India's Pak Strategy

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  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The fallacies behind India's Pakistan policy

    Dangerous misconceptions


    Brahma Chellaney

    India Abroad, August 7, 2009

    Even though India’s extended hand has been slapped again and again by Pakistan, right-minded Indians still desire peace and stability on the subcontinent — but with dignity. Instead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s one-sided commitment to “go more than half the way” to make peace with Pakistan, India’s correct position should be that it is ever ready to walk more than half the distance on cooperation or confrontation, depending on whether Pakistan wants peace or war.

    Singh’s recent statements in Parliament point to the fallacies on which he has been reconstructing his Pakistan policy. His personal imprint on that policy bears at least eight perilous misconceptions.

    One, political geography is unalterable. “We cannot wish away the fact that Pakistan is our neighbor,” Singh says. So, “a stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan” is in India’s “own interest.” But political maps are never carved in stone, as the breaking away of Bangladesh, Eritrea and East Timor showed. In fact, the most-profound global events in recent history have been the fragmentation of several states, including the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Pakistan — the world’s Terroristan rolled into an Anarchistan — looks increasingly decrepit and combustible.

    The redrawing of the “Afpak” political frontiers indeed may be essential for regional and international security. The British-drawn Durand Line, in any case, has ceased to exist in effect, making a Pashtunistan no longer look implausible. The “moth-eaten” Pakistan, as its founder called it, now resembles a Molotov cocktail waiting for a match.

    Two, India and Pakistan are locked by a shared destiny. Therefore, “our objective must be a permanent peace with Pakistan, where we are bound together by a shared future and a common prosperity.” Despite Singh’s constant harping on a “shared destiny,” how can a plural, inclusive and democratic India share a common future with a theocratic, militarized and radicalized Pakistan? In fact, Pakistan, with its “war of a thousand cuts,” poses an existential threat to the very principles and values on which India is founded.

    Three, the alternative to a policy seeking to placate a terror-exporting adversary is war. “It is in our vital interest to make sincere efforts to live in peace with Pakistan … There is no other way unless we go to war.” Lest his message not be clearly understood, Singh repeated: “Unless we want to go to war with Pakistan, dialogue is the only way out.” This draws on the classic argument of appeasers that the only alternative to appeasement is provocation or conflict. The simple truth is that between bending backwards and waging aggression lie a hundred different options.

    Yet, by greeting each major cross-border terror strike in recent years with complete inaction, Singh has speciously suggested to the nation that the only alternative to such abysmal pusillanimity is war. After 26/11, for example, Singh exercised not one of the multiple political, economic and diplomatic options he had —from recalling the high commissioner from Islamabad and disbanding the farcical Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism to designating Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence as a terrorist organization and invoking trade sanctions. As a result, India ended up not taking the smallest of small steps even as a token expression of outrage over Pakistan’s role.

    Four, India cannot emerge as a world power without making peace with Pakistan. “I sincerely believe India cannot realize its development ambition or its ambition of being a great power if our neighborhood remains disturbed … it is in our vital interest, therefore, to try again to make peace with Pakistan.” To say that the country cannot emerge as a major power without making peace with an adversary wedded to waging war by terror is to go against the grain of world history and to encourage the foe to hold India’s progress hostage. Does Singh wish to egg on Pakistan to have its cake and eat it too — wage unconventional war while enjoying the comfort offered by Indian-initiated conciliation and peace talks?

    Next-door China has emerged as a global player by building comprehensive national power, not by coming to terms with Taiwan, which it has kept under a threat of military invasion. Beijing also has pursued a consistently assertive approach toward India for long.

    Singh does not understand that the irredentist Pakistan is locked in mortal combat with the status quoist India, seeking its salvation in India’s unravelling. Even if India handed Kashmir Valley on a platter, Pakistan’s war by terror would not end.

    Five, as India has nothing to hide and indeed “our conduct is an open book,” it can let Pakistan include any issue in the bilateral agenda. “We are not afraid of discussing any issue of concern between the two countries. If there are any misgivings, we are willing to discuss them and remove them.” It was such logic that permitted Pakistan to turn its terror target, India, into an accused on Baluchistan.

    Singh’s attempt to rationalize that blunder, though, threatens to exacerbate matters. Not “afraid of discussing any issue” extends an invitation to Pakistan to place on the bilateral agenda any subject it wants, including a matter internal to India.

    Six, if Pakistan merely acknowledges what is incontrovertible, that is enough for India to change policy course. “This is the first time that Pakistan has … admitted that their nationals and a terrorist organization based in Pakistan carried out a ghastly terrorist act in India.” That prompted the policy change at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Singh divulged.

    That it took Pakistan more six months even to submit a detailed response to India’s dossier of evidence, that its response states upfront that the state-sponsored group involved in the Mumbai attacks — the Lashkar-e-Taiba — is a “defunct” organization against which no action thus is possible, that Islamabad has publicly discredited Indian evidence against the No. 1 mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, as “propaganda” and freed him, that the Pakistani terrorist-training camps along the India border remain operational, and that Pakistan has rubbished India’s demand to hand over 42 fugitives like Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Chota Shakeel and Lakhbir Singh — all that doesn’t matter. What matters is an admission of what no longer is deniable.

    Seven, high-level dialogue and “meaningful” dialogue can be optically delinked. Those not paying attention to Singh’s word play would have missed the distinction he drew in his July 29 speech: “We can have a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan only if they fulfill their commitment, in letter and spirit, not to allow their territory to be used in any manner for terrorist activities against India.” However, at the level of prime minister, foreign minister and foreign secretary, India will continue its dialogue with Pakistan on “all outstanding issues,” irrespective of whether Pakistan demonstrates its anti-terror bona fides or not. Such casuistry is designed to carve space for the misbegotten approach.

    Eight, diplomacy of hope and prayer makes sense. “I hope and pray that the leadership in Pakistan will have the strength and the courage to defeat those who want to destroy, not just peace between India and Pakistan, but the future of South Asia.” Wishful thinking has long hobbled Indian foreign policy. Now, in the glaring absence of holistic, institutionalized decision-making, prayers are being added to the wishes.

    Yet, even God cannot help those praying for Pakistan to kick its terrorism habit. A state that has employed armed proxies against India virtually from its inception cannot do without them. A de-terrorized Pakistan will become an extinct Pakistan.

    Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, is the author, most recently, of “Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan” (HarperCollins).

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  3. Singh

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    India's roller-coaster policy on Pakistan

    India needs statecraft, not stagecraft

    Two successive prime ministers have led India on a roller-coaster ride on Pakistan, highlighting the risks of a meandering, personality-driven policy approach, says Brahma Chellaney

    The Economic Times, July 24, 2009

    The national outcry over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cave-in at Sharm-el-Sheikh may have caught him by surprise. Singh probably calculated that just as he had got away by embracing the sponsor of terror, Pakistan, as a fellow victim of terror — through the infamous Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism — he could use another non-aligned nations’ meeting to reverse India’s post-26/11 policy at the US urging. But the chorus of disapproval that has greeted his volte-face shows he underrated the continuing anger in India over the unparalleled Pakistani terrorist assaults on Mumbai. After all, India is being uniquely targeted not just by non-state actors (NSAs), but by state-sponsored non-state actors (SSNSAs), with Singh himself having admitted earlier that “some Pakistani official agencies must have supported” the Mumbai attacks.

    Like his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh has taken India on a roller-coaster ride on counterterrorism, with an ever-shifting policy course on Pakistan. His latest U-turn on Pakistan, however, parallels the manner he pushed through the controversial nuclear deal with the US. In both cases, he broke his solemn assurances to Parliament. Also, like the nuclear deal, Singh’s decision to delink talks with Islamabad from Pakistani action against terrorism was the product not of institutional thinking but of personal choice. Yet another parallel is that the PM has himself moved the goalpost to help cover his concessions. And just as he tried to spin the reality on the terms and conditions of the nuclear deal, Singh has turned to casuistry to camouflage his shift on Pakistan.

    Calling Pakistan “the epicentre of terrorism”, the PM declared in the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2008 that, “The infrastructure of terrorism has to be dismantled permanently.” Pakistan must meet the “minimum pre-condition” of ensuring its soil will not be used for terror activities against India, Singh had put on public record. Yet today, his government willy-nilly is moving back to business as usual with Pakistan, although Islamabad has done nothing — as New Delhi admits — to shut down terrorist-training camps along the Indian border or to cut the lifeline its military establishment provides to the terror groups.

    Just as the nuclear deal bore Singh’s personal imprint, the latest Pakistan-policy shift has been sculpted by him, with little regard for professional inputs. Indeed, he has ignored the lesson from his 2006 action when he turned Indian policy on its head and embraced Pakistan as fellow victim of and joint partner against terror. The stalled Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism has stood out as an astonishing blunder. Still, at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Singh again obliterated the line between the victim and the aggressor by agreeing that “terrorism is the main threat to both countries”, and then went one step further to commit India to “share real-time, credible and actionable” intelligence on terrorism with the country still wedded to waging war by terror.

    Now take the shifting goalpost. Singh first sought the dismantlement of Pakistan’s terror infrastructure against India. His benchmark then narrowed to bringing to justice the “perpetrators” (the actual executors, not the masterminds) of the Mumbai attacks. Next, on the way back home from the G-8 L’Aquila summit, Singh further watered down his stance by saying India was “willing to walk more than half the distance” if Pakistan undertook not actual action but merely offered “a renewed reaffirmation” to “bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre to justice”. That is exactly what happened: In exchange for Pakistan’s mere reaffirmation of its anti-terror commitments, Singh changed Indian policy course. Such a shifting goalpost is redolent of the nuclear deal.

    The reliance on spin to cloak concessions has been another defining characteristic. On Mumbai, India lost twice over — the first time when 10 Pakistani terrorists held its commercial capital hostage for almost three days, and the second time when Islamabad outmaneuvered it in the diplomatic game, to the extent that Pakistan managed to formally turn the insurrection in its Baluchistan province into a bilateral issue to help brand its terror target, India, as an accused. Yet Singh has followed a familiar pattern to cover up broken promises to the nation. The Sharm-el-Sheikh statement “does not mean any dilution of our stand. It only strengthens our stand,” he claimed. Yet, on specifics, he has not explained the false move on Baluchistan, or the delinking of talks from Pakistani action against terrorism, or the placing on record India’s interest in a stable, democratic, “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”, as if to endorse dictator Zia ul-Haq’s Islamization and the jihad culture it instilled.

    Let’s be clear: The inclusion of Baluchistan resulted from US pressure on India to address Pakistan’s concerns over Indian consular and other activities in Afghanistan. And the agreement to share real-time actionable intelligence is part of a CIA initiative to build cooperation between the Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies. Even Hillary Clinton publicly sought “sharing of workable intelligence”. The Obama administration had made it clear it would wait for the Indian elections to be over before nudging New Delhi to reopen talks with Islamabad. The Sharm-el-Sheikh statement can only boost Washington’s Afpak strategy, a key component of which is to prop up the Pakistani state financially and politically.

    Take yet another parallel: Just as Singh argued that without the nuclear deal India’s energy and economic interests would be seriously compromised, he now contends that without settling differences and making peace with Pakistan, India cannot be a great power. Every right-minded Indian would want peace. But to say that the country cannot emerge as a major power without making peace with the adversary is to go against the grain of world history and to embolden the foe to stay implacably antagonistic. Did China become a world power by coming to terms with Taiwan? Even if India surrendered Kashmir, would Pakistan be willing or able to stop cross-border terror attacks?

    India’s meandering approach on Pakistan is just one example of Indian policy being unable to stay the course on matters critical to national interest. In the absence of realistic, goal-oriented statecraft or a distinct strategic doctrine, ad hoc, personality-driven policy-making is becoming the norm. A secure, prosperous India, however, can emerge only through institutionalized, integrated policymaking and the unflinching pursuit of clearly laid-out goals.

    The writer is professor of strategic studies, Centre for Policy Research.

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  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Making sense of Pakistan


    The continuing controversy over the Sharm el-Sheikh statement poses a huge challenge for the prime minister. He has to recognise how much at odds his strategy on Pakistan appears to be with a lot of public opinion. He is clearly right in thinking that there is no option but to try for peace. Trying for peace within the bounds of prudence risks failure, not trying at all will guarantee perpetual failure. Most people would understand that point. They also understand that if politically helping the Pakistani leadership buys you some long-term dividends, it will be absolutely worth it. But what they are a little mystified by is how the Sharm el-Sheikh statement helps anything. The key issue is not the linking of talks with progress on terrorism. You talk if you think you can make progress. The really worrying aspect was the reference to Balochistan in the joint statement. The PM is technically right in his statement: mere mention does not amount to an admission of anything. But this technical self-exoneration misses the larger politics of the issue.

    India-Pakistan relations are steeped in symbolism; and the fact that this was the first reference made to Balochistan in any joint statement was, not implausibly, taken as a mark of something. Our response to questions about the activities of our consulates in Afghanistan was unusually defensive. And the PM should have realised that the matter will not be as simple as denying our involvement in Balochistan. Whatever is the truth of the matter, there is a propaganda war on this issue; and recently scholars in the US have given succour to claims of Indian involvement. Our challenge will not be issuing denials: it will be reclaiming the moral high ground.

    Second, there is a curious asymmetry in India-Pakistan exchanges. All intelligent leaders realise that the real game is not about the governments of the two countries. It is about how a government can appeal to the public opinion of the other country. For all his mendaciousness, this was a point Musharraf understood very powerfully; and he never shied away from courting or hoodwinking Indian public opinion. However, no one in the present Pakistani leadership seems to have the slightest ability or desire to try and appeal to Indian public opinion directly, by some gesture or display of political savvy. This puts the Indian PM in the awkward position of having to bat for the credibility of the Pakistani leadership. What makes this task odd is the fact that the Pakistani government, instead of doing something that would appeal to Indian public opinion, went on to milk the Sharm el-Shaikh statement in a propaganda war. And we took the rather bizarre line: go by the interpretation we are giving, not the interpretation Pakistan is giving. This is an odd new definition of a “joint” statement. It is awkward for the PM to say “trust but verify,” when at the same time the Pakistani leadership seems to be cocking a snook at you. For much of the public the exchange of dossiers and the admissions contained in it are a sideshow. What they are looking for is evidence that can convince them that there is serious India-related action on the ground, not just Pakistan sacrificing a few low-level pawns.

    The third political issue is rather more subtle. Suppose for argument’s sake you were to say, “Let Pakistan claim rhetorical victories it can, so long as those give it cover to take real action.” But this line of defence can be, beyond a point, self-defeating. Even assiduous pursuers of peace have to admit this. Part of the difficulty with dealing with Pakistan has been that substantial sections of its elite have been in self-denial. As Farzana Shaikh’s powerful new book, Making Sense of Pakistan, argues, the fact that the identity of Pakistan has been constructed negatively has consistently led its leadership to either seek strategic validation from abroad, or look for alibis that can confirm its self-fulfilling sense of being perpetually threatened. The US has consistently fed the Pakistani elites’ “We are indispensable to the West” syndrome. By putting Balochistan on the table we are continuing to feed Pakistan’s self-perception that it is the victim. This sense of victimhood is the biggest obstacle in Pakistan’s coming to terms with its problems. We must do all we can to help Pakistan fight terrorism. But only Pakistan can save itself. The test of its resolve will not be that it claims diplomatic victories. The test will be the day it does not need rhetorical crutches to provide cover to it to move decisively against terrorism directed against India.

    The PM may be right that Pakistan is moving and we need patience. But there is a backdrop to our worries. Mumbai was an unprecedented national humiliation. It followed on the heels of what looked like substantial progress in relations with Pakistan, almost a new euphoria. The joint terror mechanism was supposed to be precisely the forum where we had candid discussions on activities of both countries, in some kind of formal symmetry. And it achieved nothing. All this is not a reason to continue trying. But it is a reason to think that we will have to work harder on the credibility of the process.

    Everyone understands that a significant breakthrough can come only through the intervention of leaders. To this extent, any engagement with Pakistan will be personalised. But this runs a large risk that the PM himself will be held responsible for all missteps big and small. There are many who want the PM to fail, even in his own party. It is all the more important that the PM uses whatever little political capital he has on this issue wisely. In other systems, leaders step in to break deadlocks or only when there is something major to announce. Here there is a danger that the PM will be reduced to dossier manager or put in a position of explaining all commas. Assuming there is progress with Pakistan, the big political challenges are yet to come. If a joint statement has produced this storm, wait till we negotiate meaningful agreements. The PM needs to be credible so that he can show political courage when it will be genuinely consequential. The disappointment with the PM’s statement in Parliament was that it did nothing to assuage his detractors. It also gave no evidence that he will have the credibility to carry the country when genuine peace might be possible.

    Making sense of Pakistan
     
  5. Singh

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    Assessing Pakistan: Perception & reality


    By By G. Parthasarathy
    Jul 26 2009

    INDIANS WHO pay short visits to Pakistan invariably come back deeply impressed and almost overwhelmed by the hospitality they receive. Pakistani homes often appear no different from our own and one gets the impression that there is a vibrant and influential civil society in Pakistan. Talking to political leaders in Lahore or Karachi leaves one impressed by their attire and sophistication. But scratching beneath the surface, the realisation soon dawns that one is really in a country where civil society institutions are weak, democratic institutions fragile and politicians feudal and incapable of effecting socio-economic transformation. Most importantly, all sections of national life are held hostage to a rapacious and growingly Islamist Army, which determines the destiny of 170 million people. The Army not only determines the country’s nuclear and foreign policies, but also controls a vast economic empire in Pakistan, embracing sectors from real estate, banking, transport and construction to fertilisers and sugar.

    Benazir Bhutto warned me in February 1999 not to get euphoric about the Vajpayee “Bus Yatra” to Lahore as her country was dominated by a “Military, Madrasa, Mullah” complex. Her words were prophetic. Three months later we were engaged in a bitter conflict against the Pakistan Army, which had infiltrated across the Line of Control in Kargil, with the infiltration having commenced even as Mr Vajpayee was smoking a peace pipe with Mr Nawaz Sharif. The ISI is merely an arm of the military establishment in Pakistan. A former director-general of the ISI was asked in Islamabad what the ISI aimed to achieve in India. He replied: “Our aim is to weaken India from within and we can do it.” The ISI, it should be remembered, is merely an instrument of the all-powerful Army establishment. The communications equipment used by perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai outrage were provided not by the ISI, but by Colonel Sadatullah of the Pakistan Army’s Corps of Signals.

    How has Pakistan sought to “weaken India from within”? In the 1980s, extremists in Punjab were given haven, support and arms to wage war in the state. Even today, some of those accused of assassinating former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh are today known to live in Lahore, in much the same way as Dawood Ibrahim lives in a palatial residence in the Defence Housing Society of Karachi. But what has really landed Pakistan in its present problems is the decision of the Army to use “militant Islam” to seek control of Jammu and Kashmir and also exploit and exacerbate communal tensions all across India. To achieve these objectives, the Army co-opted and utilised radical Islamic groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba within Pakistan.

    Externally, the Pakistan Army has sought “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, endeavouring to make that country a client state, totally dependent on Pakistan, by installing the Taliban to rule the country. Pakistani author Shuja Nawaz has revealed that when the former director-general of the ISI, General Ziauddin, visited Kabul, he asked Taliban president Mullah Rabbani to provide 20,000 volunteers for “jihad’ in Jammu and Kashmir. Mullah Rabbani smilingly offered to provide even 5,00,000 volunteers for jihad in Jammu and Kashmir! But, it was precisely this reliance on radical Islamic groups that landed Pakistan in trouble. Radical Islamic groups from different parts of the world ranging from Chechnya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan to the Philippines, China and Indonesia sought refuge in Afghanistan to wage jihad worldwide, under the leadership of Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.

    The terrorist attacks of 9/11 on New York and Washington signalled the major setback to Pakistan’s gameplans. As secretary of state Hillary Clinton noted in New Delhi, these attacks were planned in and executed from Pakistan. Since then, not only has the US ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan, but created circumstances forcing Pakistan to act against some of the groups it had earlier patronised. Moreover, the United States soon discovered that groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba were working in tandem with the Taliban and Al Qaeda and had them banned by the UN Security Council as international terrorist groups. In the meantime, large parts of the Northwest Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan are for all practical purposes under Taliban control. Leaks to the Pakistan press about alleged Indian involvement in destabilising Pakistan are meaningless as violence all over Pakistan is perpetrated by groups once the clients of the ISI. Pakistan is set for a civil war with unpredictable consequences.

    Despite these developments, the military establishment and ISI appear to have learnt no lessons. While seeking to appease the Americans with limited military action against selected Taliban groups, the Army continues to provide support and sustenance to the Taliban political leadership under Mullah Omar and its top military commanders like Sirajuddin Haqqani, in the belief that Taliban rule can be restored once American resolve weakens, compelling them to leave Afghanistan. How the Americans react to this policy when their casualties mount in Afghanistan remains to be seen. But, India should have no doubt that groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, duly backed by the Army, will continue to wage a carefully calibrated war of terror on Indian soil. The civilian government, beset with deep differences between a moderate President Zardari, who has no affection for radical Islamic groups and an Army protégé, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who thinks otherwise, is in no position to influence the Army’s policies. It is not without significance that virtually every senior foreign dignitary visiting Pakistan does not call on defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar, but pays homage to Army Chief General Kayani.

    India has to realise there can be no easy or early solutions to problems in dealing with Pakistan. Patience, perseverance and a determination to raise the costs for the Pakistan Army for its efforts to promote terrorism in India have to be an integral element of any viable policy that New Delhi adopts.

    The author is veteran diplomat and national security expert

    Assessing Pakistan: Perception & reality
     
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    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Suspension of Hafeez Saeed's case does not inspire much confidence in future cooperation. How can any meaningful cooperation materialize when Pakistan itself is in two minds on peace with India.
    The joint statement promises to be a diplomatic thorn for years and all for nothing!
     
  7. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Talking to Pakistan is like trying to straighten dog's tail. They will never become straight and change. Let Pakistan implode from within inside, all India needs to do is add some ghee to it. A divided Pakistan is amenable to Indian interests than a united Pakistan.
     
  8. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is the most sad thread in the whole of def.in
     
  9. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Dangerous fallacies

    By appreciatively citing the example set by his sphinx-like predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who reversed India's Pakistan policy at least half a dozen times during his six years in office, prime minister Manmohan Singh is seeking to take India on a similar roller-coaster ride. In fact, Singh's latest statements in Parliament reveal eight dangerous misconceptions on Pakistan.

    One, political geography is unalterable. "We cannot wish away the fact that Pakistan is our neighbour," Singh says. But political maps are not carved in stone. Didn't Indira Gandhi change political geography in 1971? The most-profound global events in recent history have been the fragmentation of several states, including the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. When Pakistan looks increasingly decrepit, Singh says "a stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan" is in India's "own interest".

    Two, India and Pakistan are locked by a shared destiny. Therefore, "our objective must be permanent peace with Pakistan, where we are bound together by a shared future and a common prosperity." How can a plural, inclusive and democratic India share a common future with a theocratic, militarised and radicalised Pakistan? In fact, Pakistan, with its "war of a thousand cuts," poses an existential threat to the very principles and values on which India is founded.

    Three, the alternative to a policy seeking to placate a terror-exporting adversary is war. "There is no other way unless we go to war." That draws on the classic argument of appeasers that the only alternative to appeasement is provocation or conflict. The simple truth is that between bending backwards and waging aggression lie a hundred different options.

    Four, India cannot emerge as a great power without making peace with Pakistan. "It is in our vital interest, therefore, to try again to make peace with Pakistan." By linking India's global rise to the placation of Pakistan, Singh has hyphenated India with that country even more strikingly than any international actor. Actually, to say that the country cannot emerge as a major power without making peace with an adversary wedded to waging war by terror is to go against the grain of world history and to encourage the foe to hold India's progress hostage. Does Singh wish to egg on Pakistan to have its cake and eat it too -- wage unconventional war while enjoying the comfort offered by India-initiated conciliation and peace talks? While India should make efforts to build better relations with its regional foes on the basis of "verify and trust" (not "trust and verify," as Singh wants), its own global rise is not dependent on adversarial goodwill.

    Five, as India has nothing to hide and indeed "our conduct is an open book," it can let Pakistan include any issue in the bilateral agenda. It was such logic that encouraged Pakistan to turn its terror target, India, into an accused on Balochistan. Singh's attempt to rationalise that blunder, though, threatens to exacerbate matters. Not "afraid of discussing any issue" extends an invitation to Pakistan to place on the bilateral agenda any subject it wants, including a matter internal to India.

    Six, if Pakistan merely acknowledges what is incontrovertible, that is enough for India to change policy course. The policy change at Sharm-el-Sheikh, according to Singh, was prompted by Pakistan's submission of a dossier in response to India's dossier. That Pakistan has yet to begin dismantling its state-run terror complex against India was overlooked. Indeed, an enthusiastic Singh even agreed that India will "share real-time, credible and actionable" intelligence with Pakistan on future terrorist threats. In other words, India is to alert Pakistan in time to the terror actions being planned by its state institutions and their front organisations, given that the Pakistani Army, the ISI, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Muhammad constitute a seamless jihad web.

    Seven, high-level dialogue and "meaningful" dialogue can be delinked. "We can have a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan only if they fulfill their commitment, in letter and spirit." However, at the level of prime minister, foreign minister and foreign secretary, India will continue its dialogue with Pakistan on "all outstanding issues," whether Pakistan demonstrates its anti-terror bona fides or not.

    Eight, diplomacy of hope and prayer makes sense. "I hope and pray that the leadership in Pakistan will have the strength and the courage to defeat those who want to destroy, not just peace between India and Pakistan, but the future of South Asia."

    Wishful thinking has long hobbled Indian foreign policy. Now, in the glaring absence of holistic, institutionalised decision-making, prayers are being added to the wishes
     
  10. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    PM and the Peter Principle

    The Peter Principle suggests that every person rises to his level of incompetence. The principle, enunciated by Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull some 41 years ago in a path-breaking book, has almost never been contradicted.

    Its logic is simple: if you are good at your job, you get promoted. But at the higher level, the competencies required for success are different. If you still manage to do a good job, you get another promotion and the process continues till you find a job you are truly incompetent in.

    Has prime minister Manmohan Singh risen to his level of less competence? Is he prime minister material? Was his goof-up at Sharm el-Sheikh, where he agreed to delink terror from a composite dialogue with Pakistan and also inserted Balochistan needlessly into the joint statement, just a one-off or part of his larger makeup?

    Let us apply the Peter Principle to him and see. He was a successful reformer under PV Narasimha Rao, when the country was facing bankruptcy and everyone was willing to accept some reform as a necessary evil. He did what any competent bureaucrat would have done -- offered technocratic solutions to economic problems. As long as Rao was willing to back him politically, he succeeded. In fact, the backtracking began almost immediately after 1993. Few reforms came after that.


    Now cut to 2004, when Manmohan Singh was chosen for the prime ministership. It wasn't because of his reformist credentials, but his loyalty to Sonia Gandhi. Do you recall any major reform during 2004-09? Perhaps, only the rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGS). But luck helped. He led the government when revenues were booming and made the most of it by spending it all in rural areas.

    Even so, Manmohan Singh would have been written off as a decent, but irrelevant, PM till the nuke deal resurrected his reputation. But was the nuke deal a demonstration of his competence? The PM precipitated the crisis when he decided that he would rather quit than submit to the left's constant needling. Manmohan Singh also had bad vibes with CPI(M) boss Prakash Karat. Take these two factors and what you get is a petulant PM willing to give it all up. Luckily for him, Sonia Gandhi and the US government weren't willing to give up on him. She needed him, and so did George Bush.

    Around the same time, the Mayawati-Mulayam Singh war was reaching boiling point and there was a complete, if temporary, convergence of interests all around. Result: The nuke deal went through and the PM became a man of consequence without doing anything more than threatening to resign. No doubt, the PM had the vision, but he needed someone else to implement it.

    My assessment is this: Manmohan Singh lacks some of the essential skills needed to be PM in a diverse nation. But that does not mean he can't be PM. To succeed, though, he needs people who will cover up for his weaknesses. Pranab Mukherjee is one possible answer. He did his part in the last Lok Sabha when he fended off the left on the nuke deal till the Congress was sure it could win a vote of confidence.

    The country can also thank its lucky stars that Sonia Gandhi did not agree to the PM's preference for Montek Singh Ahluwalia as his finance minister after the recent electoral victory. It would have been a disaster, not because Montek is incompetent, but because he would not have been able to carry the party along. It's like having two people in government with the same strengths and weaknesses. They would have been unable to accomplish anything between them.

    This is, in fact, the lesson of history. Whenever leaders had deputies with complementary skills, they succeeded. It was Sardar Patel's no-nonsense, get-things-done style that welded India into one country from a welter of princely states and fiefs. Nehru had little to contribute here. Once Patel left the scene, Nehru stood tall -- and alone. He fell prey to sycophants. The China war defeat was a direct consequence of this.

    The Vajpayee-Advani combo was another alliance of complementary skills that worked to the country's advantage. Given to poetic flourishes, Vajpayee's was the vision that propelled the NDA. When he did things on his own, he faltered. He took the bus to Lahore, and reaped a Kargil. At Agra, it was the balance supplied by Advani that saved him from signing a deal that would have been loaded in favour of Musharraf and Pakistan.

    At Sharm el-Sheikh, Manmohan Singh decided to go solo with his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani. Without a balancing partner, or even a cautious bureaucracy for help, he goofed on terror and Balochistan. Gilani played to Singh's weakness -- the latter's desire to be seen as the man who brought peace to South Asia -- and scored a victory.

    Manmohan Singh will succeed as PM only if Sonia Gandhi hems him in with people who can cover up for his weaknesses. He cannot succeed solo.
     
  11. Singh

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    Double standards in Pakistan’s anti-terror campaign


    Praveen Swami

    Prosecution of pro-Taliban cleric for hate speech in stark contrast to case of Lashkar chief

    We want occupation of Islam in entire world: Saeed

    Very soon we will enter India via Doda, Lashkar chief had said

    NEW DELHI: Early this month, Pakistani prosecutors charged the head of a pro-Taliban group and seven of his associates with treason, incitement to rebellion, terrorism, waging war, and conspiracy against the country.

    The charges are reported to centre around a speech made by Maulana Mohammad, often called Maulana Radio for his use of FM broadcasts to spread his message, on April 19.

    Maulana Mohammad, the Pakistan government says, told followers in the town of Mingora that there “is no room for democracy in Islam.” He demanded that the entire nation be placed under the Shariah law.

    Pakistan’s stern action against the Taliban-linked cleric stands in stark contrast to its refusal to prosecute Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, despite the fact that he used a near-identical language in several speeches made in recent years. Saeed’s speeches also contained attacks on Pakistan’s rulers, attacks on its anti-Taliban war and calls for violence against India.
    “Against Islam”

    During a sermon to worshippers at the Masjid al-Qudsia in Lahore’s Chowburji area, reported by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa website on October 14, 2007, Saeed asserted that “current political systems, especially democracy, are against Islam.”

    Islam, Saeed was reported by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa website as saying, had a complete system of government based on Khilafat (Caliphate) and Amirat (Leader/Head of the Muslims). As such, there “is no need of an opposition, nor is there a concept of a ruling class, or party.”

    Those qualified to lead people in prayer, he argued, “are also eligible to lead the people otherwise.”

    Saeed asserted that “the real objectives for the establishment of Pakistan will be achieved when the original Islamic system, established in Mecca 1400 years ago, is implemented here.” His language closely mirrored the proclamations of Sufi Mohammad.

    “We hate democracy,” the pro-Taliban cleric said in February 2009, soon after the Government of Pakistan signed a peace deal that imposed Shariah across north-west Pakistan. “We want the occupation of Islam in the entire world. Islam does not permit democracy or election.”

    Maulana Mohammad and two of his sons were arrested in Peshawar on July 25. He was earlier held in May, but quietly released.
    Criticism of Pakistan

    Like Maulana Mohammad, Saeed often unleashed stinging attacks on the state of Pakistan. Pakistan’s rulers, he said in a March 2007 speech, “to reassure America and to prove that they are enlightened and moderate, continue to take weird and reckless measures in utter contempt of the safety, security, and well-being of their people.”

    In several speeches reported on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa website during that year, Saeed expressed support for the Taliban. Pakistan’s rulers were, during one sermon delivered at the Jamia al-Qudsia, urged to “stop fighting the war of the enemies of Islam and Muslims in Waziristan and other places.” He demanded that Pakistan stop “trying to please the Christians and the Jews.”

    In another veiled attack on the former President, Pervez Musharraf, Saeed asserted that “Muslim rulers have disappointed the Ummah [worldwide Muslim community]. It is time to wage jihad against them. They are not Muslims. They are the agents of Jews.”

    His lieutenant, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, launched an even more acidic attack on the retired General Musharraf at the Madrasa Ayesha, near Rawalpindi. Pakistan, he asserted, “is ruled by Ahmads” a reference to a heterodox sect officially proscribed in Pakistan, and long subject to persecution by Islamists. “Most of the top Generals and bureaucrats,” he continued, “are Ahmadi.”

    In order to counter this pernicious influence, Makki called for “jihad and martyrdom to be made part of the curriculum. They should be taught in textbooks at school, college and university levels.”
    Violence against India

    But unlike Maulana Mohammad, much of Saeed’s invective was directed at India and Hindus.

    In a 1999 article, he said that “the Hindu is a mean enemy and the proper way to deal with him is the one adopted by our forefathers, who crushed them by force.”

    Later, in December 1999, Saeed told an interviewer that Kashmir was “only our base camp.” “The real war,” he asserted, “will be inside [India]. Very soon we will enter India via Doda and unfurl the Islamic flag on the Red Fort.”

    On the eve of the Mumbai attacks, Saeed told followers that the “only language India understands is that of force, and that is the language it must be talked to in.”

    The Hindu : National : Double standards in Pakistan’s anti-terror campaign
     

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