How India can deal with Pakistan's 'deep state'

PS Ahluwalia
PS AhluwaliaOct 08, 2016 | 12:36

How India can deal with Pakistan's 'deep state'

Sushma Swaraj, minister for external affairs, delivered a well crafted speech at UNGA on September 26 2016. Partially, it was a response to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the same forum a few days prior. The emphasis on state-sponsored terrorism, in general, and the involvement of Pakistan, in particular, was discernible.

The intent was obviously to raise international opinion against Pakistan and recognise the country as an exporter of terrorism.



The larger question is whether international pressure will induce Pakistan to stop abetting, aiding, training, providing weapons and financing terrorist groups.

International pressure after 26/11, 2001 Parliament attack, Pathankot air base intrusion did not change Pakistan’s line of supporting the JEM, LET, Harkat terrorist organisations against India. India has enough proof that Pakistan is a sponsor of terrorism. How do we counter their nefarious activity?

I believe that India must first recognise that the Pakistan Army has the final say in any policy pertaining to India and J&K. This is because the Pakistan Army has strategic reasons to keep the fires burning between our two countries.

Their very existence and power flows from keeping the J&K issue alive and advocating a confrontational policy against India. Pakistan military personnel are the favoured few in terms of prosperity and wealth at the cost of the ordinary people of Pakistan.

The best option against cross-border strike is to protect ourselves. (AP photo)

The military has kept the political leadership under their control. The corrupt, fragmented and weak political parties in Pakistan only support the army’s cause. The Pakistan military has at least 50 commercial enterprises that own businesses worth between $20-25 billion.

The army is not going to let go this most favoured treatment. Although, the Indian policy is to deal with only democratically elected governments, it needs a re-visit. Whether we wish to or not, India has to deal with the "deep state" of Pakistan consisting of Army, ISI and the jihadists.


Engagement with the civilian political leadership must continue in parallel. That is my first premise.

My next premise is that we would have to deal with Pakistan directly. No other country or group of countries would come forth in our support. That is truly wishful thinking. There may be verbal support but there won’t be any tangible actionable support.

How do we propose to have the major powers (read US and allies) declare Pakistan a terrorist sponsor state and impose sanctions? Harbouring of Osama in Pakistan, did not force the US to declare them a sponsor of state terror or to have any sanctions imposed.

Only Sudan and Syria are in the list of unilateral sanctions worldwide at present. Cuba, Libya and North Korea are off that list. UN has not identified any state as sponsors of terrorism and invoked suitable measures.

India should convince US, Canada, UK, China, Columbia to withdraw UN Resolution 47 of 1948 which calls for a "free and impartial plebiscite" in Kashmir. Even if China feels otherwise the others sponsors can informally announce their position.

This one act would deny Pakistan their so-called right to support perceived freedom movement in Kashmir.



The third premise is that the best option against cross-border strike is to protect ourselves. Striking at will against our military installations must be prevented. Our cities, public institutions and people must be defended. Civilian populated areas can be protected through hard actionable intelligence.

Our intelligence gathering agencies have come a long way from the 90s’, but we still have some distance to cover. Terrorist strikes, when successful, have a tremendous effect on the military morale, and also the civilian population.

Over 70 per cent of the population, as per numerous polls, demanded an immediate retribution for Uri terrorist strike. In such circumstances the government has to include the public sentiments in their decision making matrix.

The culmination of a phased retaliation through the "surgical strikes" by our Special Forces, on the launch pads across the LOC, conveyed a clear and firm message to Pakistan of our intent and political will.


The fourth premise is that it is necessary to find solutions to internal issues. Whatever it takes, it is most essential to have the population having complete allegiance to the Union of India, whether it is J&K, NE or Naxal areas.

There cannot be a military solution, the population in these insurgency-prone areas must genuinely believe in the "idea of India". This is only possible through constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders.

The fifth premise is that India must use its economic strength to maintain substantial conventional military superiority. The defence budget must be stepped up to the three per cent of GDP to ensure this superiority. However, military superiority alone is not enough and political will to use it is imperative.

India has always shied from using its military might. From agreeing to mild terms of the Shimla Agreement after having 84,000 Pakistani prisoners Of war, having a million troops deployed on the border after Parliament Attack during 2001 to not crossing the LoC during Kargil operations and no retaliation after 26/11 are some examples of this passivity.

Pakistan must be made to believe that there is space for conventional warfare and India will not hesitate to engage in a conventional war if the situation demands.

Similarly, Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail must be exposed. My last premise is that diplomatic, political and economic assault must continue parallely.

Indus water, MFN, isolation internationally and regionally, must be pursued vigorously, to ensure that they feel the pain of being an international pariah.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: October 09, 2016 | 17:03
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy