Homeland Security

Water not at cost of Indian Blood
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 21 Dec , 2016

Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh Suhaag at the funeral of the soldiers killed in the Uri terrorist attack

The filing of the charge sheet against Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) and his associates by the NIA should also serve as a reminder that it is now more than two-and- half decades that we have been subjected to jihadi war by Pakistan. It was 16 years ago that the jihadis belonging to Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) struck at the most sacred symbol of India’s statehood i.e. Parliament. That attack as backdrop in effect seems to eclipse all subsequent jihadi attacks that have become endemic feature in India.

The tragedy or the natural justice is that that this bigotry is consuming its own people. It has already consumed the Ahmediyas, and now the Shias and the Mohajirs.

Menacing verbal reactions, followed by aggressive diplomatic rhetoric, then unqualified warnings and finally warnings to bring Pak perpetrators to book, has been usual trajectory of this endemic jihadi feature.

It is hard to imagine that from the same parliamentary complex the territory of Pakistan, then part of India was also administered by the colonial masters. How can the jihadis then bleed their own ‘mother territory.’ This is what religious bigotry can do! This is the consequence of jihadi poison! The tragedy or the natural justice is that that this bigotry is consuming its own people. It has already consumed the Ahmediyas, and now the Shias and the Mohajirs. The three communities were in the forefront for creation of Pakistan. Did Jinnah, a Shia, create Pakistan so that the Sunni jihadis could feast on deprivation, religious emasculation and killing of Shias.

Not undermining the painstaking professionalism with which the NIA has pieced together the evidences, it also a reality that the perpetrators were broadly known. We knew that it was orchestrated by Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment through the aegis of Masood Azhar and his JeM. Nevertheless, in deference to international imperatives we looked for evidences and found them. Much before the Americans too had provided incontrovertible evidences based on the digital footprints of the attackers and their handlers. The moot question is that are the suicide bombers and their masterminds a really bothered or deterred by evidences? In fact anyone who does not have patronage of the State, or is concerned about the consequences of evidences will not run a jihadi industry or tanzeem.

A country like Pakistan, whose entire philosophy of war is predicated on jihadi enterprise is only concerned about devising ways to circumvent the international community. With a long history of clandestine strategic dealing with US and China, Pakistan is adept at it. So whenever Pakistan finds itself internationally circumscribed for promoting terrorism, it uses its strategic patron to sabotage the prevailing international discourse. This is what China has done in favour of Pakistan by using its veto to bail out Masood Azhar and the JeM, ensuring that Pakistan continues to use him as tool of proxy war against India. The international community could do nothing despite the fact that Masood Azhar has been waging war against India since last two decades.

The Pak establishment, the Mullahs, dread taking up cudgels on behalf of Chinese Muslims for fear of Chinese wrath. China is too important for them for survival i.e. specially in terms of strategic dependence and international support.

This year in August, the Xinjiang province in China enacted a new counter terrorism law that targets not just those who commit terrorist acts, but also those who preach religious extremism. The Pak establishment, the Mullahs, dread taking up cudgels on behalf of Chinese Muslims for fear of Chinese wrath. China is too important for them for survival i.e. specially in terms of strategic dependence and international support. When it comes to China they are prepared to trade everything to do with Islam. The weapon of jihad is a crude and devious tool only against India and Afghanistan.

This very year US congressman Matt Salamon said before the congressional panel which met to decide funding to Pakistan: “They (Pakistanis) are making chumps out of us. They see us being so stupid. It seems like paying the mafia.” Some US lawmakers suggested declaring Pak a “state sponsor of terrorism.” And look at the travesty of our international system, Pakistan continues to flaunt the likes of Masood Azhar and Hafeez Saeed with impunity.

A not very publicized fact is that it was Masood Azhar who had sown the seeds of Jihadism in Britain. During his month long visit to Britain in 1993 he had series of 40 lectures in mosques across the country wherein he exhorted youth to dedicate themselves to jihad.

We Indians must learn how much to expect from ‘international pressure.’ In international relations, it is a very nuanced affair. While world powers may put pressure on a country to alter their course with regard to a third country, yet the pressure would not be to the point of sufferance of their own strategic interests. US and China are not exceptions to this reality. China has rather demonstrated its skill in wielding unpredictable and failed states like North Korea and Pakistan to further its strategic agenda.US too has been leveraging on Saudi Arabia, the ideological and financial patron of jihadi terror. To that extent international war against terror is humbug.

The jihadi attack in Pathankot and before that in Gurdaspur indicates that the arc of target of proxy war has increased from J&K to Punjab.

For how long do we give credence to evidences? Do evidences have meaning in war? What is the perspectival and deterrence value of the NIA? Do the police forces in border states share the NIA’s perspective on terror? Probably in real terms we have not imbibed the nature of jihadi proxy war. A war in which a protagonist relies on narrative of evidences for victory cannot be a victor. There have only been pauses in this war. For last two decades we have been facing nothing but pauses.

It is not that India can be debilitated so much by low intensity conflict that it suffers loss of territory. India’s has tremendous depth of strength to obviate those designs of Pakistan. Nevertheless, we do suffer on the ideological content of the jihadi proxy war which never allows parts of India like the Kashmir Valley to stabilize. None of the wars that India fought after Independence, caused ethnic cleansing or displacement in India.

The jihadi proxy war in Kashmir Valley did that with half a million Kashmir Hindus. Paralyzed by indecision, the Indian security establishment merely watched. That indeed is the sinister magnitude of jihadi proxy war.

The jihadi attack in Pathankot and before that in Gurdaspur indicates that the arc of target of proxy war has increased from J&K to Punjab.

The only way of deterring Pakistan is to stop the flow of Indus waters. Pakistan cannot have water at the cost of blood of Indians.

What do we do with a jihadi entity like Pakistan? There is frenzy in the whole of jihadi world to conflate nuclear weapons with Jihad. When the narrative or false belief of “one man of X-religion = 100 men of Y- religion” repeatedly failed, the jihadi ideology began to pine for ‘nuclear weapons’ to terrorize the world. It is from these weapons that the Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment and the jihadi tanzeems draw their sense of invincibility and impunity.

It needs to be earnestly realized that Pakistan’s jihadi war against India, which is essentially a war of Pakistani Punjabis is not for territory or for Kashmir. No Punjabi jihadi is dying for Kashmir. He is dying for annihilation of India. A conventional war cannot kill the ideology of jihadism under the shadow of nuclear weapons.

So what weapon India has under the circumstances against Jihadi Pakistan?

The only way of deterring Pakistan is to stop the flow of Indus waters. Pakistan cannot have water at the cost of blood of Indians.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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8 thoughts on “Water not at cost of Indian Blood

  1. Yes Pakistani establishment has been using jihadi elements for its proxy war against India and their army patronises fundamentalist religious hard liners like Hafiz saeed and Masud Azahar to secure unending flow of so called fidayeen (suicide) squads. RSN Singh is absolutely right upto this point. He however goes completely off track in suggesting stoppage of Indus water to Pakistan as a solution to the problem. Modify the Indus treaty by all means if that is inevitable for protecting the interests of the Indian farmers but for God’s sake don’t tout this as solution of the jihadi problem because it isn’t the solution.
    Who gets affected by stopping Indus water as per the treaty? The poor farmers. What is the impact of their suffering deliberately caused by Indian establishment’s hostility? It makes the task of Hafiz Saeeds and Masud Azahars easier convincing them that India is their enemy as they are muslims and it is in their interest to let their offspring be trained for jihad and despatched to India to hit at the enemy. The remedy suggested by RSN Singh will only aggravate the problem and not solve it.
    What then is the solution? One, enhance your military capability to grab Masud Azahar and his ilk right inside their holes and smoke them out the way US marine commandos smoked OBL out of Abbotabad. Simultaneously or if you don’t have the crack capacity then until you acquire that capacity, go for intense social penetration of Pakistan and try to deradicalise the ordinary Pakistani so as to isolate elements like Saeed and Azahar and shrink their recruitment base for jihadis. The task isn’t impossible. Needs maturity, patience and above all statesmanship and not shallow jingoism the likes of RSN Singh are going round preaching.

    • With all the American wherewithal has radicalization increased in Pakistan and the Islamic world or abated? What makes you think that moderates are in majority in Pakistan? Draw the jihadi lines emanating from West Asia and see their journey and convergence as they enter Indian subcontinent and beyond. First you allowed Pakistan to be created in name of Islam which without Indian water would not have been possible, and now you want India to bleed till Islam corrects its course. You have no idea about Pakistan. By the way please find a better word than hackneyed’ ”jingoism”. You do not have to shove your limited knowledge to expose yourself.

      • If you think Radicalisation will abate by blocking Indus water to Pakistan you don’t have to shove your unlimited ignorance and expose yourself.
        About your assumption that Indus water treaty is responsible for the creation and survival of Pakistan, less said the better. You know neither history nor geography. Learn these first instead of exposing your ignorance.

    • Ojha, if your kith and kin had been victim of terror you would not have talked of patience. Anti-nationals and imotent intellectuals like you have created a thriving industry out of patience and ‘ statesmanship.’

      • It is only potent imbeciles like you who think that advocating crack action to grab the likes of hafiz saeed and masud azahar and smoke them out of their holes tantamounts to ‘thriving industry advocating patience or statesmanship’. Obviously your capacity to grasp simple english is woefully inadequate. Better brush it up.

        • Ojha, did killing of Mullah Mansoor or Osama de-radicalise Pakistan? Can you kill ideology of jihad by eliminating Masood Azhar and Hafeez Saeed? Jihad is a medieval concept and water sharing is a nation-state arrangement which is a 20th century phenomenon. You mean to say we cannot exercise ‘water’ as an instrument to kill medievalism . The tragedy is that our so called experts on Pakistan in the government became experts out of job compulsions and not out of passion for the good of India. Most of them are escapees from Northeast or got bored doing policia job , or collecting taxes or imposing excise duties. Many of the Intelligence fellows get sold.

          • Don’t go hay wire and obfuscate. Read RSN Singh’s article , my intial comment, your reply and my response to your reply carefully in proper sequence and you will see the stark anomalies in which you are letting yourself slide.
            RSN Singh argues stoppage of indus water to Pakistan as a remedy to jihadi terror sponsored by Pakistan against India. In my initial comment i have said this is no remedy. On the cobtrary a daring raid into Pakistan to grab the jihad leaders would be more effective.
            In your first reply you called me anti national, impotent intellectual part of a thriving industry advocating patience and statesmanship. When asked how advocating a daring raid inside Pakistan to grab the jihad master minds can be advocacy of patience you are now saying how killing a Saeed or an Azahar can kill an ideology.
            You are obviously confused and have to decide whether you advocate patience, hot chase, cold start or just cold feet?
            Your comments about most Pakistan experts being escapees from NE and tired custom duty collectors etc make no sense and are also devoid of facts. I need not comment on that. Your calling me anti national impotent intellectual may or may not be bad english but it is certainly bad manners which i shall best ignore instead of stooping to the same level.

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