The attack by Pakistani terrorists yet again – what can India do ?

This seems like a regular well done script, bound to repeat itself again and again. Some Indian and Pakistani political leaders get together and discuss the process of peace, not ready to sign a peace deal, but just getting together to talk about a roadmap. They could get so close as to talk about a meeting between some senior level officials, so forward in terms of achieving peace. Even with such a simple first step, the process immediately meets the Pakistani Army gauntlet. The Pakistani army is fighting the Taliban in the western border; but its reason for its high status within the state of Pakistan is an ongoing state of conflict with India. The Pakistani army considers itself the decider of foreign policy with India and does not allow the civilian Government to run any policy regarding this independently.
So it happened this time as well. The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India had a meeting where they decided to talk about resuming the peace process, including how to expedite the trial of the people involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks (a subject which is pretty close to the heart of the Indian side). There was a major attacks by alleged LeT terrorists in the Gurdaspur region of Punjab in India, an attach was pretty clear would be a suicidal attack and no escape for the terrorists. It was a matter of good luck that the terrorists did not enter a residential part of the complex; a place where they would have more people to hold hostage and eventually kill (in any case, the death count would have been much higher).
Soon after this terror attack, there were the standard arguments that one would be giving into the hands of the Pakistani army and the ISI if the Indian side took a high ground on this front and decided to hold the talks for some time. Some even went so far as to state that the Indian side should try and make direct contact with the Pakistani army, something that might help more, and create a direct talk that is similar to what is there on the Chinese side of the border.

This argument seems to me to the most ridiculous kind of twaddle. If the Pakistani Government is not bringing the army to heel, how could any direct contact with the Pakistani army make them give up their strategy of trying to bleed India through a thousand cuts ? And why should the Indian Government seek to reward the Pakistani army by overlooking all their actions in the faint hope that things will get better and they will have common sense. If one talks to people in the Indian intelligence community, they know that the Pakistani army and ISI send in terrorists who are ready to give up their life, they try to bleed India economically by pumping in fake currency (including these to finance their terrorism operations), and also facilitating the entry of drugs into Punjab (and where the complicity of local politicians and even the police has turned this into a huge problem).
The more such attacks happen, and the more we threaten retaliation without doing anything, the more we present a picture of weakness all around us. The Pakistani effort succeeds because there is no cost involved on their side, just the loss of some terrorists. History teaches us that unless people feel a cost of their strategy, there is no real incentive to rethink the strategy. Even the history of the cold war between the US and the USSR had very little direct action inside their own countries, since one knew that if one started, the others would do so. They were free to take operations in other countries, but not inside the adversary directly. And so it should be with the Indian side, the cost of bleeding should also be transferred to the other country.
There would be some people who will crib about morality, but morality does not play too much role in relations between countries. India is a country that has the Arthashastra on how to conduct politics and the role of the state, and the paramount importance of the state is to protect its own citizens. Even though Pakistan is bleeding because of its own terror groups, there is a lot more that the Indian covert operations should do. None of this need be announced; there are several ways of ensuring that the Pakistanis get the message.
Pumping in fake currency needs to be done; attacking some army areas through hit and run tactics would also convey a message; ensuring that there is some fightback in Karachi where the MQM is taking a hit from the Pakistani army; and most of all, trying to sabotage the efforts by the Chinese to create a corridor from the sea to the Chinese border in POK. Sabotaging the port effort, the railway line and the highway, all of these will have a tremendous impact on the Pakistani military. One might consider such an effort by the Indian covert planners as horrific and wrong, but there is nothing wrong in all this. They will put a cost that would show the Pakistani military and the ISI that maybe they need to rethink their strategy. How long will the Indian side sit back and just try to fight the invaders on Indian soil ? Take the fight to the other side.

1 comment to The attack by Pakistani terrorists yet again – what can India do ?

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    A year ago, India’s future looked bleak. Anemic economic growth, inflationary fears, and a lack of credible leadership in New Delhi had fostered uncertainty and pessimism. That changed dramatically when Narendra Modi became Prime Minister on the promise of reforming India’s government and jumpstarting its floundering economy.

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