Saturday, January 23, 2010


Source: South Asia Analysis Group

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By Dr. Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

India is hardly a year removed from the horrendous Pakistan-based and Pakistan Army-facilitated commando style attacks of Mumbai 26/11 which were similar to the Pakistani attacks on the Parliament House in December 2001. India on both occasions under different political dispensations failed to hold Pakistan to account.

India's political leadership, policy establishment and its liberalist glitterati of different hues, in a total disconnect with Indian public’s pronounced opinions went ahead earlier and now advocating once again the resumption of India-Pakistan Composite Peace Dialogue. There are some who have advocated Sub-Composite Peace Dialogue – whatever it means.

Once again, in January 2010, advocacy of resumption of the Composite Peace Dialogue seems to have become the flavor of the season in India. On analysis of the trend, it emerges that there is a concerted and calibrated subtle campaign to prepare Indian public opinion for what the Indian Prime Minister might succumb to due to his his personal inclinations and external pressures for resumption of the Composite Peace Dialogue.

Such an Indian official decision would be in total disconnect with the well-grounded Indian public opinion's suspicions on Pakistan establishment’s sincerity for peace. With the Pakistan establishment not having displayed the minimum modicum for making amends on Mumbai 9/11, India's official decision for resumption of Composite Peace Dialogue would therefore be contextually insensitive to Indian public opinion and rubbing in salt into the wounds of India’s public psyche brought about by Mumbai 26/11.Further, India would not be paying respect to strategic realities which militate against it.

India's politicians need not be reminded of the public contempt which was directed at them, and which was visibly and vocally visible on Indian TV channels following Mumbai 26/11.

Pakistan’s policy postures, Pakistan Army’s compulsive anti-India attitudinal fixations and its continued proxy war do not display any changes for the better justifying a change in Indian public opinion. Pakistan’s adversarial postures and conflictual propensities have sharpened since Mumbai 9/11.

The danger of another Mumbai 9/11 being inflicted by Pakistani elements allied to the Pakistan Army like Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e Toiba has been pointed out officially by the United States during the visit of US Defense Secretary to New Delhi this week. Obviously the United States has credible intelligence on this count and this public statement indicates that Pakistan Army has not taken any steps to pre-empt such an eventuality.

It is strange therefore that international seminars in New Delhi and Indian prominent political scientists and strategic analysts should be advocating resumption of peace talks with Pakistan which continues to be as intransigent and threatening to India as before.

Peace with Pakistan is desirable and a common aspiration of the people of both India and Pakistan. The emphasis is on “the people of Pakistan”. The Pakistan Army which even today controls Pakistan does not share that sentiment of the Pakistani people.

Sixty three years of India's persistent efforts to engage Pakistan to ensure Pakistan. -India peace have failed time and again, defeated by Pakistan Army’s imperial strategic pretensions.

Pakistan-India peace cannot be achieved by delusionary political and idealistic mindsets of India's political establishment and “Pakistan apologists” within India.

Pakistan- India peace is impossible through the political route of political negotiations, mediation and conflict resolution processes. The Pakistan Army is both blind and deaf to such processes.

Pakistan-India peace is strategically impossible till India recognizes the “strategic realities" that hover over and impede any achievement of realistic and lasting peace with Pakistan.

India needs to recognize that any peace process is not a one-way street. It takes two to make peace and with mutual trust between the two as the predominant force. Regrettably, Pakistan- India mutual trust is nowhere on the horizon.

Relevant to these two propositions this Paper examines the following aspects:

Pakistan’s Strategic Mindsets: Major Impediment
Pakistan’s Ideological Frontier Fixations: A Major Obstacle
Pakistan – India Peace Unachievable Till Pakistan Army Subjugated to Civilian Control
Pakistan – India Peace Realization: The China Factor in Pakistan Polices as an Impediment
Pakistan’s Strategic Mindsets: Major Impediment

Pakistan’s strategic mindsets more modulated and crafted by Pakistan Army’s anti- India strategic fixations seriously impede the processes towards Pakistan- India peace whether internally stimulated in both countries or externally generated.

Some of the major strategic myths that dominate Pakistan Army thinking and distorts its realistic view of the South Asian strategic landscape can be enumerated as follows: (1) Pakistan Army especially now with nuclear weapons arsenal is the “strategic equal” of India (2) The Pakistan Army provides muscle to Pakistan’s foreign policy in relation to “strategic bargaining” with United States and China, playing “balance of power” politics. (3) Pakistan so equipped is in a position to herd South Asia’s smaller nation into similar confrontations with India.

Consequently, the Pakistan Army which determines Pakistan’s foreign policy perceives India not through political prisms but through strategic perspectives. This is more true in relation to Pakistan policy perspectives on India and Afghanistan.

The over-riding passion of the Pakistan Army is therefore the strategic diminution of India and the strategic erosion of India's strategic asymmetry with the rest of South Asia and Pakistan in particular. Galling for the Pakistan Army is that its nuclear weapons arsenal also could not reduce Pakistan’s military asymmetry with India.

Till such time Pakistan continues to view its differences with its neighbors in military terms rather than political perspectives it would be naive for India's ‘Pakistan apologists’ to strive for Pakistan – India peace.

Pakistan’s Ideological Frontier Fixations: A Major Obstacle

Only yesterday, the Pakistan Prime Minister was quoted by the Pakistani media that the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army are committed to protect Pakistan’s “ideological frontiers”.

Has anybody in Pakistan realistically delineated Pakistan’s ideological frontiers and especially, even if there was some political ideology like it, what was its relevance to Pakistan’s continued existence and Pakistan's place in the 21st century?

Pakistan’ s constant references to Pakistan’s ideological frontiers can therefore be read as Pakistan’s continued fixation with Jinnah’s ‘Two Nation Theory’ and the exploitation of the fair name of Islam for political control of Pakistan and further using it as a policy tool in Pakistan Army’s use of proxy was and terrorism against India.

So what is India faced with? India has to contend with the strategic myths of the Pakistan Army with the “religious additive” to reinforce its anti-India strategies.

Are there any “reconcilables” in this framework which India's ‘Pakistan apologists’ can read and which the average Indian is unable to discern?

Pakistan – India Peace Unachievable Till Pakistan Army Subjugated to Civilian Control

The foregoing discussion suggests amply that Pakistan – India peace is unachievable till such time Pakistan Army is subjugated to civilian control of Pakistan’s political leaders. This is a very distant possibility.

Even in the latest US-generated political experiment of civilian democratic government in Pakistan, the Pakistan Army still reigns supreme in terms of Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Afghanistan and India.

President Zardari’s well meaning utterances of reconciliation towards India and that India was not a threat to Pakistan were immediately shot down by the Pakistan Army.

President Zardari’s offer to send ISI Chief to India for assistance in Mumbai 9/11 attacks investigation was overruled by Pakistan Army Chief.

Pakistan Army’s stranglehold on Pakistan’s governance, foreign policy and security policies is complete. Peace with India is not on Pakistan Army's agenda.

So however well-meaning Pakistani peace activists may be, they too should be aware that no peace process would be allowed to proceed further by the Pakistan Army.

Pakistanis should therefore first strive to save Pakistan from the Pakistan Army before they can aspire for peace with India. The Pakistani people have displayed in 2007 and 2009 that they can mobilize themselves in massive numbers to transform Pakistan’s governance. They can mobilize to bring Pakistan Army under firm civil control to ensure peace with their neighbors.

Indian well-wishers of Pakistan aspiring for peace with Pakistan would be well-advised to pend their efforts till such time the Pakistani people bring the Pakistan Army under firm civilian political control.

Pakistan – India Peace Realization: The China Factor in Pakistan Polices as an Impediment

Strategically, even if Pakistan Army is brought under firm civilian control, possibilities exist that China is unlikely to relinquish its strategic hold over Pakistan in its strategic calculus.

China would continue to be an impediment and a complication factor in Pakistan’s approaches towards peace with India for many years to come.

If Pakistan is forced to choose between China and peace with India, Pakistan would always side with China.

China’s strategic imperatives would never dictate that Pakistan – India peace should materialize. This is a strategic reality that India needs to factor in its peace formulations with Pakistan at all levels – official, political and academic.

Concluding Observations

Sixty three years of India's sincere engagements with Pakistan to achieve peace between the two counties stand frustrated by the Pakistan Army as a major impediment in any peace process materialization. India has tried all routes in the last sixty three years to move ahead through political dialogue, Track II diplomacy and back-door high-level interlocutors. No headway till date has been achieved in any of these multiple initiatives.

India's “talking-shops” which champion peace with Pakistan are not being strategically realistic when they advocate peace divorced from contextual strategic realities that dominate Pakistan’s decision-making space.

On date, no indicators exist to suggest that the Pakistan Army has ceded space to Pakistan polity or Pakistani public opinion to embark on a viable peace process with India.

This strategic reality needs to be recognized at all levels in India advocating resumption of Composite Peace Dialogue with Pakistan. India's peace approaches to Pakistan need to be modulated by India's strategic imperatives and not political or idealistic delusions or succumbing to one-way Indian appeasement polices.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email: