by Lt Gen P R Shankar (Retd)
A thought for all Indians
A historic step has been taken in the abrogation of Article 370
It is irrevocable
It is for us to win Kashmiris over with a lot of soft power or lose Kashmir with a lot of hard power
In any case we must keep Pakistan at bay with all the hard power at our disposal.
No Garlands Mr Qureshi
Shah Mehmood Qureshi was right. There were no garlands for Pakistan in the UNSC. The Chinese support was counterproductive and tepid. After all, on this score they have too many “Kashmirs” of their own – Hong Kong, Xinjang, Tibet and Taiwan. Kettle calling the pot black! China has its major issues. They will support their rusted Iron brother up to a point and no more. Barring lip service China will let Pakistan stew in its own juices thereafter. That has been their historical stand in any Indo Pak fracas. It will be no different hereafter. Hope Pakistan learns.
The Familiar Pakistani Charade
Coming to Pakistan. What next? The familiar charade? Kashmir banega Pakistan. Kashmir hamari zehen hai. Hum Kashmiriyon ke saath khade hain aur hamesha khada rahenge. Well from my side they can keep standing on the other side of the LOC and watch Kashmir transform into something far better. Will that happen? Not if Pakistan has anything to do with it. And; Pakistan will intend to do a lot with it as I have outlined earlier in The Shape of Things to Come Post 370. The shock of our action did not wear off and their thinkers were already enunciating lines of action to create an adverse situation for us. Incorrigibly Pakistani! The Deep State must be working overtime to do something surreptitious. They will bend over backwards somehow to get USA to a deal in Afghanistan so that they get their strategic space, recreate strategic assets third hand (without being ascribed to them) and orchestrate the new Intifada in Kashmir. They are addicted to this option. If they do not do that, their existence as a military will be under the scanner and threatened for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Correctly so. It is an Army which has fattened itself at the expense of the people, sold them fancy dreams and failed them for the past seven decades in every conflict. Losers.
Towards Cost Effective Options
Keep Pakistan Out. Leaving the rhetoric aside, I am convinced that if Pakistan is kept out of the equation, Kashmir will have a fair chance to be normal and will become a better place than imagined. In this context it is time for India to invest in cost effective options so that Pakistan cannot play interference games. I think it would be fair for Pakistan and its people to know what cards India holds in case there is interference from the Deep State in Kashmir. If this time round the Deep State thinks that they can wage a low cost-no cost campaign they should be given a greater shock. Up the ante. Use our economic muscle. Use our diplomatic heft. Make it fully unaffordable for Pakistan. Push them to the point of internal collapse.
Premises. With the aforesaid in view, I am generating some options. Many of these options are already known. The ball is already rolling in some options. However, the time has now come for us to ramp them up in some cases or indicate strategic intent of doing so in others. The essence of these options is based on certain premises – WAR IS NO OPTION, NO MORE NUCLEAR SABRE RATTLING, AVOID CONTACT BATTLE and TAKE THE FIGHT INTO PAKISTAN. As they say offense is the best form of defense.
LOC. The LOC should be made active and retaliatory. Any infringement on the LOC must be returned with triple effect – in volume and in depth. Non-Contact warfare should be the buzzword. We must put in a system of extended electronic and human surveillance coupled with deep fires to ensure that anything up to 30 km behind the LOC is a fair target. In specific we must target all the farmlands owned by their Army officers along the LOC and lay them to waste. It also implies that all terror launchpads will have to be at least that distance away. We must develop AI based surveillance systems to evolve Pakistani behavioral patterns on the LOC so that they are fixed and sorted out. It can be done. The Indian Army needs to open its mind.
Nuclear Posturing. Till now, India has a policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons. Already the RM has indicated ambiguity and a relook at this policy. I personally think that against Pakistan, we should reserve the right to first use and convey it to them as much. In addition, they have made much of NASR and the induction of a TNW into the equation. In direct response India must tip the Guided Pinaka with a Nuclear War head. Incidentally, the guided Pinaka has much better range potential and accuracy than what is stated. It will be a potent and unambiguous threat on the battlefield. It will also contribute significantly to a low spectrum calibrated Counter Value threat in the case of Pakistan. Many strategic targets will come under its cross hairs. Pakistan should also be given the assurance that any lone wolf Jihadi nuclear attack will draw full repercussions towards Pakistan – deniability or not. Pakistan’s nuclear sabre is best kept inside its scabbard– safe sound and useless.
Water. Pakistan is fast progressing to be a water scarce country. This has been analyzed in detail in my earlier article Why Pakistan is Hurtling Towards Absolute Water Scarcity. Believe it or not, their best chance / hope of being able to cope and survive in that condition lies with India! Without India’s help they are doomed. I am in no mood to help them till they come to their senses. As a starter let us address our own water woes by claiming what is legitimately ours in the Indus Water Treaty. Beyond the starter, convey to Pakistan that while we will not yet abrogate the treaty, we might hereafter not comply with it either. This treaty has stood the test of time through 65, 71 and Kargil ops. Enough. Time to review it. Additionally, create methodologies to use “water variability” to compound Pakistan’s agricultural woes through our Eastern Rivers. Of course, Pakistan is always worried about our letting untreated effluent into the water channels flowing across and the resultant pollutant effect on their Agriculture. Maybe we could give them a demonstration. It will serve its purpose.
Food Security – Naansense
It is a new phenomenon in Pakistan that the Government has capped the prices of Rotis and Naans at below ten rupees apiece. This was due to many factors including runaway inflation. However, if one sees subsurface, there was a lurking problem. The wheat crop was below par. Why did it happen? Needs further analysis. Is it repeatable? I think so. How can that be done? Many ways. I will leave that to the agriculture and economic ministries. Can their agriculture exports be subverted? Yes of course? Can all the Indian food items bound to Pakistan via the Gulf (on a re-export basis) be made more costly? The answer is yes. If one puts in a plan, I believe the food security inside Pakistan can be seriously undermined. I am not advocating the option, but it is available to India.
The Look West Formula. Pakistan can be made to look West constantly. Let us scan West Pakistan. At the bottom is Baluchistan with its increasing insurgency. A nod from India and opening some purse strings is all that it takes. Iran will jump into the equation gleefully. Baluchistan will be in flames. The Khanate of Kallat can be revived. Further up are TTP and the home-grown Taliban. A week does not go by without a bomb blast in those bad lands around Quetta. What will happen if India gives them better wherewithal? Further up the latitudes is the Pashtun movement which is gaining its own critical mass. It is a nonviolent mass movement. All it needs is some Gandhian principles to make it more potent. Closer home is POK. How about taking steps to reclaim POK through an indigenous freedom struggle? Put out a reclamation plan and see the skids. The area is huge and there are a lot of disaffected people in the area encompassing Gilgit, Baltistan and POK. Pakistan Army will be running around in circles. These are stated vulnerabilities of Pakistan. We should not disappoint Pakistani thinkers by not paying attention to them.
Defense Spending. India has a more deadly but smooth option. Increase its defense expenditure to 2% of its GDP for just 2-3 years. The payoffs will be huge. A jump in overall capacity to meet all its threats which simultaneously leaves Pakistan far behind. Pakistan will have to scrape the nonexistent bottom of a nonexistent barrel to even keep India in its sights for any sense of imagined parity. If it attempts to do so, it will collapse economically. Simultaneously concentrate on the Destruction of the Deep State.
CPEC – Third Front. CPEC was to be the mega project which was to change Pakistan’s fortunes. It will. It will make a large swathe of Pakistan into a Chinese colony. Leave aside the pun, CPEC is the third front of Pakistan. I have always maintained this. If this front is activated and CPEC projects are subverted or targeted, Pakistan’s colonization by China will be hastened. Given the state of internal turmoil and poor economic conditions in Pakistan, as a military man I can tell with confidence that these projects can be attacked from within Pakistan using Pakistanis and their resources with no trace to India. Then Mumbai will look like a picnic.
Real or Surreal Options. Are these options real or are they surreal? Will they be executed or are they threats? Are they under consideration? I have no answers. However, I know that if the Indian Government wants to execute them, all these are in the realm of feasibility. There may be more. I am sure that the Government will unfold the execution plan as the situation evolves. As far as Pakistan is concerned they should know the not so hidden cards in India’s hands. The question is which will get played when. Even if fifty percent are played out, Pakistan will have its cup of misery overflowing and will keep playing on the backfoot for a long time to come.
DEAR MR IMRAN KHAN,
PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN
I first saw you in Chepauk aeons back
You came streaming in and bowled a bouncer to Kapil Dev.
He hit you for a boundary to Square Leg.
Asif Iqbal, your captain placed a fielder at square leg and asked you to repeat the bouncer.
You came streaming in and bowled another bouncer to Kapil Dev.
He promptly hit you for a six over square leg.
You and Pakistan have been bouncing India with state sponsored terrorism.
You have been hit over the square leg by Mr Modi for a boundary with Abrogation of Article 370.
Gen Bajwa , your new Captain is placing a fielder again on the square leg and asking you to bowl a bouncer again.
You will be again hit for a six!
You have warned the world that India will carry out ethnic cleansing of Muslims in J&K.
Do you not know that?
400000 Kashmiri Pundits were ethnically cleansed by Pakistan backed Muslim Militants and Separatists from Srinagar Valley?
You and your nation mutely watch and nod your head when your all-weather iron brother is carrying out massive ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Xinjang.
You and your Government is carrying out systematic cleansing of minorities, other Muslim sects and Baloch people in Pakistan.
Your ilk, The Pashtuns seem to be next on the cards for cleansing.
So, stop preaching and look inwards at your dirty laundry.
The future of every Pakistani Prime Minister, selected or elected, has been exile, assassination, extermination, hanging, or jail at the hands of the Army. I wonder what fate will befall you after the Pakistan Army finishes off with you.
All the Best with your fate.
Best wishes and warm regards.
I hope you get to read this
(Can one of the readers help it along to Mr Imran Khan? )