Bul­lets or Bread?

The ad­ver­sar­ial sit­u­a­tion has not al­lowed India and Pak­istan to progress and de­velop on nat­u­ral lines. Their ar­se­nals have grown out of pro­por­tion over th­ese years and they have fought many wars but mil­lions in both coun­tries have con­tin­ued to starve.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By AVM (R) Abid Rao

The hu­man race has been con­flict-rid­den since its cre­ation and has fol­lowed the jun­gle rule which is es­tab­lished on the prin­ci­ple “Might is Right.” In the jun­gle there are nu­mer­ous species vary­ing in sizes and power po­ten­tial while hu­mans con­sti­tute only one type but are in con­stant strug­gle to es­tab­lish their supremacy based on their power po­ten­tial. In the jun­gle, lions are es­tab­lished as kings and will carry their hon­our on title while in hu­mans this title keeps ro­tat­ing in na­tions. It is of­ten re­ferred as wheel of for­tune and hu­man his­tory shows ev­i­dence for this state­ment.

His­tory also proves that the hu­man strug­gle for supremacy is both re­ac­tive and proac­tive to other hu­man groups or na­tions. Most his­to­ri­ans con­clude dif­fer­ent con­flicts on clash of civ­i­liza­tions, re­li­gious (cru­sade) expansion (em­pires), ide­olo­gies or even re­venge (the Se­cond World War was started by Ger­many in re­ac­tion to hu­mil­i­a­tion of the First World War when Ger­many was se­verely pun­ished). One fac­tor has of­ten been ig­nored - the power dif­fer­en­tial be­tween any war­ring groups that if in­creased to a cer­tain level, causes war. Re­li­gion or ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences be­come to­tally ir­rel­e­vant. In the last 1000 years, look at the wars be­tween states of the same re­li­gion (Arabs, Chris­tian states of Europe). It is al­ways a stronger nation that at­tacks the weaker nation. ‘Weak­ness at­tracts ag­gres­sion’ was coined on the ba­sis of such events. Linked to this power po­ten­tial is an­other im­por­tant fac­tor

which is pre­dom­i­nantly eco­nomic. No power in­vades bar­ren lands or re­source­less ter­ri­to­ries.

In the ear­lier days, when pow­er­ful na­tions needed slaves or cheap labour, many coun­tries were at­tacked (mostly African coun­tries dur­ing expansion of British, French and other Euro­pean pow­ers). In the ear­lier days of Is­lam too, the mil­i­tary cam­paigns went to Europe, Iran and India while in Africa only the north­ern states were cap­tured. Black Africa was left out. Al­lama Iqbal has summed it up nicely where he states:

It is the eter­nal de­cree of the Judge sit­ting in Judge­ment on des­tinies—

That weak­ness is a crime pun­ish­able by death.

The el­e­ment of ‘power po­ten­tial’ has been widely stud­ied, re­searched and de­vel­oped. Its di­men­sions in­clude war-mak­ing abil­ity i. e. mil­i­tary hard­ware and the will to fight, which is of­ten re­ferred as the ‘edge of the sword.’ Nu­mer­ous wars have been won with lesser mil­i­tary hard­ware but a su­pe­rior will to fight.

What be­comes ev­i­dent from the afore-stated is that man wants to dom­i­nate, en­slave or sub­ju­gate man. In or­der to achieve this ob­jec­tive, weapons and wars are nec­es­sary. In re­ac­tion / re­sponse, man needs the same to pro­tect its ter­ri­to­ries, as­sets, hon­our and peo­ple. The method­olo­gies to im­ple­ment the ag­gres­sors’ de­signs or de­fence mech­a­nisms are now de­fined by sci­en­tific rules. The costs of wars have be­come so ex­or­bi­tant that its af­ford­abil­ity be­comes the de­ci­sive fac­tor.

With this in­tro­duc­tion, let us ex­am­ine the Indo-Pak sce­nario. The ha­tred be­tween two ma­jor seg­ments of the sub­con­ti­nent i.e. Hin­dus and Mus­lims, started soon af­ter 1857 when the British won the mutiny / war of in­de­pen­dence. It was soon fol­lowed by the two-nation the­ory floated by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The dif­fer­ences be­tween th­ese two com­mu­ni­ties kept grow­ing to an ex­tent that caused di­vi­sion of the sub­con­ti­nent in three parts (India and the two wings of Pak­istan). The Mus­lims were happy to pos­sess their own coun­try while the Hin­dus were ex­tremely un­happy over the di­vi­sion of their moth­er­land. The most pre­dom­i­nant feel­ing was ha­tred based on re­li­gious lines. The Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion that mi­grated from India was looted and slaugh­tered on their way to Pak­istan. The same treat­ment was given to the non-Mus­lims who mi­grated to India. The dust of dis­tur­bance set­tled down but the ha­tred grew on both sides of the new bound­aries. To add fuel to fire, one prov­ince was left dis­puted by the British who were in a great hurry to re­turn home and that was Kash­mir. Both India and Pak­istan fought there and grabbed what­ever area they could. While the in­ter­na­tional bor­der be­tween India and Pak­istan re­mained un­changed, the line di­vid­ing Kash­mir kept chang­ing from Cease­fire Line to Line of Con­trol in sta­tus and po­si­tion.

Pak­istan has re­mained in­se­cure and threat­ened from the very be­gin­ning as India didn’t give Pak­istan its due share in as­sets that were to be di­vided as per a pre-agreed for­mula. In­stead, the Kash­mir dis­pute started with forced an­nex­a­tion by India, caus­ing an armed con­flict be­tween the two new-born states. The UNO had to in­ter­vene. At the po­lit­i­cal level, bel­liger­ent lead­ers like Val­ab­hai Pa­tel con­tin­ued to spit fire against Pak­istan. Pak­istan be­came des­per­ate and raised its armed forces, even to the ex­tent of plead­ing with the US to fight on their be­half any­where in the world. It took Pak­istan al­most ten years to get used mil­i­tary hard­ware for its armed forces. Pak­istan had to join CENTO and SEATO, promised to fight the en­e­mies of the US and give its mil­i­tary bases in Pe­shawar and Khar­ian to their forces and so on.

This was the first phase when Pak­istan be­came con­fi­dent of hold­ing its ground if India ever in­vaded. 1965 was a big turn­ing point in Indo-Pak re­la­tions. Both armies lost the war (tech­ni­cally) as both failed to achieve their ob­jec­tives i.e. Pak­istan couldn’t lib­er­ate Kash­mir while India could not cap­ture La­hore. Pak­istan came out of the fear that India, de­spite its armed forces that were 3-4 times big­ger in size, could be held at bay. Strangely, India also came out of the fear that any in­va­sion com­ing from the North West had mostly suc­ceeded in reach­ing Delhi but was halted well away from its other ma­jor cities. India gained con­fi­dence that Kash­miris would not favour Pak­istan only on re­li­gious grounds, etc. Post-1965 a deadly pe­riod started. India started mod­ern­iz­ing its armed forces mas­sively and si­mul­ta­ne­ously started at multi-fronts to con­vert East Pak­istan into Bangladesh.

Pak­istan came un­der se­vere sanc­tions and mil­i­tary aid was snapped by the US, forc­ing Pak­istan to look to­wards other sources in China, France and Canada. Chi­nese mil­i­tary hard­ware was free of cost but the other sources meant ad­di­tional eco­nomic bur­den that Pak­istan found hard to bear. Both the coun­tries kept build­ing their mil­i­tary arse­nal. India had China in vi­sion be­sides be­com­ing a re­gional bully while Pak­istan’s ev­ery step in the di­rec­tion was India-spe­cific. 1974 brought an­other di­men­sion in the game of supremacy when India con­ducted a nu­clear test near Pak­istan’s bor­der. Panic ran in Pak­istan’s se­cu­rity ech­e­lons. Pak­istan started its nu­clear pro­gram on a war foot­ing. All means were used. It was ex­ces­sively heavy on the econ­omy of a frail Pak­istan. The coun­try was de­ter­mined not to al­low India to dom­i­nate in po­lit­i­cal will or re­duce its stature to that of Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or the Mal­dives, etc. Kash­mir re­mained dis­puted. In 1984 India oc­cu­pied the Si­achen glacier, forc­ing Pak­istan to raise units in the army ca­pa­ble of fight­ing in the snow­clad high moun­tains; an­other bur­den on the econ­omy. The spread of the war front in­creased for both the coun­tries.

1989 saw an­other di­men­sion to the Pak-India mil­i­tary race when Rus­sia left Afghanistan. The Afghans found them­selves frag­mented and un­set­tled. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of Mu­jahideen sud­denly be­came sur­plus and needed a

Pak­istan came un­der se­vere sanc­tions and mil­i­tary aid was snapped by the US, forc­ing Pak­istan to look to­wards other sources in China, France and Canada.

new en­emy. Mil­lions of Afghan refugees who had crossed over into Pak­istan af­ter the Rus­sian In­va­sion found no rea­son to re­turn to their home­land.

Pak­istan di­verted most of th­ese free­dom fight­ers to Kash­mir which was quiet since 1971. A fresh wave of the Kash­mir in­de­pen­dence strug­gle started in In­dian held Kash­mir. The LoC be­came ac­tive and hot. Both India and Pak­istan for­ti­fied their de­fences all along the LoC and the in­ter­na­tional bor­der. Pak­istan once again came un­der US sanc­tions in Oc­to­ber 1990 through the Pressler Amend­ment. Pak­istan was left high and dry.

1998 brought yet an­other di­men­sion when India con­ducted 5 nu­clear ex­plo­sions in May. Pak­istan’s nu­clear pol­icy till then had fol­lowed am­biva­lence. It was now com­pelled to re­cip­ro­cate. India’s at­ti­tude and tone had be­come ex­tremely harsh and bul­ly­ing be­tween May 11 and May 28 when Pak­istan re­sponded and India calmed down. Pak­istan’s shut up call was wellac­knowl­edged. This, how­ever, brought eco­nomic sanc­tions from nu­mer­ous coun­tries. Pak­istan was once again suc­cess­ful in de­flect­ing India’s long­wanted de­sire to sub­ju­gate Pak­istan. By 2001 India be­came con­vinced that the mil­i­tary bal­ance with Pak­istan was even.

The Septem­ber 11, 2001 in­ci­dent of the twin tow­ers in the US had its ef­fect in the sub­con­ti­nent. India pro­jected to the world that the mu­jahideen and the free­dom fight­ers in Kash­mir were ac­tu­ally ter­ror­ists. India suc­ceeded par­tially. The Kargil con­flict (1999) and 10 months long de­ploy­ments along the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in 2002 did not de­velop into a full scale war be­cause India was aware of the cost it would have to pay against Pak­istan’s con­ven­tional and nu­clear weapons.

India has now ex­panded its an­tiPak­istan strat­egy to diplo­matic and eco­nomic fronts too. It is try­ing very hard to iso­late Pak­istan on grounds of har­bour­ing ter­ror­ism. It is try­ing to cre­ate a two-front war for Pak­istan by us­ing Afghanistan. RAW is ac­tu­ally in­volved in cre­at­ing a law and or­der sit­u­a­tion in Balochis­tan and Sindh through the dis­si­dent el­e­ments and po­lit­i­cal par­ties. At the eco­nomic front, be­sides so many mi­nor ac­tions (like ban­ning trade), India is threat­en­ing to snap the In­dus Basin Treaty (signed in 1960).

In short it is a multi-pronged threat that Pak­istan is fac­ing since 1947. India re­al­izes its cost to Pak­istan. Peo­ple in both the coun­tries con­tinue to starve in food, health and all sorts of so­cial de­vel­op­ment. India has no in­ten­tions of let­ting Pak­istan off the hook. It has not be­haved like a good neigh­bour and has cre­ated trou­ble for all its neigh­bours. Only Pak­istan has stood against it. The key to re­turn to some san­ity rests with India. Kash­mir re­mains dis­puted as a nu­clear flash­point. The UNO is im­po­tent enough to play any role here. There is no so­lu­tion in sight till the BJP, VHP and RSS like par­ties are in power in India. Pak­istan has no op­tion but to main­tain a very ag­gres­sive pos­ture. The cost of war has to be raised con­stantly so that India keeps away. Pak­istan can­not lower its guard till India rec­og­nizes its re­spon­si­bil­ity to the 1.5 bil­lion peo­ple of the sub­con­ti­nent. Un­til then, Pak­istan must fol­low what Al­lama Iqbal said

The des­tiny of na­tions I chart for you:

At first the sword and spear; the zither’s, the lute’s soft sighs at last.

War is a game be­tween two un­equals. The writer has served in the Pak­istan Air Force for over 36 years. He was awarded Si­tara-e-Basalat, Si­tara-e-Im­tiaz and Hi­lal-e-Im­tiaz. He ap­pears on var­i­ous TV chan­nels as de­fence an­a­lyst.

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