Military & Aerospace

Withdrawal from Siachen – a manifestation of Prithviraj Chauhan syndrome!
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 08 May , 2014

Siachen is in the news again.Having served at the glacier, one is aware of the ground realities. It is being suggested that ‘demilitarization’ of the glacier will act as a catalyst to foster friendly relations between Indian and Pakistan. To be honest, one has not heard of a more convoluted and outlandish logic.

Demilitarization of an area implies withdrawal of the opposing military forces from the designated area with an agreement that neither side would undertake any military activity till the resolution of the conflicting territorial claims. Thus, demilitarization necessarily entails withdrawal by both the sides from the disputed area. The area becomes a de facto frontier between the two nations.

In the case of Siachen, Pakistan has no presence on the glacier – not even a toehold.

In the case of Siachen, Pakistan has no presence on the glacier – not even a toehold. Their positions are well west of the Saltoro Ridge. If they are not present on the glacier, the question of Pakistani withdrawal just does not arise. Therefore, demilitarization of Siachen means unilateral withdrawal by India and nothing more.

It is understandable for the Pakistani military to use the term demilitarization as it wants to continue deceiving its countrymen that it is occupying part of the glacier. However, it is simply preposterous for Indian strategists to speak in terms of demilitarization and thereby mislead the public. They should be honest and refer to the proposal as ‘unilateral vacation of Siachen by India’.

…it is simply preposterous for Indian strategists to speak in terms of demilitarization and thereby mislead the public

‘Demilitarization of Siachen will assure Pakistan of Indian sincerity in resolving contentious issues and help bring about a reduction in Pakistan’s hostility towards India. Both countries can live peacefully thereafter’ is the commonly touted argument of the Indian advocates of the withdrawal.

The above logic is absurd and farcical. It is based on three phony contentions. One, it is for India to convince Pakistan of its good intentions and not the vice versa.  Two, a placated Pakistan will shed its enmity and be a good neighbour. And three, Pakistan should be trusted to honour its commitment.

Over the last six decades India has tried various measures to convince Pakistan of its sincerity to develop a rancor-free relationship. India has never coveted Pakistani territory. It stopped short of re-conquering the whole of Jammu and Kashmir and went to the Security Council. It gave back the strategic Haji Pir Pass as a goodwill gesture in 1965 and returned 96,000 Pakistani Prisoners of War after the war in 1971. It has never trained and sent terrorists into Pakistan to create mayhem.

As a matter of fact, India’s over-indulgence and conciliatory gestures has emboldened Pakistan into considering India to be a soft state and increased its intransigence and hardened its anti-India attitude. While the Indian leadership was trying to break ice through ‘bus diplomacy’ in 1998-99, Pakistani military was busy planning the notorious Kargil incursion.

 A nation born out of hatred needs hatred to feed itself on for continued sustenance and to justify its existence.

As regards the second issue of changing Pakistan’s mindset, it is nothing but self-delusion. Pakistan’s shedding of hostility towards India and adoption of a friendly stance would amount to the negation of the two-nation theory, the raison d’être for its very existence. A nation born out of hatred needs hatred to feed itself on for continued sustenance and to justify its existence.

Issues like Kashmir and Siachen are merely a manifestation of Pakistan’s infinite hostility towards India. Were India to hand over Kashmir to it on a platter and withdraw from Siachen, Pakistan will invent newer issues to keep the pot boiling. Pakistan cannot afford to shed its antagonism towards India as that would amount to questioning the logic of its very creation.

Coming to the third premise, can Pakistan be trusted not to undertake clandestine operations to occupy the Siachen heights vacated by trusting Indians? Who can guarantee that? Remember, deceit is a part of Pakistan’s state policy.

Independent Pakistan started its track record with treachery. Despite having signed a ‘stand-still agreement’ with the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan unleashed Pashtun marauders on the hapless Kashmir valley with the active participation of Pak army. Breaching undertakings given to the US, it surreptitiously used American equipment to launch a surprise attack on Kutch in April 1965.

Independent Pakistan started its track record with treachery.

Even before the ink had dried on the Kutch agreement, Pakistan was back to its perfidious ways. Covertly, it infiltrated its forces into Kashmir, expecting a local uprising against India. Under the Tashkent agreement, Pakistan promised to abjure the use of force to settle mutual disputes and adherence to the principles of non-interference. However, Pakistan continued its proxy war through its notorious secret agencies. Sanctuaries and safe passage were provided to underground elements of North-Eastern India.

Under the Shimla Agreement, Bhutto had given a solemn verbal undertaking to accept LOC as the de facto border. Instead, true to its perfidious nature, Pakistan redoubled its efforts to create turmoil in India. In addition to regular terrorist attacks, it never misses an opportunity to embarrass India in every world forum.

Finally, India has been repeatedly duped and cheated by Pakistan. What has Pakistan done in the recent past to earn another chance to be trusted? Has it arrested and deported all terrorists? They are roaming free in Pakistan spewing venom against India. Pakistan is colluding with China by bartering away territory in Gilgit-Baltistan. One is not aware of a single step taken by Pakistan to assuage Indian feelings and earn its trust.

Pakistan is adept at achieving through negotiations what it loses in war. The current dialogue on Siachen is an extension of the same subterfuge.  Indian soldiers shed blood to gain military ascendency, only to see their hard fought gains being lost through the misplaced zeal of some self-proclaimed advocates of peace.

…any Indian who suggests vacation of Siachen should be treated as an anti-national element and tried for high treason

We should never forget that deceit, betrayal, duplicity and perfidy are synonym with Pakistan. Therefore, any Indian who suggests vacation of Siachen should be treated as an anti-national element and tried for high treason. Enough of Prithviraj Chauhan syndrome. He repeatedly trusted Ghori and set him free; only to be captured and blinded later on. Pakistani text books portray Ghori as an ideal leader whose exploits should be followed.

It is time India learns.

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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

Maj Gen Mrinal Suman

is India’s foremost expert in defence procurement procedures and offsets. He heads Defence Technical Assessment and Advisory Services Group of CII.

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18 thoughts on “Withdrawal from Siachen – a manifestation of Prithviraj Chauhan syndrome!

  1. Some people siting in AC thinks that advocating peace is good job to become famous in world. They don’t know how many soldiers have lay down their life to advocate the peace in Siachen and they saved the life of thousand of other soldiers …….

    Maj Gen Mrinal Suman, Good work

  2. “Issues like Kashmir and Siachen are merely a manifestation of Pakistan’s infinite hostility towards India. Were India to hand over Kashmir to it on a platter and withdraw from Siachen, Pakistan will invent newer issues to keep the pot boiling”
    This statement should be taught in every Indian school.

  3. The Indian ruling class definitely suffer from” Prathaviraj Chouhan syndrome”. History has not taught us any lesson, else , we would not have released 90 thousand odd soldiers of Pakistan just for a document called ” shimala Agreement”.
    Chouhan paid the price. alonwith him rest of India too paid the price , of being slave for hundreds of years. Will we continue this syndrome or wake up ?

  4. Am absolutely in agreement with the Author for his forthright and telling truth on the issue. It is time that the National Leadership honours the soldiers sacrifices and not be biased for the international opinions with vested interests.

  5. I agree with the writer that anybody who talks of withdrwing from the Siachin area should be stamped as an Anti-National. I have served in the Ladakh Scouts in the late Sixties for about 2+half years. For most of the time I was in Nubra Valley, Chungtassh, DBO & oroamed about in the areas of now called Siachin. At that time we were not aware that that was SIACHIN. I was patrolling & riding in the area & having fun in addition to the surveillance in the area. I was lucky enough to to see the beautiful India there at the Govt. Expense & good salary also as per those times. At that time we were not afraid of Pakistan or China. I mave have even entered China area or Pakistan area without knowing it, because we felt very nice in roaming about in that part of the land. The civilians were not allowed to go in that area and only the lucky ones including the Mountaineering expeditions could get permits to go there. How lucky we were then. But now the civilian tourists are common to be seen in Nubra & Panggong Lake areas during the summer, i.e., it is very easy to reach there by means of transport. But we had to walk to that place almost from Leh to Nubra & beyond & could also use mules & ponnies & most importantly, we had to do this in Winter as well & had to stay all the year along. It was Very tough but it felt very nice & we were on the top of the world.
    Now, people can reach very easily in the proximity though not in Siachin, the Global warming is lessening the midnight minus temperature, & is not bad for the troops. So why leave our part of the land unattended. We should never part with our possession – i.e, never withdraw from this land. The enemy from both the sides is already looking for an occasion to come inside. An unattended land is always encroached upon as every body is aware. Only foolish people can advise as such. Google Earth is here. We can see everything & every part. Even the army now has all the media with them & they can very easily spend their tenure.

  6. Indian military analyst will have strategic clarity on ways and means of dealing with Pakistani threat not by short term perception of current affairs in Pakistan but by understanding the hard historical facts about genesis of Pakistan state as under:
    1)Responsible Pakistanis claim that Pakistan was born the day Mohammad Bin Kasim invaded Sindh in late 7 the century,and considers it self as the legacy of Islamic Turko Mongol Arab Invaders and therefore the present Pakistani state considers it self duty bound to invade and subjugate India for Islamisation irrespective of settlement of Kashmir or Siachin glacier dispute.This may seem as pipe dream of Pakistani lunatic fringe to the secular honchos in Indian Government who lacks historical perspective and has very shallow rootless western ethos and may be lightly brushed aside,however this will be a fatal error for India ,similar to the one made by Prithviraj Chauahn.
    Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and India must never let down its guard in its dealings with Pakistan regardless of sentimental Candle light brigade.

  7. Almost Every educated Indian by now Knows about Siachen & the Indian army having the Strategic advantage there.Great sacrifices have been made by indian army jawans [ & AMC doctors in making the Siachen posting more comfortable ] in beating the Harsh climate & terrain in Siachen. Many of my juniors from AFMC have been posted there & many tales have i heard about Siachen !! A Siachen returned Jawan/Officer is looked on with deep respect by other Army personnel.The Siachen posting is virtually a Training ground for the Indian Army in getting waves & waves of Confident Mountain trained & hardened troops. I also agree that anyone who talks of Siachen Demilitarisation should be considered Anti-National [all these Track 11 Generals & Air marshals etc should be suspect as well as the MEA under the new Foreign min that surreptiously started this Treasonable type of diplomacy }. The Indian army needs Two Mountain Strike corps-One for Arunachal pradesh & one for ladakh. Siachen is the place from where the indian army can create havoc in POK & even on the Karakorram highway.

  8. >>We should never forget that deceit, betrayal, duplicity and perfidy are synonym with Pakistan. Therefore, any Indian who suggests vacation of Siachen should be treated as an anti-national element and tried for high treason. Enough of Prithviraj Chauhan syndrome. He repeatedly trusted Ghori and set him free; only to be captured and blinded later on. Pakistani text books portray Ghori as an ideal leader whose exploits should be followed.
    It is time India learns.<<

    Sir: The above does not compute. Prithviraj Chauhan was wrong to forgive Ghori repeatedly, but how does that "mistake" make him a traitor? In the same vein, it is possible – not certain – that trusting Pakistan to honor an agreement on Siachen is a potential mistake in the eyes of some, bumake someone a "traitor"?

    If peace with Pakistan is the trajectory we want to move on then Siachen is an "acceptable risk" that the Indian state can manage is one view. If you have specific, pre-conditions such as the head of Hafiz Sayeed to be presented – before – such a deal can be considered, you should put that on the table but for crying sake, do not do a blue on blue. If you do not believe that peace with Pakistan is possible due to issues of Islamism you should then provide a template on how Indian interests can be best served for future generations and how the "island" of India should approach this whole issue to meet your "self proclaimed" and in my view mis construed claim that those advocating a deal with Pakistan on Siachen should be condemned of "high treason".

    Shall I remind you that the Indian executives' lawful decisions on this matter cannot be questioned. The question of sovereignty does not come into play here, based on article 73 or the reference case of the "Tin Bigha" view of the courts. Strong but measured critique is needed and welcome. But please stop this blue on blue.

  9. Dear Friends,

    The strategic advantages of holding the Saltoro Ridge are indisputable. The same were well brought out by Mukesh Sabharwal some time back.
    Yet suggesting that status quo is the best option for all time to come has disadvantages which should be equally obvious. If that be so the quest for solutions must continue and who else will do it but the MEA, with full advice from the Armed Forces. Let it take time, but the search must continue

    We do have agreements with Pakistan and nothing prevents us from taking punitive action in case they violate any agreements. Why should we worry only about Pakistan going back on its words? Surely we can also have contingency plans.
    At no point am I suggesting unilateral withdrawal from the Glacier Area. I am sure neither will any official of the Government. Service HQs have very sound professional and outspoken officers who have commanded the Siachen Bde and /or the Leh Corps who are not known to mince their words.
    It is my opinion that those handling the affairs are quite professional and highly dedicated. The veterans, with their vast experiences can help find better solutions, if they can but let us not be prisoners of our own experiences.
    This is applicable not only to the Glacier Area but to all other areas where the Army continues to be deployed, ie LC, LAC.


    I had occasion to discuss the Siachen De-militarization Issue with Air Chief Marshal Tyagi (Retd) today during a break in the National Security Seminar at the USI. ACM Tyagi as you know was the Co-Chair of the Track II Team whose agreement with their Pakistani counterparts at Lahore to demilitarize Siachen was put on the net first by Atlantic Council of Ottawa that broke the news to the world, particularly Indians. Given below is the gist of our conversation.

    1). To my query as to how the Track II Team was selected, he said that each and every member was individually selected by Atlantic Council of Ottawa and not by GoI. He has no idea how Atlantic Council of Ottawa got these names.

    2). Queried about the source of funding, his response was that the complete expenses at various locales including in Pakistan were borne by Atlantic Council of Ottawa (implying travel, stay, meetings, the works which obviously would be five star). I then asked him if he knew that both the Atlantic Council of Ottawa and Atlantic Council of US are actually extensions of Pakistani Army and funds would obviously be coming from the Pakistani Military / ISI. He said “so be it” but their job was only dialogue.

    3). I then asked him which government officers briefed the Track II Team and what exactly was the content of such briefings? He said that it is the Track II Team that asked for briefing from MEA and the Military. The MEA briefing was largely about the visit of our Foreign Minister to Pakistan and this briefing had NO mention of Siachen, and the Track II Team also asked NO questions about Siachen (rather strange !). In the briefing by the Military, the Military categorically stated they did not want demilitarization from Siachen.

    4). I further asked when the MEA did not give any directions for demilitarization and the Military was categorically against it, why did our Track II Team agree to demilitarization?

    contd. in the next slot:

    • analytical and insightful, excellent article sir, you have portrayed the character of our venom filled neighbour succinctly. so called MESSIAH OF PEACE will stoop to any low to garner political mileage domestically and fake goodwill worldwide, which always bog us down. gullible indians shall never learn from history and make fool out of them, despite repeated mistakes on the part of our leaders, our armed forces has never let us down, WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!
      blood and sweat of our brave soldiers shall not be bartered at the alter of some petty interests.

      • Mr. Raman,There are two things which I observed in your post.i) Talking at high levels for the sake of talking is a big thing –I am not able to get my around this thing. Why is it important, when clearly we seem not to be gaining anything by this?What is the purpose of this? What are our expectations? What are we expected to gain at the end of the day, say after even 2-5 years and for that why is it necessary/suitable to talk now?ii) Under selling ourselves/ as you call it giving concessions with exactly 0 expectation of getting anything in return in the short/long term.The govt and the foreign ministry have clearly failed in creating a coherent policy after 60 years when Pakistan has been the most "important" country for us to control.If these are the ideas which India has been able to generate, then the foreign ministry of India and all its bureaucrats can be safely thrown into a dust bin. The loss will be entirely to others, the gain will be to India.You say that there is a need for indo-pak vision statement, I say that there is a need for clearing the rusted trash in India.Simply saying I and you should have a vision statement can never cut the ice. The real question is what can it contain. Of course, if it all mumbo-jumbo talk of providing world peace and so on, it is alright but then doesnt it produce such a vision, do we need one such at all??

  11. (contd) From Lt Gen PC Katoch in discussion with Ari Chief marshal SP Tyagi:

    5). I asked him what the de-briefings were after the various meetings. He said there were no de-briefings but a report was sent by the Track II Team to the Raksha Mantra, MEA, NSA and Service Chiefs (some other members maintain that after each visit the Track II Team did get in touch with MEA and Military representatives).

    6). I asked him why the Indian public has been kept in the dark and why not put out a statement in the media. He said that my article had already done that.

    7). He then asked me whether I still consider their actions as “treason”? I replied I was more convinced now that without any directions by MEA towards demilitarization and our Military firm on NO demilitarization, this “Private Body”, as stated in his e-mail, had still gone ahead to discuss and agree to withdraw from Indian Territory in violation of both the Constitution of India and the 1994 Parliament Resolution reiterating that entire J&K is part of India. He then said he had erroneously mentioned “Private Body”. Actually, they were “individuals” in their own private capacity. When I pointed out that he was the Co-Chair, he said he had acted in his individual capacity and had absolutely “no control” over the other Track II Members. Their conversation was akin to the discussion he was having with me. I said I do not agree as the two are hardly comparable when a strategic issue like withdrawal from territory is being discussed at international level with a military heavy Pakistani body. His response was that I was welcome to my views and he would not like to continue the discussion any further. At that juncture he also said the he had received some questions by someone called Devasahayam but he was not going to respond to any questions from any quarter. I had other questions but the conversation had ended abruptly.

  12. Unfortunately nobody sees the real source of the problem. Its not an Indian cultural attitude of forgiveness or bending backwards. Nor is it a myopia and failure to learn from history. The real reason for India’s inability to make any strategic gains out of any conflict in the last 60 years are either 1) Leftist intellectuals who have pervasively seeped into every level of decision making and 2) American influence on certain key policy makers. There exist many saboteurs and trojan horses within Indian intelligentsia in every sphere of its society and institutions, be it movie making or national security, MEA and foreign policy. Examples include, failure to negotiate Kashmir and close the issue to India’s advantage when the Indian army was at the gates of Lahore, or looking the other way when the Maoists installed themselves in Nepal government and institutions and derecognized Nepal as a Hindu kingdom, approving a talibanisque islamic government in Maldives that might drive the country closer to fanaticsm, inviting Musharraf to India after his perfidy in Kargil – a most abject and pathetic display of arse-kissing displayed by any government anywhere in the world. To see that that criminal – who was responsible for the deaths of many of our young officers and jawans, surrounded by a protective layer of our own security forces while he pranced around the Taj was a revolting sight. The self-abnegation displayed in India’s foregn policy is a result of this persistent sabotage of India’s interests from within, influenced by agents in the think-tanks that obey the directives of a freign powers.

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