(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
During the past two month, I wrote quite a few articles on Kashmir crisis: “Kashmir – Strategic Deadlock, Kashmir Crisis – No Light at the End of the Tunnel; Insane Kashmir Politics; S-2 (Senseless and Shameless) Netas; Kashmir – Counter Hybrid Warfare Strategy; and Kashmir Crisis De-Escalation –Talks with whom, what and when.” The road map ahead was clearly articulated in them.
None paid heed to my appeals for adopting a strident strategy in diplomatic, social, economic and military fields. Lack of political will is glaringly evident.
Even after 69 years of war with Pakistan, it amazes to see the Indian political and diplomatic leadership pursuing the “peace path” following defensive and reactive strategy.
Oh, “Blindmen or Bungling or Blundering Cowards of India”, when will you launch a strategic riposte?
Repeatedly, I have been highlighting the lesson of mankind: Fools learn from their own experience; Wise learn from others experience. Almost a decade ago I added another phrase, that is, “Idiots refuse to learn even from their own experiences.
Sun Tzu stated over 2000 years ago “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill”. Marshal De Saxe stated “I am not in favor of giving battle especially at the outset of war, I am convinced that a clever General can wage war in his whole life without being compelled to do so” by strategy of demonstration. The Indian Army Generals at the Apex level need to relearn strategy.
Be that as it may, the Generals at the Army, Corps and Command levels have the authority to strike back at the enemy across the border at the time and pace of their choosing. Why are not they exercising their authority? Where is the need for them to “look over their shoulders”?
Let none suffer from illusions that Pakistan holds India as its arch enemy. Having fed and bred its society on “Hate India” and “1000-years Jihad” to liberate J & K and disintegrate India on communal lines, Pakistan cannot suddenly make a volte face.
Pakistan is conducting Gen 5 Warfare, known as “Hybrid Warfare”. The nexus or umbilical cord between the “Separatists” in the valley and their allies across the border is very well established. The allies include: Pakistan State, Army and the ISI; HM, LeT and other Kashmiri militant groups waiting in safe havens across the border; financial supporters from other parts of the world; Chinese diplomatic ambiguity; and radical Islamist groups elsewhere.
Foolish or idiotic it would be on any ones part to expect the Pakistan authorities to let go of the opportunity that they have created today. And, why should they do so?
“Peace is an illusion”; chasing it diplomatically is meaningless – Oh blundering and bungling netas of India.
At the cost of reiteration, let me highlight that political leadership starting with Nehru have been the “Great Betrayers” of the Indian spirit. Shastri surrendered the hard won Haji Pir Pass and the Uri Bulge in 1965 at Tashkent; Indira Ghandy squandered the glorious opportunity at the Shimla in 1972 with over 90,000 Pakistani prisoners in India camps; and even Vajpayee failed after Kargil.
In a diplomatic riposte or departure from the past policy, Modi invoked Baluchistan, POK and Gilgit crises and extended India’s support to their freedom struggles.
Political statements or rhetoric and jingoism like Manohar Parrikars’ statement that “going to Kashmir is like going to Hell” may be a good sound bite, but cannot deter Pakistani pursuance of cross border infiltration and terrorist strikes in Kashmir valley. They need to be backed up action on ground aimed at points where it hurts Pakistan most and deters it from meddling in India’s internal affairs.
No point in condemning the Uri incident as a “cowardly and dastardly terror strike” as part of political rhetoric. The other side must be claiming it as bold and courageous act with utter disread to their lives.
So, what are the options available for India? Scope for dialogue to reach an amicable solution is utopia. Dialogue between political leaders without Pakistan Army and the ISI participation is a futile exercise using democratically elected leaders as ‘shield’ to cover their nefarious strategic designs.
India can ill afford to appear on the defensive politically, diplomatically or militarily based on appeasement track diplomatically. So, what should India attempt? Many strategic options are available to adopt step-by-step in a cold, calculative, collaborated and coordinated manner.
On the political plane, Modi must make it abundantly clear that he would not be going to attend the SAARC Summit in November 2016 considering the latest Uri terror strike where 17 soldiers have been martyred. In particular, after the snub given by Pakistan to Rajnath Singh during his recent visit. India, using its good relations can also ask Afghanistan and Bangladesh to join in boycotting the Summit.
If Modi attends the Summit, it would send totally wrong signals to Pakistan about how meek and weak Indian political leadership is to counter its “Hybrid Warfare” threat based on nuclear blackmail.
On the diplomatic front, India must recall its High Commissioner from Pakistan. In return, Pakistan must be asked to withdraw its High Commissioner from New Delhi, Abdul Basith, for his diplomatic indiscretion and his oft repeated connivance with separatist leaders. Basith has been conducting information warfare from India soil.
Furthermore, holding talks in the present context with the “barrel of the gun pointing at the back” is quite stupid, quixotic and reflects meekness and weakness besides intellectual bankruptcy.
As regards Pakistan, the stand to be taken is straight forward. Unless they stop aiding abetting infiltration, terror strikes and ceasefire violations, resumption of talks serves no purpose except for media hype, which is largely highly divisive.
On the social front, stop all cross border traffic to include Wagah-Attari in Punjab (Samjhauta Express and Bus Service), Zero point-Munabo (Thar Express) in Rajasthan, Srinagar–Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkote Bus service in J & K. Alongside, extend covert support to freedom fighter in Baluchistan, POK and Gilgit. For, it hurts their people more than people on our side.
On the economic front, stop all ongoing trade transshipments for it hurts Pakistan more than it hurts India. Also, tighten the cross border smuggling particularly of drugs, human trafficking and illegal arms flow.
On the military front, launch strikes, like the Israeli’s, against 42 militants “CAMPS” located in POK. Also, escalate cross border firing to inflict casualties on Pakistan Army.
As part of military strategy, carryout deployment of armed forces strike formations in other sectors so that Pakistan Army has to redeploy its forces from its counter Pakistan TTP militancy in FATA region and Baluch separatists.
Inside J & K, at the cost of reiteration, arrest all separatist leaders and send them to a camp in Siachen Glacier to cool their heels like Sheikh Abdullah’s confinement for over 20 long years (1953 to 1974). After Mirza Afzal Baig signed Kashmir Accord, Sheikh Abdullah, hailed as Lion of Kashmir, was released and anointed as the Chief Minister.
Even Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an exceptionally decorated and distinguished officer who commanded an Army Corps in the valley at the height of militancy, in a recent media debate has suggested the step to move all separatist leaders and supporters out of J & K. His invocation of the “Hybrid Warfare” by Pakistan appears to be least understood in political circles.
“Tit for Tat” appears the most sensible strategic option; but not reactive but proactive. Be firm and decisive.
Will the political loggerheads pay heed to South Asian historic wisdom or remain “Blindmen or Bungling or Blundering Cowards of India.