End Game With Pakistan
The disintegration of Pakistan in the 21st century would be by no means a desirable event. But Pakistan’s government and army appear determined to make it inevitable.
US specialist on South Asian affairs Professor Stephen Cohen said that the Pakistan government most likely cannot control the pro-terrorist elements in Pakistan. He appears to be right. He went on to add that India therefore should display patience and continue to engage with Pakistan’s democratically elected government.
He appears to be horribly wrong. No government could survive public anger if it persisted with a policy that continually bleeds India. If the Pakistan government cannot control terrorist outfits within or outside its establishment it can, as the legally elected government, seek foreign assistance to accomplish it. The US, Europe and Russia could all help with or without UN sanction.
India, however, cannot wait for hypothetical developments. This scribe had earlier ruled out military action against Pakistan because that would suit India’s enemies. What, then, can India do short of war if over the next few weeks the Pakistan government remains unwilling or unable to cooperate? There is much that India can do.
India can tighten security internally on a war footing. It can seal all Indo-Pakistan borders and raise its guard militarily. It can break diplomatic relations with Pakistan and close down its embassy in Islamabad. It can sever all trade, cultural and people to people contacts with Pakistan. It can lobby in the UN to declare Pakistan a rogue state that has become the hub of global terrorism. It can urge all nations to impose trade sanctions against Pakistan and cut off all aid. It can give recognition and offer moral support to those separatists in Baluchistan who seek independence.
It can do the same with Pashtuns in the NWFP who want to join up with their tribal brothers in Afghanistan. It can do all these things simultaneously. And then it has only to guard against precipitate action from across the borders, and wait. What the Indian government must resolutely avoid is to launch a military adventure under foreign advice.
Sooner rather than later Pakistan will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. It would be seen then how far and how effectively can China continue to prop up Pakistan. Jinnah’s quixotic dream of an Islamic state carved out of India most likely will be shattered. Nehru’s shameful compromise allowing it to happen most likely will be undone. The disintegration of Pakistan in the 21st century would be by no means a desirable event. But Pakistan’s government and army appear determined to make it inevitable.