is unlikely to achieve the strategic surprise necessary to make a limited offensive succeed. Consequently, Indian policymakers cannot be confident that even a limited resort to military force would achieve a rapid result, which is an essential pre-condition for deterrence failure.
Deterring State-Sponsored Terrorism with Conventional Force
Since the mid 2000s, the Indian Army has explored changes to its force structure and concept of operations to enable short-notice offensives of limited duration that would seek to make several small thrusts to Pakistan to quickly seize and hold territory. Termed “proactive strategies,” the aim is to rapidly mobilize division or smaller sized formations to carry out retaliatory conventional strikes that would deter or punish Pakistan for its links to terrorist groups, while simultaneously pursuing narrow enough aims to deny Islamabad a justification to escalate the clash to the nuclear level. In particular, the Indian Army seeks a rapid mobilization and offensive action by division or smaller sized formations who would seek to punish enemy forces or seize territory in a limited offensive of short duration.
Unsurprisingly these efforts have not been well received in Pakistan, whose leaders view the country’s conventional armed forces as the cornerstone of their strategic deterrent capability. Consequently, in recent years, a number of Pakistani analysts have sounded warnings about the Indian military’s alleged growing quantitative and qualitative advantages, alleging that Islamabad’s inability to keep pace with New Delhi’s military build up has increased the pressure to expand Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to include low-yield warheads and short-range delivery systems. These concerns have been echoed in Washington, D.C. A number of researchers at think tanks, including the  the Congressional Research Service, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Hudson Institute appear to share the beliefs of the Stimson Center’s Michael Krepon that Pakistan’s recent embrace of the utility of tactical nuclear weapons and broader Pakistani efforts to enhance the quality and quantity of their nuclear arsenal is a result of “India’s growing conventional capabilities and its more proactive military plans.”
Despite the seemingly dramatic increases in its defense spending, the Indian military—in particular the Army—faces numerous capability shortfalls that would hinder military operations against Pakistan. The large number of obsolete tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces, not to mention critical shortages of ammunition and air-defense assets, raise serious questions whether India can undertake large-scale military operations at all, let alone whether ongoing defense modernization really is sharply shifting the conventional balance in its favor. Although Indian defense spending has gained attention worldwide, much of that money has been spent merely replacing obsolete weapons and equipment.
The most visible manifestation of the “hollowing out” of the Indian Army occurred in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when then Army chief General Deepak Kapoor reportedly was forced to admit to the country’s political leadership that the Army “was not ready for war” with Pakistan in retaliation for the terrorist attacks.


Consequently, deterring Pakistani support for terrorism via conventional punishment faces a number of obstacles, including a lack of sufficient numerical superiority in the conflict zone, unfavorable terrain for a quick offensive and a lack of strategic surprise that could offset these other two factors.
Balance of Forces
Since the end of the Cold War, the manpower balance between the two armies has hovered around a 2:1 ratio in India’s favor. However, just 18 of the army’s 36 divisions are stationed in the states bordering Pakistan, fifteen of which are infantry divisions, with only limited offensive power. In contrast, 18 of the Pakistani army’s 22 divisions—including both of their armored divisions—are deployed in provinces adjacent to the international border. If we account for the estimated 70,000 Pakistani soldiers that have been temporarily redeployed to confront the Pakistani Taliban, India’s manpower advantage at the theater level at the start of any crisis would be 1.2:1.
The conventional wisdom amongst some defense analysts is that an attacking force requires a minimum of a 1.5:1 superiority in forces at the theater level to succeed. However, an attacker would likely seek a larger advantage, on the order of 2:1, before initiating offensive operations and those seeking a decisive outcome would want still higher force ratios in their favor. In any instance, India’s local force advantage is not decisive. Although in a longer conflict India could bring its numerical superiority to bear, the military has numerous shortfalls of ammunition and equipment that make a struggle of more than a few weeks duration unlikely. For example, as of August 2014, the Army lacked ammunition to undertake more than twenty days of “intense fighting” with less than seven days of reserves of key stocks of artillery ammunition, anti-tank missiles and a “critical shortage” of ammunition for its main battle tanks that would run out after ten days, hardly enough time for additional forces to make a difference.
In terms of equipment for ground combat, Pakistan appears to have partially closed a nearly 2:1 gap in tanks that India possessed in the early 1990s, to the point where India’s advantage is just over 1.15:1. However, this modest edge is undercut by the fact that Pakistani armored units are primarily stationed in the vicinity of the international border, while India’s are primarily based in central India.                 
Main Battle Tanks: 1992-2014
Moreover, it is alleged that large numbers of the Indian army’s fleet of tanks are nearing obsolescence and unable to operate at night, while their modern replacements are unsuited for operations in the desert regions around the international border. Unsurprisingly, some Indian defense analysts have suggested that their army requires at least 1,500 modern tanks to gain a conventional edge.
The major shortcoming for Indian forces seeking to undertake a short-notice offensive is their lack of mobile artillery to provide fire support to advancing units.  Political scandals and bureaucratic red tape have left the army with just 10 percent of the self-propelled artillery its mobile armored brigades and divisions require, constraining the kind of bold thrusts a limited aims offensive would require. A recently announced plan to acquire 814 mounted gun systems will address some of this shortfall, but the byzantine nature of Indian weapons procurement and a history of repeated artillery acquisition failures makes it unknown when, if ever, these weapons will actually find their way into service.


The 2,900 kilometer long Indo-Pakistani border is characterized by diverse and varied terrain that has differential impacts on military operations. In Kashmir, the landscape is mountainous and heavily forested. When combined with a lack of wide roads, the movement of vehicles and large military formations is significantly hindered. Depending on the time of year, it is possible to conduct large-scale military operations across the Line of Control (LoC) in the areas of south Jammu and the Kashmir valley. However, difficult terrain and under-developed transport infrastructure, in the words of one scholar, “makes swift, deep penetrations unlikely, if not impossible, in the face of even minor resistance.”
A second section of the border running from Southern Jammu and Kashmir through the Punjab down to Northern Rajasthan is marked by a near continuous line of concrete irrigation canals that stretch for 2,000 kilometers. Not only does this network of canals and their tributaries form an obstacle in its own right, they have been turned into defensive fortifications with the addition of large pilings of soil, concrete bunkers, minefields, and fortified gun emplacements. Securing a bridgehead and mounting a cross-canal assault against a dug-in opponent will be a time consuming and bloody affair.
The third section of the international border, where the Sindh and Punjab meet, is often described as Pakistan’s major point of strategic vulnerability because the country’s primary north-south transportation artery runs extremely close to the international border. However, that historical risk has been significantly alleviated by the construction of a largely parallel highway on the western side of the Indus River. Although this region lacks the extensive fortifications described in the northern Punjab, the presence of irrigation canals and a major river constrain the available axes of advance and allow defenders to fight from prepared positions.
The southernmost sections of the international border, consisting of the flat, barren deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat are extremely suitable for mechanized military operations, however they lack significant strategic value.  Moreover, on the Pakistani side of the border areas of the harsh desert have been left empty to provide a natural buffer-zone that allows defenders to trade space for time as they readied a counter-attack.
Absence of Strategic Surprise
In a future clash in which India would wish to employ a pro-active strategy against Pakistan, the Indian Army is unlikely to achieve strategic surprise in a manner that would allow it to overcome the previously discussed constraints of numbers and terrain.
As the status-quo power in the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, India has little incentive to launch a surprise attack. Consequently, under the most likely conflict scenarios, Pakistani forces will not be caught off guard, but will have a warning period in which they can mobilize their forces. A large-scale act of terrorism within India that is linked to Pakistan is by far the most probable trigger of conflict. That being said, given that the infiltration of Pakistani forces into Kashmir preceded the 1965 and 1999 wars, a future Pakistani government’s decision to do the same cannot be ruled out as a proximate cause of conflict. In either case, the Pakistani government will have prior warning about the imminent commencement of hostilities, either because scenes of terror are playing out on international television or because they were actively infiltrating troops into Indian territory.
Indian response time will also provide a buffer for Pakistan to respond. Based on the aftermath of the 2001 and 2008 terrorist attacks, the Indian army would require several weeks before it could hope to initiate military operations. Although reducing mobilization time is a key aspect of the “pro-active” strategies, offensive forces have not been pre-deployed in the border region, nor will the army’s efforts reduce the amount of time the country’s political leadership requires to deliberate before choosing to employ military force.
With 80 percent of the Pakistani Army’s divisions based in provinces adjacent to the international border—the majority of which are forward-deployed in defensive positions—Pakistan’s military is postured to repel an Indian attack. Additionally, it has taken steps in recent years to improve its crisis response capability so that it can capitalize on any warning it receives. Given the previous discussions of the terrain advantages accruing to a defender in Kashmir and the Punjab, even a partial mobilization of Pakistani forces is likely to present a significant obstacle to a limited offensive.
Were the Indian Army to seek to launch a short-notice, limited offensive, the twin constraints of geography and lack of strategic surprise suggest that under the most likely scenarios, India would have parity at best in the number of troops they could bring to bear in the early days of a conflict. In a conflict of several weeks duration, the army could leverage its larger numbers by shifting forces from East to West, but that would require a longer period of fighting than most analysts believe is possible before outside powers intervene to force a resolution to the crisis or the Indian Army runs out of ammunition. Moreover, a major shift of troops or the opening of multiple fronts beyond the Line of Control in Kashmir would signal to Pakistan that the conflict was not limited and short-duration, but full-scale war with the attendant nuclear escalation risks. None of this suggests Indian political leaders would have a high degree of confidence that a limited offensive would quickly achieve its objectives at minimal risk.
The main alternative to crossing the LoC on the ground in force is reliance on long-range punishment strikes.  These could be carried out by manned aircraft or missiles. The problem facing a bombardment strategy is that achieving a decisive result and limiting escalation are necessarily in tension: the targets that are of lowest escalation risk are also those of least value.  If India were to opt for attacks on high-value militant assets in Pakistan proper, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s massive headquarters in Muridke, or, as some suggest, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) facilities linked to terrorist groups, it may succeed in imposing significant costs on Islamabad and Rawalpindi, but a significant military response would be guaranteed. In contrast, the most limited target available would be terrorist training camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. However, these targets are likely to be unsatisfactory for several reasons. First, Kashmiri militant groups have diversified across Pakistan which means there is no guarantee that the group suspected of responsibility for a specific terrorist attack would be vulnerable to retaliation in Pakistani Kashmir. Moreover, following news of a major terror attack, anti-Indian terrorist groups—even those unconnected to the event—are likely to go into hiding for a period of time, leaving identified camps unoccupied. Finally, since India does not possess heavy bombers, the ability of fighter jets or missile strikes to significantly damage terrorist bases is open to question.
It may be possible to reduce escalatory pressure on the Pakistani government by strictly confining strikes to the disputed territory of Kashmir, avoiding a direct confrontation with Pakistani military assets and inflicting very limited civilian casualties.mNevertheless, the Pakistani government will likely face strong domestic pressure—from both the military, radical Islamist groups, and a nationalistic public—to mount a response to an Indian attack. The optimistic case is that confining the strikes to Pakistan administered Kashmir—rather than internationally recognized Pakistani territory—will prevent Pakistan from horizontally escalating the conflict beyond Kashmir, thus keeping the clash from escalating vertically into full-scale war.
Limited strikes on a limited number of targets in Kashmir may prevent a conflict from escalating but, for reasons described above, this is likely to result in military action that is of symbolic, rather than substantive, nature, designed to assuage the anger of the Indian public rather than inflict meaningful harm on terrorist networks. Ultimately Indian military leaders may have to accept, if they haven’t already, the very unpleasant reality that what is essentially a political problem—Pakistan’s continued desire to wrest Kashmir away from India and its army’s pathological hatred of “Hindustan”—may not be amenable to a strictly military solution.
The Indian government has demonstrated an increased willingness to use force in an environment where headline grabbing increases in the Indian defense budget and a high-profile military modernization program are already alarming observers who worry that this could undermine the conventional military balance maintaining South Asia’s “ugly stability.” While on their face these concerns have validity, upon deeper examination, it is clear that, modernizing or not, the Indian military is capable of bringing far less force to bear in a limited conflict with Pakistan than most people realize. As a result, it is unlikely that Indian policymakers would conclude that they can either achieve strategic surprise against Pakistan necessary for a successful ground incursion or carry out highly-effective air strikes with little escalatory risk, each of which is a necessary condition for military operations to be authorized. Consequently, claims that India’s growing military power justifies Pakistan’s pursuit of tactical nuclear weapons, lack a firm foundation. South Asia remains an unstable region of the world, but the Indian military is not a source of that instability.


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India a regional wild bull Asif Haroon Raja

India a regional wild bull

Asif Haroon Raja

India occupies a unique position in the South Asian region by dint of occupying nearly 72 percent of the land surface in South Asia, being a home of 77 percent of the region’s population, and accounting for nearly 75 percent of the regional economic output. It has the third largest Army (1,325,000) in the world and its economy is ranked 10th strongest ($2.0 trillion). Notwithstanding its political, economic and military prowess, India is viewed as a hegemonic power by all her six neighbors – from Bangladesh in the east to Pakistan in the west, from Nepal and Bhutan in the north to Sri Lanka in the south since all the six South Asian States have suffered at the hands of India.

Indian political scientist (late) Dr. Bhabani Sen Gupta wrote in the India Today April 30, 1984, “The Indian elephant cannot transform itself into a mouse. If South Asia is to get itself out of the crippling binds of conflicts and cleavages, the six neighbors will have to accept the bigness of the seventh. And the seventh, that is India, will have to prove to the six that big can indeed be beautiful.” India instead chose to become a wild bull suiting her inner chemistry.

Drunk with power, India would not hesitate to attack a country if it were in her interest to do so and if she felt that the other side was too weak to resist. Indian leaders are staunch followers of infamous Chanakya (author of Arthasastra during Chandragupta rule) and they feel no penitence in implementing the deceitful policies of their Guru to undermine the neighboring countries in pursuit of their geo-economic interests. Believing in the dictum ‘everything is fair in love and war’, they befriend the enemy of the neighbor, carryout false flag operations, create misgivings through propaganda war, anarchy and destabilization through covert operations and put their sins in the basket of others.

RAW is notorious for conducting clandestine operations in the neighborhood. Once India fails to assert its authority through coercion, it then projects itself as the big brother to draw brotherly respect from younger brothers. Its behavior as a big brother however leaves much to be desired. Rather than earning respect by behaving maturely and generously, it behaves arrogantly and expects one-sided respect and concessions. It has believed in the policy of taking all and giving nothing in return. It considers unilateral concessions as its birthright.

By the virtue of its size, economic potential and military power, India claims a regional leadership position for herself, while her South Asian neighbors accuse her of exercising hegemony. Her neighbors that have been repeatedly bitten have reasons to complain. India has frequently resorted to military force in the region and is the initiator of terrorism. It befriended Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan and then treacherously split Pakistan into two in 1971. India ousted the Ranas in Nepal and put King Tribhuvan on the throne in 1950. India pressed him to sign a treaty of peace and friendship that is viewed by many Nepalese politicians as imperialist. India trained the Tamil Tigers to kick-start a rebellion in Sri Lanka in 1983 which raged till 2009. India restored Prime Minister Gayoom’s rule during the attempted military coup in Maldives in 1988. India didn’t spare even Bangladesh which she helped in gaining independence in 1971 and pitched Chakma rebels (Shanti Bahini) against Gen Ziaur Rahman government and subsequent regimes. Hasina Wajid, daughter of Mujibur Rahman is in India’s best books. To please India and hurt Pakistan, she has undertaken farcical trials of aged Jamaat-e-Islami leaders allegedly involved in war crimes during 1971 war and some have been hanged.









In terms of forcible seizure and land grab, India has occupied Muslim-majority J&K (October 1947), Muslim-ruled Hyderabad (1948), Portuguese-administered Dadra & Nagar Haveli (1954), and Goa, Diu & Daman (1961), and Buddhist-ruled Sikkim (1975) through a surfeit of vicious and fraudulent means, often discounting people’s wishes. For instance, an opinion poll by CSDS in 2007 showed that 87% of people in the Kashmir Valley didn’t want to live under India. And yet, India, the so-called largest democracy in our world, has no wish to hold such a referendum in the occupied territories.

In violation of the UN Resolutions and pledge given by Nehru, India stubbornly clings to the occupied territory and claim it as integral part of India. In order to retain her illegal occupation, India has stationed 750,000 occupying forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir and has subjected the hapless Kashmiris to a reign of terror. To keep Pakistan restrained from voicing concern and seeking a plebiscite, India waged a massive proxy war in FATA and Balochistan in 2003 which is still continuing and is now resorting to water terrorism. India has water disputes with Bangladesh and Nepal.

The neighbors see India as an overbearing oppressor and a rogue, which uses her territories to dump poor quality Indian goods while putting unnecessary restrictions to exporting their goods into India. SAARC has not progressed essentially because of India’s efforts to set rules of tariffs in accordance with her wishes and to monopolize the trade. All SAARC members trading with India suffer from trade deficit.

India’s policies remain myopic and short-sighted, if not self-centered and often lethal. She has failed to wipe out the pervasive negative perceptions held by all her regional neighbors. So far, from Bhabani Sen Gupta’s utopian view, India has become a regional wild bull, if not an elephant or even worse. And no one likes such a beast! Truly, the stamp of a regional hegemon is written all over India’s face. As a matter of fact with the resurgence of the Hindutva fascist forces in the national politics of India, she has the potential to become a regional pariah. And that is an ominous sign for the entire region! Just as the United States of America and Russia are hated today in many countries globally for their hegemony, so is India in South Asia.

India being an imperialist power and ruled by 2.8% Brahman rulers wants to become super power of South Asia and a world power. This ambition is essentially driven by the myth of Mahabharata, fanaticized by every Brahman. Not only Brahman leaders behave callously towards the neighbors, their behavior towards minorities in India is also atrocious. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and even low caste Hindus have suffered a great deal at the hands of Hindu extremists. India’s oppressive policies have given birth to dozens of insurgencies.

Indigenous freedom movement in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) has become a bleeding wound for India and a cause of embarrassment that despite deploying such a large force in a small Valley and using excessive force, rape and torture as tools to crush the movement for over 22 years, it has failed to extinguish the flame of liberty. Maintenance of 750,000 security forces since 1989 in IOK is a huge drain on India’s economy. So is the burden of 700,000 troops employed to fighting dozens of insurgencies/separatist movements in various parts of India.

India considers Pakistan as the lone obstacle in the way of her imperialist ambitions. India’s dangerous plan conceived after 9/11 in 2001 to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan through proxy war has run into difficulties because of NATO’s and ANA’s inability to defeat Afghan Taliban and ISAF’s withdrawal. Increasing intimacy between USA and Pakistan as well as between new Afghan regime and Pakistan is happening at a time when Indo-Pakistan relations are sailing through choppy waters. This change in the outlook of USA trying to remove the distrust accumulated over a period of time and to rebuild friendly ties with Pakistan is vexing India. Not knowing how to disrupt growth of Pak-US and Pak-Afghan ties, India is continuing to play the terrorism card.

After heating up the LoC in Kashmir and working boundary in Sialkot sector together with abortive false flag operations, RAW in concert with elements within Afghan NDS, is using runaway Fazlullah and Khurasani to carryout terror attacks against soft targets inside Pakistan to cause maximum pain. Attack on Army Public School Peshawar was masterminded by RAW. Now targets of similar nature including DHAs and Askari colonies are listed as future targets. Several terror attacks in Balochistan in quick succession are link of the same chain to build up pressure on Pakistan and force the Army to give a breather to the FATA militants and get deflected towards the eastern border. The US must be firmly told to discipline the wild bull if it is serious in getting rid of the scourge of terrorism. At the same time, Pakistan should impress upon other South Asian States that if they desire to live as independent respectable nations and want to progress, they will have to find ways and means how to tame the wild bull.   

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/book writer, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Member Board of Governors TFP.asifharoonraja@gmail.com   

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Interview with a Suicide Bomber & The Brain-Washing With Mis-Interpretations & Rationalization of Deen

Murtaza Hussain
Murtaza Hussain is a Toronto-based writer and analyst focused on issues related to Middle Eastern politics.
Pakistani Taliban’s indoctrinated child bombers
Most children used by Taliban as suicide bombers are from poor families who are indoctrinated through religious schools.
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2012 08:31

“Once in the hands of the Pakistani Taliban, brainwashing of the sheltered, naive and suggestible young people for the organisation’s military goals proceeds,” says author [EPA]
“While adult suicide bombers may experience some ‘existential grappling,’ young children are unable to process the meaning of ending one’s life, especially if rewards are promised in the afterlife.” (Indoctrinating Children: The Making of Pakistan’s Suicide Bombers)In the late afternoon of April 3, 2011, in the Pakistani city of Dera Ghazi Khan, an annual Sufi Muslim religious festival at the shrine of the 13th century saint Ahmed Sultan was hit by twin suicide bomb attacks which killed over 50 people and left more than 120 wounded.

As an eyewitness described the immediate aftermath of the bombings, “people started running outside the shrine. Women and children were crying and screaming. It was like hell”.

The bombers had struck a few minutes apart, instantly turning the atmosphere of festivity and prayer into a scene of carnage and horror. As crowds of worshippers fled in terror, an elderly woman ran into a young boy out of whose hands dropped a grenade. His name was Umar Fidai, a 15-year-old, and he was the third intended suicide bomber that day.

Umar’s explosive vest had failed to detonate and as his handlers had instructed, he was attempting to kill himself and as many others as possible with the grenade they had provided him as a backup.

In his own words in an interview later given to the Pakistani media, “There were three policemen standing close by, and I thought if I killed them too, I would still make it to heaven… At the time I detonated myself, thoughts of my family were not in my mind, I was only thinking about what the Taliban had told me.”

Umar was shot and wounded by police and failed in his mission, but he is only one of the hundreds of other children it is believed that the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) have brainwashed and utilised as suicide bombers in their ongoing war with the state.

Brainwashing of young people

Most are impressionable children from poor families who are indoctrinated through networks of religious schools which provide the only hope of advancement in isolated regions poorly served by the Pakistani government; although many are also procured through outright kidnapping and coercion by armed gangs. 


 Inside Story – Is Pakistan backing the Taliban?

Once in the hands of the TTP, the brainwashing of these sheltered, naive and suggestible young people for the organisation’s military goals proceeds. In Umar’s words, “I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in heaven.”

A significant majority of suicide bombers in Pakistan are believed to be between the ages of 12 and 18, with some studies putting the number near 90 per cent. Pakistani Taliban commander Qari Hussain has boasted that his organisation recruits children as young as five years old for suicide attacks, saying that “Children are tools to achieve God’s will, whatever comes your way you sacrifice it”.

There are estimated to be roughly 2,000 madrassas in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, a small yet significant percentage of which are believed to be involved in the brainwashing and indoctrination of young boys into militancy. 

Students in these schools receive free board and education; something which on its face appears to be a remarkable opportunity for poor and isolated children whose parents cannot afford to send them to good schools, but which ultimately comes at a terrible price to both them and Pakistani society.

In one high-profile incident in early 2012, a convoy of cars carrying children, some as young as six, was intercepted while it was en route to religious schools where the children were allegedly to be trained as suicide bombers – the rationale for their utilisation being that they were “gullible” as well as less likely to be physically searched by police at checkpoints.

In a recent study by Hussain Nadim for the Islamabad-based National University of Science and Technology,  several interviews were conducted with rescued child suicide bombers whom he described as being “not particularly religious, nor motivated by supposedly Islamic ideas, and had no substantial animosity toward the United States or the Pakistan Army – they knew very little about the world outside their small tribe… The lack of access to TV, Internet, and formal education meant they were almost completely oblivious to such massive events as 9/11, and as such they were unaware of where and what exactly the United States was.”

In this context, such isolated and impressionable young people were highly susceptible to intensive brainwashing by Taliban militants who would make young recruits spend weeks watching videos of atrocities and of foreign troops raping women and girls – a fate which they said would await their own female relatives if they did not carry out suicide operations against Western and Pakistani government targets on behalf of the TTP.

‘Fear of losing mothers and sisters’

Furthermore, Nadim’s study concluded that most residents of the tribal areas where the Pakistani Taliban operate have little understanding or knowledge of the “War on Terror” being fought in their region, and are themselves allies of neither the Taliban, the West, nor of the Pakistani government. 

“Cut off from parental contact, young, isolated children are easily susceptible to the influences of surrogate authority figures such as religious clerics in their madrassas“.

Those young people who have agreed to take part in suicide bombings have in many cases done so particularly “out of fear of losing mothers and sisters”; a fear impressed upon them by their militant handlers’ extensive psychological manipulation.

Unbeknownst to them when they enrolled their children in what were ostensibly religious schools, parents are denied access to their children once in the hands of the Taliban – a separation which is coercively enforced when parents realise that their young sons are being indoctrinated by their religious teachers in preparation for militant operations.

One parent of a child described how he repeatedly pleaded with the Taliban to return his child but was denied. “We were threatened and told that the kids are working for a noble cause.”

Cut off from parental contact, young, isolated children are easily susceptible to the influences of surrogate authority figures such as religious clerics in their madrassas. Many are told that they are acting in the name of Islam and will receive the reward of heaven if they successfully carry out their missions.

Studies of those rescued have also shown that most suffer from [physical] injuries, nightmares and trauma”. Indicative of the expendability and cynicism with which they are exploited by militant organisations, child suicide bombers are often sold to other groups and individuals wishing to carry out attacks for prices starting at US$7,000; a grotesque financial utilisation of manipulated children by armed gangs.

In the words of Lahore-based researcher and psychologist Anees Khan, “These young boys are as much the victims of terrorism as those they kill. They are victims of the most brutal exploitation.” 

For Umar Fidai, despite losing his arm and suffering extensive burns to his body, he is glad that he survived and did not successfully carry out his bombing mission.

After it was explained to him the true nature of the acts he was carrying out and the mainstream Islamic perspective which stands unequivocally against both suicide and the murder of innocent civilians, he would say from his hospital bed to a Pakistani reporter: “I am so grateful, because at least I have been saved from going to hell. I am in a lot of pain, but I know there are many people in hospital even more severely injured than me and I am so sorry for what I did… I now realise suicide bombing is un-Islamic… I hope people will forgive me.”

Murtaza Hussain is a Toronto-based writer and analyst focused on issues related to Middle Eastern politics.

Follow him on Twitter: @MazMHussain

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Reminding India of Nuclear Deterrence By Sajjad Shaukat

                      Gen Raheel Sharif                    

Reminding India of Nuclear Deterrence

                                                         By Sajjad Shaukat


By setting aside the principles of nuclear deterrence, intensity in the Indian unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary (WB), which killed several persons since October 6, this year inside Pakistan, is alarming for peace-loving countries of South Asia including those of the world.


Calling for restraining its forces from constant violations of the ceasefire agreement of 2003, Pakistan government has lodged a strong protest with the India government through diplomatic channels, and also raised the issue with the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan. In this regard, the UN observers visited the affected areas, and have shown serious concerns over the casualties inside Pakistan. On October 14, US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Daniel Feldman also expressed his concerns over tension at LoC and WB, and stressed to resolve it through dialogue. Feldman elaborated, “He believes, Indian dream for world leadership and progress could not come true without better ties with Pakistan.


Meanwhile, contact through hotline was established between Directors-General Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries. Pak army’s DMO conveyed Pakistan’s concerns to his Indian counterpart, and pointed towards India’s consistent unprovoked firing on the civilian population living across LoC and WB.


In 2013, the Pakistani and Indian DGMOs had pledged to uphold the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord. But, by acting upon a preplanned scheme, Indian soldiers crossed over the LoC in Kashmir on January 6, 2013 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. While, Pakistan military officials indicated that Indian hostility has gradually increased since 2010, making lives of civil population living in closer vicinity of the LoC and WB difficult. Indian troops committed 86 ceasefire violations in 2011, 230 in 2012 and 414 in 2013. And, Indians have again resorted to deliberate firing for about 224 times and killed several people on the Pakistani side in 2014.


Particularly, leader of the fundamentalist party BJP and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is reported to have given a free hand to the Indian forces to go on aggressively with the violations. While, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff convened a meeting of the National Security Commit­tee on Oct 10, this year, and discussed the recent ceasefire violations by India at the LoC and WB.


In this respect, Pakistan’s military officials revealed that Indian perennial escalation across the LoC and WB is according to a deliberate plan. The spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-General Asim Bajwa said that Pakistan Rangers and troops “befittingly” responded to “unprovoked firing” by Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) and military troops. He also clarified that Pakistan’s Armed Forces are fully prepared to meet any aggression.


In fact, by promoting Hindu chauvinism on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans, extremist party, BJP won a landslide victory in the India elections 2014 by defeating the Congress. Now, BJP-led Prime Minister Modi has been implementing its party’s agenda against Pakistan. In this context, border violations by the Indian forces at the Line of Control and Working Boundary, accompanying hostile statements by Indian leadership are aimed at hyping up Hindu sentiments against Pakistan.


Besides, other negative steps of the BJP government like cancellation of the Foreign Secretary level talks with Islamabad, schedule to be held on August 25, 2014, raising baseless issues of terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-Indian dialogue, slow pace of trial in Pakistan against the terrorists of the Mumbai 26/11 terror case, pledge of revoking the special status, given to Kashmir under Indian constitution’s Article 370, and to strengthen its measures to annex the area—are part of the same scheme to create a war like situation between the two rival countries which have fought three wars, since the Partition of 1947.


It is of particular attention that BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swami stated on July 12, 2014 that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.” Responding to the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan.”


In these terms, Indian hawks think that in the aftermath of the withdrawal of NATO, they will keep their anti-Pakistan network in Afghanistan by harming the genuine interests of Pakistan which shares geographical, cultural and religious bonds with the former, and is determined to bring peace and stability there.


Now, as part of its blame game, India has accelerated unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir and WB in Sialkot to delay the Pak-India peace process, without caring for latter’s nuclear weapons. Although despite numerous military skirmishes, there has not been a full-blown war since India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998, yet BJP-extremist rulers seem determined to initiate the same without bothering even for nuclear war. Therefore, Pakistan’s media and defense analysts must remind India of the principles of nuclear deterrence.


However, it is wishful thinking of the BJP leader that India can destroy Pakistan through nuclear bombs. While both the neighboring adversaries are nuclear powers, New Delhi should not ignore the principles of deterrence, popularly known as balance of terror.


After the World War 11, nuclear weapons were never used, and were only employed as a strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when the US and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic weapons, but they stopped because of the fear of nuclear war which could eliminate both the super powers. Therefore, the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.


Similarly, many occasions came between Pakistan and India, during Kargil crisis of 1998, and Indian parliament’s attack by the militants in 2001, and particularly in 2008, in the post-Mumbai terror attacks when New Delhi started a blame game against Islamabad in wake of its highly provocative actions like mobilization of troops. Pakistan had also taken defensive steps to meet any prospective aggression or surgical strikes by New Delhi. But, India failed in implementing its aggressive plans, because Islamabad also possesses atomic weapons.

Political strategists agree that deterrence is a psychological concept which aims to affect an opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence, weapons are less usable, as their threat is enough in deterring an enemy who intends to use its armed might. In this context, a renowned scholar, Hotzendorf remarks that nuclear force best serves the interests of a state when it deters an attack.


In the present circumstances, BJP is badly mistaken, if it overestimates India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. As Pakistan lacks conventional forces and weapons vis-à-vis India, so, in case of a prolonged conflict, Pakistan will have to use nuclear weapons and missiles which could destroy whole of India, resulting into Indian political suicide.


It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defense purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various injustices have further intensified regional and ethnic disparities in India, while giving impetus to insurgency and wars of liberation in Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments.


It is worth-mentioning that one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defense expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is acting upon the similar policies.


Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighboring states. Similarly, civil war and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir and country’s other regions in wake of Israeli atrocities on the Palestinians will further radicalize Asia.


Nonetheless, irresponsible and unrealistic approach of the BJP-led government in the modern era of peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development could culminate into political suicide of the India union. Therefore, India is reminded of nuclear deterrence in wake of creating war hysteria in its own country and Pakistan.


Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations


Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com




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Pakistani Ruler’s conflicting National and Business interests By Sabena Siddiqi

Report from LONDON POST

Pakistani Ruler’s conflicting National and Business interests 

By Sabena Siddiqi



The Sharif’s business interests in India have resulted in extra-ordinary negative repercussions for Pakistan’s security. Businessmen close to them are also pursuing Indian businesses with gusto not caring about fair or foul. There are various business ventures being initiated by PML-N, the business-friendly party currently in government and its friends, which break security norms and are most definitely not in Pakistan’s interest.

Mian Muhammad Mansha being one of them, declared Pakistan’s richest man by Forbes World 2013, his worth is $2.6 billion. Nishat Group, a subsidiary of Mian Muhammad Mansha,s business conglomerate is currently trying to bring in Indian investment for Pakistan’s controversial media industry .

As if Mir Shakilur Rehman’s Geo and Aman ki Asha stint et al weren’t enough for Pakistanis, Mian Mansha’s Nishagroup is making efforts to establish Indian holdings in Pakistani media. The game is being started with collaboration with M/S Krian Media Ltd owned by a certain Mr Yezdi Dhanjishan Daruwala. Nowadays engineers from M/S Krian Media intend to get multiple entry visas for discussions with Nishat Group.

Shahid Malik former High Commissioner of Pakistan to India is now Director of Mansha Group, it is rumoured these days that he is trying to get the current Pakistani High Commissioner in India to grant the required visas immediately sans interviews. Another rumour is doing the rounds that the Prime Minister’s son Hasan Nawaz has also backed this visa deal. The visa in question is the EPR, a multiple entry visa and totally inadvisable. We all know how difficult it is to get an Indian visa for Pakistanis, then only certain cities are within limits, why should Pakistan make any visas easy for Indians and that also without even an interview?

Any new business coming in from India should be in Pakistan’s interests and not a ploy to destroy our cultural foundations and identity. Sonia Gandhi once talked about Pakistan’s ‘cultural invasion‘ which actually meant secularising us and decreasing Islam’s importance here so that Pakistan can ‘blend back’ into India. It was a ridiculous idea but the whole Geo modus operandi underlined this theory, the Aman ki Asha spin only benefited Indians and Pakistanis were thought to be stupid enough to be lured in with song and dance.

Anyway, why does the PML-N want to provide Indians so much space to influence young minds in Pakistan? If Indian movies and drama are anything to go by, their media can only promote loose morals and nudity plus a lot of Hinduism / Hindutva ideology. Pakistanis do not need Indian media houses forced on them by the Nawaz government and friends. India is our neighbour and business with it should not clash with our culture and societal norms. Where will our ideology, two nation theory, Jinnah and Pakistan’s existence as an Islamic republic stand if interpreted by Indian media backed up by India’s Research & Analysis Wing?

Sultan Lakhani is again one of Pakistan’s richest men, he has vast business interests in India, mainly he is the partner of most Indian Brands, from Titan to Tetley Tea. Tetley Tea and Titan watches are both Indian companies sold in Pakistan by Sultan Lakhani. Not a co-incidence that Lakhani owns Century Publications which owns the newspaper Express Tribune, there are various Express channels as well which must have helped to further Indian interests. Be it print media or news media, Indians want a foothold in Pakistan by hook or by crook.

Recently, the controversial Arsalan Iftikhar, son of ex-CJ Iftikhar Choudhry has been provided the chance to lure in foreign and local investors to the huge gold and copper mines in Rekodiq Balochistan. He was hardly an epitome of honesty, nor did he have the credentials to be made Director, Bureau of Investment for Baluchistan , a province rich in mineral resources. It is a known fact that Pakistan’s enemies want to deny us Baluchistan as it can greatly improve Pakistan’s economy and Arsalan Iftikhar definitely did not deserve such an important post as has been provided for him by the current government.

It is very disappointing that this government is following in the footsteps of Rehman Malik, the erstwhile Interior Minister for the PPP government. He had facilitated the Americans to an unusual extent, eventually he was suspected of having brought in scores of CIA and maybe ‘Blackwater ‘ agents, he had also very graciously issued arms permits for lethal weapons foreigners should not be allowed to carry in Pakistan. Now it seems that the Sharif government is too eager to please India etc for the sake of business interests and soon Pakistan could be flooded with RAW operatives in disguise. An army operation is underway in North Waziristan which is imperative for peace in Pakistan, in war-time bringing in flocks of Indians to further destabilise the situation is sheer lunacy.


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