Elders continue to glibly state that Pakistan being our neighbor, we cannot wish it away. Therefore, we have to learn to live with it. For the size and the resources of India, the fact is that Pakistan has a powerful neighbor in India and that it is time Pakistan learnt to live with us! New Delhi insists that it will not bend against terrorism and promptly succumbs – instead of sending a powerful signal that India will crush terrorism in its entirety through interventionist policy.
This negativity and the inability to ensure firm counter-measures, which will rattle the enemy in his own den stems from primarily two social factors peculiar to India. First and the foremost is the confusion of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) system, which affects the sub-continent irrespective of the style of worship one follows. The HUF confusion occurs because tough decisions are simply postponed so that the unit or the family, which consists of at least three generations living together, does not split. In this system, every sub-group wills itself to accommodate the other.
To defend this large canvas Indian leadership must learn to employ competently, the military machine.
Consequently, we as a nation tend to accommodate the enemy too. HUF as a system to run the family, is an excellent method. However, when we unwittingly inject the influences of this social concept into the decision-making apparatus, they spell disaster. Nation’s security requires a cold-blooded positive calculation.
When I left the Army, a good Brahmin told me once that I could not on a Monday do this and that on a Tuesday! By the time he touched Friday, he had built a large list of ‘nays’. Finally, in exasperation, I asked him if he could please work out the things I could do since only two days in the week were left to account for! The Indian leadership being the by-product of this HUF confusion unfortunately carries this do-nothing-otherwise-it-will-upset-the-apple cart in the realm of national security.
Primarily, by not initiating any action, it feels more secure and prays desperately for the problem to disappear through a miracle. Postponement, appeasement, sweeping indigestible facts under the carpet, hiding the truth partially or fully to avoid disharmony are the built in checks and balances in this system, which disallows bold individual initiatives. This is not conducive to further India’s national interests as they cloud clarity and breed timidity at the leadership levels.
New Delhi, which used to look upto Moscow earlier, now attempts to look upto Washington. Without declaring Pakistan a terrorist state and expecting others to do so is a direct manifestation of this.
The other aspect, which should trouble the Indian mind deeply in this HUF confusion syndrome, is a lack of self-confidence the system inculcates in the individual. He is taught to bend and touch the feet of his elders as a display of reverence. In other words, instead of teaching him to stand erect man to man, we teach him to bend and look up to derive his mental security. Therefore, a rickshaw-puller in Bihar looks upto his rickshaw, which gives him a living. A grown up son clings to his mother for every small decision. A provincial leader looks upto the so termed High Command and lies down on the ground in postures of unbelievable worship!
Finally, New Delhi, which used to look upto Moscow earlier, now attempts to look upto Washington. Without declaring Pakistan a terrorist state and expecting others to do so is a direct manifestation of this. An Indian’s eternal search to hold some one’s hand spells disaster in the area of the nation’s security. Couple this with the other negative called the Moghul Darbar and one has a sure-fire formula of disintegration of the nation state.
The Moghul Darbar ensures that the King is so well stocked and pampered in his fort by the courtesans that he actually starts believing that he is some kind of a super-human. Therefore, finally when he decides to wage war, it’s a bit too late. In this age of information and technology the King continues the lazy practice of his ancestors. Thus his minions carry the sword to the battlefield; one of them unsheathes it; the other polishes it and the third hands it over to the Raja to conduct the battle. With that mindset, we certainly have defeat written allover.
It is prudent to examine objectively the two happenings that put India into an unprecedented turmoil. The first was Kargil. This episode neatly divides itself into three aspects. The question that everybody is afraid to answer is how 200 sq kms. of Indian Territory was infiltrated by a 1000 plus force.
The answer to that lies beyond the intelligence failure prima facie that it was. More than intelligence failure it is the attitude problem India has with waging war to preserve its national interests. On a nation’s priority list to resolve problems, which threaten its sovereignty the instrument of war is merely a footnote! If the civilian leadership ever had a wish list it will possibly pray that even that footnote be banished.
Unfortunately such dreams do not materialise because in the enemy’s list of priority, war as an instrument of policy is the chapter heading. As far as the enemy is concerned if the Indians do not like it, (a) they can light candles and sing, begging for his friendship at the Wagah border or (b) discuss in their ivory towers how the awam (public) of Pakistan is dying to befriend us or (c) simply lump it. Of course, New Delhi can always set up a committee to study the option!
An Indians eternal search to hold some ones hand spells disaster in the area of the nations security.
The so-called Gujral Doctrine promoted by the Moghul Darbar was merely an extension of the HUF confusion in the realm of strategy. The Nawab at Lucknow continued his indulgences of chess while inimical forces were knocking at his door to dismantle the kingdom!
Once the army finally got its act together in Kargil, ranks below the Colonel exhibited what courage and motivation can achieve. Especially keeping in mind the negative task the political leadership handed down the line by insisting that limited offensive to cut the supply lines of the intruders was not permissible. It will be untrue to believe that the jawan or his officer experienced no fear while climbing the Tololing peak – they like normal human beings had normal emotions. Through tough training, they were taught to overcome these fears to deliver Kargil back. Courage implies the control of human mind over fear. A trait New Delhi consciously needs to cultivate.
Examination of the final act in Kargil during the withdrawal did not see the Indian Army on the heels of the enemy. South Block ordered all activities to halt so that the enemy could safely withdraw – a foolish generosity which cost a lot of lives unnecessarily. The enemy leisurely mined the whole area before his departure. The political leadership as usual was looking up to earn its commendation card for restraint and maturity from the West. This can only happen in India!
The naked truth is that Pakistan is at war with India since 1947. War is war – whether covert, by proxy or any other means.
Kargil was the wake up call to shake off the Moghul Darbar syndrome in the sphere of national security. However old habits do not die. They just enhance themselves with age! The tell-tale signs were in display with vengeance in Kandahar. Any nation surrounded with desperate enemy activity as we are will mount a crippling blow – not us.
The Kandahar hijack could be less traumatic if the instrument of war was considered as the first option. The result would be different with India in command. The Crisis Management Group Manager (observed to be in larger crises) automatically alerts the Military Operations. Within minutes, the General Officer Commanding the Division at Amritsar sets up the task force with Special Forces element or a crack Infantry Battalion.
In the next forty minutes, Raja Sansi airport would stand sealed, the plane immobilised and the hi-jackers overpowered. A few affordable casualties notwithstanding. The CMG and the MO meanwhile laterally initiate other steps to develop adequate force levels. This was a simple do-able action except for the attitude problem. The instrument of war must occupy the top most layers in the policy making.
The truth is that diplomacy flows from the military posture and economic strength – not the other way around. In Dubai, adequate diplomatic pressures to mount Commando operation were needed. Dubai could easily de-activate the plane. At Kandahar – the Air Force in a quick sweep mounts a ferocious operation with Special Forces in tow via the Arabian Sea (Iran to be kept informed) to rescue the hostages. Or after the hostages return, the Air Force bombs the HUM and other known terrorist hide outs in Taliban territory as a clear warning.
The picture being painted that India does not posses the military capability to intervene is untrue. The genesis of the difficulty lies elsewhere – it is etched in the Indian mind. Inability to use the war machine profitably is the fatal weakness. That’s the lone limitation. Not in terms of resources or skills! The terrorists are aware of this chink in the Indian mind set. Thereby, they strike at will, debilitate the state and kill or maim the innocents.
The threat surrounding India from Pakistan is multi-layered. The enemy’s creeping invasion appears to be gaining momentum.
Overwhelmed with the Darbar confusion, the steps the Indian leadership has initiated so far to tackle the threats are low in tactical content and devoid of strategic depth.
The threat surrounding India from Pakistan is multi-layered. The enemy’s creeping invasion appears to be gaining momentum. He can strike at will in Srinagar. Infiltrate in J&K. Cause demographic change on borders of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Resettle its people in Bihar, Orissa and the Northeast. Tie up with anti-India forces in Northeast, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Use Nepal as a launching pad for hijacking. Circulate fake Indian currency and conduct other intelligence activities (incidentally, Nepal suffers from acute HUF confusion too). Cause bomb blast at the Old Delhi railway station (near the Red Fort) or anywhere else after careful planning. Move people from Osama bin Laden’s brigade to not only change the demography of Northern Areas but to increase pressures directly on J&K. To defend this large canvas Indian leadership must learn to employ competently, the military machine.
The Moghul Darbar’s response at best of times is of a police constable on a routine beat. Thinning out of security forces to guard every square inch of the border or the Republic Day Parade premises is the Favorite action. ‘Security has been further tightened’ is the catchall buzzword!
The enemy deftly bypasses this by causing a blast in Chennai, Mumbai or Delhi or somewhere else. By the time the Darbar tightens police action in the metros, he hijacks a plane. Position sky marshals in every plane is the new refrain. Now, the police action from guarding every square inch of land extends to protecting every kilometer of the sky. Is it possible to protect every square inch in the Rann of Kutch (the Favorite smuggling route of the enemy of weapons, explosives and sleepers)?
The enemy can switch his mischief in so many new directions that New Delhi will tire out dancing to his tune. The confusion continues unabated. Mindless raising of new battalions can bankrupt us at the rate at which we are moving. Instead India should create hubs of military muscle to rapidly and fearlessly hit out backed by anticipatory real time intelligence. The problem is obvious. So are the solutions. Yet, elders need a 2000-plus pages report on Kargil. Anything less voluminous would possibly trigger unemployment in the country!
The enemy is allowed to dominate our half of the soccer field and always score goals. Therefore, comprehension by the state in the art of deployment of military machine is vital.
The naked truth is that Pakistan is at war with India since 1947. War is war – whether covert, by proxy or any other means. To tackle the menace, India must dismantle its Moghul Darbar attitude to war. Coercive diplomacy without the gumption to employ military power when push comes to a shove amounts to strategic poverty.
Imperative that New Delhi discards the attitudinal hang-ups and restores the legitimate primacy of the instrument of war in the national security apparatus. Place handpicked generals in key areas to pursue fast track and bold military options. Each year, tremendous share of military surplus is wasted within.
This is akin to the high transmission losses suffered by the Delhi Electricity Board. The defensive-defence battle where the security forces attempt to physically keep a check of each citizen in Kashmir shows Delhi’s political grasp of the situation suffers from a siege mentality. The enemy is allowed to dominate our half of the soccer field and always score goals. Therefore, comprehension by the state in the art of deployment of military machine is vital.
If India refuses, the fallout in the near future will have grave ramification. The majority has underwritten and guarantees the secular path of the Republic. The majority is now under stress, insecure and stands bewildered. The resultant backlash could be severe – the Bill ratified by Uttar Pradesh Assembly on ‘places of worship’ is the first symptom. This singular factor alone is adequate reason to shift the war into the enemy territory to safeguard the Indian value system.
The key to the solution lies in transfer of war where it hurts the enemy. Since there is no way in short term that India can tackle the assiduously built up enemy net work in J&K, Nepal, Bangladesh, Northeast and many other areas, India’s game plan should aim for the jugular!
First, re-inflate the shrinking frontiers and influences in states like J&K by forward settlements, which should pose a direct challenge to PoK. Consolidation of the frontiers is essential. Remove barriers for the composite culture of India to influence population mix in the Northeast and J&K.
Second, nibble and expand the territories in the West and Northwest – a sane approach to border management.
Third, task covert operations into PoK, Karachi and other places in Pakistan, which are already torn with societal strife. Isolate the Punjabi Musalman who is at the core of mischief against India. Fund Northern Alliance and tie-up with Iran to roll back Taliban.
Fourth, isolate Pakistan in the international arena. Many other variations are possible.
However, the underpinning of the strategic offensive are based on (a) India dictates and controls the future strategic space, (b) cripples the war making potential, and (c) ultimately destabilises Pakistan. Time India learns to dominate the enemy’s half of the field, and scores goals!
The key to the solution lies in transfer of war where it hurts the enemy.
At the outset, I confess, there will be no appreciation of this agenda. China and Japan will not like the emergence of another competing power in Asia. Nevertheless, in the long term, we will get along fine as long as India’s military power is incremental and in an offensive posture by design. In fact, China will draw closer to the Indian position. Initially, the West, particularly America will dish out sermons in a make believe posture of a global cop. However, scrutiny of Kosovo reveals that the sheen has worn from the awe in which America’s military power was held.
The mightiest military powers of the world combined for 78 days to bring a developing country to its knee, and they failed. To diffuse the international community’s prowess in protestations, India should intelligently and ruthlessly play to its advantage the geoeconomic card. To achieve this India must downsize the government structures and carry out economic reforms quickly.
Intelligent nations learn from history the management of their security apparatus. The unwise wallow in it. For the latter, history repeats itself often. The elders have a choice. They can either dismantle the Darbar psyche to wage a just war, or wait as in yore, for the enemy to reach Panipat and then offer battle!