Only few days back, the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) concluded at the UN headquarters in New York. For the first time, I happened to go through the full text of the address of Pakistan Prime Minister (henceforth PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the immediate thought that came to my mind was whether the Head of any State can really stoop so low to talk so much crap in terms of distorted facts and lies, imaginary fears, justfying failures as achievements besides self-patting and glorification. But then perhaps he has only honoured the tradition of his predecessors afterall they too have been exactly doing that.
When the Head of a nation brushes aside ground realities, ignores truth and talks lies with no shame attached, he not only demeans own office but also brings disgrace to the very nation he is representing. It is not surprising that Pakistan has met its nemesis in terms of having lost its credibility among the league of nations and is rightly now designated and remembered as a 'rogue nuclear state', a 'sanctum sanctorum of global terror', or a 'corrupt and beggar state' and such other demeaning title in the international community. Even its closest ally like China realises its true character but prefer to stick together for their political and other strategic considerations.
Year after year, Pakistani leaders repeat the same chorus of Kashmir plebiscite throwing expletives on India in the UNGA in spite of the fact that the UN have umpteen times made it clear that the issue should be resolved by India and Pakistan through bilateral talks. PM Abbasi is no exception who like his predecessor has consciously chosen to go by the diktat of Pakistan army for his survival. During his almost 20 minutes speech in UNGA, the maximum time was devoted on India and Kashmir. The terms Kashmir or Kashmiri found a mention of at least 17 times with the alleged Indian atrocities on Kashmiri people, Pakistan’s moral support and its wonderful role in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and its own soil. It may be interesting to see what he stated on various issues before the august assembly and what is the ground reality or truth there-against.
Freedom Struggle in Kashmir
PM Abbasi said,“The legitimate struggle for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir continues to be brutally suppressed by India’s occupation forces.”
At the time of partition, about 562 Indian princely states were left by British to choose either to join India or Pakistan or remain independent. Jammu & Kashmir was one of the largest princely states with majority Muslim population in Kashmir Valley and the ruler a Hindu Maharaja. While Maharaja was yet to decide, Pakistan army backed militant Muslims and tribesmen attacked Kashmir and made rapid advances in the valley region to forcibly occupy and overthrow the Dogra King. Consequently, Maharaja of Kashmir sought military assistance from India and signed an instrument of accession with the Government of India to merge in India on 25 October, 1947.
Following this, India dispatched armed forces to fight intruders who were engaged in a mass killing, arson and loot in the valley particularly targeting the minority Hindu families. The war between the Indian forces and Pakistani invaders continued till 1948 and India sought intervention of the UN showing willingness to a plebiscite for resolution of the issue. The UN Security Council passed a resolution on 21st April 1948 which inter alia provided for the immediate cease-fire of hostilities, the Government of Pakistan to secure complete withdrawal of all Pakistani tribesmen, nationals and troops from the state of Jammu & Kashmir, who entered the state for the purpose of fighting, and the Government of India to keep minimum forces for creating a conducive atmosphere for holding the plebiscite in the state.
However, Pakistan never vacated the already occupied territory of Kashmir (a pre-requisite) to comply the UN Resolution and, consequently, India too didn’t reduce troops fearing more adventures and surprises from the Pakistani side. Subsequent interventions of UN with revised formulae too did not work and the question of plebiscite gradually became impractical and irrelevant. After 1962, the UN stopped talking about the issue of plebiscite and, instead, advised the two countries to settle dispute through bilateral talk. So far as accession of the state of Jammu & Kashmir is concerned, it was a valid legal instrument signed between the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir and the Government of India. During the past seven decades, the geography and demography of the state, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK), has drastically changed with plebiscite becoming totally irrelevant. While Pakistan continues to use the misleading term ‘India’s Occupation Forces’, the truth is the portion of the state forcibly occupied by Pakistan has remained with them without any legal sanctity.
Jinnah Laid Pakistan’s Foreign Policy
PM Abbasi said, “Our adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter flows from the declaration of our Founding Father, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who said: Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all nations of the world.”
As for Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s foreign policy statement on peace and friendship, it remains an open issue for debate whether he actually advocated such policy and his successors indeed pursued it after forcing the partition of India on communal lines in 1947. What is more often quoted in Jinnah context is his terminology “Kashmir, the jugular vein of Pakistan”. His successors have frequently quoted it in the last seventy years and the former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto openly pledged to wage a thousand-year war on India for Kashmir. To realize this dream, Pakistan inflicted three costly wars on India in 1947-48, 1965 and 1971, and a limited war of Kargil in 1999, besides constant proxy war of the terrorism and malicious propaganda.
On India’s part, all Pakistani territories captured by India during 1965 and 1971 wars were returned without any bargain to buy peace in return but that is still evading. India has a potential, both military and economic, yet it has consciously downplayed the issue of Pak-Occupied Kashmir (POK) all along. Having no territorial designs on Pakistan, it makes no sense to assume that India will be aggressive to escalate border situation between the two countries through ceasefire violations. On the other hand, the Pakistan’s foreign policy, if at all we call it a policy rather than obsession, revolves around Kashmir in political, diplomatic and military parlance. It is a well-known fact that Pakistan army so often try to push terrorists in the Indian Territory under intense fire cover, forcing Indian security forces to retaliate.
In fact, Pakistan army, politicians and media thrive on the rhetoric that India is their eternal enemy. Compared to wars with India, perhaps more Pakistani soldiers and civilians have been killed in their clashes with Taliban and terrorist violence. But they do not call them eternal enemy. Why India, even Afghanistan and now Bangladesh are also suffering on account of the terror machination and modules of Pakistan. Is this an act of peace and friendship envisioned in the foreign policy as stated by PM Abbasi? On the contrary, genuine initiatives of peace and friendship taken by Indian PM, in the form of personal goodwill and out-of-box diplomacy, even at the cost of domestic criticism have been betrayed and sabotaged by Pakistani establishment.
Indian Hostility and Troops Deployment
PM Abbasi lamented that from day one Pakistan has faced unremitting hostility from its eastern neighbour. India refuses to implement the unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council, which mandate a UN supervised plebiscite to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to freely decide their destiny. Instead India has deployed nearly 700,000 troops in occupied Kashmir to suppress the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination. This is the most intense foreign military occupation in recent history.
There are some sensible and rational people in Pakistan too who talk of reason, sense and truth. Retired Air Chief Marshal Ashgar Khan is one such voice but unfortunately, in Pakistan, there are not many takers of his reality check due to obvious reasons. He was Commander-in Chief of Pakistani Air Force Chief during the 1965 war and in candid interviews in the past he has conceded that it was Pakistan which forced three wars on India. India is not a threat for Pakistan nor was it ever in the past. While Pakistan army, politicians and media traditionally harp on anti-India tirade, even the children in schools are reportedly taught hatred and bigotry against India.
On the contrary, many Indians believe that a strong and stable Pakistan is in the best interest of Indian sub-continent. The truth behind the plebiscite has already been explained in the previous paragraphs. Even after seventy years of existence, Pakistan doesn’t miss a single opportunity to raise the issue of plebiscite in spite of the fact that it was Pakistan which never complied the UN Resolution in the first instance to ensure withdrawal from the occupied territory of the state of all Pakistani tribesmen, nationals and troops that entered the state for the purpose of fighting.
On one hand, Pakistan is constantly fomenting trouble across the LOC in Jammu & Kashmir by regularly pushing insurgents and ceasefire violations, on the other they are complaining the presence of Indian security forces across the border deployed in defensive positions to prevent infiltrations and protect life and property of own people. Ironically, Pakistan calls a legitimate merger of the state and Indian military presence there as an intense foreign military occupation, while the illegal and forceful occupation of the parts of the same state is justified by them as ‘Azad Kashmir’.
Pakistan’s Propaganda on Kashmir
PM Abbasi also said that the Kashmiri people were waging a heroic and popular struggle to rid themselves of India’s oppressive rule for long. They come out in the streets daily to call on India to leave Kashmir. India has responded with massive and indiscriminate force to suppress the Kashmiris, shooting indiscriminately at children, women and youth. Hundreds of innocent Kashmiris have been killed or injured. Shotgun pellets have blinded and maimed thousands of Kashmiris including children. These and other brutalities clearly constitute war crimes and violate the Geneva Conventions.
He further added that Pakistan demands an international investigation into India’s crimes in Kashmir. The United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights should an inquiry Commission to occupied Kashmir to verify the nature and extent of India’s human rights violations, secure the punishment of those responsible and provide justice and relief to the victims. India must halt pellet gun attacks and other violence against unarmed demonstrators; stop the use of rape as an instrument of state policy; end media blackouts; rescind its draconian emergency laws; and free all Kashmiri political leaders.
The above allegations are nothing but a malicious propaganda and a pack of lies; like Richard Clarke, a former US National Security Coordinator, once said Pakistanis (albeit politicians and diplomats) are pathological liars. Contrary to the Pakistani claim of Indian oppression, the State of Jammu & Kashmir enjoys a special status under the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and a massive Central assistance for the development and growth of the state.
What Pakistan could not achieve by waging wars on Kashmir, they are now trying to achieve it by sponsoring terrorism and subversive activities in the state since early 1980s. A lot has already been written and brought to the common knowledge about the dubious and dirty role of Pakistan army and ISI in Kashmir through several independent and neutral experts and observers. Besides overt and covert support to several terrorist organizations trading in sabotage and killings, Pakistan is also funding a handful of separatist groups and their leaders to organise paid protests and stone pelting on security forces in the Kashmir Valley. Even fake videos and reports are circulated showing atrocities on children, women and youth.
A classic example of Pakistani fake propaganda and untruth is the recent statement of Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi’s during the recent 72nd session of UNGA. She flashed a photo of critically injured girl in full view of the delegates of UN member nations saying “…this is true face of Indian democracy.” and made allegation that injuries were caused by indiscriminate firings of pellet gun by the Indian army. Within hours of her statement, the picture was traced back belonging to a seventeen-years old Palestinian girl, Rawia Abu Joma'a who was injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza city in 2014. Rawia's picture was taken by the award-winning photographer Heidi Levine. The photo was also tweeted on March 27, 2015 by Dr Ramy Abdu, whose bio on his verified Twitter account says he is the founder of Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. Actually, this is the true face of the rogue nation that has guts to mislead even the world community with no shame or guilt attached.
On-going Hostilities on LOC
PM Abbasi made allegation that India frequently violates the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Despite over 600 violations since January this year Pakistan has acted with restraint. But if India does venture across the LOC, or acts upon its doctrine of “limited” war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response. The international community must act decisively to prevent the situation from a dangerous escalation.
Answer to this allegation is plain and simple. There has to be a motive for doing any good or bad deed. In three wars forced by Pakistan to snatch Kashmir, India captured substantial Pakistani territories in 1965 and 1971 wars, particularly in Punjab and Sindh provinces but the same were returned to Pakistan without bargain as a gesture of goodwill and peace. Clearly, India neither has any territorial ambitions nor any rivalry with Pakistan in any field. Even in trade and economy, India gave the status of the most favoured nation to Pakistan way back in 1996 which Pakistan is yet to reciprocate. On the other hand, Pakistan has an open agenda on Kashmir and reasons to be jealous with the social, cultural and economic growth of India.
Even on the issue of the military build-up on security perceptions, India never considered Pakistan as a real threat. As a matter of fact, the Indian military programme is largely China centric for self-defence considering the experiences of 1962 war, challenges of the protection of a long yet poorly marked border with China and the latter’s military manoeuvres and designs in the South Asian neighbourhood and Indian Ocean. It is Pakistan’s problem if it still considers India an enemy and considers it necessary to flex muscles in UNGA much beyond own borders.
Resumption of Peace Process
PM Abbasi called upon the UN to resolve the Kashmir dispute justly, peacefully and expeditiously. He said as India is unwilling to resume the peace process with Pakistan, we call on the Security Council to fulfil its obligation to secure the implementation of its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. To this end, the UN Secretary-General should appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir. His mandate should flow from the longstanding but unimplemented resolutions of the Security Council.
It is heart-warming and astonishing at the same time to hear Pakistani Prime Minister talking of just, peaceful and expeditious resolution of the dispute. Since May 2014, the new NDA Government in India took at least two sincere initiatives at the Prime Minister level to start peaceful dialogue with Pakistan:
The first initiative was taken by Mr Modi immediately after taking oath as Prime Minister in May 2016. A scheduled Foreign Secretary level talk had to be cancelled in August 2014 after Pakistan chose to hold talks with the separatist Hurriyat leaders immediately before the scheduled meeting. It may be remembered that Jammu & Kashmir was lawfully integrated with India Union seventy years back and it has a democratically elected popular government. The last election saw a massive turnover of about 70% electorate to use their franchise to elect the government. Obviously, a handful pro-Pakistan separatist Hurriyat leaders who receive funding and other support from their Pakistani masters, cannot be representative and substitute to the popular government and Kashmiri sentiments. Any sovereign state or government would not accept blatant separatist agenda on its soil.
In another initiative, Indian PM Mr Modi made an impromptu visit to Lahore on way back from Afghanistan in December 2015 to meet his Pakistani counterpart. This paved way for another Foreign Secretary level talk which was scheduled in January 2016. However, before the meeting could take place, terrorists attacked the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot and link of these Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists was traced back to Pakistani soil. Pakistan initially assured cooperation in investigation, even a team from Pakistan visited the Indian Airbase; later they showed reluctance for the reciprocal Indian team visit to Pakistan for investigation and evidence earlier given were denied as insufficient for further investigation, as Pakistan did in the past in various other terror attack cases. The reasons are obvious but only Pakistan has answer why every peace initiative is vitiated/sabotaged after showing initial bonhomie and keenness for the bilateral dialogue.
While successive representatives of Pakistan in UNGA recall and repeat old UN resolutions that have been long overtaken by events and after 1962 UN has repeatedly told Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue through bilateral negotiation, Pakistani premier and diplomats conveniently forget at all occasions the stipulations of more recent Shimla Agreement in 1972 and Lahore declaration in 1999 under which both India and Pakistan had resolved to settle all outstanding issues bilaterally. Indian Foreign Minister was so right when in the same UNGA session she said that the reality is Pakistan's politicians remember everything and manipulate memory into a convenience. They are masters at "forgetting" facts that destroy their version.
Terrorism in the Sub-Continent
PM Abbasi said that Pakistan remained open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Kashmir and discuss measures to maintain peace and security. This dialogue must be accompanied by an end to India’s campaign of subversion and state sponsored terrorism against Pakistan, including from across our western border.
Besides, he spoke of a long struggle, sacrifice and sufferance of their country in their war against terrorism and that peace will not be restored by the continuing resort to military force by the Coalition (US and Allies), Kabul and the Afghan Taliban, but through a negotiated settlement. He said that Pakistan is not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat. Taliban “safe havens” are located not in Pakistan but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The cross border attacks occur but they are mostly conducted by anti-Pakistan terrorists from “safe havens” across the border. Pakistan believes that the urgent and realistic goals in Afghanistan should be a concerted action to eliminate the presence in Afghanistan of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and their affiliates including the TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which was recently declared a terrorist organization by the Security Council.
There is an old adage - “The best defense is a good offense”, and Pakistani politicians and diplomats are indeed good at it. Pakistan is always ready for a comprehensive dialogue but at the same it will ensure that this dialogue never takes place. It has become internationally condemned hotbed of state sponsored terrorism but it will always blame India for subversion and state sponsored terrorism without any evidence. Rather than making ambiguous allegations, Pakistan should specify the specific incident(s), name agency(ies) or and details of damage caused by the stated subversion and state sponsored terrorism.
The fact is that since its creation, the Punjabi lobby of Muslims has dominated the government and army in Pakistan, while other provinces and ethnic groups constantly face political, social and economic discrimination. When Awami League Party in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) swept the general elections for the Pakistan National Assembly, they were denied power that led to massive unrest, bloodbath and creation of Bangladesh in 1971. People in Baluchistan and Sindh provinces are raising their voice against such discrimination and Pakistan conveniently passes the blame on India for the unrest.
For many years, the US and other western countries kept their eyes closed on Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of the Indian Territory, simply dismissing it as a law and order problem. They have realized it now when they increasingly felt this heat on their own soil and people. The master mind of September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, Al Queda leader Osama Bin Laden had the luxury of Pakistani hospitality in Abbotabad Cantonment right under the nose of army for years before the US Seals traced him and killed in a secret operation in 2011. Though US underplayed the event at that time but the Osama Bin Laden episode and several other terrorist incidents with Pakistani connection in the following years have exposed Pakistan to such levels that the world has increasingly started perceiving Pakistan as hub of the global terror. The stigma of being a rogue nuclear power and terrorist state is looming large in Pakistan's destiny.
Off late, UK, France and other countries in Western Europe have been victims of several terror attacks. Almost all wanted terrorists involved in various heinous crimes in India are freely living in Pakistan under state patronage and protection despite their blacklisting by the United Nations. Even Ata Ullah the leader of the Rohingya Arakan Salvation Army responsible for the recent terrorist attacks on Myanmar army and massacre of the Hindu minorities in Rakhine state, is a Karachi born Pakistani national believed to be currently operating from Saudi Arabia.
On the reference of Pakistani Prime Minister’s “Comprehensive Dialogue”, the Indian Foreign Minister reminded him in her speech in UNGA about the decision taken during her visit to Islamabad on 9 December 2015 to attend the Heart of Asia Conference. As per the joint decision taken, the dialogue was to be renewed and named a "Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue." The word "bilateral" was used consciously to remove any confusion or doubt about the fact that the proposed talks would be between the two nations without any third-party present. Pakistani Prime Minister must also answer why that proposal withered, because Pakistan is responsible for the aborting that peace process.
The history of Pakistan sponsored insurgency and terrorism in India and Afghanistan can be traced back from the year 1979, when US led Western Forces resolved to counter and expel USSR (now Russia) from Afghanistan and they found a potential ally in Pakistan for the logistics and operational ease in lieu of aid with money and military cooperation. This was also the time when US and allies were encouraging and actively assisting various Mujahedeen groups in Afghanistan with money, weapons and training to fight Soviet backed Afghan government forces. Rest is a part of history as to how funds and weapons received from the Western sources during these long years were actually diverted by Pakistan to recruit, train and arm misguided youth of the particular faith in the region in 1980s and beyond to sponsor terrorism and insurgency in India and Afghanistan.
In their war of attrition against India, Pakistan army and ISI through overt and covert means drafted a large number of unemployed and misguided youth not only from the region but also Islamic militants of Pashtun, Arabic and Central Asian regions to export terror in Jammu & Kashmir. A lot has been written, discussed and debated in the international forum about the role of Pakistan in giving support and patronage to militants and terror outfits, including various groups of Afghan Taliban and India-specific modules like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen, to name a few. There are several instances in the world when sovereign states have justified acts of militants and terrorists in the name of freedom struggle and later the same outfits have turned violent against the very state patronised them like a Frankstein’s Monster.
It is widely believed that approximately 90,000 Afghan Taliban, including Mohammad Omar, were trained and supported in all possible ways by Pakistan’s ISI and army during the 1980s. Later Taliban also established strategic links with Al-Qaeda and started getting financial support and fighters from the Arab countries and Central Asia. The tales of Taliban committing massacres of Afghan civilians, denying United Nations food supplies to starving populace and burning vast areas of fertile land forcing thousands of people to flee to neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, are the part of the not so old history now. At one stage, they took control of Afghanistan and Talibani Fundamentalists led by Mullah Omer ruled the country from September 1996 to December 2001.
After Al-Queda carried out the attacks of 11th September, 2001 on the World Trade Centre in New York and Washington, D.C. killing almost 3,000 people and the damage of buildings and property worth several billion dollars, United States with its allies invaded Afghanistan overthrowing Mullah Omar led Taliban. In the aftermath, Taliban regrouped as an insurgency movement carrying out fight and terror activities against the American backed civilian rule in Afghanistan. It is no more a secret that the Taliban were chiefly founded, funded and equipped by Pakistan's ISI and army with an objective to establish a Pakistan friendly regime in Afghanistan. However, as an ally of the US in war against Taliban, Pakistan was forced to take action against Taliban operating from its soil in tribal areas neighbouring Afghanistan. That is how a section of Taliban got alienated, constituted a new outfit Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and actually started attacks on Pakistani interests in revenge. In August 2008, Pakistan formally banned the outfit, froze its assets and bank accounts, barred it from media appearances and bounties were placed on prominent leaders of the TTP. This probably served as final turning point for TTP to openly wage war against the Pakistan’s administration and it repeatedly carried out terror attacks on civilian establishments in Pakistan and US interests world over.
Both the Afghan Taliban and the TTP are predominantly Pashtuns and have a common interpretation of Islam but they significantly vary in their history, leadership, objective and goals. The Afghan Taliban (common name Haqqani Network) are still believed to be Pakistan friendly as some covert support and patronage of Pakistan still exists with them in their endeavour to control Afghanistan, although Pakistan repeatedly denies having any links with Haqqani or any other terror group. These elements attack and kill in Afghanistan including US and western interests but avoid harming Pakistani interests. On the other hand, the Tahrik-e-Taliban has been a major headache for the Pakistan administration with their repeated attacks on Pakistani interests including civilian targets. This dichotomy and paradox of Taliban has given the phrase ‘Good Taliban and Bad Taliban,’ or in more common term ‘Good Terrorist and Bad Terrorist”.
The biggest dilemma and problem in Pakistan remains that on one hand they continue to support and preserve the system that produces militants and terrorists as they serve their interests in India and Afghanistan - the so called ‘good militants’. On the other hand when the very terrorists turn against them and start killing Pakistanis - the ‘bad militants’, then they are constrained to identify and destroy them. Unfortunately in Pakistan, the legal system is so decrepit and unreliable that even many judges are afraid to convict them.
Curiously enough it is not just a coincidence, when Pakistani PM named terrorists organizations in his speech, he referred to Daesh (Arabic name for ISIS), Al Qaeda, the Tahrik-e-Taliban and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, but skilfully omitted the mention of Haqqani Network (Afghan Taliban), Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen etc. because they consider the latter as good terrorists. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is a new terrorist organization that split away from the Tahrik-e-Taliban in August 2014 and has alleged alliance with the ISIS.
Nuclear Weapons as Credible Deterrence
Few days before his speech in UNGA, Prime Minister Abbasi spoke that his country had developed short range nuclear weapons to counter the ‘Cold Start doctrine’ of the Indian Army. In the UNGA, Abbasi said that confronted by a hostile and increasingly militarized neighbour, Pakistan has been obliged to maintain the capability for credible deterrence. His country developed nuclear weapons only when these were introduced in the region by this neighbour. These strategic assets are vital to deter oft-threatened aggression and they are tightly and effectively controlled, as has been widely acknowledged by experts. The world community would be well served by enabling Pakistan to join global non-proliferation arrangements, such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group on a non-discriminatory basis.
This was not the first time; in the past too General Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders have threatened the use of atomic weapons against India in the event of a war. Though in minority but even in Pakistan, there are several sane voices conceding that Pakistan has no security threat from India. India has another far more big and powerful adversary on its north-eastern border which has emerged as an economic and military giant in the world in the recent decades. India has a long border and territorial disputes with China. While focusing on developmental programmes and economic growth to alleviate poverty and backwardness, India realized the need of defence preparedness only after 1962 war with China.
With a powerful adversary as neighbour, India had no option but to go for the adequate defence preparedness and modernization of the armed forces over a period of time. The recent stand-off on Doklam issue is a case in point. Thus India never considered Pakistan as a potential threat in a conventional war and its defence preparedness has been largely keeping Chinese threats in view. Even in the development of the nuclear arsenal and delivery system, the need for minimum credible deterrence has been kept in view. It is Pakistan’s problem that they, in their obsession with India, consider every Indian move as threat to their existence.
As for the effective control and experts opinion on Pakistani nuclear assets, it is a common knowledge world over how Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist credited as father of the atomic bomb in Pakistan, was involved in nuclear proliferation by transfer of equipment and technology through a smuggling network to the countries like Iran, Libya and North Korea. When USA confronted them with evidence, Pakistan was forced to act against the scientist who admitted his role in proliferation but also held that the activities had sanction of the Pakistani authorities which the latter vehemently denied. Dr Khan is a free man now in Pakistan without punishment or restrictions, the initial heat and dust having settled. Initially, for many years it was much publicised as Islamic Bomb.
Contrary to Pakistan’s claim, its entire nuclear programme has been viewed with suspicion and unsafe by the United States and other western world from the beginning, showing apprehension it may fall in the hands of Islamic Militant Groups. Historically, China appears to be the mainstay in supporting and transferring nuclear & missile technology and material to Pakistan. Pakistan, under active patronage of China, has been demanding equal treatment with India in international forums including its entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) but clearly it has been unable to prove its credibility before the international fraternity due to its terror linkages and past record of proliferation. Consequently, China remains instrumental in blocking India’s entry too in such forums.
The question arises when a civilian Head of State chooses to speak the language of a belligerent, irrational and war crazy General from the highest world forum, where does this propaganda and outcry lead to? When a person or family decides to settle down in a town, their immediate and the most vital concern is invariably about their neighbourhood. Ironically, the same dynamics works with nations with the difference that they have no option to choose neighbours or the geographical boundaries. They have to learn to live with it and make best endeavours for the peace and tranquillity. It is the destiny of India, perhaps the world’s oldest civilization, the largest democracy and the most complex society, to live and struggle for survival with two potential adversaries across the land borders, one a constantly failing rogue Islamic nation and the other a hegemonic authoritarian regime eager to dominate world with its unethical business and military.
Notwithstanding above, some ideas as a food for thought are enumerated for consideration of readers:
Pakistan fought wars with India which the latter won or dominated but no Indian design ever appeared of India's intent to conquer or occupy Pakistani territory. More pakistani people have been killed fighting war in Afghanistan and own tribal areas with economy ruined than the wars with India yet Pakistan considers India an eternal enemy and covertly sympathises with Taliban.
Muslim leaders of undivided India wanted partition, India neither expelled them nor ever invaded or plundered any Muslim land in the history. Other than Pakistan, no other Muslim nation in the world look at the India as enemy. Then why this perpetual hatred and begotry?
There is no natural boundary between India and Pakistan yet the latter try tooth and nails to stop India reaching to Afghanistan or Iran; look at the Pakistani PM when he speaks 'India has no role in Afghanistan'. On the other hand, they allow China to scale the toughest natural boundary including the illegally occupied portion of Kashmir and own mainland to give it strategic access to the Middle East and Arabian Sea, and this notwithstanding the fact that the same China joins BRICS nation to condemn terror modules in Pakistan.
India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996 in trade and economy for mutual ease in business, prosperity and growth but Pakistan never responded with the similar gesture even after two decades.
It is never too late for a nation to reconsider its strategies and options. Religious radicalization would yield nothing but more hatred and violence in the Sub-Continent and elsewhere. Pakistan army and ISI may be great patriotic organizations in Pakistan but their perpetual interference in the country's governance since independence and hostility towards India has not earned any glory or laurels to Pakistan on the world map. Instead today Pakistan is simmering at the brink of being formally listed as a rogue nation by the dominant world community. Like I said earlier it is never too late to choose the right course i.e. cooperation and parnership with neighbours for mutual peace, progress and prosperity. The world community including India will welcome this and stand behind Pakistan in building of a stable and strong nation.
Image source: Internet