Peace first, talks later

Brig Arun Bajpai
There was a time after Bangladesh war in 1971 when then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, even her sneeze use to cause pneumonia to Pakistan. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and VP Singh maintained this trend though to a lesser degree. There after Indian political class gradually started losing their political will concerning tough line against Pakistan. Worst was the era of Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh combine of last ten years of Congress led UPA rule. In this period we were so afraid of Pakistan creating trouble on LOC in J&K State or pressing their jehadi button in India that we were almost dancing on the Pakistan read Pakistani Army tune.
Entire political class of India specially the  ruling Cong knew that Pakistan will never be our friend till Pakistani Army has a complete sway over Pakistani civil Government and that Pakistani democracy is a total sham. For Pakistani Army strained relations with India and their perceived role in their country of a great saviour of their population against a dominating India bent upon gobbling up Pakistan is their bread and butter. Kashmir has no meaning for the Pakistani army. It is a means to an end to keep their country population aligned against India. Had it not been Kashmir they would have taken up some other cause against India.
Pakistani Army has ruled their country for almost 50 years of its existence. During this period it has ensured through its education institutions that the hatred against India is spread far and wide. Now these Pakistanis brought up under this education system are adults. Recent survey conducted by a reputed world body has brought out the fact that 70% Pakistanis hate India and perceive Pakistani Army as their saviour.
It is this vision of their countrymen which enables Pakistani Army to run a 20 Billion dollar business in Pakistan. They have a say in all spheres in Pakistan. Read Pakistan’s own Ayesha Siddiqas book The Military Incorporation. Recent book of Pakistani Ambassador to US, Husain Haqqani’s “The Magnificent Delusions’ amply highlights how Pakistani Generals stay in power by cunningly manipulating America. Another book on Pakistani Army written by American South Asia Expert Christina Fair, titled “Fighting to the End”, amply highlights the fact that For Pakistani Army the fight against India is Jehad. It believes in two nation theory and believes India to be a Hindu nation. Pakistani Army itself has declared that it is not an Army of Pakistan but an Army of Islam. Every Pakistani soldier takes oath not to save Pakistan but to save Islam. So whom are our politicians fooling when they talk of peace with Pakistan or a section of our media who propagates the Canard of “Aman ki Asha” with Pakistan.
Last ten years were sufficient time for Manmohan-Sonia combine to talk peace with Pakistan but quietly strengthen our armed forces so that we kept our powder dry. But no, they foisted a Defence Minister on India by the name AK Antony .All Antony did was to delay decisions on arms acquisitions and modernisation of armed forces. He black listed major international  arms producing firms on the drop of a hat on the charges of corruption well knowing that in India nothing moves without greasing the palms. Every indigenous defence production project may it be the Arjun Mark 2 Tanks, Tejas fighters, Indian medium guns, Fifth Generation Fighters; all are running way behind times and with exorbitant cost overruns. Till date we have not implemented in full the Higher Defence Management reforms as approved by then Government in 2003.It is these weaknesses in our defence set up which today China and Pakistan are exploiting.
For a change under Modi the new Government has taken a tough stand on Pakistan. Rattled and feeling isolated in the world forum despite Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz sharif’s rant of Kashmir in the UN Assembly on 28 Sep and world taking no notice of it, Pakistan has taken to its old tactics of hotting up the border in Kashmir from Oct 1.It was confident that like in the past India will come running to the talk table. This has not happened and India has hit back Pakistan very hard. So Pakistan changed the tactics and opened up the settled border of 192 km long International border in Jammu Sector targeting civilian population in 130 villages who are predominantly Hindu. While the LOC manned by the Army is quiet the fireworks are on this front manned by the BSF. But BSF has hit back and has rained 1000 heavy mortar shells on Pakistani posts and villages in just two days. Pakistanis have also suffered heavy casualties. Till date 35 people including pak soldiers have died and large numbers wounded. Pakistan has also suffered heavy infrastructure damage. Now Pakistan does not know what to do. If Pakistani Army stops, it will lose face. If it continues then it will suffer more losses and already 20000 civilians on Pakistan side have left their homes for safety.
Needless to say we should take a lesson from this episode and go all out to fill in all the gaps in our security setup post haste. We should forget any thought of peace with Pakistan. India must build proper shelters for our border villages in J&K State on the lines of what Israel has done. We should be prepared to give back to Pakistan in kind and more. People of India must give befitting reply to those Indian political parties who because of their vote bank considerations are propagating talks with Pakistan. They must answer people of India what has talks achieved for us in last 68 years of Pakistani existence? Talk if you must but right thing to do is to keep your Defence capability optimum.
(The author is Defence and Strategic Analyst)


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