Pakistan’s India policy is quickly falling apart

Balbir Punj

Every autumn, the Pakistani Army resorts to firing across the border in Jammu and Kashmir, largely to allow infiltration by terror groups before winter sets in and freezes the routes. However, it has been a different story this year as intensified firing has specifically been targeted at Indian civilian settlements.
Pakistan has an elected Government but, at every moment, it must earn its legitimacy by keeping the Army and mullahs in good humor. For this, the Pakistani Government plays one card against the other.
Attacking or embarrassing India, without actually provoking a war, fits into this Pakistani plot – which is to keep the Army happy by demonising India, the raison d’être of the Armed Forces’  clout in Pakistan’s power structure.  The Mullahs, who form the third leg of Pakistan’s power structure, also need their daily bread of planned terror strikes against India for the civilian Government to get all the other two off its back.
Former Pakistani diplomat Husain Haqqani in his book, Pakistan between Mosque and Military described the power structure in Islamabad as between the Military and the Mullah. This has now been confirmed in another study, by an American researcher, C Christine Fair in her book ‘The Pakistan Army’s Way of War.’
The provocative border firing and continued sending of terrorists into Kashmir and elsewhere in India have to be seen in political context in order to trigger our response to these regular challenges. Ms Fair who teaches at Georgetown University says Pakistan’s mental make up has a kink in its brain: Anger at the whole world, refusing to accept its own perception that it should be treated at par with India.
Refusal of the world and continued poverty of Pakistan are behind both – flaunting of its military might and planned terror attacks on India, Ms Fair finds. “Why does Pakistan persist in repudiating India’s ascendance  as the principal power in South Asia and insist upon  being treated as India’s equal?”
As “Pakistan is a weak state with enervated governmental institutions, it is chronically unable to assert its writ through much of restive and insurgency-prone areas of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and tribal areas. Ethnic and sectarian violence is a recurring menace in Pakistan’s rural and urban areas alike”.
The professor mentions how terrorism nurtured by both the state and its military for use as a coercive element against India and Afghanistan, has now turned against its masters. To any sharp observer of Pakistan scene, the civil authority in that country has to play power games with the military and the mullahs to retain its ever challenged, ever shrinking balance of advantage.
When Islamabad pleads that terrorists from its territory are seeking to bomb many countries besides India (the chief conspirator of 9/11 against the US was a Pakistani whom the Central Intelligence Agency finally caught and got into America where he is serving life sentence), are “non-state personnel”, the world knows that such “non-state actors” are actually the trained people that Pakistan state utilises for its policy goals hoping to gain political weight against India.
So, it should not surprise any observer of the scene that the Pakistan’s Army is venting its frustration by indulging in widespread border skirmishes against India.  With a strong Government in New Delhi, Pakistan is now experiencing the futility of this demonstration of frustration as the Indian Army is giving it back in multiples, as Home Minister Rajnath Singh had warned it.
Soon after that, the Pakistan High Commissioner in India deliberately disrupted the proposed Secretary-level talks between the two countries by inviting Kashmiri separatists into his residence in New Delhi (as Nawaz Sharif’s foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz admitted later indirectly). Next, the Pakistan Prime Minister raised the Kashmir issue in the United Nations and even asks for foreign intervention despite the prevailing Simla agreement between the Prime Ministers of the two countries in 1971 to treat Kashmir as a bilateral issue.
That brings no support for Pakistan either from its benefactor, the US or from other Islamic countries. On the other hand, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets a great reception from President Barack Obama and America’s leading business tycoons who also queue up to have one-to-one talk with Modi. Only a few days earlier Modi also got a tremendous welcome in Tokyo.

BALBIR PUNJeditorial articlePakistan's India policy
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