August 11, 2009

Denuke Pakistan

The US and the rest of the West have to clean up the country to save it from itself and to secure South Asia, says N.V.Subramanian.

10 August 2009: How is Pakistani terrorism against India to be eliminated? Dialogue is not the way, regardless of how much the Pakistanis and Americans press for it. Pakistan wants the dialogue only insofar as it concerns the Jammu and Kashmir issue. It is convinced that terrorism keeps the pressure on India to give in, now and again (conjoined with American screw-tightening), to Pakistani demands for a dialogue.

So it is naive to expect that Pakistan will ever end terrorism against India so long it believes it keeps the dialogue pressure on Kashmir. The longer and bloodier the terrorist pressure, the weaker, Pakistan believes, becomes India's resolve to hold Kashmir. So Pakistani terrorism against India won't end unless it gains Kashmir or it becomes such a failed state that it cannot prevent its own disintegration. And Pakistan simply cannot surrender Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists to India, or prosecute them to death in Pakistan, because then their links to the Pakistan military and ISI will come tumbling out. So you have to be a mug to believe that the present LeT trials in Pakistan are serious.

Is the military option against Pakistan an option? Certainly. Despite what the PM said in Parliament, war is always an option. But obviously, it is the last of a very distant option. There are risks to be calculated, which the Indian military surely has, but it is an area best not speculated about. Preceding the military option but obviously still far away from it is the intelligence option, which again is best not discussed. In other words, options there are, but they need political will to be exercised. This writer is fairly tired of his own line that India does not have this political will. Maybe some Indian government of the future will have that will.

But what does India do meanwhile? Pakistan conveniently highlights (as Parvez Musharraf recently did) its hostilities with India commencing with the creation of Bangladesh. It equates the Mukti Bahini with the Pakistani terrorists operating in J and K (but not elsewhere in India, which is downplayed), forgetting that Pakistan sent the jihadis first in 1947-48 into J and K and in the run up to the 1965 war. And whatever else it was, the Mukti Bahini was not jihadi, fighting its co-religionists, as it were.

Also, Bangladesh was nominally created by India. The seeds were sown by Pakistan itself. Bhutto conspired with General Yahya Khan to keep Mujibur Rehman out of power although he had won the elections. Then there was the Pakistan army genocide in East Pakistan and mass rapes of women whose numbers are so shockingly large as to be almost unbelievable. Mrs Indira Gandhi repeatedly warned the international community of the unfolding humanitarian disaster in East Pakistan, and when she met with callous responses, she took matters into her own hands. Pakistan's failure and refusal to own up to the atrocities it committed in East Pakistan leads it to make the same blunders, time and again, in Sind, Baluchistan and NWFP.

At any rate, Pakistan focuses all its hostilities against India from the time of Bangladesh. China assisted Pakistan with its deterrent both for its own strategic goals against India and to calm Pakistani fears of a second Bangladesh. Although Pakistan's terrorism against India recommenced more than ten years before their 1998 rival nuclear tests, those tests made Pakistan an unintended military nuclear equal to India, and Musharraf capitalized on that to launch his Kargil "limited war". With its deterrence, Pakistani terrorism against India has only grown bolder. Is there a way out, short of the military option?

India needs its own deterrence not so much against Pakistan (hence, perhaps, the no-first use option vis-a-vis it, and the intended reliance on second-strike platforms such as Arihant) as against its strategic competitor, China, and maybe others. Rising India will axiomatically face more and more strategic rivalry. So its deterrence is a sine quo non, non-negotiable. But that's not true of the Pakistani deterrence, assuming Pakistan's (bogus) fears against India (a second Bangladesh, for example) are stilled. How do you still that? The five big powers can give security guarantees to Pakistan against any potential for an Indian military strike. Two, the US can extend its nuclear umbrella to Pakistan if it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons, once for all protected from India by the big five's security guarantees. In addition, India can give Pakistan negative security assurances.

But the big five's security guarantees should come with conditions. One is that the Pakistan army is downsized to a tenth or eighth of its present strength, and strictly issued weapons to fight terrorists, not armies, which it has consistently misused. The second condition is that the ISI is disbanded and all links with terrorist groups dissolved. There should be a thoroughgoing clean up there. The third is that the terrorist groups are eliminated if they are not ready for mainstream correction. US and Western military and other aid must be drastically reduced and punctiliously audited against leaks to terrorist campaigns against India.

Short of bombing Pakistan to the Stone Age, this is perhaps the only way to save Pakistan from itself, and to secure South Asia from Pakistan. Unless Pakistan's military-intelligence terrorist infrastructure is disbanded and eliminated, the US will find no success in Af-Pak. So it is in the US's and West's interest to clean up Pakistan before it is too late, and at the least, they will find India receptive. The only questionable part is, will China acquiesce?

N.V.Subramanian is Editor,,


Anonymous said...

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