Ten behavioural traits India must change to successfully counter Pakistan

One of the reasons  why India is unable to deal with the Pakistan problem is its faulty  thinking. The Pakistani establishment (ISI, Army, Government) knows  how to expose our fault lines because India's behaviour is so  predictable. It is able to keep India on the defensive and export  terror relentlessly.

Here are ten  behavioural traits that have not served India in the past, which must  change if it has to successfully counter Pakistan:

1. India will not  capitalise on gains made by its armed forces

Under the Tashkent  Agreement, India agreed to return the strategic Haji Pir Pass, which  overlooks POK, to Pakistan in exchange for an undertaking by Pakistan  to abjure the use of force to settle mutual disputes and adherence to  the principles of non-interference. Ditto in 1972 when Mrs Gandhi  returned 92,000 prisoners of war in lieu of verbal promises.

But why is Haji Pir  Pass important for India?

Prakash Katoch, a  former Lt Gen, Special Forces Indian Army, says, "Haji Pir Pass,  at a height of 2637 metres, is located on the western fringe of the  formidable Pir Panjal Range, which divides the Srinagar valley from  the Jammu region. It is through this Pass that a wide, metalled  highway connected Srinagar to Jammu via Uri-Poonch–Rajouri, over  which bulk of passenger and trade traffic used to ply to and fro.  This road is of strategic importance as it connects Uri with Poonch  but since major portion of road is in POK, it cannot be used.

"It has been a  constant source of problems for Indian security forces in Jammu and  Kashmir. Trained militants have been sneaking into Kashmir Valley,  Poonch and Rajouri districts. One of the most pressing operational  objectives of the Northern Command, if India were to enter into a  conventional battle with Pakistan, would be the strategic pass of  Haji Pir, which cuts into India by severing the Poonch-Uri route and  can provide access to much of POJK."

2. Indian  politicians accept concessions in private not on paper and are  compassionate about internal dynamics in Pakistan

Former foreign  secretary JN Dixit wrote in his book Anatomy of a Flawed  Inheritance, "In the run-up to the Simla Agreement, Bhutto  and Mrs Gandhi had a one-to-one meeting. Bhutto acknowledged that the  Kashmir issue should be finally resolved, the Line of Control could  be gradually converted into a de jure border but requested that these  commitments should not be included in any formal agreement because it  would endanger the emerging democratic set-up in Pakistan."

Mrs Gandhi was  understanding of Bhutto's compulsions and limitations without  reflecting on Pakistan's dubious track record and its potential for  exporting trouble.

3. Not taking  advantage of Pakistan's economic difficulties

When oil prices  skyrocketed to a peak of $147, it caused havoc in Pakistan's  financial markets, rupee depreciated significantly and foreign  exchange reserves fell drastically.

In 2012, Pakistan  had defaulted in payments to foreign Independent Power Producers.  Moreover, it was moving towards cancellation of LNG contracts with  Qatar because it did not have the money to pay. And IMF financing  could become problematic if the Americans chose to act difficult.

At that point, India  could have taken advantage of Pakistan's difficulties but did not.  There are some examples of how India could have hurt Pakistan without  going to war.

One, it  could have stopped export of livestock. This would have increased meat  prices for the Pakistani aam aadmi - caused social  result and reduced beef exports from Pakistan that leapfrogged post  2005 after UPA 1 permitted export of livestock.

Two, it  could have increased duty on products imported Pakistan and compound  its foreign exchange difficulties.

Three,  India could have undertaken short-term measures to utilise its entire  share of waters under the 1960 Treaty, something it is not doing.  Less water to Pakistan could hit agricultural output.

Four, India  could declare Pakistan a terrorist state and snap economic ties or  people-to-people contact till it stopped export of terror to India  and handed over Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and Masood Azhar.

4. Indian leaders  protest loudly but lack guts to hit back

Every time there is  a Pakistan-sponsored terror attack, Indian leaders make tough  statements, say they will retaliate but keep on dithering and are  indecisive.

Atalji spoke of zero  tolerance to terrorism and, to be fair, did initiate some action like  not allowing Pakistan aircraft to use Indian airspace. However,  actions were not sustained and India was back to square one.

Post the 2001  Parliament attack, the Indian Army launched Operation Parakram the  first full-scale mobilisation since the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Former air  chief AY Tipnis said at that time: "We have shown enormous  patience, now it is time to show we have resolve too. Inaction is  damaging our credibility; people have begun to believe India  incapable of taking any action."

Our problem is that we  talk more than act.

5. After every  terror attack, Indians show their anger by stopping talks only to  resume them again

Here is the usual  sequence of events.

Pakistan supports  terror attack. Indian government talks tough, promises a befitting  response. (to be fair the NDA government gave BSF a free hand in  second half of 2014). Government calls off talks.

After about six to  nine months, stories appear about how we cannot change our  neighbours, dangers of nuclear war breaking out, US expresses  concern, violence in Kashmir Valley erupts since J&K problem has  not been resolved or bomb blasts in Mumbai.

Next, votaries of  Aman Ki Asha and Track II diplomacy get into action. Thereafter,  Foreign Secretaries establish contact, news channels create bhai-bhai atmosphere. Summit meeting on the anvil, expectations skyrocket.  Before talks, India makes unilateral concessions to show its peaceful  intentions. Prime Ministers meet as two long-lost brothers meet in a  Manmohan Desai movie and smile. All happy. Tangible results: Zero.

6. India seldom  publicly reminds Pakistan of its strategic vulnerability

Time and again,  Pakistan has threatened to use nuclear weapons against India. The  latest threat is the use of "low yield nuclear weapons against  Indian spearheads". It is a way of telling the world community  that if they fail to make India resolve the J&K dispute the way  Pakistan wants it, nuclear war is a distinct possibility.

It was in the  context of such threats that Col Anil Athale (retired) recently wrote,  "What India must do, but seldom does, is to constantly remind  Pak of its strategic vulnerability. Its crucial targets and ‘heart’  that is Punjab province, is a barely 150 km deep strip of land along  Indian border. Virtually every major ‘strategic’ target of  Pakistan is within the range of Prithvi tactical missile of which  India has aplenty. From Mendhar in J&K the Kahuta nuclear  installations are within the extended range of Pinaka rockets of  Indian artillery.

"Peace with  India is good for Pakistan and if the whole border gets activated and  India also decided to employ a strategy of ‘thousand cuts’, the  much smaller and economically anemic Pakistan will wither away even  without a nuclear war."

If an Indian attack  is accompanied by a simultaneous attack from Afghanistan by non-state  actors, then what will happen to Pakistan?

Without being  boisterous, you need to show your adversary the mirror - a reality  check.

7. Indian  politicians have outsourced the disciplining of Pakistan to the US

It is baffling why  India never declared Pakistan a terrorist state but repeatedly asked  the West to do so. We refuse to fight our battles, seek support from  the US, because of which we are perceived to toe  their line.

This is the only  plausible explanation for India's repeated U-turns on Pakistan. In  this respect, Modi sarkar is no different.

8. Indians forever  giving Pakistan proof of its involvement in terror activities

From the times of  Khalistani and Kashmiri terror movements in the 1980s, we have  evidence of Pakistan's role in exporting terror. Its involvement in  Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2005 Delhi blasts  etc are known, yet in 2016, we want to give them proof of their  involvement in Pathankot.

Indians love this  paper-bazi, playing by the rules and international law. The  Pakistanis know that and also how to play around the rules.

9. India is the land  of Ahimsa, will not take the battle into the enemy  camp

The Pakistanis are  aware of India's flawed understanding of Ahimsa (non-violence), the non-aggressive nature of Hinduism (its followers  do not capitalise on weaknesses in others and keep opponents under  pressure) and overwhelming desire for peace.

That is why Indians rarely  talk of the conditions of Shias in Gilgit and Baltistan, that  were a legal and integral part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in  1947, and the oppressed Baluchis.

Unlike J&K where  elections were repeatedly held, "The region’s first ever  elections were held in 2009 for the local legislative assembly. It  did not grant Gilgit Baltistan the right to send representatives to  Pakistan’s National Assembly".

10. Refusal to see  relations with Pakistan through the prism of Pak-China nexus

The issue of China  blocking India's bid to have JeM chief and Pathankot terror attack  mastermind Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN has  brought out the China-Pakistan nexus in the open. What was implicit  earlier is now explicit.

However, we see  relations with Pakistan through emotion - we are one people  forgetting that Pakistan is a Chinese-supported  tool cultivated by the latter to prevent India from realising her  potential and global ambitions. The nexus compels India to prepare  for a multi-front theatre in the event of war with either country.

Pakistan stands on  three legs, China, Saudi Arabia and US. How would Pakistan stand  without its all-weather friend whose president's aircraft was  escorted by eight PAF JF-17 Thunders as it entered the Pakistani  Airspace?

Amongst the many  teachings of The Holy Gita and Kautilya's Arthashastra,  Pakistan has incorporated two into their India containment strategy.

The Gita repeatedly refers to the importance of perseverance. Pakistan has  been implementing its plan to bleed India with a thousand cuts for  decades.

The six methods of  foreign policy enunciated by Kautilya include "Vigraha -  hostilities is another instrument of foreign policy. It is classified  into open war, secret war - attacking the enemy in a variety of ways,  taking him by surprise; and undeclared war, clandestine attacks using  secret agents and occult practices".

Since 1947, Pakistan  has followed these teachings to the T.

A solution to the  Pakistan problem depends on our soch - As we think, we shall  become.

First published Click here to view

Also read
1. What  stops me from loving Pakistan
2. Understanding  the sub-continent Muslim mind through Dr Ambedkar
3. 20 ideas to deal with Pakistan

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