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Consequences of Pakistan's Larger Game Plan in Kashmir
Dr. Raj Kumar Singh11/20/2019 10:11:51 PM
Pakistan's foreign policy has always revolved round the idea of annexing Kashmir. If anything, Islamabad's intentions have acquired greater urgency since the Bangladesh war for it to do to India what it believes India did in 1971. This is why Pakistanis do not hesitate to tell their Indian interlocutors that they feel insecured and incomplete without Jammu and Kashmir. Several US congressional studies, think tank reports, task-force-on-terrorism findings and CIA revelations have named Pakistan for aiding and abetting the proxy war. Yet, not a day passes without Pakistan passing strictures on India's management of Jammu and Kashmir. The proxy war waged by Pakistan has also falsified the latter's claim that it is interested in the plight of Kashmiri Muslims. Its true interests are geostrategic and economic. Although it is more than the truth that the proxy war is unwinable by either side, Pakistan's aim is to make the cost for India holding Jammu and Kashmir high, diplomatically, politically and militarily.
Tool of the plan
Traditionally, terrorism is a highly organised enterprise that fits into a clear political strategy. It has been filling the news for most of our lives, and will doubtless go on demanding the attention of our children and grand-children as well. Even in the past terrorism was almost a part of the strategy of an armed national liberation movement, and in the colonial context it usually worked in the end. The reason why it worked so well in anti-colonial struggles was that it did not have to defeat the imperial power's superior military forces in order to win. They were a long way from the home, and there was a limit to how many lives and how much money the imperial government would spend to hang into its possessions. But the early, easy successes of terror tactics in the anti-imperial context left everybody with a great inflated notion of what the technique could achieve against an established national government with local roots. Governments and armies that cannot "go home" - because they are already at home - simply do not give in to terrorism. After several years and more than 80,000 deaths, the Islamic fundamentalists, terrorist war against Algeria's crypto-military regime is no closer to success. They are capable of doing much harm but they are not politically serious people.
Core issue of India -Pak relations
While India has traditionally been on the defensive, Pakistan made Jammu and Kashmir the core issue and the root cause of India-Pakistan dispute. Pakistanis and the world are fed on a routine diet of propaganda on television, radio and print media about Indian Army atrocities and human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan's initial strategy in Kashmir has settled down to three-pronged mutually supportive thrust line; 01.Work for negotiations with India in an agenda which would discuss the Kashmir issue on the basis of not only the Shimla Agreement but also the UN Resolutions, thus bringing the issue of plebiscite/self-determination into bilateral/multi-lateral talks. So far Pakistan's own obligations under the UN Resolutions (the basic reason why the resolution could not be implemented) are not even alluded to; 02. Strategy of overt support and covert action for a low -intensity proxy war fought by non-regular forces constructed on the ideology of religion based subnational separatism; 03. Prepare for, and if necessary escalate to a regular war preferably in a manner that creates perceptions of India being the initiator of such war.
The above strategy was aimed to seek the Pakistan's objectives of destablising India and its developmental plans, undermine its secular policy and feudal structure, push the Indian states towards increasing dependence on force and damage India's standing in the international community particularly at a time when it is receiving added recognition and respect. Pakistan would actually be pursuing a low-cost high-benefit strategy where the real price would be paid by the Kashmiri and other Indians. The proxy war could be sustained by Pakistan for a long time as long as some Kashmiris are willing to keep the conflict alive. Pakistan would try to avoid war as long as it sees the basic objectives being met by the other elements of its strategy without paying a direct price which is bound to be heavy. We can hardly hope to win the low-intensity proxy war being waged against us if we do not have the undoubted capacity to win a possible regular war, whether it is of short or long duration. Winning the proxy war was itself requires a cool assessment of the evolving situation and elements of the Pakistani strategy so as to evolve appropriate responses, political as well as military.
Defensive India
It is said that the situation in the valley could not have taken such a serious turn since 1989 had the government handled militancy more effectively in its earlier stages. The policy makers of India were knowing Pakistan's plan. The details of the Pakistani plan were given in "Operation Topaz", published in one of the issues of the India Defence Review in 1988. Later on the plan was put into operation in stages. At each stage it tested government's will and preparedness to fight it. First, a number of explosions, without causing much damage, took place in Srinagar. This was followed by attacks on police stations and selected killings to terrorise the people. The three main objectives before the militants were : I. to demoralise the state police by targeting those officers who dared to take action against them; II. to drive out the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley; and III. to create a communal divide between Hindus and Muslims. The key to the Kashmir problem lies in controlling its internal situation.
India has been for years at the receiving end of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and surrounding areas. Scores of innocent civilians are mercilessly gunned down at all to frequent intervals, and bomb explosions kill and maim hapless victims in buses and trains as well as in the market place. At this stage our own strategy will have to rest on five concurrent elements. 01. Keep the avenues for peaceful solution of the conflict with Pakistan open; 02. Political and administrative measures to restore normality in Kashmir with the use of force where incapable; 03. Sustained politico-diplomatic efforts to mobilise international support in countering Pakistan's proxy war for sub-national separatism; 04.Active use of force against infiltration and terrorist activities which are an important component of the proxy war; 05. Adequate preparedness to deter imposition of a direct war.
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