India/Pakistan — Dealing with Pakistan: Time to Face Realities

Even a casu­al vis­i­tor to Pak web­sites and blogs gets shocked to see venal­i­ty of com­ments against India. There is hard­ly a sane voice that advo­cates need to pro­mote ami­ty. Strange­ly, every com­ment con­sid­ers India and Hin­duism to be syn­ony­mous. India bash­ing always degen­er­ates into Hin­du bash­ing by paint­ing every issue with com­mu­nal colour.

His­to­ry of deceit and duplic­i­ty: One may not ful­ly agree with for­mer Aus­tralian Test umpire Dar­rell Hair’s descrip­tion of the Pak­istani crick­eters as ‘cheats, frauds and liars’. But the fact is that the whole world con­sid­ers Pak­istan to be an untrust­wor­thy and deceit­ful nation. Inde­pen­dent Pak­istan start­ed its track record with treach­ery. Start­ing with the Kash­mir betray­al; Pak­istan has made deceit and duplic­i­ty to be its nation­al pol­i­cy. Despite hav­ing signed a ‘stand­still agree­ment’ with the state of Jam­mu and Kash­mir, Pak­istan unleashed Pash­tun maraud­ers on the hap­less Kash­mir val­ley with the active par­tic­i­pa­tion of Pak Army.

Breach­ing under­tak­ings giv­en to the US, it sur­rep­ti­tious­ly used Amer­i­can equip­ment to launch a sur­prise attack on Kutch in April 1965. Even before the ink had dried on the Kutch agree­ment, Pak­istan was back to its treach­er­ous ways. Covert­ly, it infil­trat­ed its forces into Kash­mir, expect­ing a local upris­ing against India. Under the Tashkent agree­ment, India agreed to return the strate­gic Haji Pir pass to Pak­istan, in exchange for an under­tak­ing by Pak­istan to abjure the use of force to set­tle mutu­al dis­putes and adher­ence to the prin­ci­ples of non-inter­fer­ence. How­ev­er, Pak­istan con­tin­ued its proxy war through its noto­ri­ous secret agen­cies. Sanc­tu­ar­ies and safe pas­sage were pro­vid­ed to under­ground ele­ments of north-east­ern India.

With­out learn­ing from the past expe­ri­ence, India agreed to release 96,000 Pak­istani Pris­on­ers of War (PoWs) after 1971 war. In exchange, India accept­ed a solemn ver­bal under­tak­ing by Bhut­to that Pak­istan would accept LOC as the de fac­to bor­der. India once again let Pak­istan bluff its way through. Bhut­to nev­er intend­ed to abide by his word. Worse, to avenge its defeat, Pak­istan redou­bled its efforts to cre­ate tur­moil in India.

Under the Sim­la agree­ment, all PoWs were to be exchanged. Where­as India kept its word, Pak­istan, true to its nature, dis­hon­est­ly kept back 54 Indi­an PoWs out of 617 PoWs held by it. It is appre­hend­ed that they are still rot­ting in var­i­ous Pak jails.

While the Indi­an lead­er­ship was try­ing to break ice through ‘bus diplo­ma­cy’ in 1998–99, Pak­istani mil­i­tary brass was busy plan­ning the noto­ri­ous Kargil incur­sion. Thus, Pak­istan remains incor­ri­gi­ble as a devi­ous and cun­ning neigh­bour.

Anti-Indi­an streak: Due to decades of indoc­tri­na­tion and brain­wash­ing, all Pak­ista­nis suf­fer from an extreme­ly bru­tal and vicious anti-Indi­an streak. While deal­ing with India, a strange sadis­tic instinct gets aroused that takes con­trol of their think­ing and behav­iour.

Despite India’s hon­ourable treat­ment of 96,000 Pak PoWs, the treat­ment met­ed out to the patrol led by Lt Saurabh Kalia in May 1999 by the Pak­istan Army will put even bar­bar­ians and ani­mals to shame for its sheer cru­el­ty. Defy­ing all con­ven­tions and norms of human­i­ty, Pak­ista­nis pierced their ears with hot rods, removed their eyes before punc­tur­ing them, broke most of the bones and chopped off var­i­ous limbs and pri­vate organs of the hap­less Indi­an sol­diers. After 22 days of tor­ture, the brave sol­diers were ulti­mate­ly shot dead. A detailed post-mortem report is with the Indi­an Army.

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The way for­ward

It is often said that those who do not learn from his­to­ry are doomed to repeat it. India has been repeat­ed­ly duped and cheat­ed by Pak­istan but con­tin­ues to enter­tain hopes of a change of heart while Pak­istan has made India the whip­ping boy for all the ills that it suf­fers. India is blamed for every ter­ror­ist strike in Pak­istan, whether on their mil­i­tary acad­e­my or on the Sri Lankan crick­et team. Peo­ple are told that evil India was respon­si­ble for caus­ing floods. Advis­er to the Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan on Edu­ca­tion, Sar­dar Aseff Ali accused India of steal­ing Pakistan’s waters and threat­ened to wage war with India. Anti-India pro­pa­gan­da goes to the ridicu­lous extent of accus­ing India of extract­ing elec­tric­i­ty from the riv­er waters flow­ing into Pak­istan, there­by ren­der­ing the waters worth­less.

India’s pol­i­cy of extend­ing a hand of friend­ship and accom­mo­da­tion has been a total fail­ure. On the con­trary, it has embold­ened Pak­istan into con­sid­er­ing India to be a soft state and increased its intran­si­gence and hard­ened its anti-India atti­tude. How to deal with an unrea­son­able and hos­tile neigh­bour con­tin­ues to be a con­vo­lut­ed dilem­ma for India

It is time India stops liv­ing in a fool’s par­adise and refor­mu­lates its Pak­istan pol­i­cy, keep­ing the fol­low­ing facts in mind:

  • Pak­istan was born on an anti-India plank and it is its only iden­ti­ty. Shed­ding of anti-India pos­ture would amount to ques­tion­ing the log­ic of its very cre­ation. There­fore, Pak­istan can­not afford to shed its antag­o­nism towards India.
  • Pak­istan can nev­er be India’s friend as the ven­om of anti-India feel­ing is too deeply ingrained and it will take gen­er­a­tions for it to abate. India’s uni­lat­er­al offer of friend­ship will always be rebuffed.
  • Deceit­ful­ness and duplic­i­ty is its state pol­i­cy and it can nev­er be trust­ed. Trust deficit is the anti-the­sis of ami­ty and it can­not be bridged eas­i­ly.
  • Harm­ing Indi­an inter­ests is the cor­ner­stone of its for­eign pol­i­cy. Attacks on Indi­an par­lia­ment, IT hub Ban­ga­lore and com­mer­cial cen­tre Mum­bai show cal­cu­lat­ed selec­tion of objec­tives. It nev­er miss­es an oppor­tu­ni­ty to embar­rass India in every world forum.

Every Indi­an Prime Min­is­ter made lib­er­al con­cil­ia­to­ry ges­tures in the mis­tak­en belief that he could make a place for him­self in the his­to­ry of the sub-con­ti­nent as the har­bin­ger of peace. One went to the ridicu­lous extent of ban­ning Indi­an secret agen­cies from oper­at­ing in Pak­istan. All were doomed to fail for the sim­ple rea­son that they were based more on hope than hard ground real­i­ties

India should stop claim­ing that a unit­ed Pak­istan is in India’s inter­ests. There can­not be a more blink­ered view. Nations born out of a per­se­cu­tion com­plex can nev­er rid them­selves of bit­ter­ness of his­to­ry. Their break-up is the only way out and India must encour­age that in its own secu­ri­ty inter­ests. Hav­ing failed to make Pak­istan see rea­son, India has no rea­son to be apolo­getic. Repeat­ed asser­tions of being a peace lov­ing state are invari­ably mis­con­strued as impo­tence of a soft state.

A proac­tive pol­i­cy should be fol­lowed to make friends with the coun­tries who feel threat­ened by the growth of ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, lever­ag­ing its enor­mous eco­nom­ic clout, India must con­vey its dis­plea­sure to coun­tries that help Pak­istan pass anti-India res­o­lu­tions in var­i­ous comi­ties of nations. No nation that sup­ports Pakistan’s anti-Indi­an motions can claim to be India’s friend. It is time India asserts itself.

To hate and cheat India is Pakistan’s nation­al obses­sion. It is time India accepts this bit­ter fact and mod­i­fies its approach accord­ing­ly. Affa­ble state­ments made by a few retired crick­eters and singers are of no import as they vis­it India only to make mon­ey, they have to be pro­fes­sion­al­ly cor­rect. Their mas­querad­ing as ambas­sadors of friend­ship is of lit­tle con­se­quence.

As a mat­ter of pol­i­cy, India should nev­er trust Pakistan’s word. It has been tak­en for a ride for far too long. Pak­istan is adept at play­ing dou­ble game and has mas­tered ‘cloak and dag­ger’ pol­i­cy. Under world pres­sure it may be forced to wear a mask of rea­son­able­ness and friend­ship, but the irrefutable fact is that India will always remain Pakistan’s eter­nal ene­my.

Were India to hand over Kash­mir to it on a plat­ter, Pak­istan will invent new­er issues to keep the pot boil­ing. Dis­cord and acri­mo­ny would con­tin­ue as always

There­fore, India should stop dream­ing of hav­ing a friend­ly neigh­bour in Pak­istan. The his­to­ry of past 64 years has amply proved the futil­i­ty of enter­tain­ing such hopes. There­fore, it will be in India’s own inter­ests to get rec­on­ciled to an antag­o­nis­tic Pak­istan and tai­lor its approach accord­ing­ly. India should aim at min­imis­ing and if pos­si­ble neu­tral­is­ing, Pakistan’s threat to Indi­an secu­ri­ty and nation­al inter­ests by aggres­sive mea­sures.

Rogue coun­tries like Pak­istan do not believe in inter­na­tion­al con­ven­tions and shame­less­ly flout them. The only lan­guage they under­stand is of strength and ret­ri­bu­tion. India must make it amply clear to Pak gov­ern­ment that every anti-India mis­chief would invite imme­di­ate reprisal and that no trans­gres­sion will go unpun­ished

About the Author
Maj Gen (Dr) Mri­nal Suman AVSM, VSM (retd)
The writer heads Defence Tech­ni­cal Assess­ment and Advi­so­ry Ser­vice (DTAAS) of Con­fed­er­a­tion of Indi­an Indus­try (CII). He did MSc in Defence Stud­ies and Doc­tor­ate in Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion. He com­mand­ed an Engi­neer Reg­i­ment in the most hos­tile bat­tle­field in the world i.e., the Siachen Glac­i­er. He was award­ed a gold medal for being ‘the most out­stand­ing engi­neer of the year’. He was the first Tech­ni­cal Man­ag­er [Land Sys­tems] when the new­ly cre­at­ed Acqui­si­tion Wing was estab­lished in the Min­istry of Defence in 2001. He has been close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the evo­lu­tion and pro­mul­ga­tion of the new defence pro­cure­ment mech­a­nism.

Note by the Author:
A proac­tive pol­i­cy should be fol­lowed to make friends with the coun­tries who feel threat­ened by the growth of ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, lever­ag­ing its enor­mous eco­nom­ic clout, India must con­vey its dis­plea­sure to coun­tries that help Pak­istan pass anti-India res­o­lu­tions in var­i­ous comi­ties of nations. No nation that sup­ports Pakistan’s anti-Indi­an motions can claim to be India’s friend. It is time India asserts itself

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