This is the post excerpt.
This is the post excerpt.
Secularism is the separation of religion and state. Simply put, religion has nothing to do with how a country is ruled. The state itself, at least structurally, is atheist. No one will be discriminated against, on the basis of religion. This is the most widely accepted definition of secularism.
There are a few other motivated definitions, which border on selectively perpetrated fraud.
As a soldier, I am absolutely apolitical. I have nothing whatsoever to do with any political party. I do not understand politics, and neither do I wish to.
But I understand defending the physical and the ideological frontiers of India. I understand it far better than any politician ever will. And the ideology of India is enshrined in its Constitution.
When we pass out of the academy, we swear an oath not on our holy books but on the Constitution of India.
“I hereby solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India, as by law established and that I will, as in duty bound honestly and faithfully, serve in the regular army of the Union of India and go wherever ordered, by land, sea or air, and that I will observe and obey all the commands of the President of the Union of India and the commands of any officer set above me, even to the peril of my life”.
At that moment, the Constitution of India becomes our holy book. We cease to be Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians. We become something far greater. We become Indians.
Do you see the mention of religion anywhere in this oath? There isn’t any. And therein lies the seed of secularism in the Indian Army. The Indian Army is the guardian of India’s ideological frontiers because it believes. Faith is the cornerstone of this ideology; faith that all Indians are equal before law. And this ideology has to be protected by conviction if needed, and by violence, when necessary.
During training, when all of us were always on the brink of exhaustion every moment, when giving up was always easier but never an option, we forged a brotherhood so strong that that it has withstood that most fearsome of tests, time.
It never occurred to me that Bali was a Sikh, Sinha a Hindu, Nihal a Muslim and Sam a Christian. We were merely trying to cope, each fighting his own demons and trying his utmost to survive the fire and brimstone that OTA threw at us every minute.
When we entered the academy, we were of different faiths. I don’t know what the Indian Army did to us, but after a year of training our souls had turned olive green. Gradually, the uniform and the flag became the reasons for our existence. And carefree college going youngsters became the defenders of a nation.
Many of those defenders are no more. They were martyred defending India and all that this nation stands for. I have lived with such real examples for a very long time. That’s why it becomes impossible for me to wrap my head around hatred in the name of religion that I see everyday, perpetrated by politicians and fringe groups. These fringe groups are found in every religion.
When you see a Sikh offering Namaz, a Muslim leading the Janmashtami pooja, a Hindu kneeling at Church and a Christian offering sewa at a Gurudwara, you know that you are in the Indian Army. And you know that you are privileged.
The Indian Army has places of worship called “Sarv Dharma Sthal”, a place of worship for all religions. Ram and Rahim are at peace here. There is no conflict. There can never be, because the nation is above everything else. Religion comes much later, if at all.
Secularism, or “sickularism” is a much-abused term today. It has come to mean all that it should not; pandering to minorities and special privileges. But the Indian Army still maintains the original and pristine definition of secularism, without an iota of deviation for the past 69 years, because they have not allowed politicians and their politics to sully it.
There are no vote banks in the Indian Army. There are only victors and martyrs.
We Indians are 1.2 billion strong. For centuries, invaders have taken advantage of the divisions that we created and thrust upon ourselves. We have been ruled for millennia. We are divided, we fight amongst ourselves, we bicker and we intellectualize insignificant things because we lack unity and common cause.
We are responsible for our fault lines. These fault lines are making us weak. And weak nations do not sit at the high table of the United Nations Security Council. Weak nations are not respected.
Overt and covert enemies surround us and they mean us mortal harm.
Any person or organization that disrupts social harmony, that stops India from taking that great leap towards superpower status, has to be stopped with overwhelming force. It could be Muslim groups creating organized havoc in West Bengal or the Shiv Sena doing its brand of insidious and selective vigilantism; both understand the language of violence but have never been confronted with it. They are used to being mollycoddled by the powers that be. They think they are infallible. I am not suggesting that the army be given the responsibility for bringing them to heel; that’s no solution. But a small introduction to the Indian Army would not be such a bad idea. Let them see death clothed in olive green from close quarters, just for the sake of “education”.
I am not fully aware of what is happening in Malda, West Bengal. It would be wrong for me to comment and fuel speculation and rumor. But let me assure you, whatever it is, it will go away with the first Indian Army column marching through the streets. I have seen it in 1992 in Bhopal. The civil administration requisitioned for “aid to civil authorities” after days of rioting. But when they finally did, and it was announced over the radio, every rioter went home quietly. Bhopal returned to normalcy in a few hours. The rioters knew this; a confrontation with the Indian Army goes just one way.
To be strong, we must be united. But this secularism should not be the “sickularism” of the khadi. It must be the secularism of the Indian Army.
Who are Major Shaitan Singh, CQMH Abdul Hamid, Subedar Joginder Singh, Lance Naik Albert Ekka and Lt. Col. Ardeshir Tarapore? Each was awarded the Param Veer Chakra for bravery that will boggle the imagination of generations. They are INDIAN heroes. They are SHAHEED.
This is the brotherhood of olive green. This is secularism, Indian Army style.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
A few days back (October 2016), the Pakistani Parliament (Senate) published a report titled “Policy Guidelines In View Of The Latest Situation Developing Between India And Pakistan”. The report was unanimously accepted. A copy of the original report is attached.
Amongst other things, the report calls for exploiting fault-lines within India. What are these fault lines?
Pakistan will further widen the chasm between Hindus and Muslims and will actively encourage conflict between the two communities. It plans to arm Naxalites and kick-start the Khalistan movement again. It even plans to add fuel to the fire in the Cauvery water dispute and exploit the Dalit issue. The aim is to create mass disruption in India through subversion, deception and deceit.
Pakistan’s intelligence agencies will align with political parties in India and form an anti-Modi alliance. All this and more has been discussed in Pakistan’s Senate. This is the immediate danger India is faced with. It is very easy to spark a riot in India. Or create political unrest. Sometimes, all it takes is a rumor. Pakistan knows this.
And this is why the Shiv Sena must desist from its poisonous demagoguery and hate mongering. You cannot force Nawazuddin Siddiqui out of a Ram Lila. The smaller matter is that it is illegal. The much larger matter is that it plays into Pakistan’s designs. An almost strategically insignificant incident (though totally abhorrent) can assume national security dimensions.
Pakistan will say that if this can happen to Nawazuddin who is a star, imagine what the common Muslim must be going through. That the common Muslim in India is leading a normal life will soon be a side story. The focus will on discrimination. This is war by other means.
Owaisi may be thinking that he is the new messiah of the Muslims. Actually, he is a messiah of the absurd. The poison that he feeds his mostly illiterate followers is leading them to oblivion. He is like a shepherd that kills his own flock, feeding them the poison of insecurity, hate and perceived victimhood.
Coming back to the Pakistani Senate report, we must closely observe what is written and what is not. What is not written is more important.
Pakistan has hundreds of sleeper cells in India. Not just Muslims, but people of other faiths actively help these sleeper cells, too. Some do it for money, others for ideology. Both are an immediate danger.
Pakistan has given up hope of defeating India in a conventional war. Supporting Jihadis is lucrative but has come under intense international scrutiny and the Jihadi infrastructure has started bleeding Pakistan. This report is Pakistan’s last great hope; create fissures inside India, thereby gently pushing India to collapse under its own weight.
Pakistan’s ISI will indirectly align with political parties to cause unrest and also target Modi. The ISI’s plan is to create an umbrella group, which will bring some political parties, severely critical of the ruling BJP, under one roof.
The Senate Report is just a formalization of what the ISI has already been doing for some time.
Let me be explicitly clear. I am not pointing out to any particular party or parties, but once you read the Pakistani Senate report, take your mind back to the past few weeks (whatever has happened in India) and you will have a clear idea of what is going on.
The recently cacophony in India is not organic. Pakistan is activating the fifth column.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
Everyone works for profit. So do I. But it was always not so. Many years ago, I lived for a cause, as many of my friends still do. I walked over land so forbidden that people called me mad. I endured loneliness to such an extent that any other human would have become insane. I lived in weather so extreme that my thoughts froze, my mind melted. I overcame such hardships so as to make me immune to pain. Words like honor, integrity, fealty to an oath, fellowship and camaraderie were cornerstones of philosophies and ways to lead lives.
I often stood in harm’s way, so that my countrymen could sleep peacefully. For better or for worse, I did so unflinchingly. Day after day, I put my country above my family and myself. No one asked this of me, mind you. It was done because of a code of honor, which I had promised to abide by.
It is a different world today. I have almost forgotten that I once bled. That I fought for a cause higher than a salary slip. That I led men who followed me, as I unflinchingly followed my leaders.
So I sit behind my desk and tell stories. I see people bleeding for money, destroying their very homes that I had once pledged to protect. I see people going blind with greed, and turning savage with ambition; people who equate patriotism with a day-night cricket match.
Some think it is acceptable to call for the breaking up of this nation. They eulogize a terrorist, wearing his face on their clothes; a protest against the very existence of India.
They want to know why I would gladly die for a flag. Puzzled, I ask them why they wont.
Sometimes I tell them about the men who walked with me, the sweet victories and the bitter taste of defeat, the bile rising in my throat out of naked fear, the blood and gore and the smell of a dead body on the third day. They look at me incredulously and want to know how much I was paid to do what I did. I have no answer.
And then my mind goes back to the icy and arid wastes, which were once my playground, and I ask my heart, would you do this all over again?
My heart whispers back…YES.
I would do it over and over again, for there is no greater honor than to serve your motherland.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
All soldiers want peace, and this is an undisputable fact. They want peace because they are the ones who die in war.
I get messages from doves that accuse me of warmongering. They say that I have an unhealthy obsession with war and blood; that I don’t value human life.
Think of me as a surgeon who recommends amputation of a limb that is severely infected by gangrene. If the limb is not cut, the gangrene will spread. The limb has to be cut to save the patient. The surgical procedure is not pleasant. But that does not make me a butcher. I am still a surgeon.
I have nothing against doves. They are the lifeblood of a vibrant counter narrative. But there are some home truths that they need to understand. And unless they understand these truths, their vision will always be blinkered by comfortable vestigial beliefs they have grown up with.
We have been in a state of war with Pakistan for 70 years. Sometimes, the war was conducted from behind the veil of plausible deniability, through proxies, especially late 70s (Punjab) and after 1989 (Kashmir). Sometimes, it was a direct conventional conflict, like we saw in 1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999 (Kargil).
The 26/11 attacks, terror strike on Pathankot Air Force base and Uri terror attacks are fresh in our memory. In the 1993 Mumbai blasts, which left over 257 dead and over 1400 injured were, all planned, financed and directed from Pakistan. So were the many bomb blasts in market places and public areas across India.
Countless Indian lives have been lost, since 1947. Precious Indian lives are lost everyday on the Line of Control. And unless we accept the harsh truth, we will continue to lose lives everyday.
We recognized Pakistan as an existential threat and took decisive action in 1971 and on 16 December that year, the Pakistani Army, that great protector of the Citadel of Islam, surrendered to the Indian Army. It was a crushing and humiliating defeat and it took Pakistan a few decades to come to terms with the fact that it was left with half of Jinnah’s “moth eaten” state.
After that we went to sleep for eight years, only to be jolted back to reality by the Khalistan movement. That was followed by the Kashmir militancy. The militant movement soon turned to a full scale Wahhabi style terror campaign.
The Punjabi elite, whether military or political, own Pakistan. Yes, they own that country. And deep rooted historical, cultural and religious narratives, convoluted to suit a specific kind of thinking, almost guarantee that Pakistan will always view India as an enemy.
I want to tell the doves in India that irrespective of how many candles you light on the Wagah border, Indian blood will always flow. People to people contact may grow but it will never stop terror. You are making a huge mistake by believing that once people from our countries are friends, all will be well.
All will never be well, because the people of Pakistan have no say in their own destiny. They can never be a pressure group that can alter the way the Pakistan Army thinks and acts.
In many ways, Pakistan is still an absolute monarchy. It may have the trappings of a democracy but the Army Chief is the Emperor. His word is absolute. The people are like sheep, sometimes led to the pen, and sometimes to slaughter.
The problem is the Pakistan Army. It has always been, and always will be. Not until the Pakistan Army has a change of heart, will we have peace. And I don’t see the Pakistan Army lighting candles at Wagah anytime soon.
Whenever doves speak of a people to people connect, they are addressing the wrong constituency.
Our struggle with Pakistan is existential. Ghazwa-e-Hind is not a fairytale. It is as real as Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Many well meaning Ulema will be at pains to convince you that Islam has already ruled the sub-continent and that the prophesy has been realized. It matters little what they say. What matters is what a majority of the Pakistanis believe. Faith can move mountains. Or start bloodbaths.
Iman Taqwa Jihad fi Sabilillah; faith, piety and holy war in the way of Allah. This is the motto of the Pakistan Army. Read this line again. And again. This is the core philosophy of the Pakistan Army. This is driven into the minds of young Pakistani soldiers and officers every day of their training and service. Jihad against India is the raison d’etre of the Pakistan Army, the very reason for its existence.
The Pakistan Army will not stop Jihad against India. In the Pakistani power structure, there is no one higher than the army. They are the Parliament, Supreme Court and stock exchange all rolled into one. For seven decades they have flourished unsupervised and it’s impossible for them to adjust to Parliamentary oversight. And that is why coups happen in Pakistan.
This is the same army that launched a full-scale military invasion in Kargil, without so much as informing the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. This army has assassinated, imprisoned, exiled and dismissed twelve of the seventeen Prime Ministers in its history, sometimes directly and on other more temperate occasions, through proxies.
It is imperative that we realize that we are dealing with a rouge army. And this is why this army must be brought to heel.
I call this my “mowing the lawn” principle. You periodically mow your lawn and cut grass. It’s not the grass’s fault; it’s just the nature of things. So, when you wait for Pakistan to attack, and then plan retaliation, you are just allowing the grass to grow. The Pakistani Army should be attacked without provocation, in small and medium sized actions across the Line of Control, never allowing things to get out of hand, and yet always drawing first blood. The grass must periodically be cut. I am not warmongering. I am just recommending maintenance activity.
The strategy should be to seize the initiative and keep hammering the Pakistan Army periodically; to keep them so preoccupied counting their losses that they have little will to pursue the greater romantic notion of Jihad.
We live in an exciting neighborhood. Jihadis, nuclear weapons, ethnic strife, terrorism, religious extremism, economic instability and a rouge army are facts that we have to exist with.
A gun guarantees peace, not war. After the death of Burhan Wani, Kashmir, and especially South Kashmir, was wracked by violence and stone pelting. Over seventy-five people died. As a last resort, South Kashmir was handed over to the army. In the next 24 hours, everything stopped. Have you seen stone pelting on TV for the past one month?
To light a candle for peace is criminal neglect; it is to turn away one’s face and close one’s eyes thinking that the wolf will not kill you just because you cannot see it.
The Pakistan Army presents a real and credible danger to our nation. We must acknowledge it as such.
We cannot change our neighbor’s heart, or geography. The only alternative is to hammer it into submission.
Our boys have just about returned from across the Line of Control after a very successful surgical strike. The entire nation is delirious with joy; the entire nation, except a few.
Today, I was part of a panel discussion in JNU, interestingly called “Intellectual Terrorism”. The term is self-explanatory, though wide ranging. I will discuss one type of intellectual terrorism here. The proponents of this type of terror are to found in every walk of life, but the roots of this disease are embedded in some institutions of higher learning. More of that some other time.
Karan Johar wants to know if asking Fawad Khan to go back to Pakistan will stop terror. Mahesh Bhatt joins the chorus by saying “stop terrorism, not talks” implying that we must continue to talk to Pakistan. The cricket board will continue to play matches with Pakistan. Certain business houses will continue to do business with Pakistan. All this, while our soldiers are dying on the border.
Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan? No, it most certainly will not. But there is an emotion called solidarity. You cannot make films, play cricket and do business as if everything is fine, because it is not. It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”
This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”
How many of you would like it if a soldier felt that this was not his personal war, and he, like Mahesh Bhatt, should walk across the Line of Control and shake hands with a Pakistani soldier? Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?
A soldier will die before the thinks of such treason, but its certainly food for thought, isn’t it?
Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier. India is Mahesh Bhatt’s country, as much as it is the soldier’s.
The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.
For 70 years, Pakistan has been killing Indian citizens. Are we so inured to the pain of our fellow brethren that making a movie or playing a cricket match takes precedence over a soldier’s mourning home?
18 families have been shattered like glass. Not a word for them by our Bollywood royalty, mind you. But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems. A tweet in support of Pakistani artists is mandatory.
These directors and producers will have you believe that before Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang for Bollywood, there was no music of significance in the Hindi film industry. The cricket board is so busy making money that a widow’s silent sob and an orphan’s scream does not matter. What actually matters are day and night matches between India and Pakistan. The most keenly contested sporting event in history, they say; even better than the Ashes.
And the soldiers? Well, as far as they are concerned, they are on another planet, far removed from the glitzy Bollywood studios, and the teak paneled walls of the stately boardrooms of the BCCI. The blood, the mud, the screams and the exploding gunpowder are just distant and inconvenient, not very different from traffic during the Mumbai monsoons. Life must go on.
Its easy to ask for peace when you are a thousand miles away from the Line of Control, and your primary concerns are which party to attend this evening and where to get financing for your next film.
Peace is not a punch line. It is the end result of war.
There is a 10-year-old girl, Aditi, who under stands the nation and its ebbs and flows far better than Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar. See her letter attached. Then see the poster made by Mahesh Bhatt, which he so proudly displays.
I leave it to you to decide who speaks for you. My vote goes to Aditi. This little angel has the spirit of a soldier.
The others have mala fide intent.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
Today evening, as I parked my car in front of gate no. 9 and walked into South Block (Indian Army Headquarters), I looked up at the grey-golden New Delhi sky. I tried hard to see if Pakistani nuclear warheads were slamming into the ground and if Chinese paratroopers were really landing atop Rashtrapati Bhawan. I saw neither. I shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and walked inside AHQ for that obligatory cup of black coffee (always without sugar), and the much-needed camaraderie. I found both. The Indian Army never disappoints.
Now that we have crossed the Rubicon, that much vaunted Line of Control, caused havoc, and come back without any casualties, it is time to put things in perspective. This is a time to celebrate, but it is also a time to be on top alert. Pakistan will hit back, as sure as night follows day. And we are ready.
To those who doubted our ability and resolve, you may want to reconsider your opinion about the Indian Army. I hope we have given you enough faith to go by. We are not Seal Team 6. We are Indian Army Special Forces. This is our backyard. We are better.
To those armchair strategists who cried hoarse and created absolute panic about Pakistani tactical nuclear warheads, China’s response, CPEC, Russia and everything between Mongolia and Disneyland, please take a deep breath and relax. There are no Pakistani induced mushroom clouds over Delhi. And there are no Chinese paratroopers. In fact, there is almost no reaction from China.
And finally, to those who believed in the Indian Army, my heartfelt gratitude. Thank you for believing in us. We have never let you down. Your faith means enough for us to die for. This is your army.
We went into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and created merry hell. This was a purely anti-terror operation. We tried to keep our focus and avoid collateral damage. The only Pakistan Army soldiers who were killed were those that came in the way. How many terrorists were killed? Your guess is as good as mine. The media may give you figures of 35-40 terrorists and 9 Pakistan Army regulars, but these are guesstimates. Our boys were busy killing, not counting.
For over a week, the targets were under surveillance of our intelligence agencies. Based on intelligence inputs, the SF teams and some elements of infantry (commando platoons, mostly Ghatak) rehearsed for this operation and then, at a moment of their choosing, infiltrated (parachuted) into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. They completed their mission and ex-filtrated back into our own area.
All praise to the Special Forces and other specialized elements that carried out this operation. It was textbook perfect. Such an operation requires, apart from meticulous planning and a very high level of training, nerves of steel and sinews of iron.
I am a soldier and totally apolitical, as all soldiers are. But credit must be given where it is due. Prime Minister Modi displayed remarkable courage. He first cornered Pakistan diplomatically and economically, and when the time was right, he ordered the Indian Army to smash them militarily. All bases covered. As the old saying goes “ek chaal, sheh aur maat”. Checkmate.
Pakistan Army denies that such an incident took place. Smart move. If you admit that it did, you will have a tough time explaining to a war-induced, hysterical populace, how this happened. And the next question will be – how do you plan to retaliate? For an institution that has gobbled up much of Pakistan’s scarce wealth in the last 70 years, such a situation has embarrassed them. Modi has not made Pakistan Army bleed as much as he has, in full public view, taken off their khaki trousers. The Pakistani Army is not dealing with hurt. It is dealing with shame.
Khwaja Asif, Pakistan’s motor mouth defence minister, who till yesterday was threatening nuclear war, is suddenly at a loss for words. Brought up to believe that Indians don’t have it in them, he seems a defeated man, shoulders drooping.
And ISPR, that media house of all media houses, and the official mouthpiece of the Pakistan Army is oddly silent. No more aggressive tweets from Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa.
There will be a grand meeting tomorrow at GHQ, Rawalpindi and all will be held to account in the court of Emperor Raheel Sharif. More F16s will land on highways and some more Pakistani politicians will threaten nuclear war. The passes will close in a few months, and before that, Jihadis must be pushed into India. This will be a long winter.
There are troubling times ahead. Pakistan will not lie down and die. It will retaliate. We are vigilant on the border. We will not let an Uri happen again.
To the families of the brave heart martyrs of Uri I say, “Sleep well tonight. We have avenged our brothers”.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…
No one writes like this any more. Charles Dickens would approve. After all he wrote those immortal lines.
Pre French Revolution Paris and London were twins of their unfortunate selves. Envy, greed, lust, subjugation, hopelessness and despair; never were two cities so conjoined in misery.
Certainly not until the late sixties when Pakistan decided to move its national capital from Karachi to Islamabad, a triangular piece of land facing the Margalla Hills. The city is no longer triangular, concrete having taken its toll in making edifices, which outdo each other in a manic nod to mediocrity.
What clinched the location of Pakistan’s new capital was not just what was supposedly wrong with Karachi, but the location’s proximity to Rawalpindi, the home of General Head Quarters, Pakistan Army. GHQ, Rawalpindi is all that Islamabad should have been, but is not. Islamabad should have been the seat of legislative, executive and judicial power in Pakistan. Let not Google tell you otherwise. A building does not a Supreme Court make. And neither does a Parliament full of elected representative lend gravitas to an otherwise dysfunctional nation.
Islamabad is Rawalpindi’s stepbrother.
The tale of these two cities defines the path Pakistan takes. It tells you a tragic story of why military coups happened, and continue to happen. And it also explains Pakistan’s schizophrenic relationship with India.
Whether the winds of misfortune blow from the east or the west, they hit Islamabad first, and Islamabad absorbs terrible seismic shocks that should have come Rawalpindi’s way.
The Pakistan Army is Teflon coated. No amount of mud will stick. It is the only institution in Pakistan that works. To question it is blasphemy. The failures of the Pakistan Army are always attributed to the civilian leadership. From Islamic radicalization to humiliating defeats by India in all wars, it is somehow the fault of everyone else but the Pakistan Army. And the populace believes this with the same fervor that a Catholic believes that Christ walked on water.
Pakistan has the support some important members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 Muslim countries. It has the grudging support of America, at least till the war on terror is being fought in Afghanistan, and it has the unequivocal support of China. India cannot diplomatically isolate Pakistan, geography being a legitimate argument.
Economic sanctions will not work on a nation that is already being funded by China and the US. And the IMF and World Bank will not allow Pakistan to go bankrupt.
Whatever we may do, Pakistan will receive money from NATO’s Coalition Relief Fund (CRF). These are monies in lieu of using Pakistani overland routes to transport NATO war supplies to Afghanistan, for the war on terror. China has made substantial investments in Pakistan, specifically in the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor).
What is the Chinese obsession with CPEC and Gwadar about? Oil and distance is what attracts China. Kashgar is at a distance of 2000 kms from Gwadar. When ready, it will save China nautical miles and days. UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia will be at touching distance. Goodbye Malacca Strait. Welcome Gwadar.
Diplomatically isolating Pakistan or sanctioning it has limited feasibility. Pakistan is too geo-strategically important for the world to ignore it. What was important to Alexander the Great and Changez Khan is now important to China and America. They don’t love Pakistan but yes, they need it.
Economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation will hurt the democratically elected government of Pakistan and the common people. It will not hurt the Pakistan Army. And, the Pakistan Army owns the terror infrastructure in Pakistan.
India must clearly recognize and accept two facts. One, there will never be peace with Pakistan because partition was based on the two nation theory of Jinnah. He espoused that Hindus and Muslims were separate nations, and so different that they could not live in the same country. Two, unless we physically stop the Pakistan Army, terror will revisit India again and again.
Terrorism is cheap and Pakistan has the world’s largest inventory of terrorists. The pipeline is spread across 35,000 registered and unregistered madrasas. The waiting list to go to Jannat is extremely long. The faithful are willing.
Even if each madrasa were to send one single student to become a terrorist, you would have three infantry division’s strength of suicide bombers. All this, without the expenditure incurred on infrastructure, advanced training and advanced weaponry. And it would come with that unique positioning that Pakistan loves; plausible deniability.
If we wish for Pakistan to stop exporting terror to India, we must turn off the tap. There is no other road to take.
The Pakistan Army is inferior to the Indian Army in every imaginable way. If you war-gamed every possible scenario, you would come to the conclusion that there is no way the Pakistan Army can win a conventional conflict with India.
Nuclear weapons are fine for global respect and irresponsible sabre rattling, but even a psychotic North Korea, which threatens Armageddon every week, dare not use nuclear weapons.
Over time, Pakistan has successfully managed to convince the world, especially Indians, that its nuclear threshold is extremely low. Pakistan has convinced the world that if threatened, it will use nuclear weapons as first response. These are unfounded, imaginary fears.
After Uri, the national mood has turned dark. There are calls for vengeance and war. I do not belittle vengeance. It is honorable to seek it. But it must be calibrated, so that the effect is fatal.
Crossing the Line of Control to destroy terror camps has no meaning. These camps across the LoC are all rock, canvas and wood. The real terror infrastructure that we are so fond of speaking about is not near the Line of Control, but inside major cities in Pakistan. And the nerve center is Rawalpindi.
What I am proposing will mean blood. It will mean loss of human lives. The market will nosedive and the economy will take a hit. But to assume that the Pakistan Army will stop sponsoring terror if India abrogates or dilutes the Indus River Treaty is living in a fool’s paradise.
The only way to stop terror attacks on India is to physically confront the Pakistan Army and break its spine. All other ways are temporary, at best. That is why we must go to war once, and for the last time settle all accounts between us.
Only then can we hope for a better future for India, and whatever is left of Pakistan.
Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)