Why dialogue with Pakistan is futile

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by youngindian, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. youngindian

    youngindian Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sushant Sareen


    June 29, 2009

    Considering that 2009 marks the 20th year of full-blown insurgency in Kashmir, it is somewhat surprising that there are not many books that go behind the scenes and beyond newspaper reports to lay bare what actually was happening on the ground and to the people of the state. In recent years, however, Praveen Swami and David Devadas have done some remarkable work to fill some of this empty space. But until now, very little was known of how the insurgency was guided from across the border in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    Much of what we know is based on information handed out by the Indian security agencies. There was however no means to corroborate this information. The absence of any independent source of information, which was also reliable, left a huge gap in our knowledge of how the insurgency was planned and how it played itself out inside Pakistan. Also missing was the story of the jihadists and Kashmiri separatists who operated from Pakistan.

    In his book Shadow War -- The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir, Pakistani journalist Arif Jamal, unveils the involvement of Pakistan in the insurgency and provides some new and quite startling details of the jihad that Pakistan waged against India in Kashmir. Having covered and observed this jihad from very close quarters, Arif was ideally placed to write this book. There is little that he doesn't know about the people and organisations involved in spawning militancy and terror in Kashmir. But while he is brutally honest in exposing all the misdeeds and murders that were committed in the name of 'Kashmiri struggle for independence', he has concentrated more on the involvement of the Jamaat Islami and its terrorist arm, Hizbul Mujahideen [Images], in spreading murder and mayhem in Kashmir.

    In the process, Arif has ignored the role of terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] and Jaish-i-Mohammed because, according to him, "they have a global agenda in which Kashmir is no more than a training ground."

    Arif busts many myths in his book, not the least of which is the commonly held view that the alleged rigging in the J&K state assembly elections in 1987 sparked the insurgency. According to Arif, right from the time of partition, Pakistan was always on the lookout for opportunities to stir up trouble in Kashmir. There were occasional lulls in Pakistani efforts to destabilise Kashmir, for instance after the 1971 war. But these periods had more to do with Pakistan's compulsions rather than any change of intentions. As Arif puts it, "Jihad, holy war and diplomacy were thus the first elements of Pakistan's foreign and defence policy -- and they remain so more than 60 years later."

    He reveals that in early 1980, General. Zia-ul Haq held a meeting with the chief of Jamaat Islami in PoK, Maulana Abdul Bari. In this meeting Zia told Bari that he "had decided to contribute to the American-sponsored war in Afghanistan in order to prepare the ground for a larger conflict in Kashmir".

    Zia predicted that "the Americans would be distracted by the fighting in Afghanistan and as a result would turn a blind eye to Pakistani moves in the region" [If one goes by what Arif writes later in this book, a similar calculation is being made by the Pakistan army [Images] today]. When Bari asked Zia who in Afghanistan will receive the biggest share of US assistance, Zia said "whoever trains the boys from Kashmir".

    Arif puts a lie to the propaganda that the insurgency in Kashmir is a localised phenomenon and has no links with Jihad international. The book clearly points to the organic links that were established between the Islamists who were waging jihad in Afghanistan and those waging jihad in Kashmir. According to Arif, "in the early days of fighting, Hizbul Mujahideen had all its fighters trained at camps in Afghanistan run by Hizbe Islami [of Gulbadin Hikmatyar]. In particular, they made use of al Badr in Khost province... Kashmiri fighters also made use of other camps in Afghanistan, including Khalid bin Walid, Al Farooq and Abu Jindal." The camp, Abu Jindal, was known as a site for training Arab fighters and in 1998 Osama bin Laden [Images] held a press conference there. Later, Arif reveals, training camps were established all over Pakistan and in PoK.

    According to the book, the Hizbul Mujahideen learnt its brutality and savagery at the feet of Gulbadin Hikmatyar, who advised the HM chief Syed Salahuddin to eliminate all his rivals. The book quotes a HM commander who said that his organisation eliminated over 7,000 political rivals. But according to another dissident HM commander the number was "many times higher". The method of killing rivals -- chopping bodies, beheading them, sawing them, hanging them publicly are all eerily reminiscent of the tactics used by the Pakistani Taliban [Images] in Swat recently.

    In a sense, Arif corroborates a lot of what Indian security agencies had already revealed to the Indian media. But where Arif breaks new ground is by informing his readers the suppleness with which the Pakistani military establishment adapts to unfavourable international situations and calibrates the jihad in Kashmir accordingly. This is something that holds important lessons for those in India who once again have started suffering from the delusion that Pakistan army has realised the futility of the jihad and that therefore the time is ripe for striking a workable deal with Pakistan.

    Arif believes that the appointment of General Ashfaq Kiyani as army chief signals "a continued strengthening of Pakistani support for jihadi groups". He quotes an HM commander as saying that the jihadis "never had it so good since 1999".

    In a clear indictment of the Pakistani policy of unending jihad against India, Arif writes that "in the spring of 2007, the ISI arranged several meetings between a group of Pakistani and Kashmiri jihadis and the Afghan Taliban... these meetings were aimed at creating coordination between the two jihads, in Afghanistan and in Kashmir... As a result of these meetings, some Pakistani jihadi groups joined their Afghan comrades in the tribal areas of Pakistan and also inside Afghanistan. However, most importantly, more jihadis were pushed across the LoC or use other routes to reach India... In a new strategy, most of them were ordered to establish sleeper cells". The aim of this link-up is apparently to reduce Indian support to the Hamid Karzai [Images] government and Arif speculates that the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul is probably a result of this new strategy.

    Given that it now appears only to be a matter of time before India and Pakistan re-start the stalled dialogue process, this book should be an eye opener for the Indian negotiators. While negotiations are always a preferred way to resolve disputes, they will never be fruitful until and unless there is a genuine desire on both sides to seek some sort of a middle ground on which a deal can be struck. But if negotiations are only a smokescreen or a diversionary tactic for a nefarious game-plan, then quite obviously the negotiations will be a dialogue of the deaf.

    The book, Shadow War, only reinforces the apparent futility of any dialogue with Pakistan at this stage.
    Why dialogue with Pakistan is futile: Rediff.com news
     
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  3. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    'Peace is not one-way traffic'

    Thu, 25 Jun 2009 23:26:12 GMT

    India favors peace and cordial relations with all its neighbors but there are forces at work that do not wish well for India, its defense minister says.

    "Peace with its immediate neighbor Pakistan is very advantageous but it cannot be a one-way traffic," Defense Minister A.K. Antony said in New Delhi on Thursday.

    He said that although cross-border infiltration in Kashmir had been reduced in the last few years, 'we must be vigilant about the happenings on our western border, while at the same time, try to make peace with our neighbor', he told the Unified Commanders' Conference which lasts for two days.

    "At the present time the situation does not permit the army to lower security on certain borders, 'especially in Jammu and Kashmir', as even now these terrorist outfits are working there. It is a real threat," he stressed.

    He said the armed forces have to be on full alert but to be also prepared for peace.

    The comment also seemed to apply to China, as India plans to raise two mountain divisions in Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by China, Press Trust of India quoted him as saying. "India is not against any country. We want to maintain friendly and cordial relations with all our neighbors but at the same time it is our duty to increase our capabilities," he said.

    But, Antony went on to say that there were elements at work that did not wish well for India. "It is imperative for our armed forces to be prepared to face any challenge to our security that could in turn affect our growing economic prosperity."

    According to Press Trust of India, the defense minister said that India was trying to convince Pakistan that relations between the two countries could 'move forward' only if Islamabad took strong action against anti-India outfits operating from across the border.

    He termed the security situation in Pakistan as a 'matter of great concern' for India.


    'Peace is not one-way traffic'
     
  4. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Arif Jamal has done some truly ground breaking work on this topic and its sad that he hasn't been given nearly as much recognition or credence as some of his peers like Steve Coll or Sumit Ganguly (who are albeit ostensibly more dynamic, articulate and adept at public speaking).

    Although he has primarily explored the Kashmir specific groups (mostly based at the Muzafarabad terrorist camps that the GoP built) in this book, he shouldn't be dismissed for not having expounded upon groups like the LeT who do in fact only use Kashmir as an excuse to pursue greater agendas. Jamal is probably one of the foremost experts on the LeT and has done some amazing research on that group and the ones like it over the decades. His work especially on the force structure, how the LeT is organized and how they attract and induct their forces and leadership cadres, is truly stunning; it is sobering and best and downright apocalyptic at worst. He has also clearly shown how and why intelligence agencies around the world have been so wrong in estimating the virulence of the LeT and who have only now started wisening up to this very serious threat after disastrous events like the parliament shooting and Mumbai attacks.

    Having said that, the article from rediff itself is a piece of crap. Pakistan has undoubtedly been a major party to promoting terrorism and militancy which now seems to have come back full circle; but to insinuate that India is innocent and just a poor victim is intellectually dishonest. India has done its own share of incorrigible mistakes at the expense of countless innocent civilians which should never be overlooked by using Pakistani terrorism as reason. Doing so is wrong and inexcusable and one of the fundamental reasons why Kashmir is still not under control.

    India first and foremost has to get its act together even if it means being harshly introspective, only then can this crisis be over once and for all. There also has to be a realization that Pakistan has to be engaged; simply because it isn't going anywhere.

    My advice, read the book scrap the article.
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Energon,
    Plz elaborate on:
    What are the 'incorrigible mistakes' done by India?
    What do you propose India to do to rectify those alleged mistakes?
    What is India going to gain by engaging with Pakistan(assuming that it stays as it is)?
     
  6. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    Kashmir has been terribly mismanaged at multiple levels, ranging from rigging elections to blatant and horrific human rights violations at the hands of the security forces (some of them conflict related and many others not). There is no denying this, nor can the situation ever improve unless these long standing issues are resolved.

    The mistakes cannot be rectified, the damage is already done; what can and should happen is a serious level of introspection to ensure that these things do not happen again and more over that no one can exploit these cases to up the ante.
     
  7. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    ^^^
    What is India going to gain by engaging with Pakistan(assuming it stays upfloat)?
     
  8. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    The general center of gravity in Pakistan is actually a lot lower than what people around the world think, or want to think it is. The subsistence mechanism may not be healthy or productive, but it is nonetheless in place and that is what matters at the end of the day. The caveat of course is a continual stream of resuscitative financial aid to keep the said subsistence mechanism in place; funnily enough human development of the populace doesn't mean much when it comes to keeping a country afloat. North Korea is another nation in addition to Pakistan that has shown this theory to be valid. As long as the West (including Japan) in partnership with China and the Arab states provide the Pakistani leadership with the resources they need for the foreseeable future, Pakistan will remain intact.

    The point is, Pakistan isn't going anywhere and they will always have a demand to keep fueling the insurgency in Kashmir and terrorism against India. The only realistic approach for India is to realize this axiom and do everything possible to minimize their role (I don't think it will ever be eliminated) through a series of incentives to counter and outweigh the ones to promote violence. There are a fee avenues that can and ought to be explored in pursuing this policy, but any which way the first step is to engage Pakistan.
     
  9. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Energon I think the Pakistanis are dying a slow death and they being afloat is as long as the Af-pak theatre has operations.Their are sections in the indian GOI who do not want Pakistan to exist beyond 2020.The social set up is too toxic with a high degree of regressive ideology.I don't know what incentives we can offer to Pakistan in the first place
     

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