SERVE WITH HONOUR

Dear Officers,

On 10 September this year, 249 of you (217 Gentlemen Cadets and 32 Lady Cadets) stepped over the “Antim Pag”, slow marching to the soulful Auld Lang Syne. At the majestic Parmeshwaran Parade Ground, you were accorded a unique privilege. You passed out of OTA Chennai, commissioned into the Indian Army as officers under the benign gaze of your Supreme Commander, the President of India. Addressing you, the Supreme Commander said, “A billion hopes rest on your young and brave shoulders”. Truer words have not been uttered.

You have been through Indian Army training. That’s just hell by another name. Give yourselves a pat on the back. You are a survivor.

As an old soldier, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. I hope these will find a corner in your hearts.

  1. Your first loyalty is to India and its constitution. Mother India chooses its bravest daughters and sons to guard her honor. You have walked on fire to get those stars on your shoulders. Many a time during training, you may have wanted to quit. You did not. You are made of different molecules.
  1. Your unit/ regiment is your family. You will live and die for India but you will live and die with your unit. This bond is unbreakable, even in death. You will be remembered for eternity.
  1. Spend time with your troops. Get to know them. This is the brotherhood of Olive Green. You are their leader. If you are worthy, they will march with you to the very gates of hell. Remember the legend of martyr Lance Naik Hanumanthappa? Sometimes, it is possible for mortals to challenge the gods. Many of those mortals wear OG.
  1. Train, learn and read. That is the only way to succeed in the Indian Army. All of you, without exception, should be scholar warriors. Read military history, read the future of warfare and read just about anything that you can get your hands on. Absorb knowledge. It will stand you in good stead.
  1. Till the time you are a lieutenant, except breach of integrity, all sins are forgiven. Take advantage of this unwritten rule. Make mistakes but don’t stop learning. You have carte blanche.
  1. When things go wrong, step forward and take responsibility. When things go right, step back and let your team take the credit.
  1. The religion of your troops is your religion. If you are a Malyalee and posted into the Sikh Regiment, you will go to the Gurudwara. If you are a Muslim and your troops are Hindu, you will worship at a temple. And if you are a Hindu and your troops are Christian, you will kneel in church. If you see a Sikh in a mosque with a Quran, this is the Indian Army.
  1. Your background is immaterial. Rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim, this caste or that, the Indian Army just does not care. We are in the business of killing the enemies of the state and protecting the nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Only merit counts. If there are any considerations other than merit, it will mean compromising on national security and that is something the Indian Army will NEVER do.
  1. The uniform that you wear comes with the blessings of a billion Indians. You are trusted because the Indian Army is trusted. This trust cannot be broken, irrespective of consequence. Do whatever needs to be done to maintain this trust because this trust is sacred. A covenant with India is a covenant with God.
  1. You will have more privileges than the soldiers you command. But when orders are given to flush out terrorists from a house in Kashmir, remember you will be the first one to smash through that door. You will make the first kill. Or take the first bullet on your chest. You will never give orders to attack. You will always say “FOLLOW ME”. That is the officer’s creed. This is your article of faith.

It is important that you understand that we are not only a powerful army. We are also a moral army. We are not strong because we have weapons. We are strong because we are right.

I wish you the very best and I hope you have an exciting and fulfilling life.

Go forth and Serve With Honour.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #IndianArmy #ServeWithHonour #DefenceNewsMail

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COLD START

It was an unusually warm afternoon in the autumn of 1935. Adolf Hitler sat under a tent, faithful Guderian seated next to him, reviewing maneuvers of tanks and armored vehicles, on the plains of Kummersdorf. Every now and then, he would glance at Heinz Wilhelm Guderian’s classic “Achtung Panzer”, the tank man’s Bible.

It was early evening when Hitler suddenly rose from his chair. Guderian got up, unsure of what was going on inside Hitler’s mind. Hitler could be extremely temperamental. He looked at Guderian and keeping his hand on his shoulder in an unusually familiar gesture, he said looking at the rolling tanks, “That is what I want – and that is what I will have.”

German strategic thinking had evolved from the writings of Carl Von Clausewitz, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder and Alfred von Schlieffen. But it was the defeat in the First World War and the humiliating Treaty of Versailles that violently changed German thinking. This violent change brought with it anti-Semitism, National Socialism and a spiritual connect with ancient Rome. In 1933, it catapulted Adolf Hitler to power. The Nazi Party was a one-man dictatorship and drew heavily from the Prussian (German) military masters. When Hitler started rearmament in direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles, his vision was the Alfred von Schlieffen’s ‘Schlieffen Plan’ and Guderian model of warfare; heavy concentration of armor, fast moving infantry, total air superiority and mass deployment of mobile artillery. Hitler had a galaxy of military geniuses with him – Guderian, Schmidt, Model, Manstien, Rundstedt, Goering, Rommel and many more.

On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. So swift and brutal was the assault that the world could only stare awestruck. This was Blitzkrieg, Germany’s “lightning war”. Europe fell to Blitzkrieg and it was this “lightening war” that saw Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the USSR. Blitzkrieg was knocking at the doors of Moscow. The Germans never officially used the word Blitzkrieg. Most denied its existence. But the world understood it for what it really was. In the words of the immortal Maj. Gen. JFC Fuller of the British Army “Speed, and still more speed, and always speed was the secret, and that demanded audacity, more audacity and always audacity.”

India went down a similar path. For too long, we had adopted a defensive posture. Our methods were too straitjacketed and hidebound. Unknown to many of our own generals at Army HQ in New Delhi, the Indian Army’s Sundarji Doctrine of warfare was about to collapse.

On 13 December 2001, five Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists armed with AK 47s, grenade launchers, pistols and explosives attacked the Indian Parliament. Nine Indians (Delhi Police, Parliament Security and a gardener) were martyred in the attack. All five terrorists were killed. India responded by trying its hand at coercive diplomacy and launched Operation Parakram. For months, both the Indian and Pakistan Armies stood eyeball to eyeball at the border.

India could have seized the initiative. India could have done so much more than just sitting at the border for months. But it did not. The holding Corps of the Indian army were ready for battle in 72-96 hours. The three Strike Corps (I, II and XXI Corps) based in Mathura, Ambala and Bhopal respectively, took over three weeks to mobilize and reach their operational areas. And by the time they reached the Pakistan border, Gen. Pervez Musharraf had gone on national TV in Pakistan to condemn the attack on the Indian Parliament and promise that Pakistan’s territory would not be used as a base for terror. The US intervened and put tremendous pressure on India not to launch attacks on Pakistan. Musharraf reduced India’s political justification for war, to zero.

There is a certain “national mood” for war. And there is a certain momentum. India failed to capitalize on both counts. Both the armies went back to their barracks, with nothing to show for it.

Indian military thinkers came to the conclusion that the entire Sundarji Doctrine was flawed. You could not have holding Corps in a defending role at the border and attacking Corps deep inside Indian Territory. It was too cumbersome, unwieldy and slow. 21st Century wars required lightening fast reflexes. India needed its army’s attack elements to cross over into Pakistan much faster. We needed to reduce the mobilization time from 21 days to 48 hours. In many ways, we needed to do what Germany did in Poland on 1 September 1939.

The template was probably the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Israel fought a vicious six-day war against Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. And Israel won against a numerically superior enemy, fighting on different fronts. Israel won because they understood that surprise, speed, ferocity and deception win wars. Whether it was neutralizing the enemy air force when it was on ground, lightening armor thrusts through lightly defended gaps or the use of paratroopers, Israel fought like a nation possessed.

The concept of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War possibly became the core of the new Indian Army warfare doctrine. There were other operations like Desert Storm and Desert Shield, which were dissected, threadbare. This new doctrine stressed on fast moving Integrated Battle Groups, duly supported by the Air Force and Navy. It conceived a war fighting method that would catapult India into full-fledged battle in 48 hours. Someone likened it to an automobile engine, which did not need warming up before moving, an engine that could start at ambient temperature.

So, they called it Cold Start.

Cold Start is India’s new war doctrine, which envisions a conventional conflict in the shadow of Pakistan’s nuclear capability and its willingness to use WMDs if threatened. Unlike the Sundarji Doctrine, which was based on massive retaliation and dismembering of Pakistan, Cold Start has different ambitions. It acknowledges the possibility of a limited war and seeks to take advantage of it. Former Chief of Army Staff Gen. V.P. Malik states, “Space exists between proxy war/low-intensity conflict and a nuclear umbrella within which a limited conventional war is a distinct possibility.”

Cold Start is based on the premise that (even) Pakistan has a nuclear threshold. It will not use nuclear weapons in retaliation before that threshold has been reached.

Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) will form the core of this strategy. And the strategy is based on speed, audacity, overwhelming firepower, superior planning and total surprise. IBGs will largely comprise of heavy and fast moving armor, mechanized infantry, artillery and other firepower elements of the army duly supported by Air Force assets like fighter jets and helicopter gunships. In certain cases, the Indian Navy will close-support these IBGs.

These IBGs may be based in Jammu in J&K, Amritsar and Moga in Punjab and Suratgarh, Bikaner, Barmer, Jaisalmer and Palanpur in Rajasthan.

IBGs, eight in number and each the size of a division, will make lightening thrusts inside Pakistan, going in 55-80 kilometers. The holding (pivot) corps will carry out limited offensive strikes, while maintaining their defensive posture. Cold Start seeks to attack multiple objectives simultaneously. It is believed that Pakistan’s command and control & decision making structure will come under severe pressure in such a scenario.

The aim is to seriously degrade Pakistan’s will to fight, inflict severe damage to its war-fighting infrastructure and disrupt their decision-making capabilities.

Having stated the obvious, it is now time to reflect on a strategy and have related objectives that our policymakers think are achievable by military force. Cold Start may not cleave Pakistan into half, but it has the sheer capability to cause extreme damage, both physically and psychologically. The Pakistanis know this.

This brings us to two questions that our policymakers must address. One, how do we contain this conflict? All wars have a soul of their own, and amongst the drumbeats and hysteria, its very possible for the government of the day to come under pressure and expand the scope of the conflict. Two, how can we stop it from going nuclear? If either of these two things were to happen, Cold Start would have failed to meet its objectives. The Pakistanis know this, too.

It will be in the interest of Pakistan to exponentially increase the scope of conflict. They would want it to spiral out of control so that the distinct possibility of a nuclear conflict can horrify the world. Pakistan bases all its adventures on this one fact, and it’s a good policy, too. No country wants two nuclear powers to go to war. Ever since John von Neumann coined the term Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), a theory based on the assumption that in the event of a nuclear war, both belligerents will cease to be functional nation states; MAD has been accepted at face value.

So, Pakistan pushes the MAD envelope. India sees Cold Start as a highly effective strategy in the niche grey area between the first terror strike sponsored by Pakistan and MAD.

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”, noted Helmuth von Moltke the Elder. Simply stated, however much planning and detailing you do, Plan A will be so much candyfloss in a desert storm. This brings us to the importance of initiative at the local commander level. The problem with initiative is that the senior commanders have to let go. It is still debatable if that is wise, in such high intensity operations being conducted under the shadow of nuclear war. However, like in all wars, in this case too, devolution will be decided immediately after the first contact with the enemy.

All war is based on Murphy’s Law, which states, “If anything can go wrong, it will”. Funny? Yes. True? Also yes.

Pakistan is geographically narrow, with a length of approximately 1000 miles but an average width of not more than 300 miles. If you were a tourist driving an SUV, unhindered, you could start at Jaisalmer after an early 7 am breakfast, stop over for a late lunch at Quetta, Balochistan at 3 pm and be in Spin Buldak, Afghanistan by 6 pm. You would need to refuel your vehicle only on reaching Afghanistan.

Now you understand why Pakistan is terrified. And now you understand why Pakistan has ignited insurgencies in Punjab (Khalistan movement) and Kashmir. It is always looking for that elusive mirage of strategic depth because wars need land to fight. Pakistan does not have land. But the next best thing is influence. Influence in Kashmir and Punjab give it depth and fifth columnists, Indians who will support Pakistan in times of war. Lack of land is the reason why Pakistan always attacks India first, because it makes better tactical sense to fight a war on someone else’s land. Imagine a scenario in which India’s 3 Strike Corps penetrate deep into Pakistan. Then, it’s either nuclear war or goodbye Pakistan.

Some experts claim that Cold Start is still in the experimental stages. That’s not true. It may not have been battle tested because that needs a war, but for the past 12 years the Indian Army has been honing it to a fine edge.

In March 2004, the Indian Army first demonstrated the various aspects of Cold Start in a war game called Operation Divya Astra (Divine Weapon). The aim was to deliver a potent and fatal strike into the heart of Pakistan. The location of the exercise was the famous Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan, approximately 75 kms from the Pakistan border. The scenario comprised of Army and Air Force elements penetrating fixed enemy fortifications. It was a mechanized assault supported by artillery and ground attack aircraft.

In May 2005, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force launched a joint exercise in Jalandhar area, about 75 kms from the Pakistan border. The exercise was called Operation Vajra Shakti (Thunder Power). In nine days of simulated attacks and counter-attacks, the Indian Forces were able to penetrate 30 kms into enemy territory and set the stage for the Strike Corps for follow-on deep penetration attacks.

Just six months later, the Indian Army launched Operation Desert Strike in Rajasthan’s Thar area. The aim of this war game was two fold. One, to synergize XXI Corps with the Indian Air Force, and two, to defeat an enemy (Pakistan) using preemption, dislocation and disruption. 25,000 troops took part in this exercise, which deployed fast moving armor, paratroopers dropping behind enemy lines, fighter aircraft and helicopter gunships of the Indian Air Force.

May 2006 saw the Indian Army launch Operation Sangh Shakti (Joint Power). This exercise was in many ways a sequel to the May 2005 Operation Vajra Shakti. Ambala based II Corps was the focus of this major exercise. 1 Armored Division, 14 Rapid Division and 22nd Infantry Division war-gamed a scenario in which a lightening thrust through the Cholistan Desert would cleave Pakistan in half. An interesting fact about this exercise was that for the first time the Indian Army dropped the pretense of using the code name Red Land for Pakistan and Blue Land for India. The enemy was Pakistan and the operational brief to the Corps Commander II Corps was to attack Pakistan and break it into two.

The fifth major exercise designed to test and put Cold Start through its paces was launched in May 2007 in the Rajasthan desert. It was called Operation Ashwamedh.

I Strike Corps tested its network-centric warfare strategy. In a typical “fog of war” scenario, Operation Ashwamedh was designed to slingshot I Strike Corp into battle. With helicopter gunships providing cover, armored columns moved at unheard of speeds into “enemy” territory. Paratroopers, mechanized infantry units, artillery and infantry provided the thrust. Operation Ashwamedh was an out-and-out offense war game. For one week, night and day, the entire I Corps was the hammer and Pakistan was the anvil. The Indian Air Force provided tactical and close air support.

At a tertiary level, a few important capabilities were tested across these exercises. Night fighting capabilities, fighting in built up areas (FIBUA), special forces deep penetration strikes etc were tested simultaneously. For example in Operation Divya Astra, combat engineers bridged a 60-meter wide canal, all in 30 minutes. This bridge was capable of supporting tanks and armor.

Operation Ashwamedh met all its war objectives. Speed was required and so was audacity. I Corps delivered on both requirements, impressively. And I Corps moved at “supernatural speed”.

The lessons learnt from these war games were imbibed and improved upon again in 2012 during Operations Shoor Veer and Rudra Akrosh, and in 2016 during Operation Shatrujeet.

The big win in these exercises, apart from other critical parameters, was network centricity. Indian commanders seemed at ease with the latest global technology, and real-time intelligence gathered through satellite imagery and UAVs reduced decision making time, helping the commanders be as flexible as the situation demanded.

The big loss was inter-services coordination. It still is.

A war doctrine is effective only as long as it achieves its stated objectives. Simply put, the objectives of Cold Start are to damage and degrade Pakistan’s war machine and severely disrupt its decision-making ability.

Pakistan has nothing to counter Cold Start with. The best they have been able to come up with are tactical nuclear devices; small nuclear weapons which can be used against advancing IBGs. But Pakistan feels that the world will understand the use of tactical nuclear weapons because they will be used on the Indian Army but inside Pakistan’s territory.

We must always keep in mind that whatever we do, Pakistan’s first response will always be to exponentially and immediately expand the scope of the conflict.

That is the flexibility Cold Start must have, to be a scalpel when needed and a broadsword when it must.

Mjölnir, the legendary hammer of Norse legend had the power to level mountains. But the person wielding it had to be worthy. That was the only condition. Cold Start is fearsome in its potential for sudden destruction, but our policymakers must be absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of doubt, what they wish from this divine hammer.

As the legendary inscription on Mjölnir declares, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor”.

The next major terror attack will come, and as always, from Pakistan’s soil. That much is certain. There is no stopping it. What will be the construct of our retaliation is a question we must ask ourselves.

Till then, the hammer waits.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)

#MajorGauravArya #IndianArmy #adgpi 

IMAGINARY FEARS

I guess it’s the way we have been brought up; the societal pressure not to question or object, lest someone of significance takes offense. We don’t question elders, teachers or anyone who we feel may be offended. So, we put our heads down, lead our submissive lives and go to meet our maker, heads bowed.

This attitude extends to our national security. We are always tentative, always on the back foot.

Sample this. Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers, and a month does not pass by when Pakistan does not remind us, directly or obliquely, about this. The Pakistani play is simple; don’t think you can push us. We have nuclear weapons that can turn New Delhi and Mumbai into ash in a matter of minutes.

Under the protection of this nuclear umbrella, Pakistan launches Kargil, 26/11 and the Parliament attacks. It does so with absolute impunity, supremely confident that India will never respond. Well, that part is true. India has, true to form, never responded.

Not a year goes by when the People’s Liberation Army of China does not encroach upon Indian Territory, regular as the monsoon. China defeated us in a short vicious border war in 1962, with no mean help from the nation’s Chacha, the redoubtable Nehru and his defence minister Krishna Menon. Students keen on military history must read Brigadier John Dalvi’s iconic treatise, The Himalayan Blunder. So shocking were the facts that government of the day banned the book. But the truth is the truth. Ask any Indian Army officer, and he will swear by Dalvi’s magnificent 506 pages of pure truth.

The Indian Army has put the defeat behind it and has built, drilled, modernized and trained itself to an impossibly high degree of perfection. We have raised new mountain divisions and strike corps. Yes, the Chinese Army is still much larger and better equipped. But this is not 1962. And the Indian Army is no pushover.

We have the capability to make it extremely expensive for China to wage war. Let me put it simply; we have the means to seriously degrade and denude China’s war machine.

We are as honed to a razor’s edge, as we will ever be. But the Indian Army is like a Samurai’s Katana, forever in the scabbard of political will. And that is our greatest misfortune.

We are not warmongers. We are the last people on earth who want a war, because it is we who die and we who kill. It is our bodies, which come back, wrapped in the tri-color. But go to war, we must.

A man may live without food and water for days. He may even live without air for a few minutes. But how may a man live without honor, even for a moment?

It breaks a soldier’s heart when he sees Pakistan sending terrorists from across the Line of Control, and he is not allowed hot pursuit, back into Pakistan. A soldier dies a thousand deaths when his brother’s are martyred in Kargil, and there is no consequence for Pakistan. It crushes his spirit when the Chinese Army walks into Arunachal Pradesh and stakes claim on his motherland.

All because our political leadership has always been beset by imaginary fears.

Imaginary fears like, if we respond Pakistan will use tactical nuclear weapons. If we are aggressive, the world will think lesser of us and we will not be considered a mature democracy. And, China will be angry.

Every body dies. That is God’s law. Lets quit philosophizing about it. I remember what a Gurkha soldier had once told me in Kashmir – “Kaphar hunnu bhanda marnu ramro”. It is better to die, than to be a coward.

Political analysts will laugh at the simplicity of the Gurkha soldier. They may even derisively call him a simpleton, not understanding of how this complex world works. Maybe so. But a person who is willing to kill and die for his beliefs and his code of honor will always walk with the gods. His place will never be amongst those timid souls who lived their lives, beset by imaginary fears.

Not for a moment am I advocating war for war’s sake. I am as much for peace as the next person. I am willing to bend over backward if it can stop blood from being spilt.

But know this – a nation does not live on its knees. That is something that our political masters will have to understand.

Nothing will happen if you cross the LoC and give Pakistan a bloody nose. There will be no nuclear war. We are a nuclear power, too. That did not stop Pakistan from launching Kargil. Then why must we be so mentally fragile, so tentative? Let’s cross over and break Pakistan’s spine once; a quick and extremely violent operation near Lahore, the heart of Pakistan.

The next time you have the PLA troops crossing over into India, kill a few and capture the rest. There will be a diplomatic row. Indian political analysts will go on national TV and decry the sheer “immaturity” of the action. But our aim will have been achieved. China will get the message. China always gets the message if it is explained to them in the language they understand.

You cannot negotiate from a position of weakness. You cannot live on your knees.

Ancient Japanese sword makers would consider a Katana sharp enough only if it could cut through strands of hay floating in the air. The Indian Army is your Katana. Trust your Katana, for it is the most formidable fighting blade this world has ever seen.

Unleash us. Let the Katana cut through bone and sinew. That is who we truly are; hunters of men and gatherers of souls.

OF GRAVEYARDS AND OTHER THINGS

Syed Salahuddin, the head of the Hizb ul Mujahideen and the Chairman of the United Jihad Council recently threatened to turn Kashmir into a graveyard for the Indian Army and unleash a wave of suicide bombers.

The Hizb ul Mujahideen is the alma mater of the much-deceased Burhan Wani. And Syed Salahuddin wanted Burhan dead. Unknowingly, the Indian Army did what Salahuddin wanted.

Salahuddin is fast losing relevance. He is nowhere as powerful as Hafiz Saeed. And he no longer has the charisma to lead militants into battle against the Indian Army. He lives in a luxurious house in Muzzafarabad (PoK), all his five sons working or studying in India and leading comfortable lives.

Syed Salahuddin wanted Burhan Wani dead for two reasons. One, Burhan’s popularity had overtaken his own and Kashmiri militants had started questioning the utility of a Syed Salahuddin sitting comfortably in PoK. Two, local militants were pushing Burhan for an overall leadership role in Hizb ul Mujahideen. No one is convinced about the utility of a vestigial organ, and Syed Salahuddin is the appendix of the Kashmir Valley militancy.

Syed Salahuddin could see Burhan Wani and his followers hijacking the Hizb-ul Mujahideen from under his nose. So, Syed Salahuddin decided to tighten his grip on his organization, lest he be relegated to the position of a titular head.

Someone very close to Burhan Muzaffar Wani betrayed him. On the night intervening 6th & 7th July 2016, someone who Burhan trusted completely, had an agenda driven by Syed Salahuddin.

The Rashtriya Rifles are elite counter-terror troops. All they need is a small opening – a blabbermouth at the local kahva shop, an intercepted mobile phone call or a disgruntled fellow militant complaining to another about how he was not paid on time. A toehold is enough for RR to start hunting.

Burhan Wani is out of the way because of the internal dynamics of the Hizb ul Mujahideen. The Indian Army doesn’t care either way. They killed a terrorist. Mission over. They will kill a hundred more Burhan Wani’s without batting an eyelid. That’s just how they are mentally structured.

And Syed Salahuddin is not even his real name. Mohammad Yusuf Shah was born on 18 February 1946 in Badgam, near Srinagar. How does an Islamist leader shore up credibility in the eyes of his illiterate and radicalized followers? He cherry picks a name from the Islamic glory days, and appropriates a legacy. Free credibility was never so instant.

An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub or Salahuddin Ayyubi was a Sunni Muslim Kurd born in 1137 AD. He fought against the Christian armies in the Crusades, and was known to be an exceptional general and an even better human being. In those times when killing a person of another faith had the sanction of both mosque and church, and one could wipe out entire villages without the slightest pang of guilt (you were going to heaven, anyway) Ayyubi was a beacon of civilized conduct. In Muslim culture, specifically in Arab, Turkish and Kurdish lands he is venerated as an epitome of manliness and humility. Ayyubi was all that and much more.

After Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the Rashidun Caliphate (the four rightly guided Caliphs who ruled the empire of Islam after the last prophet), Imam Hussain’s sacrifice is the stuff of legend and stardust. Who can forget the battle of Karbala?

And then, Salahuddin Ayyubi shines like a beacon of light.

Jump to the twentieth century and you have Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, of Turkey.

Syed Salahuddin trying to appropriate the legacy of Salahuddin Ayyubi is like a charlatan wearing a cardboard crown, and trying to behave like royalty. A seventy-year old has-been, who dyes his beard and conspires to kill his own cadre, is not anyone’s idea of a hero.

About Syed Salahuddin, I quote directly from Wikipedia:

“He is married, with five sons. His oldest son, Shakeel Yousuf, works as a medical assistant at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, second son Javed Yousuf works in the Education Department as computer operator, while Shahid Yousuf is a Research Fellow at the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology. Shah’s fourth son, Wahid Yusuf, studies in Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Government Medical College. Mueed Yusuf, the youngest of Shah’s sons, is pursuing a higher education degree (M.Tech.)”

So, which of Syed Salahuddin’s five sons is going to be the first suicide bomber that will turn Kashmir into a graveyard for the Indian Army? Will it be Javed, who works in the Education Department who will don the suicide vest, or will it be Shahid Yousuf who will leave his paid research fellowship to mount a fedayeen attack against the Indian Army?

Or is Jihad only for other people’s sons?

Syed Salahuddin, like his appropriated name, is a fraud. His latest statement is nothing but a desperate last shot at finding relevance in the increasingly muddied waters of the Kashmir Valley conflict.

The so-called “Kashmir struggle”, Pakistan’s name for sponsored terrorism in the Valley has new actors. They are Punjabi and Pashtun, and they have no affiliation to Kashmir. For them, Kashmir is another Dar-ul Harb (house of war), and another laboratory for the Jihad experiment and not about the much-vaunted UN Resolutions or “azaadi”.

For them, Kashmir is an extension of Syria, Iraq and Libya. It is the new petri dish for Nizam-e-Mustafa, in which they will breed a culture of political Islam, Wahhabi style. It is not about plebiscite. It is about Ghazwa-e-Hind, when a green standard will fly across India and all kafirs will have been either subjugated or killed.

We must be clear as to what we are up against in Kashmir. ISIS flags in downtown Srinagar are not just the work of a few “mischievous” youth, as Kashmiri leaders will always be at pains to point out. These are probing tactics. They seek to establish our appetite for violence and military response.

Beyond the rhetoric and jargon, the simple truth is that the Indian Army is trained to kill the enemies of the state. That is its core role. All the training and courses, maneuvers and live exercises coalesce into a one-point agenda; how to kill without fuss or ceremony. To protect India from all enemies, foreign and domestic, requires the constant honing of this rare talent.

Kashmir is the launch pad for a greater game plan. Lashkar-e-Toiba outlines it in exhaustive detail in its pamphlet “Why are we waging Jihad”.

This is a fight to the death. They will not stop till they have achieved the final aim of Ghazwa-e-Hind. Multi-party representative groups and their immature efforts to engage with the separatists will bear no fruit. The separatist’s masters are in Rawalpindi and for them Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of partition. Kashmir is their raison d’etre, their reason for existence. Gen. Raheel Sharif cannot allow peace in Kashmir.

And this is why Syed Salahuddin must be ignored. Because whenever we turn to such noise, it takes our attention away from the wolves baying at the gates.

It is time to unshackle the Indian Army. Let them do what they do best. Let them go hunting.

THE KILLING FIELDS OF BALOCHISTAN

Jan Mohammad Baloch vaguely remembers his parents being worried about his elder brother Karim, an energetic 16-year-old bespectacled schoolboy. Karim was fond of writing, his musings often finding expression in rambling articles, which no one read. Excerpts of his last article on unidentified dead bodies being found near construction sites, defaced and limbs bearing marks of torture, had somehow found their way into a local rag. His parent’s worry was understandable. This was Balochistan, after all. People had been killed for far less.

It was a lazy Sunday morning when a platoon of the Frontier Force Regiment of the Pakistan Army came for his brother, Karim Mohammad Baloch. They tied his hands and dumped him in the back of a Toyota pick up truck, and drove away. That was 7 years ago. 7 years of his parents running from army posts to police stations, just wanting a conformation, even if that conformation said, “Your son is dead”.

It seems that amongst the many things you are not allowed to have as a Baloch, closure is premium.

International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, a non-profit organization, says that till 2014 more than 18,000 persons have been missing. 2000 of these have found that ‘elusive’ closure; their dead bodies discovered by the roadside or at remote construction sites. Some were shot at close range at the back of the skull, carbon residue telling their story. A few bodies had interesting telltale signs; underneath the broken nails, there were wooden splinters and grains of cement. Apparently these people were beaten to death and in their last, dying moments they clawed in pain at walls and windows to which they were chained.

The Pakistan Army, in military operations or reprisals, has killed more than 95,000 Balochis. Mass graves bear testimony to the fact that entire villages have been wiped out on suspicion of being pro-freedom. “Teaching them a lesson” is a favorite Pakistan Army sport. In societies where armed forces operate without oversight, such things are not unheard of.

Over 2.8 million Baloch have been displaced, pushed from their villages into various sub-urban hellholes across Pakistan, especially Lyari, Orangi and Liaqatabad in and around Karachi. The Pakistan Army and the Balochistan Development Authority regularly hand out large tracts of lands to Punjabi and Pashtun ex-servicemen, incentivizing them to settle down and take young Baloch girls as wives. The plan is to change the demography of the sparsely populated Balochistan.

Balochistan has enormous reserves of gas, uranium, gold, copper and oil. It has borders touching Iran and Afghanistan. It has the now-famous Chinese built Gwadar, a deep-water port. Balochistan is the size of France, and constitutes of 44% of Pakistan’s landmass. 40% of Pakistan’s energy needs are supplied from the Sui gas fields in Balochistan, and yet 48% of Balochistan gets no electricity. These are some of the many reasons why blood flows so easily in Quetta.

In 1948, 1958-59, 1962-63 and 1973-77 the Baloch rose in revolt against their Pakistani oppressors, demanding nothing less than absolute independence. All these insurgencies were brutally suppressed by the Pakistan army, with hundreds of thousands of killings and enforced disappearances. The Baloch again rose in revolt in 2003, and that insurgency continues till today.

Every crushed revolt, every mass grave found, every disappearance and every dead body at a construction site has further firmed the belief in the Baloch that the solution to their problem cannot be political. Pakistan speaks the language of force, and by extension, this is the only language it will understand.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the Lashkar-e-Balochistan (LeB) and the Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF) are some of the groups fighting against the Pakistan Army, an uphill battle that has seen more dead bodies and bloodshed than all of Pakistan’s ill-conceived wars with India, combined.

The BLA is the largest insurgent group and is led by Khair Baksh Marri and Hyrbyair Marri. Hyrbyair Marri took over the reigns of the group after his elder brother Balach Marri was assassinated by the ISI.

On 26 August 2006 the Pakistan Army under their redoubtable commando chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf killed the 79 year old, 19th Tumandar (chief) of the influential Bugti tribe. Nawab Akbar Shahbaz Khan Bugti should not have been killed. He was a political leader, had served as Minister of State for Interior and had been the Governor of Balochistan. He was a person Pakistan could have engaged with. Akbar Bugti had the personal capacity and the credibility to be the bridge between his people and the government of Pakistan. But the Pakistan Army never talks, when a helicopter gunship may suffice.

Akbar Bugti was pushing for greater autonomy for Balochistan. Sometimes he did that from the political stage, and sometimes, when the Pakistan Army turned on the heat, from caves deep inside the mountains of his homeland. It was in one such cave in Kohlu, approximately 150 miles east of Quetta, where the Pakistan Army murdered him. His killing sparked off a firestorm. Thousands of young Balochis joined the violent struggle for freedom.

With each such killing, the Baloch resentment against their Pakistani oppressors grows. More Baloch students sell their books to buy guns. And this cycle of hate feeds on the atrocities committed by the Pakistani state.

The mere mention of Balochistan is enough to unleash a killing frenzy by Pakistan’s deep state. Take this example. Mama Qadeer, a prominent Baloch human rights activist was invited by the Lahore University to speak on “Un –silencing Balochistan”. At the last moment, the “agencies” refused permission for the program to continue. Sabeen Mahmood, another Karachi based human rights activist and Director T2F Karachi invited Mama Qadeer. The event was hosted and went as planned. On her way back home, Sabeen was assassinated. The Pakistan “deep state” tolerates no deviation.

On 15 August, the Indian Prime Minister mentioned Balochistan from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi. Reprisals started immediately. From 15 August to 31 August 2016, the Pakistan Army has arbitrarily executed more than 57 Baloch adults, for voicing support for the Indian PM’s speech.

The Balochi’s unending reservoir of strength is their history. Mehrgarh, in present day Balochistan, is the earliest evidence of farming and herding in South Asia. A Neolithic site dating back to 7000 BC, Mehrgarh is the steel in every Balochi’s spine. They know that they have been surviving for 9000 years. Pakistan took over Balochistan, an independent nation, by military force on 27 March 1948.

Tectonic shifts take place over centuries. The Baloch know that. What the Pakistanis should know is that when your adversary’s term of reference is 9000 years of civilization, bloodstains of a few generations are hardly enough to break its will.

Balochistan is more than just a counterweight to Kashmir. It is more than just Pakistan’s Achilles heel. Balochistan is where India’s moral compass must point. For too long, India has conducted foreign policy based on convenience and international pressure. It is time we stepped into the great unknown.

Balochistan deserves to be free. It is our sacred duty to help.

 

THE KILLING OF HAFIZ SAEED

Dear Hafiz Mohammad Saeed,

A few days ago, you exhorted the Pakistan Army to seize the initiative and “teach India a lesson”. You stood at your pulpit, all fire and brimstone, and told the Pakistan Army that Kashmir was burning, and the people would be ready to rise in “revolt against Indian oppression”. It was time, you said.

‘Carpe Diem’ strategies cost you half your country in 1971.

Pakistan’s Army has a habit of punching above its weight. To paraphrase a famous Americanism, they always bring a knife to a gunfight. I doubt your rousing speech gave goose bumps to anyone of consequence. I, however, suspect a rise in cases of peptic ulcers amongst the good generals of Rawalpindi.

There is a thin line between an asset and an embarrassment. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was one such asset, which crossed the line. For you, there are only two ends. One, the Pakistan Army will, under pressure, disown you, leaving you to the proverbial dogs. Two, we will get a “kill order” and the boys from Sarsawa will pay you a visit.

The first option looks improbable. A deep sense of national insecurity, conventional inferiority and consistent military humiliation at India’s hands has forced Pakistan to clutch at straws. You are one such straw, this drawing gasps of horror from the world. Is this, what Pakistan’s last straw looks like?

Option two is more probable.

Sit back comfortably; I am about to explain to you the process leading to your very violent death. You must be attentive. These things are important.

A team of 8 “Special Group” (SG) operatives has gathered at CGO Complex, New Delhi for a mission briefing. A senior representative of RAW (Cabinet Secretariat) briefs the team. He is the mission controller. His code name is CACTUSLILY. The Special Group team leader is codenamed DRAGONFLY.

Today is D minus 7 (7 days before launch of the operation). The operation will be launched on D Day. Exfiltration will be on D Day. The operators have 7 days to rehearse.
D DAY

0015 hrs: The SG team takes flight in an Illushin IL 76 from Raja Sansi airport, Amritsar. The aircraft climbs to a height of 35,000 feet above sea level. The drop will be ahead of Ajnala in Indian Punjab. After dropping the load in Indian Territory, the IL 76 will take a steep turn to the right and fly back to Delhi. Ajnala (India) is 47 km from Muridke (Pakistan), as the crow flies.

0100 hrs: This is a HAHO jump (High Altitude High Opening). 10-15 seconds after the jump, the SG team deploy their parachutes. They are at a height of 32,000 feet and the outside temperature is -38 degrees. They are now gliding towards the International Border. The Pakistani radar cannot detect their movement, as their signature is negligible.
0110 hrs: The 8 Special Group operatives have now crossed into Pakistani airspace, undetected. They have the capability to glide for 35 kilometers before hitting the ground. DRAGONFLY adjusts his GPS and the rest of the team follows their leader. Height – 17,000 feet above sea level. Temperature is – 17 degrees.

0130 hrs: The SG operatives land at an isolated farmhouse outside Muridke. A local RAW agent, Mohammad Jamal is waiting for them with 2 black Toyota SUVs. The operatives quickly bury their parachutes and take off their jumping gear. They change into black tactical trousers and full sleeve collarless t-shirts. A black & white check keffiyeh is thrown around the neck. Radio frequencies are checked and locked. Watches are synchronized. Weapons check is done.

0145 hrs: DRAGONFLY is carrying an FN F2000 5.56 mm NATO standard issue bullpup assault rifle. In addition, he has a Glock 17 9mm pistol. He is connected to his team via a TCI Liberator 3 Duel Communication Headset. He carries RDX and C4 plastic explosives, with electrical detonators and 4 HE grenades. His team is equipped with a wide array of weaponry. A few operators carry the Israeli Tavor TAR 21. Some prefer to carry the HK 417, a 7.62 mm beast. These are the heavy hitters. An assortment of explosives, claymore mines and grenades make up this happy group. Each operator also carries a PNVD (Passive Night Vision Device).

0155 hrs: The 8 operators get into the two Toyota SUVs and drive off towards Muridke, with Mohammad Jamal guiding them.

0215 hrs: The 2 SUVs quietly enter the Siraj Town area of Muridke. In the next 7 minutes, they are at Faisal Park. Mohammad Jamal signals to DRAGONFLY. 5 minutes to fury. The roads are deserted and dark, except for a few pie dogs. Load shedding ensures that the streets are unlit. Perfect cover.

0225 hrs: The SUVs stop 200 meters behind the Jamaat ud Dawa gates. This is the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. This is where Hafiz Mohammad Saeed lives.

0232 hrs: An SG operator scans to confirm intelligence reports. There are 2 guards at the main gate with AK47s. There are 7 other guards inside, each heavily armed.

0237 hrs: The guards are patrolling the gates, 20 meters apart. They are bored. Nothing has happened here in their memory. Without warning, an operator clamps his hand around the mouth of one of the guards, his knee pressing against the guard’s lower back. A Buckmaster knife slits the throat of the guard. The guard thrashes around in agony, blood gushing out of his throat. A few seconds later, the struggle becomes weaker. The guard stops moving. No sound. One down.

0239 hrs: The second guard is standing against the perimeter wall, wanting to ease his bladder. Unknown to him, a bright red laser dot appears at the back of his head. It is an operator with an HK 417, with a mounted silencer and a PNVD. There is a dull spitting sound and the guard’s head is blown off his shoulders. No sound. Two down.
Both bodies are pushed into the nearby drain.

0242 hrs: The team divides into two parts. Team One acts as the assault team and tactically moves to the residential quarters 300 meters to the right. Team Two positions two snipers to cover the exit of the assault team. The other two operators of the covering team start planting explosives and claymores.

0247 hrs: The assault team quickly moves near the residential block, taking care to avoid the moonlight. The loud throbbing of the diesel generator gives cover to the assault team. They slowly move up the stairs.

0249 hrs: The assault team takes a left turn and walks fifty paces. There is an armed guard visible outside a heavy wooden door, dozing on a stool. DRAGONFLY takes out his silenced Glock 17 and shoots the guard in the head. The soft 9 mm bullet enters the guard’s right temple and exits from the left side of the skull, taking away with it a part of the brain. The dead guard slips down from the stool, a pool of blood collecting near his face. Mercy killing. No sound. Three down.

0253 hrs: Soon there will be no element of surprise. It is now time for war. DRAGONFLY makes a hand signal and an operator moves to the heavy wooden main door. He places a C4 charge in 3 places on the heavy wooden door and connects them with a wire. The wire is connected to an electrical detonator, which is embedded into the C4. The other end of the wire is primed to a remote control device. Five, four, three, two, one…. GO. The plunger is pushed. With a sound like a thunderclap, the massive door disintegrates. DRAGONFLY rushes in, the other three operators following closely behind.

0257 hrs: The SG team starts searching the rooms, one by one. The first room has three dazed women. They are tied with plastic cuffs and locked in the room. The second room is empty. The third room has a portly middle-aged man with a long beard, wearing a white salwar-kameez, hiding behind a wooden almirah. “Dragonfly for Cactuslily, we have contact, over”, says DRAGONFLY into the headset. The FN F2000 comes up, the fire selector switch on automatic. A three round burst is fired into the chest of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Amir of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Hafiz Saeed falls. DRAGONFLY walks up to a bleeding Hafiz and puts two rounds between the eyes. Hafiz Saeed’s head explodes.

0302 hrs: There are screams from below, sounds of confusion interspersed with gunfire. DRAGONFLY bends down, takes out his Buckmaster knife and cuts off Hafiz Saeed’s ear, and puts it in a sanitised plastic pouch. This will help in DNA confirmation later.

0305 hrs: The cover team watches the drama unfold. As the AK47 toting guards’ rush towards the residential block, SG snipers pick them off one by one.

0309 hrs: The assault team and the cover team are now back into their SUVs and driving off, with Mohammad Jamal driving with a peculiar sort of urgency known only to those who are very afraid.

0315 hrs: Police teams enter the Head Quarters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, five vehicles in all, with 30-armed policemen. The policemen collect near the main gate. At that exact time, an operator in the second SUV presses a button on his mobile phone using a Warid Telecom SIM card. 3 kg of RDX erupts from the ground. 18 policemen are killed immediately. The rest run into trip wires of systematically laid claymore mines; thousands of small steel balls tearing up living human flesh.

0333 hrs: The SG team is outside Muridke town, driving in pitch dark. DRAGONFLY locks his GPS to a grid reference. In 11 minutes, the GPS leads him to an open space in the outskirts of a village. Under the cover of a green hessian cloth is a Bell 429 helicopter. DRAGONFLY shakes Mohammad Jamal’s hand and starts the helicopter. The other operators load up. The SUVs are booby-trapped. As the rotors pick up speed, Mohammad Jamal runs to a shed and wheels out a rickety old motorcycle. He kick starts the bike and is soon lost in the dark and the dust.

0341 hrs: The Bell 429 takes off, soon reaching its maximum speed of 150 knots. DRAGONFLY takes care to fly it at 300 feet above the ground, to avoid radar. Radio contact is made with BSF to inform them of the exfiltration operation.

0359 hrs: SG operators enter Indian airspace.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, this is just one of the hundred ways we could kill you. The day is not far when the phone will ring and the voice at the other end of the line will tell us “Your mission has approval”.

When you were a young, naughty child and would not sleep, your mother would scare you by saying that a devil would come and eat you if you did not behave. Remember, you used to be so afraid!!! Look at this picture carefully and try to remember those stories. This is a soldier of the Indian Army Special Forces.

He is the man your mother warned you about.

THE VEERU EFFECT

Pakistan’s schizophrenia and the two-nation theory  

In an iconic scene from the Bollywood classic Sholay, a much inebriated, golden-hearted petty criminal Veeru climbs the village water tank and tells the crowd gathered below that unless he is married off to Basanti, the village beauty, he would jump off the water tank and commit suicide. And if he did, the plagues would follow. So, Basanti’s ageing aunt better agree, or else.

Salim-Javed will deny that they had Pakistan in mind while writing this iconic scene. But as the years pass, the striking similarity between this scene from Sholay and the security state mindset in Pakistan is becoming clearer even to the most benighted.  Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state perpetually threatening suicide by simply implying that whether they themselves worked for their country’s future was immaterial, but the plagues would visit the world if Pakistan’s core were to destabilize.

That Pakistan flourishes, with massive foreign aid since its inception, is everyone else’s responsibility except Pakistan’s. A strange culture of entitlement has set in, not just within the government but also amongst its citizenry. The relationship between the US and Pakistan is indefinable. The US gives aid. Pakistan receives aid. Pakistan then calls the US a back stabber and the embodiment of Satan. Then the US gives aid again.

The very thought of Pakistan destabilizing is enough to scare the daylights off the hardened veterans of the US State Department. And the US is 8000 miles away. Now imagine what India has to undergo each moment Veeru is up that tower. Nuclear weapons in Pakistan’s arsenal are not such a major cause of worry as is the systematic brainwashing of the citizenry. The implausible is the mundane.

Yes, the Islamic world is full of fantastic conspiracy theories but Pakistanis can get extremely creative. Sample this – a day before the planes slammed into the World Trade Center the Jew employees at WTC were asked by Mossad not to report for work. Osama bin Laden was not killed in Abbotabad; he had died years earlier.  The anti-polio drive in Pakistan is a Jewish conspiracy to render the Pakistani male child impotent. Pakistan is the Qila or fortress of Islam and the Hindu-Christian-Israeli nexus just cannot come to terms with the fact that a Muslim country has nuclear weapons and through their paid agents cause terrorist activities to take place on Pakistani soil.

This bizarre thought process and acceptance of conspiracy theories is so well entrenched in the Pakistani mindset that you have educated people, experts so to say, spouting this nonsense on national TV. And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The reality is that Pakistan’s core is destabilizing fast. From Baluchistan to FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), from the urban sectarian death traps of Karachi to the now Taliban infested South Punjab, the finely spun myth of the two-nation theory is unraveling at great speed. Feudal landlords called Waderas hold sway over much of rural Sindh, as do Zamindars over rural Punjab. Pirs, or holy men, who heavily influence voting patterns across Pakistan, lap up whatever is left. And contrary to the popular belief in Pakistan, it brings no particular joy to Indians.

So used to foreign aid are Pakistanis that they have started believing that it is part of their annual budget. It is not something that the US gives to Pakistan for a well-defined purpose and for a period of time. But aid must follow under one pretext or the other. And this has led to a culture of entitlement and has completely destroyed Pakistan’s ability to manufacture anything other than towels and underwear.

Along trundles China with a cheque of USD 46 billion that has the Pakistanis gasping “maula…maula”. Lest I be accused of blasphemy, “maula” means master, not God. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor has, by the very act of the number of zeros placed after forty-six, befuddled the Pakistani imagination. Pakistan’s intelligentsia dare not ask the questions that are on the tip of their collective tongues.

  1. What does Pakistan gain from the CPEC?
  2. What is the exact route of the CEPC inside Pakistan?
  3. China will import oil from the Middle East through Gwadar. Will Pakistan’s role be limited to that of a tollbooth?
  4. Pakistan is raising an Infantry Division (about 10,000 men) to protect the Chinese? Is this a long-term solution?
  5. What do the Baloch get out of the CPEC? Punjab-centric Pakistan has been looting the Baloch for seven decades. Have the Chinese now joined the party?

Have the Pakistanis totally forgotten what the East India Company did to India? How is the Chinese approach any different? All contracts must, by the nature of the agreement, be awarded only to Chinese firms. Investments are subject to 18% interest. Will Pakistanis be relegated to being petty sub-contractors, suppliers of labor and coarse sand?

Finally, have the Pakistanis actually sold off their nation for 46 billion dollars? The CPEC is not simply investment. It is Pakistan handing over the chicken coop to the wolf.

To ask is to commit kuffar or blasphemy. But ask one must.

What is the Two Nation Theory? It states that the unifying force of a nation is religion, rather than culture or ethnicity, and that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations and hence cannot coexist.

Jinnah did not create Pakistan. He was just the acceptable liberal face of a much more sinister plot. Pakistan was the economic and social need of the jagirdars and waderas of West Punjab. They were the economic powerhouses, which would suffer if India became democratic. Gandhi was speaking of land re-distribution. For a feudal class bred on deep sense of entitlement, it was death. One man – one vote was against the notion of hereditary privilege. The waderas were slave owners. They still are. Democracy would seat the landless along with the wadera. Economic self-preservation morphed into the two-nation theory. That Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) spoke of all men being equal in the eyes of God, and enjoined that no Muslim would bow before anyone but Allah, was just theory for them. Practical life dictated that privileges had to be protected.

Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami vehemently opposed the idea of Pakistan. For one, the concept of nationhood based on religion had no sanction in the Quran or any of the hadiths, the traditions and sayings of the Holy Prophet. The world was divided into Daar-ul-Aman (the house of peace) or Daar-ul-Harb (the house of war). Muslims in India had lived peacefully for a thousand years. There was no precedence or Quranic sanction, which could justify the division of India. Maududi also believed that the creation of Pakistan was not just division of land, but also division of the sub-continents Muslims.

But Partition did happen. For twenty-four years the two-nation theory held good. On 16 September 1971 the make believe world of Pakistan collapsed. It seemed that Bengalis did not take kindly to dictation from Punjabis and Pashtuns. Language and culture trumped religion. Jinnah’s moth-eaten state had been cleaved into half by “black dhoti-clad Bengalis” as Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan was fond of calling them, with a little nudge from Manekshaw’s boys.

What now remains of Pakistan is a confederation of ethnicities.

If Jinnah envisioned Pakistan as a safe haven for Muslims of the sub-continent, the less said the better. More than three thousand people were killed in ethnic violence in 2014 in Karachi alone. That’s about eight killings a day in the largest city of a country that was founded to be a safe haven for those who were killed.

There isn’t an Islamic terror group in the world that does not owe allegiance to the State of Pakistan or one of its upright citizens. Pakistan exports terror into Iran through the Sunni leaning Jundullah. Iran being dominantly Shia is a God given target. Shia’s are wajib-ul-qatl. Basically, it’s all right to kill them. No ones counting. Through the Punjabi Taliban and the Haqqani Network, the ISI spreads its tentacles in Afghanistan, looking for that elusive mirage, strategic depth. Uighur terrorists from China have admitted to being trained in terrorist activities in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) of Pakistan.

Pakistan is looking for influence. Not the kind that comes from Yoga or McDonalds. Pakistan is looking for influence through terror. It is the same wadera mindset of keeping everyone in line. Pakistan has nothing to offer the world. What it had, it destroyed. Perhaps the poetry of Bulle Shah and Syed Waris Shah is too effeminate for the generals at Rawalpindi. Three million Bengalis killed in Operation Searchlight, a few thousand disappearances in Balochistan and letting loose the MQM (Haqiqi) faction in Karachi is more their style. Not that Altaf Hussain of the MQM is an angel, but state sponsored terror is a different ball game.

What it can kill or subdue, it does. And what it cannot strike fear into, sets it climbing the proverbial water tank. “If I kill myself you will be in a sea of trouble” is the refrain. You will note that whenever there is a downslide in Indo-Pak relations, which is very often, bang comes the reminder from Pakistan that they are a nuclear weapons state and the said weapons are not for ornamental purposes.

So, Pakistan will keep asking for money and the world will keep giving money. It is scary when you see a deranged drunk with a violent record roaming in your neighborhood with a loaded assault rifle. This is “The Veeru Effect”. The world is not likely to call Pakistan’s bluff anytime soon.

An outright military response to Pakistan may not be the answer. That’s probably because the question is ideological. Pakistan was a problem for us before 1971. We dismembered it. It is still a problem. Even if Balochistan were to somehow secede from Pakistan, the problem will not just remain. It will multiply.

Pakistan will get more desperate and more insecure. There will be more brinkmanship, like Kargil. Or a third party operation by Hafiz Saeed and his ilk. This cyclic violence will continue till the Indian extreme right-wing hawks realize that they are ineffective and their current actions will have no long-term impact on Pakistan or its mindset. We must accept that we do not have all the answers.

An idea, however vicious or powerful cannot be defeated by anything except an idea. That’s why the Americans lost in Vietnam and the Soviets were humbled in Afghanistan.

The only way to attack at the roots of Pakistan is to attack at the very idea that gave birth to Pakistan, the “two-nation theory”. It’s not a macho plan and not something that would find favor with those that advocate a more muscular policy vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Think Ravana, the demon king of the RamayanaLord Ram cut off his head and it just grew right back. Until VibhishanaRavana’s brother told Ram about the secret of Ravana’s immortality; amrit or the elixir of life that was hidden in Ravana’s navel. The two-nation theory is the amrit in the navel of Ravana. It is the preamble of the ideology of Pakistan.

Pakistan is there to stay, like it or not. But every time a Muslim man in India starts a Wipro or a Cipla, it suddenly and irrevocably damages the two-nation theory.  Nothing scares Pakistan more than the success of the Indian Muslim, because it questions the very reason of its existence. It forces the average Pakistani to ask “If Muslims are so successful in India, why did we create Pakistan?”

Let young Pakistanis ask why their nation was created. And when they see successful Muslims in India, they will ask that question. And once they do, their nuclear weapons will be so much candyfloss.

A hundred and seventy-two million Muslims call India home. This is an indisputable fact. And it is these Muslims who hold the key to our Pakistan problem.

Muslims will have to question their own leadership, both religious and political, and hold them accountable for jobs, education and infrastructure. They will have to firmly tell people claiming to be their leaders that fear mongering is pulling the community down. And these so-called leaders are both Muslim and Hindus; yes, those very leaders who would love to give voter identification cards to Bangladeshi immigrants but dare not tell the maulvi of a madrasa to install computers.

It is these leaders who are the real enemy of the Muslims, who would do anything to keep them away from joining the national mainstream because it serves their narrow political purposes.

When Muslims are free of the clutches of these leaders and political charlatans, they will mass-embrace modern education.

And that’s when Veeru will look down from the water tank to find that there is no one there. His bluff will then have been called.