DANGEROUS THREATS AND GRAND OPPORTUNITY.
The internal situation in Pakistan
shows unmistakable signs that People of Pakistan seem ready to overthrow the yoke of army
domination of last 53 years. It is unlikely that the army will relinquish its hold
without a fight and in that process an overt and covert threat to India
would be its last gamble to cloak itself as the sole saviour of Pakistan.
On the other hand the present situation also presents us a grand opportunity to
help the people of Pakistan
in their struggle against military/feudal domination and establish true
democracy. It is only when true democracy is established there that we can
address the disputes between the two countries and usher in peace and
development in the region.
was carved out of India
on the basis of a premise that people belonging to different faiths cannot live
together in one country. Peace in India
between communities and its economic progress is therefore a constant threat.
The army that has colonized Pakistan
and virtually owns it, conjured up a myth of military
threat from India.
It has made merger of Muslim majority province
of J&K a sole national goal.
size and obvious potential, it has deliberately NOT created a military
capability that can conquer Pakistan.
There is an across the spectrum of opinion in India
that such a course is NOT in Indian national interest. Leave alone India,
it would be an impossible task even for a Super Power to conquer and hold a
large country like Pakistan
with a hostile population. Despite several overt and covert attempts in 1947,1965 and even in 1999, Pak military has been unable to
achieve any success in wresting J&K from India.
In the process, Pak army lost half the country ( East Pakistan) in 1971. The myth of Indian
threat and obsession with Kashmir are the means employed
by Pak army to retain power.
With its backs to the wall and on
the verge of losing power, the Pak army is likely to encourage major covert
strikes in India.
Using disgruntled elements and religion, it may attempt to disrupt Indian
economy through strikes on cities and vital strategic installations including
nuclear power plants et al. Using its vast network of ‘moles’ and terrorist
modules in India, it will also carry out discretion of religious places to
engineer communal riots. The main aim of these actions is to frighten the
Pakistani people and make them fall into the Pak army’s arms.
At another extreme, it may even
threaten or carry out
a surprise nuclear strike using riots as a pretext or disowning
responsibility by labelling it as an act by ‘freedom fighters.’
Indians must also clearly
understand that the rest of the world, specially the West, has and will
continue to follow double standards on terrorism. It attributes acts of
terrorism against India
to alienation and social tensions etc and is quite pleased as long as Pak army
co-operates in dealing with terrorists that target them. China
is interested in military domination of Pakistan
as that helps it mount pressure by proxy on India.
Thus we must understand that there is convergence of interests between Pak
army, the West and China.
expect no help and must be ready to plough a lonely furrow.
Against the overt threat of
terrorist take over or rouge actions ( like recent action by ISI in arresting and harassing a decorated former Brigadier
of Pakistani army) like a surprise strike, India must remain on high alert to
be ready to pre-empt. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and security.
Former General Mirza Aslam
Beg has enunciated a doctrine that irrespective from where Pak is threatened it
will strike against India.
If India is on
alert and ready to pre-empt, Beg must know that while the possible exchange may
or may not damage India,
but in words of General Padmanabhan ( Jan 2002 at height of Indo-Pak confrontation) ‘Pakistan
will cease to exist’. The fact that Indian forces are alert and ready should be
sufficient to dissuade a would be surprise attacker!
must free its police forces from frivolous activities like ‘moral policing’ and
relentlessly pursue the terrorists. All communities must co-operate with the
police in nabbing the malcontents amongst them. People should be made aware
that deliberate attempts will be made to enflame passions by desecration of
religious places or statues and must
refuse to get provoked. For a short period, with a sunset clause
inbuilt, the Govt. must ponder issuing an ordinance to arm itself with
preventive detention powers to deal with agent provocateurs and mischief
In case of proxy destruction of
strategic facilities, India
must notify the UN Security Council that this is likely to happen and it
reserves right of self defence under article 51 of the UN charter by hitting at
equivalent installation across the border.
must come out openly in support of the ongoing struggle in Pakistan
and give our moral support. Peace process with military dominated govt. should
be limited to holding operations only and all further conflict resolution should
be kept pending for a representative govt. take over in Pakistan. We should
have no false hope that democracy will bring instant peace, that
will need a major change in entrenched mindset. But as people realise their
true interests, a durable peace and resolution of conflicts should be possible.
We must remain vigilant to
counter threat by a desperate Pak army and also at the same time grab this
opportunity to usher in democracy in our neighbourhood. After all if Nepal
could do it why not Pakistan?
Yours et al
Lt. Gen. E. A. Vas, Maj. Gen KS Pendse, Maj. Gen
SCN Jatar, Lt Gen. Ashok Joshi, Col. ( Dr) Anil Athale , Mr CS Nene.
(All members of Pune based INPAD ( Initiative for Peace and Disarmament) affiliated with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Pune 16.)