Dealing with Pakistan
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Net Edition | Date : 12 Jan , 2013

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

The long ceasefire line in J&K came into existence on cessation of hostilities when Pakistan had attacked Kashmir soon after Independence. They had almost reached Srinagar before being pushed back from nearly two thirds of the J&K State. Troops of the opposing sides occupied a ‘as is where is’ ground position at the time of ceasefire. Since then opposing Armies have been in almost an eyeball-to-eyeball contact across the CFL.

…this is not the first time the Pak Army has engaged itself in such a dastardly act that is not only in violation of the Geneva Convention but also against all tenets of humanity.

There have been frequent violations of the ceasefire. Most of these have been in the form of firing across the border. Pakistan Army resorts to unprovoked firing to cover the passage of infiltrators into India. There have also been cases where the Pakistani troops have physically crossed the line and carried out offensive actions.   Ambushing an Indian Army patrol on 8 Jan 2013 and killing of two soldiers some 500 meters inside India was the most recent violation. What made this action more gruesome is the brutal beheading of one of the soldiers.

Of course this is not the first time the Pak Army has engaged itself in such a dastardly act that is not only in violation of the Geneva Convention but also against all tenets of humanity. They did it in the 1971 war as well as during Kargil operations where they mutilated the bodies of Capt Saurav Kalia and his men. This seems in the DNA of Pak Army. The fact that this time there was an additional motivation to collect a booty of five lac rupees, makes the crime even more despicable.

Pakistan of course denies all such acts. Rahman Malik the Pakistan Interior Minister made the most incredulous statement during his visit to India in December 2012 by stating that mutilation to Capt Kalia’s body could have been caused by weather. Even in the recent incident the Pakistan foreign Minister Ms Hina Rabani Khar has denied and has even asked for enquiry by an independent agency. What a crude attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue? Seeing their denial of an incident that is blindingly clear to all, one cannot help recall an anecdote where two inebriated villagers argued whether a goat has four legs or three.   When the bet was about to be settled, a sober onlooker quietly warned the three-leg backer that he would lose. His immediate retort was, “I can lose only if I agree.”

We have in the past projected ourselves as an over tolerant, if not a soft State. If we do not act this time we will also project ourselves as unconcerned with the life and safety of our citizens.

The first question that arises is why does Pak Army resort to such unsoldierly and barbaric acts? Pak Army has tasted political power at regular intervals. Even when not directly ruling the country, they have been the puppeteers of the civil government. Power like pelf becomes an addiction. Pak Army has created a myth of indispensability in their country. They will do everything to maintain that position. Any hint of improvement in Indo-Pak relations tends to threaten that public perception and becomes unacceptable to the Pak Army. It is possible, in fact likely, that the act of mutilation of the body of our soldier did not have the endorsement of the civil government. The Army would have acted independently, which should come as no surprise in Pakistan. But the overall responsibility must rest with the civilian government who must be held accountable.

What does India do? The first action of issuing a strong diplomatic protest was a mature and the right step. Pakistan must admit that their Army has committed the crime. Secondly, they must apologise to India for this act of commission. However, seeing their Foreign Minister’s follow-up public statements this appears a wishful thinking. They are determined not to accept any responsibility. Indian government has now to decide how it wishes to follow through on the strong ‘threat’. We have in the past projected ourselves as an over tolerant, if not a soft State. If we do not act this time we will also project ourselves as unconcerned with the life and safety of our citizens. Our responses in the past have invariably been of ‘we will not accept a recurrence’ kind. Pakistan cannot be faulted in concluding that our bark has no bite. Time has come for us to act tough, and without waiting. Let our Army respond to the specific incident in the manner and at a time and place that suits them; it does not have to be war. Immediately draw down our diplomatic presence in Islamabad and ask Pakistan to do the same in Delhi. Stop all cross border movement of trains and buses. Cancel all trade, sporting and cultural exchanges. Simultaneously gather international support against Pakistan for its highly provocative and cowardly act. In the long run send a clear signal to Pakistan that their economy is largely dependent on agriculture and their irrigation system is based on water flowing out of Indian territory. So far we have meticulously honoured the Indus Water Treaty. But we should not be obliged to, since there is no reciprocity of agreements and neighbourly niceties.

Acting responsibly is a sign of our maturity. However, doing so against a rogue neighbour repeatedly violating civilised norms is foolishness.

Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Raj Kadyan

Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (Retd), former Deputy Chief of Army Staff

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left

4 thoughts on “Dealing with Pakistan

  1. The problem is that India gets their share of Menons and continue the China debacle over and over again,massaging their egos to holograph their impotence with an self promoted importance….and not ver many Carriappas and Maneckshaws…

    The Indian administration, political class, the bureaucrats have sent a message to the Indian soldier…that they are guinnea pigs in waiting to be shot, killed and have themselves beheaded and if they are not killed then deny dissability pension, OROP etc…as long as the IAS have secured themselves away from Harms way, they feel everything is honkey dorey…in any case they have chanelised the country into anarchy, no infrastructure, no schools, electricity or water….they have chanellised india into the ONLY COUNTRY that has her soldiers killed everyday yet not see herself at war!!!!

    Sadly the generalship may be lacking once again and thats why the Menons are overshadowing the position of carriappa, maneckshaw and sundarjis

  2. Gen Kadyan is absolutely right.
    If we wish to shed off the stigma of being a soft, spineless state the following steps must be taken forth with.
    1. Recall the High commissioner from Islamabad.
    2. Stop all bus, train and trade links
    3. Stop issuing any type of Visas to Pak nationalas/ Pak origin people,
    citizens of other nations
    4. Stop all sporting/ cultural ties with Pakistan and send back all Pak players coming for Hockey tournament and send back Paki Cricket commentators presently in India.
    5. Immediately Arrest all delegates of Hurriyat who went to Pakistan and touched feet of Hafiz Saeed and Salahadeen. Confine them to solitary cells and thoroughly investigate them.
    6 All importantly, Stop Waters from Indus and Chenab completely and I guarantee with in next 6 hours Pakistani delegation inclusive of Army chief, President, Prime minister and foreign minister would fly to new Delhi and apologise and would refrain in future from any of such ghastly acts!

    Please do not think about international repercussions, the whole world would side with the brave…. Please note this is how the Israel would have acted and no one would condemn it.

More Comments Loader Loading Comments