No ground to vacate Siachen

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by utubekhiladi, May 8, 2012.

  1. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    Peace with Pakistan is a desirable goal, but peace should be equally desired by both sides and both should contribute to it in equal measure. The burden of making peace should not fall on India while Pakistan retains the freedom to disrupt it at will.

    Normalisation of India-Pakistan relations should not be predicated on demands by Pakistan and concessions by India. Historically, Pakistan is not a victim of India's war-mongering; it is India that has suffered Pakistani military aggression and jihadi terrorism. Pakistan is more obliged to convince India of its peaceful intentions rather than the reverse.
    Claims

    The notion that India as the bigger and stronger country has to be generous with Pakistan is egregious. If this principle should dictate the conduct of international relations then China should be generous towards India on issues that divide us- which it decidedly is not- and the US, as the world's most powerful country, should be making concessions to virtually all others- which it decidedly does not do.

    Once again we hear talk about culling the low hanging fruit of Siachen in order to politically enable the Prime Minister to visit Pakistan towards the year end. This agreement will supposedly provide the required substantive outcome that can be jointly celebrated. Why India must make a territorial concession to make its own PM's visit possible and Pakistan need not act on terrorism is not explained.

    Those who advocate withdrawal from Siachen - or more appropriately Saltoro as Siachen lies to its east - need to clarify whether we are occupying Pakistani territory. If we are, withdrawal could be mooted. If we are not, then why should we withdraw from our own territory simply because Pakistan contests India's sovereignty over this part of J&K and insists we accept its position? Should such obduracy inspire trust in its intentions?

    The 1949 and the 1972 agreements delineate the LOC till NJ9842, with the line going "northwards towards the glaciers" beyond that. "Northwards" cannot in any linguistic or geographical interpretation mean "north-eastwards", but Pakistan and the US unilaterally drew the line several decades ago from NJ9842 north-eastwards to the Karakoram pass controlled by the Chinese.

    In reality, because the entire state of J&K acceded to India legally, the areas not in control of Pakistan are rightfully Indian whether we physically occupy every inch of our own territory or not. We were compelled to occupy the Saltoro Ridge to prevent Pakistan (under a certain Brigadier Musharraf) from occupying it and threatening our hold over the Shyok valley and potentially Ladakh itself. Why should Pakistan have wanted to occupy these punishing heights if they have no strategic value?

    Saltoro need not have "strategic" value if our borders with both Pakistan and China were demarcated, neither had any claim to our territory and relations with both were normal and friendly. It is because this is not the case that we are being compelled to position ourselves the closest possible to the source of the threats. Why withdraw to positions easier to hold physically and lose available defence depth? Should the army brass take decisions on these questions or the civilian authority?

    Siachen is the Pakistan army's agenda. General Musharraf admitted that Kargil was Pakistan's riposte to Siachen. The argument that an Indian concession on Siachen will strengthen the hands of Pakistan's civilian government in its peace efforts is dubious as we are being asked to appease the Pakistan army for failing to dislodge us from Saltoro. How will placating it strengthen the army's disposition towards India and the civilian authority in Pakistan itself?

    If prior to Kargil India was disposed to end the Saltoro stand-off by experimenting with Pakistan's trustworthiness, with reducing the human cost of occupying such forbidding heights as additional reason, after Kargil India has strong reason to be deeply distrustful of Pakistani intentions.

    What is the guarantee that safeguards built into any agreement will not be violated by Pakistan at an opportune time, as happened at Kargil? Meanwhile, with technical and infrastructural improvements the human cost has come down drastically. What is the compulsion to place faith in an adversary that still fails to address India's key concerns?

    The jihadi groups in Pakistan still exist; Hafiz Saeed is not being curbed; those responsible for Mumbai have not been tried even after four years and to Kashmir has now been added the emotive issue of water. Pakistani defiance of the US on the issue of terrorism and truck with Islamic extremists has a lesson for India. Pakistan's Afghan ambitions remain problematic for the region. Any concession on Saltoro has to be assessed in this larger, unsettled context.

    Pakistan's movement on the trade issue is to be welcomed. In response, even without receiving MFN status yet, India has already committed itself to MFN plus treatment for Pakistan and permitting Pakistani investment in India without reciprocal action by Pakistan. There is no case for rewarding Pakistan also on military-security issues in addition.

    What happens if just before PM's visit to Pakistan to sign the Saltoro agreement there is a major terror attack in India? Will we postpone the visit? If this happens just after the visit and the agreement, will we freeze its implementation? What will that say of our political judgment? Terrorism remains the most critical issue.

    Ideally, Saltoro should be part of an overall settlement of the J&K issue. As a first step, before any evenly balanced demilitarisation eventually takes place as a CBM, the LOC should be jointly demarcated beyond NJ9842 along the Actual Ground Position Line, which we now seem to be demanding in what General Kayani sees as a hardening of our posture.
    Let us stay this course.

    No ground to vacate Siachen : Kanwal Sibal News - India Today
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Something that I wrote a few days ago on my blog.

    There has been a lot of noise coming from Pakistan calling for peace with India. Siachen avalanche that killed over 130 Pakistani soldiers added to the calls both from the intelligentsia and some sections of the Pak establishment. The latter seems to be trying to raise an emotional pitch and trying to call on and play with emotions to solve an issue it knows it has no chance of winning in battle.

    Indian polity and security planners would do well to not get carried away at all by all this. History is proof enough that calls for peace has always been followed by an adventure from Pakistan.

    The Simla agreement was signed in 1972 after the decisive Indian victory in December 1971 war that liberated Bangladesh. India was magnanimous ( I’d call it stupid and a strategic blunder) to give back Pakistan it’s lost territory as well as 91,000 PoWs. Soon enough Pakistan tried to put a spin on the Simla agreement as far as the Siachen Glacier with the wording of “thence north” after Point NJ 9842 and used its friendly relations with the west to start cartographic missions that kept pushing the Pakistani claims towards east well into actually held Indian positions. India was forced to reply with Operation Meghdoot in 1984 and start manning what became the highest battlefield in the world.

    In 1998, there were talks of peace again and the then PM undertook a bus ride to Pakistan. The result of this effort was a war in Kargjl which cost India over 500 brave soldiers.

    The July 2001 Musharraf visit to India was followed with the Parliament attack and the terror attack on Akshardham temple in the following year. It was India’s fault in trusting the very General who thrust the Kargil war on India.

    Since 2004, Musharraf tried to talk his way into a solution on Kashmir. Thankfully somewhere any resolution that was contrary to Indian strategic interests was scuttled. The result was the ghastly 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which completely exposed the Pak Army and ISI role along with the terrorists it has harbored and trained for decades.

    Pakistan has been in a tight spot over the last couple of years. It’s duplicity in the war on terror has been exposed and it’s source of revenue over the last decade, over $10 billion of US aid and transit charges which sustained its armed forces has been drying up. The US drone strikes which is contentious and demanded to be stopped by Pakistan continue with impunity. It led to the breakdown in the recent US Pak talks on resuming NATO supplies.

    President Obama has just visited Afghanistan and signed a long term agreement with the Afghans. Pakistan was banking on the withdrawal of US forces so that it could quickly step in the fill in the vacuum and establish its long cherished strategic depth against India. This is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future though their will be some withdrawal of US forces. The Afghans are not well disposed towards the Pakistanis. India has already invested a lot in developing infrastructure and gained a lot of goodwill among Afghans. India also is helping in training the Afghan army.

    All this has meant that a lot of plans of Pakistan have gone haywire. This is the reason why all the clamor for peace. There seems to be no real intention or will from the Pakistani side to resolve any issue. Even post Siachen Avalanche, the call had been for withdrawal of forces to pre 1984 lines. Ridiculous call. It seems more like a case of them buying time to rebuild and regroup against India. They hope for some kind of a foot hold in Afghanistan. That is why the steadfast support to the Haqqani Network and the spate of terror attacks in Afghanistan which points to Pakistan and ISI as its perpetrators through the Haqqani Network. Just today news has come in of Pakistan killing all those Afghans who wanted to enter into peace talks with the Afghan government.

    India should not get sucked into this calls for peace even if there is any international pressure to do so. It will only give Pakistan the space it is looking for. India could well face another war or a ghastly terror attack as it has been seen historically. Pakistan does not deserve India’s trust.

    http://sarvatravijay.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/there-can-be-no-peace-with-pakistan/
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Yusuf,

    Check this extract from an article by Lt Gen Oberoi, the ex Vice Chief.

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    Why quitting Siachen will be disastrous

    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

    In 1984, having received hard intelligence that the Pakistani army was about to secure the area, the Indian army, in a preemptive move, occupied the Saltoro Ridge, which constitutes the watershed and runs parallel to the length of the Siachen Glacier on its western side. It has been called the Actual Ground Position Line since. The Pakistani army made many attempts to throw us back, but all such attacks were repulsed. Having failed militarily, Pakistan decided negotiations were a more pragmatic option....

    The important myths and realities are discussed below.

    First, the contention that Siachen and Saltoro have no strategic value is wrong. If Saltoro had not been occupied by our troops, Pakistan from the west and China from the east would have long since linked up, with the strategic Karakoram Pass under their complete control. The illegal ceding away of the Shaksgam Valley by Pakistan to China has completed the encirclement of this crucial area. It is only our occupation of Saltoro that has driven a wedge between the two. By controlling Saltoro, we have also retained the option of negotiating with China over Shaksgam valley at the appropriate time.

    Second, the Pakistani stance that since India is the aggressor, it should vacate the area, is a travesty of truth, as what our troops did in April 1984 was to occupyour own areas; no border or line was crossed as the entire area, not having been delineated, belongs to India.

    Third, it is stated that unnecessary casualties are being incurred on account of the treacherous terrain and climate. This is no longer the case with us, as the Indian army has learnt its lessons.

    Fourth, an additional reason stated is that Rs5 crore is being spent every day on our troops there. While the figure may be disputed, should sovereignty be measured in this manner?....

    We seem to have fallen for the Pakistani ploy of looking at Siachen as a separate issue, unrelated to the LoC, when de facto it is an extension of the LoC. Pakistan’s compulsion on the issue must not translate into a sellout by India, for it will be an unmitigated disaster if it happens.

    The most important point we have to keep in mind is that while it suits Pakistan to get our troops to vacate the commanding heights of the Saltoro Ridge, we would lose them permanently if we do so, as regaining them would be militarily extremely difficult. Despite this, if there is a compulsion to resolve the issue, then the first action must be to delineate the AGPL, before any shifting of troops takes place. Pakistan has so far refused to accept this, perhaps with an ulterior motive of occupying it at some future date!

    Pakistan has been proposing that both sides should withdraw to positions that existed prior to the occupation of the Saltoro Ridge, but this must not be accepted as our troops will take longer to return to their positions, should this become necessary, on account of the difficult terrain on our side. There is also a need to work out a detailed joint mechanism to ensure that the terms of the resolution are strictly adhered to.

    The writer is a former vice chief, Indian Army

    Why quitting Siachen will be disastrous - Analysis - DNA
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    In had read that the other day. Each and everyone must raise their voice so that there is no willful strategic blunder committed by the govt.
     
  6. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    @Ray

    Avery sensible piece written by Kanwal Sibal.
    The govt must answer each and every question raised before venturing into any talk on Siachin.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Manmohan Singh has great faith in Pakistan, Pakistanis and Pakistan's word.

    Gurmeet Kanwal and SS Gill also have the same opinion.

    Gurmeet Kanwal claims that he is a 'think tank'.
     

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