The British were smart when they created Pakistan in 1947 with a distinct aim to keep India weak, while having a Pakistan they could control, as well as have access to the region for their troops and bases, which they wanted very much at the time. The purpose of having a Pakistan was further strengthened in the British minds because the Indian government refused to allow British bases and troops to be stationed in India except over a transition period, whereas Pakistan’s Jinnah permitted British troops and bases on a more permanent basis upon the promise of the creation of Pakistan.
Undeniably, Pakistan has been a thorn in India’s side ever since independence. They have not only failed to stop their shennanigans, but after taking a decade to recover from the 1971 humiliation, they were back to seeking revenge.
However, Pakistan’s promisesto Britain and the West have only partially materialized, because Pakistan has blown hot and cold with their membership in the Commonwealth; Pakistan was a loyal member with the USA in CENTO and SEATO; gave immense help to USA in the fight against Russian intervention in Afghanistan; but at the same time has given the USA an exceptionally tough time since 9/11 in using their territory for operations in Afghanistan. The public sentiment in Pakistan is strongly anti-USA, at up to 90% against. In contrast, a survey in India soon after 9/11 revealed that 70% favor USA.
The former part of British intentions – to divide and sow discord in the sub-continent — has come true from Day One. First, the refugee crisis of partition sowed hatred between Hindus and Sikhs – on one side – versus Muslims on the other. This was soon followed by the racial crisis in the predominantly Hindu principality of Poonch district of Kashmir that led to the Hindu Maharaja using his Sikh troops to quell a rebellion spurred by former Muslim soldiers of the British Army of India who were denied employment in the Maharaja’s army after the end of World War II. The inconsiderate suppression of the Muslims in Poonch stirred the sentiments of Afghan tribesmen when the news reached them. The rest is history – Pakistani tribesmen swept into Kashmir valley in waves of surprise, covertly aided and abetted by the Pakistani army under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
India watched while the USA gave military aid and armaments to Pakistan through the 1950s owing to their participation in CENTO and SEATO. President Ayub Khan received a red carpet treatment in 1961 when he visited USA, and was hosted by President John Kennedy who proclaimed Pakistan as a vital ally of USA. The military aid to Pakistan brought it armaments superior to those in the Indian arsenal, thereby making a relatively smaller Pakistan equal in military might to India. This caused only disconsternation and sorrow in India, which was further not helped by the poor foreign policy of India that put it squarely opposite the Western nations.
Not learning from any conflict episode, Pakistan simply starts new conflict episodes from time to time. Cross-border incursions take place on a daily basis.
Thus, Pakistan was emboldened enough to claim parts of the Rann of Kutch in April 1965, and launched a limited military offensive there. This morphed into Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir and the full-blown invasion of India in September 1965. The uneasy calm after a serious conflict continued into 1971, which saw Pakistan dismembered. But, Pakistan’s Bhutto made a fool of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Simla in 1972; and after India’s Pokhran explosion in 1973, vowed to eat grass if they had to in order to posses nuclear weapon capability on par with India. This, Pakistan succeeded in doing.
Undeniably, Pakistan has been a thorn in India’s side ever since independence. They have not only failed to stop their shenanigans, but after taking a decade to recover from the 1971 humiliation, they were back to seeking revenge. The 1986 Hazratbal mosque episode, when a hair of the Holy Prophet Mohammed disappeared from the shrine, sparked another outrage that brought active Pakistani interference into Kashmir. This time, Pakistan began a furtive campaign to induct terrorists into Kashmir. Since then, Pakistan has bled India not simply by a thousand cuts, but by the thorn they were that was left by Great Britain in India’s left side. Pakistan consequently proved itself to be a terrorist nation with the LET and Jaish Mohamed outfits, etc. The Kashmir actions culminated last in the ill-fated Kargil war, which amounted to blatant aggression by Pakistan, and had India choked if Pakistan had pressed its advantage.
No sooner did the internal debate on Kargil simmer down that an attack on India’s Parliament was launched by Pakistani-trained elements. It was simply too bad that the USA asked India to pull back at the 11th hour from its armor thrust into Rajasthan during Operation Parakram after its satellites picked up Indian tank movements there charging towards the Pakistani border across Barmer district.
Each time a violent episode ends, India thinks Pakistan will come to terms with India as a brother would, but each time Pakistan rears up its head in anger again.
Not learning from any conflict episode, Pakistan simply starts new conflict episodes from time to time. Cross-border incursions take place on a daily basis. As if Pakistan had not had enough, it executed the 26/11 hostage crisis. Pakistan is brave in its dealings with India, but such bravado can also be classified as madness. Perhaps Pakistan does have a death wish, and perhaps Pakistan must collapse, because as the saying by Euprides goes, “Those whom the Gods would destroy they first drive mad.”
All the Reasons to Invade Pakistan
Pakistan, which was born out of hatred for secular India, has pushed its thorn deeper into India’s side. Every day is marked by tension and animosity – either by word, rhetoric, or/and physical violence on the ground. This has continued unabated every day for 65 years. In 2012 alone, the media reported 117 cross-border military violations by Pakistan; but the real number when undetected infiltration is taken into account is much more. This is not healthy for either nation, but definitely not for India, even though Pakistan might find a holy mission in it. Each time a violent episode ends, India thinks Pakistan will come to terms with India as a brother would, but each time Pakistan rears up its head in anger again.
There is a sign in this, and it does not portent well for the weaker nation. It should therefore be understood that India needs no new reason to invade Pakistan. Neither does it need a new excuse – Pakistan has given India enough excuses over a 65 year period – and continues to give India an excuse on a daily basis through its cross border incursions, rhetoric, and overtly working against India at international fora. By all accounts, any day is morally good enough for India to invade Pakistan. India has no moral blemish to restrain it, and will be fighting a morally justified war any time it does plan to go to war.
Military Perspective of a War
It beats me how Pakistan can ever dream of equaling India in strength and economic power – now or in the coming time to come. With the changing world environment, where Pakistan’s ISI is suspect in the CIA, and with a China that is lunging towards a collision course with the USA, the chances of Pakistan pinning India to the ground are receding. And those who think that China’s meteoric rise has put it on par with the United States are very sadly mistaken.
Remember, that in 1971, India was ready for a Chinese attack, which never came. Though the Chinese military is relatively stronger now compared to 1971…
Some would argue that India’s military lacks specific military equipment – such as surface to air missiles, night vision goggles, insufficient ordnance, or adequate 155 mm howitzers. India also suffers from an unfortunate degradation in officer quality. While some of this may be true, the fact is that Pakistan’s military isn’t faring any better, either. The Pakistani army also falls short in many areas, not the least of which is a stemming conflict between its Islamist officers and those with a more modern outlook. Pakistan, too, is limited in its ordnance inventories. Thus, in squaring off with India, and considering the size of its military compared to India, Pakistan still comes off at second best.
Then, there is the China factor. Well, China would think thrice before attempting to physically interfere in a Pakistan-India war. First, China lacks the military muscle to inflict a serious defeat on India at short notice, especially when the war with Pakistan is fought in the winter. Next, China is most conscious of its international reputation, knowing quite well that the world will not take kindly to China’s military interference in a Pakistan-India war. The US and Russian factors that will restrain China from interfering are also significant. However, the bottom line is that China currently lacks the military might with the predominant troop and equipment superiority to inflict any long lasting or serious damage to India during a Pak-Indian conflict. Nor can China’s navy operate far from home in the Indian Ocean – and definitely not with its outdated submarines that will be outclassed by India’s anti-submarine warfare. China’s airforce has limited capabilities in having to take off from high altitude airfields in Tibet. Hence, India cannot be militarily threatened in any meaningful way by China.
Remember, that in 1971, India was ready for a Chinese attack, which never came. Though the Chinese military is relatively stronger now compared to 1971, it has not gone beyond the threshold to battle effectively in the Himalayas against an Indian nation that is now prepared to take on China, notwithstanding China’s economic miracle. And, it comes as a saving grace to India that the West does not sell armaments to China.
The aspect of nuclear conflict is often introduced into such debates. Well, will Pakistan be the first to use nuclear weapons, because India has a firm no-first-use policy? Is Pakistan morally bankrupt? Is Pakistan’s threat to use nuclear weapons an empty threat knowing full well that India will retaliate massively till Pakistan perishes? Does Pakistan want to use nuclear weapons when India surely doesn’t? Will Pakistan really stoop to the level of nuclear war? Hence, it appears likely – with predominant evidence – that Pakistan will not sink to the level of nuclear conflict, and that it’s threats are mere bluffs. But, people ask: “what if Pakistan does use nuclear weapons?” The answer could be “What if Pakistan doesn’t use nuclear weapons: wouldn’t you have lost an opportunity?” An alternate answer: “Do you wish to continue living in fear, under threat? Is that correct living and good karma?” Yet another answer: “We would rather live in peace; nuclear war is not our choice, but if imposed on us, we will have no choice but to retaliate.” And, yet another answer, “Capitulating under threat is not a choice: the conflicts should be settled by conventional means, or else conflict initiated by Pakistan should cease.”