|HOME | NEWS | SPECIALS|
|July 11, 2002|
The Rediff Special/ Lieutenant General Eric A Vas (retired)
The current prolonged India-Pakistan confrontation illustrates the axiom that wars are fought on five fronts: diplomatic, social, economic, psychological and military. Since 1947, when Pakistan and India gained freedom from the British, a diplomatic battle has been taking place between the two countries' representatives at every possible international forum. This confrontation escalated into military hostilities thrice -- 1947, 1965 and 1971 -- and, each time, Pakistan suffered a setback.
In any war, it is the military front that receives wide attention. Less evident are the battles being fought on the social and psychological fronts where the aim is to win the hearts and minds of the opponent's people. This aspect will be clear if one analyses the root cause of the prolonged Indo-Pak confrontation. India and Pakistan have conflicting political aims. Pakistanis claim Muslim majority areas have an inherent right to secede from areas ruled by non-Islamic governments. This was the rationale behind the creation of Pakistan and they believe the same principle should logically apply to the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. They are convinced that India has cheated them out of Kashmir.
India does not accept this argument. In 1947, Indian leaders succumbed to the Muslim League's bullying tactics and grudgingly accepted the Partition of India in the mistaken hope that it would save bloodshed. There is no question of Pakistan having the right to Jammu and Kashmir merely because it is a Muslim majority state. The state acceded to India under the popular Muslim leader, Sheikh Abdullah.
Moreover, mixed societies across the world accept the concept of unity in diversity. Citizens have to be tolerant of other faiths, languages and customs and learn to cooperate with one another in a spirit of give and take. Good governance ensures religious freedom, human rights and justice for all citizens. Any attempt to alter the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir will entail in an ethnic cleansing resulting in mass population migrations and a recurrence of killings all over India that would be worse than what occurred during Partition.
Initially, Pakistani military leaders were confident of resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute by force. After three wars, they have realised they would not achieve their aim through war. They therefore adopted the strategy of sending armed terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir, calling them freedom fighters. The aim was to win international support and bleed India into submission.
At the same time, the Pakistani leadership adopted the slogan 'Islam in danger' in order to progressively Islamicise the armed forces and society in the hope that religion would be a binding, nation-building factor. Pakistani textbooks were rewritten and filled with anti-India falsehoods; this would be laughable if it were not for the fact that the minds of millions of young Pakistanis have been poisoned over the past three decades. However, these negative tactics had reverse long-term effects, resulting in the growth of internal sectarian violence and fundamentalism within Pakistan and a slow decline in its economy. Today, Pakistan is in financial trouble and would collapse were it not for US aid. Propaganda cannot conceal the fact that Pakistan is losing the war on the economic front.
On the other hand, international media display India's booming lifestyle. More importantly, it shows Indian Muslims play an equal and sometimes even a dominant role in every sphere of national activity. Many Pakistanis have begun to question the very relevance of Partition. Some recall that Jinnah, on his deathbed, had regretted the creation of Pakistan and called it "the greatest blunder of my life." Thus, Pakistan is also losing the war on the psychological and social fronts.
Perceptive Pakistanis are conscious of these facts. They want a rapprochement with India, which Pakistani hardliners and fundamentalists are determined to prevent. Every time there has been a visible move towards friendship with India, the Pakistani military has carried out a coup, deposed the elected prime minister and declared martial law, justifying the action on grounds of national security. Successive military dictators have accused India of trying to make Pakistan a client state and have used the fear of Indian domination to unify the country. India has repeatedly proclaimed it has no desire to undermine Pakistan's territorial integrity.
The United States has a long-term interest in the modernisation of Pakistan. This will further their ongoing war against international terrorism, facilitate the reconstruction of Afghanistan and permit the eventual flow of Central Asia's immense oil wealth by American oil companies via Afghanistan and Pakistan. India has no disagreement with those long-term interests.
However, India is not prepared to accept that Pakistan needs to be propped up at the cost of India's national interests. New Delhi is clear: if Pakistan is serious about modernising itself and fighting international terrorism, it must stop sponsoring cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Tomorrow: India's military edge
Design: Uttam Ghosh
|Tell us what you think of this article|
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | SEARCH
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK