Cascading Danger

Spearhead Analysis – 22.01.2016

‘For India to suffer the violent effects of covert action in silence makes for poor internal as well as external policy. It is here that Pakistan will have to pay for Indian restraint (now frayed to the extreme), which in turn places before the Indian planner a host of considerations and a set of possible responses that include covert action against targets across the LoC or border —–. Planners will do well to heed that it is Pakistan’s policy that has to be targeted; —–‘

Vijay Shankar
Former Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Forces Command of India

‘Gen Raheel has to realize that Iran has great potential to create problems for Pakistan both in Baluchistan and on the sectarian front. Pakistan should well understand its vulnerability given the fact that without any such intent on the part of Iran, it (Pakistan) is already in the throes of a strangulating internal security situation. On the other flank exists India which too has held back and never exploited Pakistan’s fault lines amidst many demands that it should pay back Pakistan for all the mischief that the latter has sponsored——–‘

Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain
Indian army

“I always believe anyone who harms you understands the same language. The time and place should be of our choosing—–,”

Mr Parrikar
India’s Defence Minister  at a seminar to mark the 68th Army Day.

“”——India has been defeated in its agenda in terms of what it was doing in Baluchistan, in connivance with the traitors of Pakistan. —-India has also badly failed and has been exposed in terms of what it tried to do with the help of the MQM chief.– India has been involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan with the help of TTP.——Now if there is any terrorist attack in Pakistan, the responsibility will rest with India,”

Abdullah Khan
Managing Director of Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS)

“–Now India must covertly assist various secessionist movements in Pakistan including Balochis, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Muhajirs, Hindkowans, Chitralis and Saraikis. More assistance should be rendered to Saraikistan Movement as Punjabi rulers in Pakistan do not want trouble in Punjab Province. The theory that strong Pakistan  is in interest of India is outdated and erroneous. India must ensure that Pakistan remains weak and engaged in its internal problems —“.

Jai Kumar Verma in Eurasia Review

India-Pakistan RelationsThe quotations above speak volumes about the present state of the India-Pakistan relationship and its future. Anyone reading through them is bound to come to the conclusion that in India there is this desire to hurt Pakistan through every possible strategy. The contours of such a strategy are clearly discernible—use a non state actor attack as an excuse to retaliate, create and expand a sectarian divide, isolate Pakistan from neighbors and internationally, brand Pakistan with the terrorism label, exploit ethnicity, subvert, sabotage through covert and overt means and so on. Of course most Pakistanis believe that such an Indian strategy has been operational against Pakistan for a very long time and with each event a justification is sought to offset international pressure and blame Pakistan. Now an additional motivation to step up the destabilization of Pakistan is the launch of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor simply because it promises to boost Pakistan’s economy and its security.

Even as the Pathankot attack fallout is following a familiar and predictable course the attack on the University in Pakistan has created a new situation. While Pakistan’s considered official response is still in the works the initial evidence points the finger at Afghanistan based militants that may have had inspirational and material support from India via the Afghan conduit to ensure plausible deniability. Should this mutual finger pointing get backed by credible evidence then South Asia will remain at the mercy of a hostile and confrontational relationship with fallout on Afghanistan’s internal situation. The US and indeed the world should be concerned over such a scenario given the fact that both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery means. Those that thrive in the unstable Afghan and South Asian environment and those seeking access and opportunity in such an environment from outside the region will of course be overjoyed. South Asia and Afghanistan would then be a part of the turmoil in the Greater Middle East and President Obama’s prediction of ‘decades of instability’ would become reality except that it will also include India.

India needs to look at the Pakistan situation without invoking the past. Political government in Pakistan is established. The civil and military are working in close harmony. Pakistan sees its national interest in having good bilateral and international relationships that ensure its survival with its territory and core values intact. Pakistan’s focus is on its economic prosperity and the vestiges and lingering remnants of past policies are being rooted out. The ‘establishment’ or the ‘deep state’ do not have agendas of their own. Unless this environment is read and understood correctly both India and Pakistan will remain shackled to a past that has only brought misery to their populations..

This is the time for both political governments to show maturity, to rise above the mudslinging blame game and to reach out to each other starting with another meeting between the National Security Advisers (perhaps including the Afghan NSA) and moving on to the Comprehensive Dialogue. This should be done without fanfare, without chest thumping and as far as possible out of the media’s limelight. The sooner this happens the better.

(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to a single individual)