Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Strategic Trap

With Pakistan, India seems to have fallen into a strategic trap of its own making. These are the two most popular strategic theories that go along are something like this.

Strategy 1: ‘The two countries are armed with nuclear weapons. Therefore, if India does something, we run the risk of it escalating it into a full scale nuclear war.’
Strategy 2: ‘There are elements within Pakistan who want to destabilize the peaceful relations with India and Pakistan. Therefore, we need to not play into their hands by doing they want us to do – which is fight, hence, we will sit tight regardless of what Pakistan does’

If I translate this into street language, it means, in situation 1, Pakistan can do anything, if we retaliate in any way, they will nuke us. Exhibit: Kargil and yesterday’s mutilation of soldiers, where we remained spectators and in Kargil we bombed our own territory.
Situation 2 is a subset of 1 – which is that Pakistan can do anything and claim some non-state actor did it and therefore we must sit tight and let them get away with murder, literally. Exhibit: 26/11 (worst case so far).

Both of these are Strategic Traps. In this current line of thinking, we seem to believe that the only option available to us is non-retaliation. And we seem to have taken this very seriously. We believe in engaging with Track II diplomacy, we believe in people to people crap, relaxing visa restrictions, we believe in playing cricket matches, we believe in allowing their artists to perform here and in allowing trade delegations here. This is apart from planning to build pipelines through Pakistan or supplying locomotives or diesel or electricity or relief material or something.

Essentially, this means, that the thief next door can keep stealing chickens from our house, but we pretend that nothing is happening and maintain normalcy, because if we do, he might bring out his big knife and stab us. We seem to forget that we have a bigger knife in our home and we are bigger and stronger – and that we can use it.  But he has become so brazen that he keeps stealing chickens and we keep behaving like one.

How can this be broken? I don’t know how the policy makers that be can be shown a different door to walk through, but I can see a few things.

One, ban all this track II diplomacy crap. Stop supplying locomotives and diesel and such things. Stop engaging with their cricket team (by the way, exactly the way Pakistan does with a certain country by the name of Israel), their artistes. And yes, please build a counter strike (covert and overt) capability – better than the way they have with us. And use it, disproportionately, once. And watch them cringe. The beauty is India needs to do this just once. That will shut them up. If they dont, well, we can take some damage and live to tell the tale.

Recognize that their entire country is gone – gone to the dogs. Those so called brothers are ours have died or senile and a new generation  of fundos have taken over. Start from Salman Taseers assassination and how his assassin is being treated to Hafiz Saeed and Malala. There is no living breathing exhibit of tolerance or mutual respect emanating from that country.

Retaliate. Do what it takes. And there are many options. From water to diplomacy to banning sports and music and a million other things. Indians are not missing Pakistani artistes or cricketers or shawls or rice. Let them keep it with them alongwith their terrorists and their poisonous ideology.

And I have been saying this for years. Heres, Big Shi(f)t from 2010
September 2009: What you build is where you go

Jan 2009: Are you bored

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