Whose Side Are We On?

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Vinod2070, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Engage Pakistan to defeat anti-India forces

    Rajiv Kumar


    Security hawks, the media’s foreign policy experts and the political class had a field day after July’s Indo-Pakistani joint statement. Particularly for the BJP, whose astute leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee once took the boldest of steps to liberate India from its Pakistan obsession, nationalism seems confined to overtly displaying our superiority over a smaller neighbour, one fighting with its back to the wall against destabilising forces. Good foreign policy, however, has to be more nuanced so that our long-term national interests are served.

    To better appreciate complex diplomatic endeavours, we must start by taking note of some facts. First, India accounts for about 80 per cent of South Asian GDP. Being so dominant, it has to bear an asymmetric responsibility for achieving stability, peace and prosperity in South Asia. This must be the bedrock of our neighbourhood policy. Second, we cannot choose our neighbours and should work with whoever we can to help Pakistan defeat the jihadis. Otherwise, there will be negative outcomes for our own experiment at building a pluralistic, multi-ethnic and democratic society. Third, the strategic balance between the two countries must surely rule out any ideas of a decisive military victory. That road leads only to mutually assured destruction. We may well have to bite the bullet one day, but it is best avoided.

    Fourth, there is not one monolithic Pakistan we can engage with. A choice must be made. There is the Pakistan of the armed forces which treats the country and its people as a fiefdom to be exploited for personal benefit. There is another Pakistan toiling in poverty, deprivation and backwardness for which succour from daily injustices is welcome from any quarter. Fundamentalists, meanwhile, see themselves as guardians of the Pakistani state and true representatives of the Islamic republic. They see victory within their grasp because they have duped the army into believing that it can calibrate the growth of jihadism.

    There is also the Pakistan of the rising middle class which wants modernisation but equates it with neither westernisation nor Islamisation. They are as horrified as we are at a video showing Taliban goons caning a woman and yet like us do not want to succumb entirely to the Coca-Cola culture. The sufi and pir traditions – to which prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and brave journalists, judges and lawyers belong – are also part of this Pakistan.

    The
    small, almost inconsequential section of westernised, ‘liberated’ men and women is yet another Pakistan. There is also the Pakistan of the Mohajirs who see themselves as increasingly marginalised and resent that. Finally, there is the Pakistan whose political leaders represent growing popular aspirations for freedom and rule of law.

    India must choose which Pakistan it wants to support, and which it wants to isolate and hopefully defeat over time. Clearly, we must work to erode the credibility and legitimacy of Pakistan’s armed forces establishment whose very reason to be is its festering animosity towards India. Islamic fundamentalists are the second group to be opposed. It is not mere coincidence the two are aligned in vicious opposition to India and subvert by coordinated, violent means any move to improve bilateral relations. Pakistan-bashing, on which some sections of India’s political spectrum and media thrive, strengthens the hands of these two groups. Nothing serves their purpose better than a bellicose India flexing muscles and vocal chords against Pakistan which they claim to represent. The reaction in India to Sharm el-Sheikh must have been music to their ears.

    The Pakistan to be supported is today most effectively represented by Gilani. He comes from a sufi family, is a thorough professional with well-established credentials for integrity. He is seen as distinct from his president who comes from a completely different background and perhaps with his own agenda. Gilani represents the aspirations, weaknesses and strengths of the Pakistani middle class which desires better and open relations with its counterparts across the Wagah border. Sharm el-Sheikh was manifestly designed to support him and prevent him from relying completely on Rawalpindi, the jihadis or Asif Zardari for his political survival.

    India must continue to make bold attempts to improve ties and strengthen Pakistan’s elected leadership to give it the wherewithal to begin confronting religious fundamentalists and resisting the armed forces establishment, the two worst enemies of the Pakistani people. At Sharm el-Sheikh, India gave away nothing in real terms. It only provided Gilani an opportunity to claim a breakthrough with his own hawks. If the strategy works, we would have an interlocutor with credibility and some capacity to resist the two groups most inimical to our interests.

    What possible end can be served if Indo-Pak relations remain stalemated? Those who criticise initiatives to engage Pakistan should then suggest a more effective means of improving ties and collaborating with it to fight jihadi terrorists who, as agreed by the two countries earlier, are a menace for both.

    The writer is director, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.

    [​IMG]
    No point in marching past each other
     
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  3. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Makes some good points. However, we have generally seen that negotiations are not bearing any fruit and the policy of bleeding India through terror continues.

    Tough choices for India to make.

    I think India should let the Pakistani society decide what they want. They have the first and foremost responsibility to define what kind of Pakistan they want.
     
  4. sky

    sky Regular Member

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    i dont think india will make any choice that the article suggests but would work with who ever is in power.it feels like its a arms lenght strategy,dont get to close but have cordial relations.no warmth or friendship exists,which is understandable when you consider some of the tricks their playing with india.its not up to india to support any side as they are a sovereign nation and it up to them to deicied what type of country they wont.its rep/image could not get much worse then it is now,why cant they see that?
     
  5. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Yes, Indian involvement is more likely to backfire than anything else.
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I read that article in this mornings TOI. The first thing that came to my mind is that the author is either highly optimistic or maybe doesnt know the history of Indo Pak relations. dont need to say more than that.
     
  7. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Actually, we can't have all sabre rattlers too. We need to have cautionary voices too that suggest some sane alternatives. Of course the final decision needs to be taken based on all available inputs.
     
  8. sky

    sky Regular Member

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    vinod i agree with you and so does the goi,if the goi gets involved it will backfire and extremist elements in pak will look to capitalise on this.
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I think we do have same elements on the Indian side, if not we would have fought in 2002 instead of just mobilizing. We would have attacked when 26/11 happened. What is required is saner elements on the other side sans its intel and army for us to move forward. If Pakistan moves forward one step sans its intel and army control, India would be more than willing to walk a couple.
    Remember that inspite of all the dastardly acts from there, we have kept back channel talks and recently had a meeting between the two PMs. India has always been ready to talk. But Pakistan has never responded well. It only talks. But does not walk the talk.
     
  10. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    There is very simple equation

    Pakistany Army = Terrorists and these terrorists control the foreign policy. As long as this factor is there, India-Pakistan peace is a mirage.

    Even after this thread completes 10 pages of debate and discussion, the conclusion will be above.:D
     
  11. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well that means that there is no solution!
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    There is Vinod. Pakistan has to be a stable democracy and the Army and intel should be away from the power centers like India. Then they have to forget bleeding India through a thousand cuts and dividing India. Then come back to talk. We have always been ready.
     
  13. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Yes, but isn't that like asking for the moon and the stars?

    An Indian getting to the moon is likely to be earlier than any of this.
     
  14. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    There you go. You have answered the question. As they say in Hindi, "Taali Do Haath Se Bajti Hai". Unless we have a sincere effort from that side, its really difficult for us to move forward.
    Take the case of the 26/11 trial. Those guys are still dragging there feet even in the face of their Masters agency FBI corroborating in the trial.
    There is no sincerity on there part. Only talking about it. nothing more.
     
  15. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    So, effectively it comes down to waiting for them to implode or explode and even facilitate that!

    Or prepare for the inevitable showdown and get that over with at the most opportune time?

    One would prefer a better and more peaceful solution, if at all possible.
     
  16. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    vinodji there is no use of reading the vedas to a raging bull that is coming to kill you
     
  17. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Vinod,
    Any peaceful solution depends on Pakistan. IT has been the one creating mischief the last 30 years after been beaten in 47,65,71. Then they came up with Kargil and got beaten. Now they come up with brazen attacks like 26/11.
    Where is the scope for peace in this environment? They keep talking about it. But nothing much.
     
  18. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    One can also use this information to say that India will dominate South Asia economically and the only way South Asian nations will prosper is if they align themselves with India and aim for a greater trade relations with the dominating giant.

    One must critically analyze why is there a rise in Jihadis in Pakistan

    A few reasons for the rise in Jihad have been
    1. lopsided development - eg. Seraikistan, Balochistan
    2. poverty - eg. Kasab, afghan refugee camps
    3. dirty politics - eg SeS
    4. rule of elitists - eg. swat zamindari
    5. administrative failings - eg lack of speedy justice, blaming Yehudis-Yindus
    6. rising influence of islamists - eg. zia, deobandi madrasas
    7. state exploitation - eg kashmir, afghan jihad

    Now the only way India can help Pakistan in tackling Jihadis in a long term manner is by setting a good example of the way they handle extremism in their own country. World Bank et al are forcing Pakistan to divert funds from the military to poorer areas.

    In the short term the best India can do is kill all Jihadis entering their territory and keep up the pressure on Pakistan to act, refuse diplomatic and economic co-operations; for its in best interest if Pakistan itself finishes its home grown Jihadis.

    This is the most worrying aspect.
    Pakistan possesses not only WMDs but credible delivery systems thereby ensuring MAD incase of a conflict. Pakistan whether ruled by the army or democratically elected govt has made utmost use of its WMDs to conduct gun to head negotiations. This is a matter of concern as it will be tough to strong arm Pakistan and Pakistan due to the prevailing circumstances is reluctant to put its house in order.

    If India somehow manages to conventionally outnumber Pakistan significantly this can result in Pakistani govt realising the futility of an arms race and seek peaceful co-existence or fall prey to arms race, destroy itself economically and force the world to go in and restore order.

    The author here asks India to discredit Pak army and Islamists. Without going into the specifics, it is hard to envisage how India will discredit the Islamists and the Army which the Pakistanis consider to be their saviour.
    Now add incidents like Godhra, fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan etc. in India and the popularity of lowbrow crass Urdu media , Kashmir Jihad in Pakistanetc. into the mix.


    Again, how can the author expect the govt to tone down the hawks ? when it is the establishment that blames the foreign hand whether correctly or incorrectly many a times, and the army too at times makes many bellicose statements. Asking Indians to tone down Pak-bashing when the wounds of 26/11 are still fresh is asking for too much too.

    Most Pakistanis will contend that their two worst enemies would be 1. India 2. USA/Israel

    Irresp, what's in it for India ? India has successfully defeated the Pak sponsored insurgencies, is on the road to developing a BMD and potent second strike capabilities. Why should we bend or pretend to bend over now ?

    Even after the spanking of 1971, Pakistan refused to develop peaceful relations, inspite of the pre and post-Kargil peace overtures Pakistan refused to heed. Why expect them to change now ? The players in Pak are the same.
     
  19. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Yusuf, that means our role is no more than a spectator waiting for Pakistan to start behaving.

    And suffer till they take their own sweet time!

    I see your point but not an ideal situation for a country of India's size. We should be able to influence the events rather than wait for them to happen or worse hope for it.
     
  20. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    SinghJi, if I understand correctly, you are suggesting a hands off approach and waiting for Pakistan to either improve itself or implode or explode.

    Again, we are a passive spectator in either case. Not a great scenario for us as we suffer in the meanwhile.
     
  21. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Yes, only implosion and breaking apart of Pakistan into smaller states seems to be the solution as far as India is concerned. India should not take hands-off approach, instead it should covertly support and act as catalyst to speed up its implosion. If it is not for US, Saudi and China, Pakistan would have imploded long time ago. All these countries are putting Pakistan on oxygen and keeping it from implosion for their own interests.

    US keeping Pakistan afloat to fight against the Talibans and military transport and may be as hedge against India on a long term basis.

    Saudi Arabia is trying keep Pakistan afloat because it is the only Islamic country with a nuclear bomb which might be of help in the future for Saudia in case Iran gets its hands on them.

    China is keeping Pakistan afloat to use it against India and to keep India on boil for as long as possible. Giving nukes, missiles, money are all indicators to this point.

    With these masters backing Pakistan, the PA will never backdown on the hostility against India. So, the only option left for India is to speed up the process of Pakistan's implosion and the small states arising out of such situation are much more manageable and amenable to Indian interests.

    I don't see another solution to this misery.
     

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