Pakistan has been a thorn in India’s left side for 65 years, and amazingly, India has tolerated its pain and irritation, against most odds of human nature. After four wars and multiple proxy wars waged by Pakistan, it still doesn’t count as much for India – a big elephant that is difficult to move. India’s Pakistan policy practices restraint and constraint against an enemy that hates it, that was born in conflict against India in brutal bloodshed, and even now hopes one day to overcome a weak India.
Despite all the difficulties that Pakistan has faced and faces – internal political turmoil and terrorist threats, external issues in Afghanistan, an economy that is on the verge of collapse, and being condemned around the world for its export of terrorism – Pakistan still has the energy and gumption to promote proxy wars in India via Nepal, Bangladesh, and, of course, Kashmir. Which concept of rationality in the modern world can accept Pakistan’s belligerent and incongruent worldview, at a time when the civilized world wishes peace and economic prosperity against a threatening climate, growing population, an oncoming oil crisis, and worldwide economic woes?
By all facts and accounts, Pakistan has been sapping India’s productive and psychic energy every day for 65 years. It is somewhat true that Pakistan has been bleeding India by a thousand cuts. Look at the billions of hours of productive time and newspaper print and headlines wasted on a Pakistan that is an affliction for India and perhaps the world. None of the energy spent on Pakistan counts towards India’s GDP or improved industrial productivity, nor does it improve the economic position of India. The industrial production of India, creativeness of its engineers and thinkers, and ability to gain a foothold in the world has been compromised because a Pakistan exists that threatens war on the subcontinent, distracts national pursuits for excellence, and thereby diminishes foreign investment and confidence in India. For India to grow and have peace and confidence, it must get rid of the Pakistan that obstructs it in many ways, even standing against it in its quest for a rightful position on the permanent Security Council, and one that tried vehemently to oppose the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Pakistan is more dangerous as an independent state positioned to be taken over by terrorist elements supported by a manipulative ISI than under Indian control. In fact, the USA must find merit in the argument that it can better contain the terrorists and Taliban with India controlling them than they themselves. While the USA realizes that Pakistan is duplicitous with its terrorists, the USA is unable to see through the haze that can only be seen by those who have lived with Pakistan and in Pakistan’s neighborhood forever, such as India. Neither does Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai trust Pakistan, nor do the Iranian Shia’s have much love for Pakistan’s Sunnis, even though the Iranians acquired nuclear technology from A Q Khan. A Pakistan that doesn’t exist is safer for the world than a Pakistan that does.
Once every few years, Pakistan feigns interest for diplomacy and negotiations (cricket diplomacy, bus diplomacy, this or that) and often brings up ethnic and language similarity with India to suit its temporary interests – only to back off at the last minute and plot new proxy wars or battles against India. This is of no use to India; in fact, it is a hindrance in India’s quest to be a self-confident power in and of itself. Pakistan presumably hates India and starts an anxiety disorder each time it realizes that Kashmir may slip from it is grip. Now, in another deceptive move, Pakistan recommends that India withdraw from Siachen – a mistake India can ill afford to make after the mistakes of Haji Pir and the return of 93,000 POW’s. Withdraw from Siachen for what? Only for Pakistan and China to occupy it in a sudden move before the onset of a future China-Pakistan joint invasion of Ladakh? None of the satellite monitoring or UN observation systems will be effective at that time, and China and Pakistan will be staring down at Leh and the valley of Ladakh in free sport. The sooner that India can realize it cannot ever trust Pakistan on anything, the healthier it is for India. In that vein, the dialogue and negotiation with Pakistan that is thrust on India by the USA, only helps to prolong the inevitable and the burning pain. The only way to put Pakistan in its place is to possibly have no truck with it, perhaps even not trade with it. One reason that India often enters into negotiations with Pakistan is because its diplomats need to generate work for themselves to justify their existence; also, the USA quite often exerts pressure on India in its usual patronizing attitude to negotiate with Pakistan. This is not healthy.
Among the most feared aspects of a war with Pakistan is the nuclear element. Now that India has allowed Pakistan to move ahead in this department in the 1970s and 1980s, and failed to implement Operation Brasstacks into a fully fledged invasion of Pakistan, India has to bite the bullet on this score. Though Pakistan threatens India with nuclear retaliation in an all-out war, that too must not hold India back against trashing Pakistan. Whatever others may believe, my opinion is simply that it is better for India to brave a costly nuclear attack by Pakistan, and get it over with even at the cost of tens of millions of deaths, than suffer ignominy and pain day in and day out through a thousand cuts and wasted energy in unrealized potential. This is not to say that the objective can’t be achieved without a nuclear war. In this respect, India’s no-first strike policy stands it in very good stead. In fact the process objective must be to achieve the strategic objective through conventional war. Without the elimination of Pakistan, India may never become a secure nation where the mind is held high without fear, and cannot ever hope to attract the type of foreign investment it needs for its economic growth. In addition, the psychological boost that India will get by eliminating Pakistan is unequal in and of itself—one which can propel India into the status of a future, stable, democratic, competitive, responsible, and secular nation.
Analysts tend to ask what will happen to a Pakistan if India defeats it in battle. The answer is not complicated at all: Baluchistan will become independent, but under Indian security arrangements; Kashmir will revert to India; Sindh and West Punjab will be de-weaponized and become special states under Indian protection; and the entire NWFP handed over to the Pathans for a Pakhtoonistan that includes Southern Afghanistan and Kandahar. This will have ramifications on Afghanistan, as well, which may then naturally divide into two for its own peace and stability; Afghanistan’s northern areas consisting of the Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Hazaras, need to form their own country because they have little in emotional and filial bond with the Pathans. This whole reorganization will change the boundaries of the region, but one that has to be undertaken which will be a welcome change to the current bloodshed, turmoil, and export of terrorism. Very often, major change is needed to change the status quo when minor changes don’t succeed.
Much of this is against formal Indian foreign and security policy. The United Nations might also tend to balk at the destruction of a nation member, though it is likely that the West may not shed tears at this. But, this article is not being written to agree with Indian policies, or to present a framework within those policies, or to appease those who worship the Indian mentality. Quite to the contrary, a reformation in Indian policies is presented, and perhaps indicated, one that can give confidence and bring esteem to its people. It is in this light that a new paradigm is advanced. For instance, for long, the Indian policy has been to not engage in cross-border attacks, especially since Prime Minister Inder Gujral passed an ordinance to that effect in the late 1990s. But, such instructions are counter-productive, and Pakistan has taken full advantage of that policy by increasing its own cross-border infiltration. It is to be pointed out that Indian security policies are nothing to be proud of simply for the sake of pride in government. Policies that trample on sustainable Indian pride must be dismantled. The writer feels that the implementation of this new paradigm is ripe for action at this current time where Pakistan is reeling under internal imbalances. If a boxer will not knock out his opponent when the opponent is dizzy and imbalanced, then other opportunities are only guesswork.
Subsequently, India must realize that it has deep religious and philosophical opposition in countries beyond Pakistan to the West. Saudi Arabia finances and supports Pakistan in every way possible and depends on Pakistan for its nuclear shield; the Arab nations have deep links to Pakistan. Discussion on what India needs to do in countries west of Pakistan is best left to another article. However, it can be well understood that India needs to fully secure its western flank and neutralize all threats from the west in order to concentrate better on China and Tibet, and thus strengthen its hand on the eastern flank. Thus, India needs to confront the uncertain future boldly, be a force in the region, spread the message of humanitarian rights and equal opportunity, project itself in the interests of peace and equanimity in the region, and avail of opportunities long before it is itself divided and dismembered.
Thus, the ideal planning option for India is to invest heavily on liberating Pakistan, invest massively in engineering enterprise and education that can advance indigenous armament production, and double or triple its ship building programs and shipyards in which it has exceptional expertise and capability; and it must plan this in ten years, for the plan to be effective to carry a punch. These actions will ipso facto stimulate Indian industry, GDP growth, and bring employment and happiness to its people. Very few educated people understand that money printed but used for stimulating indigenous manufacturing industries actually stimulates the economy, while inflation is checked by means such as control of interest rates and free trade with South East Asian nations. For India to throw its money into foreign nations for expensive defense procurement does not sound like wisdom in action, though one cannot deny that importing defense equipment may be necessary on occasion. India actually begs for enlightened leadership that has moral fiber and a spine to go with it. It is time for the politicians to stop squabbling, for the generals to relearn service in the name of the nation rather than being involved in corruption scandals, and for the nation to get its priorities right and initiate industrial, agricultural, and trade reform. Eventually, for India to succeed, Pakistan must be out of the picture and cease to exist for peace on earth, and India must actively work towards that objective rather than waiting passively in spectator stands.