'The Pakistani government, army and ISI are all hand in glove'
The Savita Pande Chat
It was a pretty short chat, but Pakistan expert Dr Savita Pande clearly struck a chord somewhere for her views resonated well with those of many chatters. The transcript:
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:36 IST)
Good evening. I am here to answer your questions.
vigyani (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:13 IST)
Dr Noor-ul Haq says in his book on Partition "since the basic tensions remained unresolved, it was natural for the two armed forces to clash, as they did in the 1965 and 1971. And even thereafter the historical, geo-political and strategic compulsions cannot be overlooked as they would continue to determine the course of history in times to come." your comments!
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:38 IST)
Vigyani: I am of the opinion that even if there were no tensions at the time of Partition, Pakistan has the expertise to invent some. While Kashmir would continue to be the potboiler, other issues will continue to emerge from time to time, related/unrelated to the nuclear issue.
Indiann (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:36 IST)
Dr. Pande: Do you think it is possible for India and Pakistan to actually go to war and use ONLY conventional weapons? Is it possible that the last resort of the losing side would be to lob a few nukes? Or would good sense prevail? What steps is India taking to avoid being a target of a pre-emptive strike?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:42 IST)
Indian: The chances of a war between India and Pakistan, conventional or nuclear, is a very remote possibility at the moment. Nuclear weapons are not weapons of war. They have not been used after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and they will never be used.
Indiann (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:35 IST)
Dr Pande: Welcome to the Rediff Chat. I have a simple question. Which of the following is true? A) George Fernandes' allegation that the political process in Pakistan had NO idea about the infiltration OR B) Nawaz Sharief knew FULLY well all along while he was signing the Lahore declaration that he was stabbing ABV in the back. Further to the above, if A is true isn't there a GENUINE nuclear threat to India? With some headstrong General in the Pakistan army dreaming up a pre-emptive attack (a la Dr Strangelove) and if B is true, HOW can we continue to deal with Pakistan via Nawaz Sharief and trust ANYTHING that he says? Regardless of A or B above, why are we having the talks with Aziz? What is the point in discussing with someone that is either NOT in control or not trustworthy?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:49 IST)
Indian: The Pakistani government, army and the ISI are all hand in glove as far as India is concerned, generally. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that one section or the other was not aware of it. Talks with Aziz hang in balance with no date fixed for the talks and India having rejected June 7.
dbs (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:34 IST)
Why could two of India's aircraft have been shot down?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:46 IST)
DBS: The Indian aircraft crossed the Line of Control and the Pakistanis shot them down. Normally this is not the practice when an aircraft develop a snag or the pilot lose their way. In the Kargil hills, unfortunately the terrain is such that if the weather goes bad it becomes extremely difficult for the pilot to know where exactly the LoC is. In the Indian case, one aircraft developed a snag and the pilot lost his way. The other pilot went looking for him and met the same fate.
Sanjay (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:51 IST)
Hi Dr Savita. Why can't India counter proxy war by helping the MQM and other outfits which wants independence from Pakistan? Do you think even if the Kashmir issue is resolved, the ISI will stop their activities?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:53 IST)
Sanjay: The second question first. No, the ISI will not stop its activities after Kargil. Even after Indian forces succeed in throwing out the militants Pakistan will look for some other areas similar or traditionally considered bad terrain. India cannot be what Pakistan is. Inciting insurgencies in other countries itself is a terrorist act and a responsible, mature democratic country does not indulge in these acts of terrorism.
Indiann (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:46 IST)
Dr. Pande: You must have read innumerable books and/or movies (or at least should have) that identify various ways in which, despite the most stringent Command and Control procedures, it is possible for a renegade to launch a nuke -- or even pretend to launch one which in turn triggers a response and Armageddon happens. How can you be certain that such will NOT happen in India? You may be certain that India will not initiate such action, but how certain could you be that Pakistan will NOT?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:54 IST)
Indian: Deterrence is a fact of the nuclear world order right from inception. Pakistan will not attack not because it is a mature country but because if it does its destruction is assured.
Indiann (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:54 IST)
Dr. Pande, ahem, responsible? .. Isn't the Indian government's responsibility toward its citizenry? Matured? The more mature democracies (by age) have long been inciting insurgency... placing dictators on seats... And doing various other nefarious activities. Why should India refrain?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:57 IST)
Indian: Being longer in the game does not make a country mature. Politically mature countries are those that operate on principles.
vigyani (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:56 IST)
Dr. Savita If there is a remote possibility of war, should India not act boldly to protect its interests. In the given circumstances India should bring international pressure on Pakistan to act in a resposible manner. But India is weak in PR and media management, What steps should be taken to get advantage of the current situation?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:59 IST)
Vigyan: Pakistan stands isolated as far as the Kargil issue is concerned. As far international reaction is concerned it has never been stable or same. What India should avoid is leaving any room open for any one to mediate or attempt to do so or even offer to do so. Kashmir is an integral part of India.
voice (Mon Jun 7 1999 7:59 IST)
Dr Pande: Why do think this time around India has a lot of (international) support regarding the Kargil conflict when always in previous times Pakistan has managed to sway international opinion...
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:2 IST)
voice: Unlike other areas like Siachin, Kargil has a very well-defined LoC. And therefore this a clear-cut act of intrusion which can not be defended. Never in the past has such a flagrant violation of the LoC taken place where the enemy is actually sitting on our territory. There is very little room for any country to defend this blatant act.
Sanjay (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:0 IST)
I agree with you, Dr Savita, but let them get the taste for their own medicine. What do you think Aziz's proposals will be? What should India do after throwing out militants from Kargil.. Are we talking another permanent post at 18000ft altitude?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:3 IST)
Sanjay: Kargil is an indicator that more needs to be done in terms of intelligence and there is a strong need to avoid euphoria as far as Pakistan is concerned.
Prakash (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:3 IST)
Dr Savita, If we have to maintain another high altitude military post, we might as well demand the UN to pay for supporting such high altitude bases. Aren't they the ones who drew the LOC?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:5 IST)
Prakash: The United Nations should not be called now to avoid any internationalisation of Kashmir issue -- the basic objective of Pakistanis and their Western mentors. The issue of surveillance at high altitude needs a comprehensive review and should be effectively tackled keeping in mind the disaster in Kargil.
aradhana (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:2 IST)
Why did our intelligence fail to have advance information on Kargil?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:7 IST)
Aradhana: It is unfair to say our intelligence failed before we have a review of what happened. Such an analysis should take place after the operations in Kargil are over and the responsibility definitely should be pinned on the guilty. No one can deny there is some goof-up.
Preeti Shah (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:7 IST)
Ms Savita, what is our standing in the international community?
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:10 IST)
Preeti Shah: It is difficult to say what is our standing generally on Kashmir issue. Although at the moment international opinion seems favourable. A caveat must, however, be added that the advice to exert restraint from the Western powers is ludicrous, considering how they, in gross violation of all international norms, have been bombarding Kosovo for the last two months.
Prakash (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:6 IST)
Dr Savita, shouldn't the PM ask Advani and Fernandes to talk to him before they open their mouths in public? At least that won't make India look foolish.
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:12 IST)
Prakash: Why on Kashmir, I think on any issue, there should be one voice, at least from members of the same party or the allies.
Dr Savita Pande (Mon Jun 7 1999 8:14 IST)
Thank you very much for talking to me tonight. Bye Bye.