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Archive for category INDIA’S DEFEAT AT KARGIL

India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan - The Machinery Of War by Skulz Fontaine

 

 

 

 

India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy By Sajjad Shaukat Learning no lesson from the past, and depending upon state terrorism, Indian Central Government has finalized the raising of Indian Reserve Police Battalions (IRBPs) in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Naxal/Maoist hit states or Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Out of the total 25 IRBPs proposed, five will be for IOK and 12 for LWE affected states whereas rest of 8, IRBPs for other states. These battalions will be raised by recruiting local youths. In case of Naxal hit states, 75 per cent vacancies will be filled up by youths from the 27 worst-affected districts. In IOK, the recruitment process will concentrate on insurgency prone areas. At present, there are 144 IRPBs in various states. In addition, Central Government has recently approved raising of eight additional IRBPs, four each of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The cost of raising each of the battalion will be around Indian Rupee, 61 crore and 75 per cent of it will be provided by the Central Government. This cost is much lower than raising of a paramilitary battalion which costs around Rs. 160 crore. Personnel of IRBPs are normally deployed in their respective states, but they can be deployed in other states too, if there is a requirement. The current raising is outcome of demand by respective states government in wake of the ever growing/persistence insurgency and freedom struggle. Within a span of approximately six months, Central Government of India has approved the demand which reflects the surge of militants/insurgent activities in the LWE hit states/ IOK. It also highlights the manifestation of focus to curb militancy and raise the force level to meet the challenges, which have been repeatedly expressed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has also repeatedly highlighted his focus to build the capacity of security forces engaged in fighting insurgency. The mentioned increase is a part of overall drive against Naxal/Maoist hit states and IOK. Off late the insurgent/militant activities in LWE and IOK regions have seen a significant surge whereby Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have suffered causalities. Therefore, immediate attention has been paid towards the new strategy. While, despite concerted efforts—capacity, capability, weapons, equipments and training, the Indian security forces could not effectively counter/reduce the insurgent activities in these states. The recent surge of insurgents/militant activities in the Nexal affected states of India has compelled the Central Government to enhance counter insurgency efforts in other parts as well. Therefore, the Home Ministry has given a go ahead for not only raising the additional battalions, but also pursuing the support of helicopters/UAVs to cover/ assist the security forces engaged in anti-Naxal/Maoist activities in the affected states. It is mentionable that under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), used brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. While, even under the rule of Congress which claims to be secular party, Indian extremist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sina and Bajrang Dal have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India. They also intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed. After serving the BJP for 30 years, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.” While pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.” Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighbouring 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 will further radicalize India, giving a impetus to separatist movements in other regions of India. It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defence purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various injustices have further accelerated regional and ethnic disparities in India, particularly, under the Modi government. It is worth-mentioning that the one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defence 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 fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP extremist party is acting upon the similar policies. At present, undoubtedly, India is witnessing increased incidents of violence and killings related to communal violence and insurgencies. Nevertheless, such incidents project security weaknesses and failures of the Indian government in curbing insurgent tendencies and problems of the public. While, Indian government is raising Reserve Police Battalions to continue state terrorism, and on the parallel axes, announcement of rehabilitation schemes, development projects and incentives for surrender have been implemented to cope with the insurgency and uprising. It shows contradictory policy of New Delhi. Instead of redressing the grievances of the Maoists by eliminating injustices against them and the Kashmiris by granting them their legitimate right of liberation, Indian government is again acting upon brutal force to suppress these movements through force. Therefore, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency Strategy will badly fail, culminating into political suicide of the India union.

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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Hindu Propaganda Against Muslim Women:Show Hindu Women & Men Speaking Indian Language As Muslim Pakistanis

 

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Planted Indian Lies

RAW Story

S.Indians Portrayed As Pakistanis

Pakistani Girls caught for prostitution

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4yOPpm0U1k

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Afghanistan: India’s Drug Smuggling Verified By Sajjad Shaukat

                                     Afghanistan: India’s Drug Smuggling Verified

                                                          By Sajjad Shaukat

 

While echoing Hobbes and Machiavelli, Morgenthau opines that in international politics, countries act upon various immoral activities like deceit, fraud, falsehood and so on. In one way or the other, they also follow these tactics to fulfill their selfish aims. But, in the modern era of electronic and social media including open diplomacy, it is difficult for the sovereign states to continue mal-practices of the past, as sinister politics has been replaced by world’s new trends such as fair-dealings, reconciliation and economic development.

 

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In this respect, the news item, “India accused of using Afghan soil for Heroin smuggling”, published in the leading daily Dawn on March 18, 2015 verified previous reports of India’s involvement in drug smuggling from Afghanistan.

 

In the recent past, a released video by Washington Free Beacon pointed out that the US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel disclosed during a speech at Oklahoma’s Cameron University in 2011, “India has always used Afghanistan as a second front” and “has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.” Earlier, the then NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. McChrystal had revealed: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions.”

 

In fact, by availing the golden opportunity of the 9/11, India has signed a number of bilateral agreements with Kabul, during the regime of Afghanistan’s former President Hamid Karzai in getting its hold in Afghanistan by manipulating US strategy. New Delhi which has already invested billion of dollars in Afghanistan, signed a wide-ranging strategic agreement with that country on October 5, 2011 also includes to help train Afghan security forces, while assisting Kabul in diversified projects. Apparently, it is open strategic agreement, but secretly, India seeks to further strengthen its grip in Afghanistan to get strategic depth against Islamabad.

 

In this regard, stiff resistance of the Taliban militants against the occupying forces created unending lawlessness in the country which has become a most suitable place for Indian secret agency RAW to implement a conspiracy to fulfill its country’s strategic designs against Iran, China and particularly Pakistan, while achieving collective goals of the US against these countries including Russia.

 

Especially, based in Afghanistan, Indian consulates including agents of RAW, who are also supporting Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), are behind various acts of terrorism in Pakistan such as target killings, bomb blasts, suicide attacks, assaults on civil and military installations including churches, religious leaders etc. to destabilize Pakistan. They have also perennially been arranging similar subversive acts in Balochistan.

 

As a matter of fact, with the cooperation of ex-president Karzai and Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS), and with the tactical assistance of American CIA and Israeli Mossad, RAW has well-established espionage network in Afghanistan, which has also been used for smuggling of drugs so as to obtain Indian sinister designs in the region, particularly against Pakistan.

While, poppy cultivation has risen to all time high, and Afghanistan has become one of the biggest contributors of drug proliferation in the region and beyond. And, Afghan government has failed in controlling corruption and implementing rule of law, while international community especially major donors are averse to such malpractices.

 

According to some sources, modern weapons of Indian, American and Israeli origin are available in the markets of Afghanistan. Smuggling of latest arms from west to Afghanistan is also being supported by the drug mafia of Afghanistan. In this connection, Afghan President Karzai’s real brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, and high officials have been found involved in drug smuggling for raising funds to support insurgency in Pakistan with the support of RAW.

 

It would not be out of context to mention here that primarily these are the Afghan drug Barons and Warlords like Hamid Karzai and his brother in whose interest it is to keep the region in state of war. It is also a known fact that Qasim Fahim, Vice President of Afghanistan is also a warlord and a drug baron. In the recent past, American troops destroyed poppy fields, but, they failed in stopping poppy cultivation, because India was involved in supporting Afghan warlords and drug mafia.

 

In this connection, on November 2, 2009 John Burns, the chief foreign correspondent for The New York Times, while answering questions about a New York Times article about Ahmed Wali Karzai, exposed his ties to the nation’s opium trade. And on October 27, 2009, the same newspaper pointed out, The brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade…in a large area of southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency is strongest, undermines the American push to develop an effective central government that can maintain law and order and eventually allow the United States to withdraw…on at least one occasion, the strike force has been accused of mounting an unauthorized operation against an official of the Afghan government.”

 

Quoting a senior American military officer in Kabul, The New York Times elaborated, “Hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money are flowing through the southern region, and nothing happens in Afghanistan without the regional leadership knowing about it.”

 

However, besides the involvement of other Afghan entities, Indian engagement in drugs in Afghanistan was proved in the news item of Dawn, which quoted world’s renowned news agency, Reuters as a source and also included AFP file. It is given below.

 

UN officials recorded a sharp spike this year in the amount of heroin being seized from passengers trying to fly from Afghanistan to India, a worrying trend since the Taliban insurgency lines its pockets on the illegal drug trade.

 

A lack of coordination is hampering efforts to clamp down on the route, officials said, with India blaming Afghanistan for poor cooperation in helping to track smugglers.

 

In January alone, officials intercepted 44 kilograms of heroin from Afghan airports in eight separate cases, compared to 50 kilograms of heroin and hashish seized during the whole of last year, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime data.

Most of the cases have involved passengers trying to board flights bound for the Indian capital New Delhi after swallowing as much 2 kg of the illegal opiate in capsules, like condoms.

 

The spike is an “alarming trend”, said Mark Colhoun, deputy representative to the UNODC in Afghanistan.

 

“These mule are small fry,” he said. “You need to track down the networks.” The UNODC started working with Afghan police and customs in 2013 at Kabul’s airport, and later expanded to airports in Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif. It is unclear whether the rise in heroin being seized represents an increase in trafficking or better tracking of smugglers. But opium cultivation in Afghanistan, which produces some 90 per cent of the world’s illegal opiates, is on the rise.

 

Afghan smugglers often travel to India under the guise of seeking medical care, said a senior official in India’s Narcotics Control Bureau speaking on condition of anonymity.

 

Nevertheless, news of Dawn has verified Indian negative role of drug smuggling from Afghanistan. Therefore, it is the right hour that the US-led international community must take action against New Delhi, and by rolling back Indian network in Afghanistan, which includes smuggling of drugs, especially Heroin for the purpose of its secret strategic goals. While the western countries and Russia are worried about instability in Afghanistan, spilling over into the former Soviet Central Asia and about drug smuggling pushing up the numbers of heroin addicts.

 

Nonetheless, western donors’ aid to Kabul for bringing stability in that country will prove fruitless, if India continues drug smuggling in Afghanistan which has become one of the biggest contributors of drug proliferation in the world.

 

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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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.

 

 

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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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SOBER ADVICE to BJP…by Mani Shankar Aiyar (Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha)

SOBER ADVICE to BJP
 
Makes sense.

​.. but will BJP pay heed to his advice ?

By

Mani Shankar Aiyar

(Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha)

The bigger danger is that overblown rhetoric can tip the subcontinent over the precipice. That is what we must remind ourselves in this centenary year of the commencement of the First World War. The parallels between the events that sparked WWI and the contemporary India-Pakistan situation are striking. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia were neighbours, much as India and Pakistan are neighbours. There was no comparison between the military power, the economic strength and the political clout of the two neighbours: Austro-Hungary, like India vis-a-vis Pakistan, was undoubtedly superior. Nevertheless, tension between the two neighbours was rife, as in the case of India and Pakistan. Serbia-based non-State actors were secretly readying for a major terrorist strike against the Empire, backed by powerful forces within Serbia but out of government control, much as Pakistan-based non-State terrorists are constantly preparing for terror strikes against key Indian targets, backed by powerful forces within Pakistan, but outside government control.
When a young band of Serbian terrorists slipped into Bosnia to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Government of Serbia did not know, even as it is entirely likely that the Government of Pakistan did not know that Ajmal Kasab and his gang had slipped into Mumbai to target the iconic Taj Hotel. But, as in India, so in Austria, the suspicion was so strong that there were rogue elements in the Serbian establishment that were backing the terrorists, no proof was needed: suspicion amounted to conviction. Therefore, when the Serbian terrorists struck, assassinating the heir-apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, the Empire needed no conclusive proof that the Serbian government was behind the assassination. It knew, as India “knew”, that 26/11 was master-minded by the Government of Pakistan. And even as the Pakistan government denied any involvement in such cross-border terrorism and undertook to set in train an investigation into the dastardly terrorist attack, so also, a hundred years earlier, did Serbia condemn the assassination and offer to investigate and bring to justice those responsible.

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Arun Jaitley thumps his chest and proclaims that we have given the Pakis a “jaw-breaking reply” (munh tod jawab). 
Oh yeah? The Pakistanis are still there – with their jaw quite intact and a nuclear arsenal nestling in their pockets. 
Rajnath Singh adds that the Pakis had best understand that “a new era has dawned”. 
How? Is retaliatory fire a BJP innovation? Or is it that we have we ceased being peace-loving and become a war-mongering nation? 
And Modi thunders that his guns will do the talking (boli nahin, goli). Yes – and for how long?
The Government struts around as if it has silenced the Pakistani guns. Nothing could be a more dangerous illusion. If the guns have ceased for the present to bark, it is because the Pakistan army has silenced its own guns, even as the Indian army has silenced ours. The idea that we have terrified the Pakistanis into submission by shelling a few homes and killing a few soldiers and several innocents might be a myth that washes here but it is far, far from the truth. The danger is that we will forget the limits that divide peace from war.
If losing half their country in 1971 and leaving 90,000 prisoners of war in Indian hands has not dimmed Pakistan’s zeal to protect itself, big words from our end are not going to make them grovel at Modi’s feet. Pakistan is a sovereign nation. It makes its own assessment of the threats to its security. And the kind of talk they have heard in recent days from our governmental chiefs only persuades them that they are right in regarding India as the biggest threat to their security. This marginalizes the sane voices across the border and brings Pakistanis of all hues and colours together in the defence of their homeland. The language of the “akhaara” is not the language of statesmen. And war is not a continuation of diplomacy by other means; it is a confession of the breakdown of diplomacy.
Dr. Manmohan Singh showed, especially during the first three years of his government, how much could be achieved by talking to Pakistan instead of shooting at them. Even Kashmir was tackled on the back-channel. It was agreed that territories could not be changed nor populations exchanged. What was needed was fostering exchanges of all kinds between Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC – the restoration of Kashmiriyat by fostering exchanges between people, relatives, friends, media, goods and  services across the LoC in a two-way traffic. Pakistan has repeatedly – even with the change of regime in India – shown that it is ready to talk with India. It is we who are stalling the dialogue. But as the history of the last 20 years has shown, proxy war in Kashmir did not come in the way of Vajpayee’s bus journey to the Shaheed Minar in Lahore; Kargil and the Parliament attack did not stop the invitation to Musharraf to come to Agra; nor did it prevent Vajpayee from going to Islamabad to sign a joint declaration that presaged the resumption of dialogue. 26/11 certainly threw the spanner in the works but was not enough to forestall the invitation to Nawaz Sharif to the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan. So, a “munh thod jawab” is for domestic consumption, a pathetic attempt at proving the breadth of the Prime Minister’s chest.
The bigger danger is that overblown rhetoric can tip the subcontinent over the precipice. That is what we must remind ourselves in this centenary year of the commencement of the First World War. The parallels between the events that sparked WWI and the contemporary India-Pakistan situation are striking. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia were neighbours, much as India and Pakistan are neighbours. There was no comparison between the military power, the economic strength and the political clout of the two neighbours: Austro-Hungary, like India vis-a-vis Pakistan, was undoubtedly superior. Nevertheless, tension between the two neighbours was rife, as in the case of India and Pakistan. Serbia-based non-State actors were secretly readying for a major terrorist strike against the Empire, backed by powerful forces within Serbia but out of government control, much as Pakistan-based non-State terrorists are constantly preparing for terror strikes against key Indian targets, backed by powerful forces within Pakistan, but outside government control.
When a young band of Serbian terrorists slipped into Bosnia to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Government of Serbia did not know, even as it is entirely likely that the Government of Pakistan did not know that Ajmal Kasab and his gang had slipped into Mumbai to target the iconic Taj Hotel. But, as in India, so in Austria, the suspicion was so strong that there were rogue elements in the Serbian establishment that were backing the terrorists, no proof was needed: suspicion amounted to conviction. Therefore, when the Serbian terrorists struck, assassinating the heir-apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, the Empire needed no conclusive proof that the Serbian government was behind the assassination. It knew, as India “knew”, that 26/11 was master-minded by the Government of Pakistan. And even as the Pakistan government denied any involvement in such cross-border terrorism and undertook to set in train an investigation into the dastardly terrorist attack, so also, a hundred years earlier, did Serbia condemn the assassination and offer to investigate and bring to justice those responsible.
But Vienna would not be appeased. An eight-point ultimatum was sent to Serbia demanding full acceptance of the eight conditions within a month. Eventually, after much hemming and hawing, Belgrade accepted seven of the conditions but baulked at the eighth – that a joint Austrian-Serbian investigation be launched into the assassination. That was enough for Vienna to insist that if all conditions were not fulfilled, the far more powerful Austro-Hungarian forces would reduce Serbia to rubble in a matter of days.
The threat was meant to cow the Serbians. The Serbians went as far as they could, but baulked at abject surrender. In consequence, military plans began to roll – to the alarm of both Emperor Franz Joseph of Austro-Hungary as well as the German Kaiser whose belligerence was pushing Vienna further and further down the road to disaster. Their political misgivings were entirely understandable. For Russia had declared that any military action against her Slav cousin would invite Russian retaliation against both Austria and Germany. At the same time, Germany had made it clear that her first target was France. Treaty obligations made it incumbent for France to come to Russia’s rescue and vice versa in the event of war. Britain was committed to entering the war in these circumstances. The very balance of power that was supposed to have kept the peace in Europe for a hundred years was now pushing the world to the brink.
To prevent this catastrophe, the two Emperors who had been the loudest in proclaiming a “munh thod jawab” to Serbia tried at the last moment to stop the guns from booming, but were over-ruled by their respective military hierarchies. War was launched. The mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire conquered Serbia but ended up losing the War and disappearing from the map of the world. Germany won the opening rounds but ended in humiliating defeat. Defeat on the battle-field led to the Peace Treaty but contained the seeds of resentment that resulted in WWII breaking out 20 years later. It did not end till nearly a hundred million people – mostly unarmed non-combatant civilians – had been killed the world over. That was the outcome of Vienna saying “Boli nahin, goli”.    
Let us remind ourselves that it was the Father of the Nation who taught us that “taking an eye for an eye would leave the whole world blind.” Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!


Mani Shankar Aiyar

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