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Why is Pakistan so hostile towards India?

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    Why is Pakistan so hostile towards India?

    Dynamics of Pak hostility

    In the aftermath of the Kargil war, observers have offered several
    views on the reasons behind Pakistan’s continuing hostility towards
    India despite New Delhi’s efforts to improve relations with it.
    However, none of the views and theories looks deep enough into the past
    or forward enough into the future.
    Kashmir has always been a symbol, not the root cause of Indo-Pak
    conflict. The Pakistan Army Chief’s recent admission that even a
    settlement of the Kashmir issue will not usher in peace in the region
    has confirmed that the roots of Pakistan’s hostility are in history,
    religion, civilisation and the politics of revenge. The gulf between
    the two is too wide to be bridged in the foreseeable future without
    major geostrategic or radical policy changes in the region.
    India sees Kashmir as an integral part of its territory, central to its
    civilisational identity, whose fate is inextricably linked to the
    secular structure of the Indian polity. Pakistan, however, sees itself
    as incomplete without control over the whole of the Muslim part of
    Kashmir. After all, its creation was solely based on religion being the
    basis of a nation-state.
    For India, religion cannot be the sole basis of a modern nation-state.
    If that were so, there would be only six nation-states (each based on
    Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh religions), not
    200 nation states in the world. For India, the real issue is the nature
    of the state (secular, inclusivist versus theocratic, exclusivist) and
    the type of society (multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural
    in which a tolerant Islam coexists with other religions and faiths as
    in Indonesia versus the Saudi-Afghan-Pakistan variety). Moreover,
    Pakistan was created as a homeland for Muslims living in the
    subcontinent but more Muslims have chosen to live outside Pakistan (in
    India and Bangladesh) than in Pakistan! The shabby treatment meted out
    to Urdu-speaking Muslims who decided to call Pakistan home by the
    Punjabi/Pathan-dominated establishment speaks volumes for the notion of
    “Islamic brotherhood”.
    Most Pakistanis believe that India, like its erstwhile friends, the
    Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, is doomed to further partition and
    Balkanisation. Many admit the ultimate game plan is not limited to
    “liberating Kashmir” but to subsume “Hindu”India into Islamic
    civilisation. In this context, they point out that Zulfiqar Bhutto’s
    1971 threat of a 1000-year war with Hindustan (repeated by his daughter
    at the height of the 1990 crisis) was not hyperbole. Since the
    beginning of the second millennium, Hindu India has been subjected to
    repeated invasions by the armies of Islamic faith. As a result of
    Islam’s eastward march over the last 1000 years, ancient India has
    already been successfully broken up into three states —Pakistan,
    Bangladesh and India. Hopefully in another 1000 years, so the argument
    goes, the objective of either an Islamic India or the creation of more
    Islamic states will be achieved by the end of the third millennium.
    Indians counter this by saying that their country, the oldest
    civilisation in the world, has not only survived but thrived millennia
    of invasions whereas Pakistan could not survive the first 25 years of
    its existence and is unlikely to survive over the next 25 years if it
    continues with its self-destructive policies. Pakistanis respond by
    saying that Ghauris and Ghaznavis may have lost war several times but
    they won eventually to subjugate Hindu India. Likewise, Pakistan may
    have lost to India in 1971 and 1999 but that does not mean the end of
    Pakistan’s attempts to expand Islam’s frontiers eastwards. Islam, if
    not Pakistan, will eventually prevail.
    Thus, whilst India is a status quo power, Pakistan is the irredentist
    power. Pakistan fully realises that in the event of a full-scale
    conventional conflict, India’s greater military strength and economic-
    industrial capability will eventually turn the tide against it. And if
    nuclear weapons are used, India may survive but Pakistan will surely
    disappear from the world map. Therefore, Islamabad’s strategy is to
    keep strategically important areas of Kashmir, Punjab and Assam in
    continuous turmoil through “low-medium intensity warfare” while
    avoiding an all-out conflict.
    Some military planners in Islamabad believe that Afghanistan in the
    west now provides Pakistan the strategic depth it has long sought vis-a-
    vis its much larger neighbour in the east. If a full-scale war with
    India did break out, Pakistan’s military assets (including nuclear-
    armed aircraft and missiles) could be deployed in Afghanistan’s
    mountainous terrain. In the calculations of some Pakistani strategists,
    should India decide to strike deep inside the Afghan territory, it
    would lead to a wider war (jihad) between Islamic countries and “Hindu”
    India. There is some support for the Huntingtonian view that the India-
    Pakistan border from Kargil to Kutch is not a mere dividing line
    between two countries but a civilisational faultline, symbolising
    competing visions and conflicting worldviews.
    To meet the Pakistani threat, India needs to pursue several policy
    options simultaneously. One is to engage Islamabad in an arms race by
    doubling India’s defence expenditure from 2.3 to 4 per cent of GDP
    which in turn will force Pakistan either to spend nearly 70 per cent of
    its budget on defence or reach an accommodation with India. The Soviet
    Union’s example shows that while nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles
    may secure the country from external aggression, they cannot prevent
    internal implosion.
    Two, fight and defeat Pakistan in Afghanistan through active support to
    the anti-Taliban forces. More than nuclear weapons capability, it is
    Pakistan’s victory in installing a puppet Taliban regime in Afghanistan
    which has inflated its ambitions and whetted its appetite. The
    Pakistani Army’s invasion of Kargil marked an extension of the two-
    decade old Afghan conflict. The Pakistan-Afghanistan area is now the
    main centre of Islamic fundamentalism, drug trafficking, illicit trade
    in arms and international terrorism. The last decade has seen the
    growth of religious and fundamentalist organisations and terrorist
    outfits in this “zone of chaos”.
    A Talibanised, militarised and nuclearised Pakistan acting as a rogue
    state does not bode well for regional security. It has already set in
    motion geopolitical realignments (the Indo-US dialogue on Afghanistan
    is a good example). Just as Pakistan was the “frontline state” against
    the Soviet expansion (the “red menace”) during the cold war, India has
    now emerged as the “frontline state” against the new threats to
    international security: the Narco-Nuclear-Fundamentalist-Terroristmenace.
    Three, pursue a proactive strategic and diplomatic containment of
    Pakistan through closer ties with Iran, Central Asian states and Russia
    because the roots of Islamic terrorism from Algiers to Xinjiang and
    Daghestan to Kyrgyzstan can be traced to Pakistan.
    Four, provide “moral” support to Sindhi, Baluchi and Pakhtoonistan
    separatist movements as a counter to the ISI's activities in India.
    Last but not least, India should turn the tables on Pakistan by seeking
    a Kargil war compensation of $60 billion (for the shooting down of two
    Indian fighter jets, one helicopter gunship and 500 military deaths,
    and the stock market losses in May-June). It is time to establish a new
    norm in international relations whereby the aggressor is taken to the
    International Court of Justice by the victim of aggression.
    (The writer is Director of the Defence Studies Programme, Deakin
    University, Australia)
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