Confused in achieving its secret designs to become a super power of Asia, now India has started intimidating declared nuclear powers like Pakistan and China through threat of open war. In this regard, Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor vocally revealed on December 29, 2009 that Indian Army “is now revising its five-year-old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.”
India has received a matching response from Islamabad. Responding to New Delhi’s open threat, on January 1, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani warned that the situation would get out of control in case of any dangerous adventurism of New Delhi. A day after, Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman Gen. Tariq Majid stated, “The Indian Army Chief’s statement exhibits a lack of strategic acumen. He further said that such a path could “fix India on a self-destructive mechanism.” In this connection, taking cognizance of Indian new war-mongering style, on January 6, Gen. Kayani also chaired the meeting of corps commanders, and showed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of the Pakistan Army.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military and the political leadership has decided to be in active contact and to chalk out an effective strategy to counter hostile approach of India. While taking notice of India’s tactics to disturb the regional balance of power in South Asia, the cabinet’s defence committee underscored that Pakistan would never allow its security to be jeopardised at any cost. It was decided in the meeting that until and unless South Waziristan operation and rehabilitation of war torn areas in Swat is not completed, no new military front would be opened and no foreign pressure would be tolerated in that respect.
As regards New Delhi’s belligerent approach, it is the result of Indian shattered hope to intimidate other regional countries especially Pakistan whom the former considers a continuous obstacle in the way of its ambitious policy. In fact, both the neighbouring adversaries are nuclear powers, Indians cannot ignore the principles of deterrence, popularly known as balance of terror.
In 1945, America dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as Tokyo had no such devices to retaliate. After the World War II, nuclear weapons were never used. These were only employed as a strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when the US and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic weapons, but they stopped due to the fear of nuclear war which could culminate in the elimination of both the super powers. It was due to the concept of ‘mutually assured destruction’ that the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.
Political strategists agree that deterrence is a psychological concept that aims to affect an opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence weapons are less usable as their threat is enough in deterring an enemy that intends to use its armed might.
A renowned scholar, Hotzendorf remarks that nuclear force best serves the interests of a state when it deters an attack.
It is mentionable that a few days after the November 26 tragedy of Mumbai, New Delhi, while embarking upon a hot pursuit policy towards Islamabad, under the pretext of that carnage, endeavoured to isolate Pakistan diplomatically in the comity of nations. For this purpose, India sent a number of diplomatic missions to various western capitals to convince them that Pakistan is officially behind Mumbai terror events, emphasising them to pressurize Islamabad in handing over the militants, responsible for the catastrophe.
By exploiting its self-contradictory evidence, full of loopholes, Indian rulers had also rejected Pakistan’s offer for joint investigation, and left no stone unturned in threatening Pakistan with an allout war including ‘surgical strikes.’ It was owing to our nuclear weapons that despite creating war-hysteria inside its country, New Delhi did not dare to attack Pakistan as any aggressive attempt could result in the national suicide of India.
Moreover, Pakistan’s successful military operations have surprised the international community as our armed forces dismantled the command and control system of the Taliban militants funded and armed by Israel and India within a few months. They did in eight months what the US-led NATO forces could not do in Afghanistan in eight years. In this context, while praising Pakistan’s security forces, western high officials insisted upon New Delhi to observe restraint. It is due to these developments that the US and European countries have donated million of dollars for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Regarding Indian blame game against Pakistan, the US and UK have already refused official involvement of Islamabad in the Mumbai carnage. Besides, in the recent past, a team of Indian intelligence officials left the US disappointed after a week-long stay as they were not allowed interrogating a Pakistan-born American national David Coleman Headley, arrested by the FBI on charges of plotting a major terror attack in India, lodged in a Chicago jail. Failed in their efforts to implicate Islamabad, Indian officials termed “bureaucratic” and “procedural” hurdles as the main obstacle in their way.
On the other side, with the realistic approach, America officials and media have started focusing on Hindu fundamentalism in face of leakage of the Justice Liberation Commisssion, admitting the official involvement of the leadership of the BJP in connection with the destruction of the Babri Masjid—and over other developments like human violations in the Indian-held Kashmir including violence against the Muslim and Christian communities.
Presently the positive image of Pakistan has irked the eyes of New Delhi. Despite their diplomatic defeat, Indian leaders have still been blackmailing Islamabad through threats of war.
Depressed in their anti-Pakistan aims, Indian lobbies are also making strenuous efforts in maligning Islamabad in the western countries. It could be judged from a recent attempt. The Australian government has played down a travel advisory issued by Indian warning in relation to risk of violence against Indian students in Melbourne—after an Indian graduate, Nitin Garg, was stabbed to death in the city, and New Delhi pointed finger at Pakistanis indirectly. But acting Australian Foreign Minister Simon Crean urged Indian leaders to avoid fuelling hysteria and said that Melbourne was safe for visitors.
Nevertheless, Indian rulers should keep it in mind that no war is limited. When started, course of war is expanded by the circumstances just like the water of flood. For example, in the beginning, World War 1 was a local conflict between the two tiny states of Balkan, but within a few days, it involved the major countries.
In the present circumstances, India is badly mistaken if it overestimates its own power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. As our country lacks conventional forces and weapons vis-à-vis India, so it will have to use atomic devices during a prolonged conflict.
Nonetheless, ‘nuclearized’ India may apply its coercive diplomacy and threat of war against the non-nuclear states of South Asia in exerting psychological pressure, but it will prove India’s shattered hope in case of Pakistan whose deterrence is credible.
While taking lesson from the recent history, the best way for New Delhi is that instead of raising war hysteria, present issue of Mumbai terror attack could be resolved through joint investigation which Islamabad has repeatedly offered. And India must better pay attention to her home-grown Hindu terrorists by abandoning irrational allegations.
In wake of its shattered hope of war, India should better return to negotiating table to resolve all issues with Pakistan including the core dispute of Kashmir. Otherwise, war-mongering pose is likely to prove self-destructive for the Indian union, where separatist movements have already reached their climax in most of its states.
Sajjad Shaukat is a regular writer for Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.