Indo-Pak: The Melting Pot of Strategic Dilemma

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Between the two adversaries, a struggle to out-maneuver each other has claimed countless lives in the past decade, though both nations, presumably, raised the white flag ages ago.

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Just as everything around the Indo-Pak border seemed grave enough, there came an incident that can serve as a new dimension for the strategic mindset in Pakistan, and can be used to secure some safety in this uncontrollable quagmire. As is apparent from the recent incident that severely damaged the Indian Submarine Sindhurakshak, partially sinking it and killing almost 18 sailors, with another submarine narrowly escaping this disaster, there stands an inherent flaw in either the Indian technology or their use of materials. Whereas initial reports as to what caused this catastrophe are attributed to accidental detonation of explosives close by or electrical failure causing a massive fire, the result is that negligent behavior and use of poor technology caused what the Indian Defense Minister, Mr. A.K. Anthony, called a ‘tragedy’. But who is to trust Mr. Anthony, who may later call it a terrorist activity from across the border, just as he switched from ‘presumably wearing a Pakistani uniform-like outfit’ to ‘assisted by Pakistani Special Forces’ in the recent LoC incident of the killing of five Indian soldiers? To avenge this, almost 50 lives have been claimed after the incident, without probable cause or just rationale.

South Asia is a land of epiphanies, and in the majesty of its landscape, there brews a concoction of dilemmas and repeated blunders from the pages of history. Nuclear weapons manifested a whole new dimension of thought, but still, in this region with this new technology, these weapons brought the Cold War back into action. Both nations started producing their own George Kennans, McNamaras and Trumans, but they forgot one thing: Neither are they the US and the USSR nor is this the 1950s or the 1970s or even the 1980s. From Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles, from aspiring to acquire Ballistic Missile Defense Shields to miniaturizing nuclear weapons in an attempt to shock and awe the adversary, from not-so-required Aircraft Carriers to developing Nuclear Submarines capable of delivering nuclear weapons, this region spends more on precedent strategies than developing their own set of guidelines.

When Kenneth Waltz and Scott Sagan initiated a debate in “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed”, their intention was to understand the concept of what could be the strategic possibilities and future outcomes of Indo-Pak nuclear behavior in the region and the world over. However, their theory was presumed to act as a yardstick of goals and the gospel-truth in South Asia, stagnating the development of indigenous nuclear strategies.

With an intense history of aggression and hatred towards one another, we come to a threshold – the Line of Control. Between the two adversaries, a struggle to out-man, out-gun and out-maneuver each other has claimed countless lives in the past decade, piling up a collateral damage that falls under no category of conflict as both nations, presumably, raised the white flag ages ago fearing nuclear annihilation. This, however, paved the way for ambiguous nuclear doctrines and confusion between theory and practice, increasing regional vulnerability. Even though it may have served as a political force multiplier – the rhetoric of annihilating the adversary; but this slogan sort of backfired when it came to the military side of the state. This created fissures in the civil-military relations within both the states and can cause grave security risks. With the Indian government giving a ‘freehand’ to their Border Security Forces and the expectation of adequate retaliatory response from Pakistan, the ladder of escalation seems shorter and shorter.

In such circumstances, a layman Pakistani comes to think low of the Army and the intelligence agencies, and deems the call for reconciliation an act of shame rather than a better line of stratagem and the ‘fireworks of Shab-e-Raat’ seem to be a desired answer to the current Indian behavior on the LoC. However, silence has many meanings if maintained with consistency and coherence between the organs of the state. But with the Army relatively silent, the media confused and the government preoccupied with ‘other priorities’, there is little that can be said about consistency and coherence within the Land of the Pure. A wake up call is what is urgently required to maintain a strong sense of control to which the world thinks otherwise.

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is a Masters in Strategic and Nuclear Studies from the National Defense University. He can be reached on [email protected]

Discussion6 Comments

  1. Sharreh Qazi a very good effort from your side. Indian aggression on LoC reflects Indian mindset towards its neighbors, and it is sure that India always use coercive strategy/diplomacy to its immediate neighbors.

  2. Good article but here’s the problem. Pakistan is willing to talk. In fact pakistan has even made concessions that are against its national interests. However the problem lies with the indians. They have not made any concessions and they are still not willing to talk. Instead they fund ttp and Baluch terrorists to destabilize pakistan. They are more brutal in their treatment of Kashmiris than they have ever been. There cannot be talks b/c india has never been interested in talking. From the beginning indian mentality has been a no-compromise, win through any means necessary mentality.

  3. I wish you could sent this article to the the chief advisor of the Prime Minister and his brother! And to his foreign/security advisor to get their views.They are people who matter across the board.Your feelings are very well expressed but they must be put across to the right pawns.

  4. Indians are beguiled by Western made hysteria, your nation is no different to 10 years ago. The west has afforded you flex in access to their markets and even then Indian economy only grew at 8% after years of stagnation and then decline. 8% GDP can not feed all of India and this is the height of your growth India. Indians are lost in a frenzy of purpose and exuberant that they have a noble past and empire one that does not exist I like to add. This favouritism from the West to India has created a bubble around the Indian, his confused, bruised psyche thinks each and every Indian is an emperor and the most greatest individual in the world. This is fine, you can dream but better you dream with your feet on the ground, because when the ordinary Indian looks around him in contrast how they as a people are being projected and manufactured in the west and he rubs his eyes in disappointment at his actual life, his dissatisfaction is projected to Pakistan.

    All Indians I come across behave like this, which mean Indian communities and their society must think like this. Therefore how can you expect peace from them, I term them a shizophrenic state with duplicit personalities.

    Just look at all these blogs and sites where Indians pretend to be European, American even Chinese to shower praise on Indian history, nation and people but through the demonisation of others.

    To post as Chinese , American, European and Pakistan when in reality your an Indian. To look to bring down others a peg or two is a common trait amongst Indians to hide your own incompetences. Or some times Indians try to re evaluate why they are loved from a distance because mythological cultures look beautiful from a distance but on close inspection. Indians and their cultures remain backward and shackled so often I have seen the Indian psyche demand from the world why do you hate us. Indians are naturally an abusive nation, they use profanity everyday towards family, friends, at work towards outsiders, the shackled culture tries to be more western and it does not look right and too much of their own culture shows a shackled backward nation culturally however diverse. Indians confused why they do not have the romantic admiration in the same way people have for other great eras and civilisations of the past, Chinese civilisations, European civilisations, Greek, Roman, Persian and even Islamic Civilisations etc. I see a confused psyche, one that is ignorant of all their own incompetences and one that is very bruised and displays an inferiority complex so try to project their unrecorded, uncertified Mythological Empires to show they too were great. For Indians the facade of a great past is real true but the outsiders treats it for what it is, a myth, a legend a poor one and that.

    Indians suffer from a inferiority complex and the individual psyche like the posters here / author display exactly what I mean. A bitter, vile people do not exhume greatness.

    When Indians are not asking why why why do you fail to appreciate our rich history and empires ( based on myth) they are always writing profanities towards others in the region ones who do have a great past, history and regardless of problems people are drawn to these people. The typical brunt of Indian self introspection projecting hatred at others is Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

    Chin is a great and old civilisation.
    The Indus or Khorasani / Mughal empire re a great civilisation
    Sri Lankans have an amazing history and are comfortable with their past as they are present.

    The people of the Ganges are incapable – I want every non Indian to copy my post and revisit 10 years from now. India will continue have 50% of its people poor, divided on caste and religion and the bitterness of the common Indian will remain. It will be no different from where it is today.

    Indians fed up with their lives in a verty stricken, culturally chained shackled nation flock Internet cafes and booths and project their dissatisfaction by demonising others.

    Today it is their common target for their own deficiencies – Pakistan.
    On another board it is The Chinese, The Sr Lankans, Bangladeshis.

    This is the psyche of medieval people, broken and disheartened people not of a strong responsible modern nation.

    The Indians outside India always carry this engrained inferiority complex but try to assert themselves over Chinese and Pakistanis. Publicly alone they never do as they are incapable but put Indians in a group of Indians and you hear them whine, moan and defame Pakistanis and Chinese.

    The most bizarre is defamation of Islam yet Indiansnflood middle eastern countries and Turkey. Within India their is a large number of Muslims, so let us not mince word what we are talking about here is a Hindu psyche that is petty, extrovert in demonising others and never looks within with introspection.

    I do not foresee the Hindu in the Indian changing if anything radicalised even more with an invisible sense of destiny and purpose that will take India to the brink.

    Indian Hindus want to be seen as great and this effects their psyche and makes them very unstable to prove this they are becoming ultra right wing affiliating to right wing backward Hindu Fanatical Political groups and militias.

    Little do you realise The Chinese and Pakistanis use this as a strength.

    India views her success through a dismembered Pakistan and a voiceless, defenceless China and regardless how much you do or say to extend friendship it does not fit with the long time Hindu right wing plan. The Hindu right wing is growing stronger and use Demonisation of Islam, Pakistan and China as way of tapping into the bruised Indian ego.

    Do not expect peace any day soon, continue striving and we should BUT not at the expense of compromising Pakistan’s internal and regional security.

    Our success depends on a peaceful India but never through compromise of our national interest.
    India sees her success through a dismembered non existent Pakistan as she has grandiose unrealistic plans engrained in her foreign policy.

    Therefore where do you strike a middle ground and compromising on Kashmir is not that middle ground. Firstly you as Pakistanis have to support us Kashmiris as we are you, part of you but as Al Quaid said we also are the jugular vein to Pakistan.

    Compromising on trade will destroy our economy?

    Why must we compromise and hurt our national interest.

    Personally we need to focus to mend what used to be fortress Pakistan, make us secure, stable, productive and to keep India in check we must become stronger politically, culturally, economically and militarily. Regionally we have always had greater ties and admiration and this is where our energies must go while continue to follow ZABs philosophy with little means continue to defend Pakistan.

    The minute we compromise with India we will erode efforts to secure our national interest and in turn we will become weaker, so bit by bit we will become non existence as a individual nation and will be seen through the extension of Indian foreign policy.

    Do you want to become Bangladesh.

    So by all means extend friendship but look them in the eyes at NO compromise and why should we.

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