Pakistan, a troublesome neighbour of India and India’s Policies Towards it

Pakistan, a troublesome neighbour of India and India’s Policies Towards it


Recent Uri attack by Pakistan-based terror groups has revived again the long-standing debates in the country along with few questions like :

Is the ruling party’s (BJP) policy towards Pakistan is coherent?
How to deal with Pakistan, a troublesome neighbour?

Is the ruling party’s (BJP) policy towards Pakistan is coherent? 
Analysts have alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s policy towards Pakistan is incoherent – characterised by a consistent lack of nuanced understanding of the art of diplomacy, and the costs of war.
A detailed analysis of the ruling party’s Pakistan policy reveals an inherent desire for quick returns from what is arguably India’s most difficult bilateral challenge.
While New Delhi does not have an imaginative Pakistan policy, Islamabad is clearly an unreliable neighbour.

Islamabad continues to be unwilling to check in its anti-India rhetoric, keep its promises on basic bilateral courtesies, and stop the terror masterminds from plotting and waging their covert wars against India.

Pakistan’s inability to keep promises

Pakistan needs to show some seriousness if it is keen on improving the relationship — it can’t be a one-way street.

How to deal with its troublesome neighbour, Pakistan?

There is relentless clamour for a military retaliation against Pakistan, however, Indian strategic community (which includes retired commanders of the Indian military) has viewed that military option or coercion may not be a feasible option vis-à-vis Pakistan, for a variety of reasons.

A military response against Pakistan including on the terrorism front would invite massive damage on our country.
Policy-makers need to carefully consider if they want to risk a potential nuclear exchange in response to a terror strike.
Hence the unacceptable costs of winning a war with Pakistan should persuade us to think beyond the military option and look for other strategies of dealing with it.

“War,” after all, “is not an act of senseless passion.” – Clausewitz

If we rule out the coercive options, how do we then deal with a Pakistan that is seemingly uninterested in winding down its terror machinery against India?

Doing nothing can’t be a policy either, although that has been the preferred option all this while.

What Indian Government should do:

Indian Government needs to view and deal with Pakistan within its larger grand strategic scheme.
Quick-fix solutions and like-responses will only get us into an ugly dogfight with Pakistan which are not in consonance with India’s global ambitions and developmental goals.
In the grand strategic scheme of things, Pakistan is an irritant, not a strategic threat: so treat it like it, and focus on the real strategic threats.
‘India can survive’ reality – however unpopular it might sound and however painful they are, the reality is that we can, as a nation and state, survive these attacks.
Every terrorist attack directed against India continues to weaken the Pakistani state and nation: its sovereignty, economy and character.
Pakistan’s 28-year-long Kashmir campaign has not only not managed to wrest Kashmir from India, it is today on the verge of self-destruction primarily due to its misguided Kashmir policy.
It is time we learn to defend ourselves better
Better equipment for our forces, a better fence on the Line of Control and the International Border, more army-Border Security Force deployment on the vulnerable areas of the fence, and by adopting more efficient and technologically sophisticated border management practices.
Uri is a traditional infiltration route and there was intelligence about a possible strike. It is the failure of Government too.
Uri attack and Kashmir dispute has shown that India needs a long-term strategic policy on cross border terrorism as well as have a comprehensive national policy to deal with domestic militancy.
The modernisation of India’s military has been slow, denying it the ability to stage precision operations. Moreover, the Central government has cut funding for police modernisation, and the intelligence services are short-staffed — denying it the capacity to soak up retaliatory blows. In addition, the army should analyse the reason for such incidents and lacunas present.

Dealing with Pakistan
Engaging a hydra-headed Pakistan requires creative statecraft and for this New Delhi needs to think outside the traditional modes of diplomacy.
The most important actor that matters in Pakistan’s policy towards India is the Pakistan Army.
It is important to note that Pakistan’s Army is driven by strategic choices and politico-economic rationale which the decision-makers in New Delhi need to analyse and understand, and then reach out to the generals in Pakistan accordingly.
New Delhi needs to engage the ‘enemy’, the Pakistan Army, by perhaps opening discreet negotiations with it. It’s time to convey the message directly and address Rawalpindi’s pay-off structure.
India needs more nuance and guile (subtle difference in speech/expression and deceitful intelligence) in engaging stakeholders in Pakistan’s power structure.

Address Kashmir issue in first place
If Kashmir is what forms the sole important reason for Pakistan’s proxy war against India, India should first successfully deal and address Kashmir in the first place.
So far as Kashmir is on the boil, Pakistan will not give up on its claims. It will inevitably try and take advantage of the situation there.
Therefore, India can and should effectively deal with Kashmir which will necessarily weaken Pakistan’s Kashmir claims.
– Source : The Hindu

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