Prepare for a dangerous Pakistan
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Issue Courtesy: | Date : 11 Sep , 2014

Pakistan’s neurotic obsession to change the status quo in Kashmir, seek parity with India by resorting to cross-border terrorism to check its ascendency to a regional power and chase strategic depth in Afghanistan has pushed Pakistan in to a state of chronic instability. Far from hurting India its policies have put the very future of the state at stake. The jihadi assets it reared over the years as tools of for pursuing its strategic policies have turned against it and have been indulging in systematic assaults on the symbols of the army and the state. There are genuine fears that nuclear weapons may fall in to jihadi hands either through subterfuge or directly in connivance with a section of the Pakistan army. Pakistan faces isolation internationally and has come to be a identified as a dangerous place posing serious threats to regional and international peace.

For Pakistan army a military defeat is not a defeat but giving up and accepting the status quo and India’s supremacy is defeat. It sees victory in the ability to continue fighting India.

Why does Pakistan behave abnormally or to put it differently what is the basis of its flawed strategic culture? C.Christine Fair’s brilliantly researched book-‘Fighting to the end-The Pakistan Army’s way of war'(2014), breaks new ground in scholarship on Pakistan. It provides revealing insights in to Why Pakistan is hell bent upon pursuing such strategic policies which hurt it the most. She makes three formulations.

One, Pakistan army’s view on defeat is different from what normally it should be. For Pakistan army a military defeat is not a defeat but giving up and accepting the status quo and India’s supremacy is defeat. It sees victory in the ability to continue fighting India. A former Pakistani general is on record having said that army would always prefer to take a calculated risk and be defeated than to do nothing at all.

Secondly, Pakistan’s apprehensions about India are not security driven but mainly ideological and military in scope. This implies that any appeasement through territorial concessions will only serve to encourage it to pursue anti-Indian objectives with even greater hostility. Lastly, Fair draws Pakistan’s analogy with what Charles Glaser describes a ‘Greedy state’.

Glaser defines a ‘Greedy State’ as one that is “fundamentally dissatisfied with status quo, desiring additional territory even when not required. “He elaborates,” Purely greedy states pursue revisionist policies to increase their prestige, spread their ideology or to propagate their religion. “Glaser cautions that the appeasement strategies aimed to placate the greedy state are counterproductive and dangerous because non-security goals result in a fundamental conflict of interests that makes competition the only strategy with which a greedy state can achieve its goals.

Pakistan’s strategic community believes that emphasis on two nation theory would keep Pakistan a viable state by forging a coherent national unity threatened by internal strife and multifarious cleavages.

Insecure State

Pakistan suffers from a syndrome of ‘Chronic insecurity with grand ideological ambitions’. The roots of its xenophobia against India lie on one hand with its self -perceived feelings of perpetual insecurity and on the other flawed images of India and wrong understanding of history. It links up ‘incomplete state apparatus’, ‘disproportionate refugee crisis’, ‘lack of resources’, etc. at the time of partition to ‘grudging Hindu nation’ that was unreconciled to the existence of an independent strong Muslim neighbour.

Second factor for its insecurity is its insistence on two nation theory as the ideological basis of Pakistan state and its strategic culture. India was opposed to partition but once it became a reality it accepted partition and in nation-building process left partition behind, concentrating on the present and the future. For Pakistan army and its security experts partition defines its present and the future. Pakistan was fought on the basis of two nation theory. Pakistan’s strategic community believes that emphasis on two nation theory would keep Pakistan a viable state by forging a coherent national unity threatened by internal strife and multifarious cleavages. It wrongly assumes India- a secular country opposed to two-nation theory is also opposed to existence of Pakistan and wants to undo the partition. At the same time insistence on two-nation theory as the ideological basis of the state has held back the process of secularisation, led to the rise of politicised sectarian violence and nurturing of jihadi groups as tools of state policy. All this has strained the stability of the state.

The third element in Pakistan’s insecurity is fears of obliteration of Durand line, which it believes could lead to ‘Pakhtunistan’ or ‘Greater Afghanistan’. It has responded by chasing the concept of strategic depth by using Islamist proxies and aligning with Americans and Saudis to create a pliant regime and marginalise India there. These moves have also impacted on the stability of Pakistan state.

Pakistan Army

Pakistan army as country’s best organised and powerful institution considers itself as not only the defence guardian of the country but also the protector of ideological frontiers of the state. It defines adversarial relations with India in civilisation terms .i.e. on the basis of two nation theory .Soon after Zia ul Haque’s ascendency to power Pakistan made radical Islam as the new ideological frontier of the state and began patronising different jihadi outfits to pursue its strategic goals. Pakistan army has false optimism about its chauvinist nationalism and believes in supremacy of Muslim army over Hindus.

Pakistan army will not allow any accommodation with India because its survival as an institution depends on maintaining active conflict with India.

To have a broader acceptance of its policies it has ensured that its view of strategic culture is shared by civilian institutions, the political class and even common citizens and has succeeded in it. For successful pursuit of its strategic objectives Pakistan army has maintained control of country’s Foreign and Defence policies, which provide it unbridled access to financial and political resources. It has pursued nuclear weaponisation, using all unethical processes and blackmail. The nuclear umbrella has allowed it to use jihadi groups with increased impunity. It believes that New Delhi would find conventional retaliation too risky. An important dimension of its strategic culture is not to allow Indo-Pak peace process. Last year it indulged in beheadings to send a message across that it was opposed to liberalised visa regime. Pakistan army will not allow any accommodation with India because its survival as an institution depends on maintaining active conflict with India. However, it may allow calibrated trade, which will help it generate additional revenue to expand conventional and nuclear investment and also deflect fears of international action.

American Role

Pakistan army has relied on Americans and Chinese to pursue its unrealistic ambitions vis-à-vis India. American policy is flawed on two counts. One, it wrongly assumes that Pakistan is a state motivated largely by security concerns that can be satisfied with some territorial concessions and appropriate allurement and thus capable of reversing its revisionist policies. Secondly, it lives in a fantasy world thinking that aid translates in to leverage and personal relations with foreign department officials can change things. Americans have used sanctions against Pakistan only half-heartedly. Successive US administrations have delivered tough messages only during their last few months of tenure. Instead of pursuing a long-term policy of democratising Pakistan, which is at peace with itself and its neighbours, Americans have been placating Pakistan to pursue its short-term interests in Afghanistan.

…Pakistan will continue to pursue policies that will undermine America and weaken India by any means possible…

Pakistan has used distorted narratives of the past to justify its relevance to US interests to wrest military, economic and other assistance from the Americans. It threatens to supplicate China or more unscrupulous partners should Americans dither. This process has been described by Schaffer and Schaffer (2011) as the perfected art of the guilt trip. In fact, lack of vision by Americans, when it applied proliferation related sanctions against India, saw Pakistanis sending jihadi groups in even bigger numbers.


C.Christine Fair calls for sober realism to assess destabilising impact of Pakistan’s adventurist policies on regional and global security. She feels Pakistan will continue to pursue policies that will undermine America and weaken India by any means possible, even though such methods may be risky. Since there is nothing to suggest that there may be any reversal in Pakistan’s revisionist policies or it may implode in the near future Fair cautions that the international community should prepare for a Pakistan that is even more dangerous and calls for appropriate multilateral and bilateral approaches.


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10 thoughts on “Prepare for a dangerous Pakistan

  1. Dr Ramesh Taimiri is a medical professional but his articles are so elaborate and exhaustive that he appears to b a born writer
    I would howover add that we need a strong Indian leader who can take bold steps and dies not yeild to International manoeuvrings’.Indira Gandhi or at least PV Narsimharao type leader could probably be a befitting leader for current situation

    • You hold up indira gandhi as a role model, the woman who meekly surrendered 93,000 Pakistani PoWs, without getting a square inch of land in return, after their systematic butchery of three million Bengalis, 80 percent of them being Hindus and mass rapes of their womenfolk. She generously feted and feasted these killers and depraved monsters. Where would have she been without the strategic insights or genius of Field Marshal Manekshaw. She reared a venomous serpent like Bhindranwala whose forces ultimately devoured her. She was a very petty and vindictive woman, who became the prime minister by default. Speaking of Narasimha Rao, he was the real architect of India’s economic ascendancy and might, not a wimp and spineless coward like Manmohan Singh, who would have been jailed for 50 years had he been the president of the United States.

  2. The problem with India and Indians is that we do not learn. We are keeping on trying the same thing over and over again with Pakistan. While Pakistan keeps on doing exactly what it has been doing for the last few decades – terrorizing us. Does playing cricket with them, trading with them, permitting their singers and actors to work here, providing them with medical assistance make Pakistanis any less inclined to hurt India and Indians ? Experience suggests no. Why have we not tried anything else ? Is there such a paucity of ideas on how to deal with Pakistan in our country ? The Pakistanis ambassador invites separatists to the paki embassy for talk prior to talking with India ? What does India do ? Any self respecting country would have kicked out such a person. Next Basit gives a clean chit to Hafeez Sayeed one of the planners of the Mumbai massacre. Still nothing . . . Pakistan is like the delinquent child, pushing to see how far it can go on needling the neighbour. And so far nothing has happened. So it is emboldened to try more outrageous acts / events. For God’s sake. Try something, anything. Try stopping all contacts, sports, cultural everything except the diplomatic. Because as Einstein has said trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a sign of extreme stupidity.

  3. Appeasement foments. It took Churchil a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” to mobilize Britain against Nazi Germany. During that time, Germany had grown stronger. Not weaker. Pakistan is an emirate of the Islamic Saudi Caliphate and wileds its Islamic Bomb. It is emboldened not onyl by India’s navel gazing insouciance and the Quota-Corruption Raj that the groesque Constotution, laws and politics have created but also by the susceptibility of the West to Islam’s dissembling. For example, the US plans to bomb ISIS. But ISIS is just one regiment of the Islamic Army. The West is a very bad learner. Its hubris as also the greed and lust of its decision and opinion makers stand in the way. The US “strategy” had been tried before. By Hitler in the Battle of Britain. We wait with bated breath for the day when the US will start bombing ISIS aka Al Qaeda aka Islam ghettos in Britain, France and New york. Al Qaeda was armed and trained by the US to make Islamic Warriors out of Wahabis nurtured as students (Taliban) in Saudi sponsored Madrassas throughout the World. In essence the enemy is the US, and its allies. i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan i.e. Saudi-Wahabi (Sunni) Islam.

  4. Dr Ramesh Tamiri is on the mark in his comment, ” Pakistan army will not allow any accommodation with India because its survival as an institution depends on its maintaining active conflict with India.” The challenge for the Modi defense establishment is to re-define India’s response parameter for Pakistan’s thousand cut war unleashed on India over the last five decades and continuing. The soft reactions of past governments regardless of the provocations from Pakistan, was the biggest failure of India’s security policy. It encouraged Pakistani military to transform it’s terrorism war on India into a national policy. The justification for this war was and is, the tried and tested excuse Kashmir. In fact this is the main reason why Pakistan is unable to have a civilian government control over it’s military. What are some options for India? First build up the armed forces, firepower and resources, to react with lighting speed once the source of provocation is confirmed as based in Pakistan. Conducting inquiry with Pakistan will be dead end, waste of precious time for reacting, no matter what proofs are provided. Actually, these options were exercised in the past by the dhoti-prassads of India as a cover to hide behind and avoid decisive action. Remember Chidambaram going around splitting hair with Pakistan on the evidence after Mumbai massacre. These leaders lacked balls to do what was needed to be done to protect the nation. It is hoped that the Modi government will be different. It must do whatever is necessary to break the cycle of Pakistani violence against India. The average citizens in the street do not have six gun totting guard protection like the elected leaders but their security nevertheless is nation’s primary responsibility.

  5. Well researched and lucid article by Dr Ramesh Tamiri. There is no doubt that Pakistan’s survival depends upon keeping the Kashmir issue alive for eons. Pakistan has always been a dangerous neighbour to India, more so now, as there is a conflict of interest between the political forces and their armed forces, who refuse to let go of the power they have come to wield in Pakistan. While we can not help Pakistan resolve their existential conflict, we should certainly be prepared to deal with it militarily, should the need arise. I am not sure if powers that be in our country are aware of the danger posed by a perpetually unstable Pakistan. If indeed they are aware of the danger from Pakistan, they do not seem to be doing enough to prepare our armed forces to meet such danger. If one were to be guided by press reports about our preparedness to deal with Pakistan, it is not a comforting situation. Pakistan has been giving us ‘soft warnings’ to prepare for a conflict situation, but we seem to be working on trying to resolve an intractable problem through kid gloves. We need to take their fore-warnings seriously and be prepared to respond adequately when the chips are down.

  6. When it comes tp Pakistan World community has to go by the adage ‘hope for the best but be prepared for the worst’. The best case scenario is that democracy deepens its roots and marginalises the role of the army which is fast turning into a bunch of radicalised fundamentalists. The worst scenario is the opposite. In either case the army is the common denominator which either agrees to be a professional army or has to be neutralised by combined efforts of the world community in sync with democratic forces within Pakistan.Since India has to bear the brunt of Pakistan’s aberrations it is India who has to take the initiative. Are we willing and able for a that role? That is the question.

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