Why do we continue to appease an untrustworthy Pakistan?

Two Indian soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was brutally mutilated by Pakistani troops in Mendhar Sector of Jammu & Kashmir. The news is shocking but not surprising. Pakistan army has done such beastly acts in the past too.

Cease fire violations have been happening frequently since 2003. Only, the recent increase in their frequency and ferocity is a matter of concern. That the Pakistani establishment will never admit to the barbarian act is not surprising either. They will remain in denial mode hoping that the Indians will get tired and move on as they always do.

Initial reactions from the Government of India were indeed weak-kneed; being limited to condemnation and watching the situation closely. But public pressure has now forced the chief of army staff and even the prime minister to send strong messages. Nothing new here either. These are the most rotten clichés from the dump. Only actions will speak.

The Indian Army and the people of India are livid and raring to pay Pakistan back in their own currency. The government will, as it must, weigh all options and their consequences. But will it decide to give Pakistan one more last chance without making them pay for this barbarianism as it obviously did in 2010 and 2011? That would be tragic. Indian military and the people are not ready to continence that degree of tolerance. The Indian Army will never forget the folly of Haji Pir being returned to Pakistan. That has cost us dear.

Our Pakistan policy has been flawed ever since 1947. Our political leadership and their advisory establishments have all along failed to read the mind-sets in Pakistan whose very existence is predicated on anti Indianism. The prime interests of the Pakistani military are safe only as long as Pakistan continues to be antagonistic towards India. Any argument that the peace process will strengthen democracy in Pakistan has been proven wrong, time and again.

A policy review is now a must.  

We need to understand why Pakistan pretends to sue for peace and continues to participate in the sham of confidence building measures. Quite clearly Pakistan is using the talks to obfuscate its real designs and misdeeds. They need time for India to forget 26/11. They want dialogue to gain territory in Sir Creek and demilitarisation of Siachen; they want time to sort out their internal problems in Baluchistan. They want India to remain inert for Pakistan to gain a position of advantage in Afghanistan. Their call for peace is no more than deception.

The Zia ul Haq-formulated strategic doctrine of Pakistan has three components. A Chinese-aided nuclear-cum-missile capability against India, a US-cum-Chinese aided conventional capability against India and a covert action capability for keeping India bleeding. The ultimate aim is to annex Jammu & Kashmir.

Scarce resources 

This doctrine suits China as it keeps India embroiled locally, expanding its scarce resources on defence, remain forever the military under dog vis a vis China and limits its capabilities to check Chinese hegemony in South and South East Asia. Its influence with Pakistan, as a patron state, also opens for China, several opportunities beyond Afghanistan.

US national strategy calls for pre-empting the rise of regional powers and that includes India. The Pakistani doctrine suits America and its European friends. This enables them to pursue their ‘balance of power ‘politics and strategies in South Asia.
And most importantly, it suits the Pakistani ruling establishment –military or civil, autocratic or democratic. It enables Pakistan to play America and China against each other to obtain maximum patronage from both while pursuing its anti India goals without let or hindrance.

Pakistan has successfully followed this doctrine. It has got itself a viable nuclear arsenal. it has got China to keep alive the threat of a second front in the event of war with India. It has received military and financial resources from the US to keep the regime afloat. It believes that it has checkmated India with both China and America keeping diplomatic pressure directed at India. It has been able to bleed India at will for the past two decades and more.

It has kept the Khalistan card alive and ticking and it has successfully used its covert support for India’s secessionists and Maoists to derail governance in almost a third of its territory. Most importantly, it has helped it to keep a stranglehold of unbridled and unquestionable power inside Pakistan. There is indeed no incentive for Pakistan to work for peace with India. Not by a long shot, as things stand. Yet it is possible for  India to create such an incentive. All  that India needs to do is to start taking its own vital interests seriously.

The tragedy is that the Indian policy establishment has persisted with the obsessive mind-set of peace and peace-dialogues with Pakistan -- at any cost. This policy of abject appeasement must be replaced by a more realistic one.

UPA regime’s Pakistan policy stands out-sourced to Washington and is determined by the strategic formulations of America. This must stop too. America cannot simply walk away because it knows how important India is for its South East Asia Policy.
The Indian military establishment has all it needs to inflict severe costs for Pakistani misadventures which it must be allowed to use. India also has several non military options. Only, it must find the political will to use them.     

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