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Surgical strikes won't stop Pakistan: 10-step strategy India should follow

Surendra Kumar
Surendra KumarNov 01, 2016 | 09:36

Surgical strikes won't stop Pakistan: 10-step strategy India should follow

Indian experts on Pakistan lament that nothing seem to work against her.

Our size, population, economic might and military superiority in conventional sense and their loss in four wars against India don't deter, dishearten, discourage or diminish their urge to square up with India and inflict 1,000 cuts notwithstanding the devastating effect of this mindless pursuit on Pakistan itself.

Over the years, India has tried to build a functionally normal and productive relationship with the Pakistani government, democratically elected or headed by a general, but barring occasional faint glimmer of optimism, there has been no paradigm shift in Pakistan's policy towards India.

The carrot and stick approach - underlining economic benefits of normal relations with India and highlighting the debilitating effect of an arms race and an unwinnable all out war, and inviting to wage a war against poverty, unemployment, crime, illiteracy, lack of education and healthcare as exhorted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his statesman-like speech in Kozhikode haven't worked.

Campaign

The so-called robust response to cross-border terrorism, including targeted anti-terrorist strikes against terrorist launch pads across the LoC and no holds-barred international campaign for naming and shaming Pakistan as the main producer, trainer and exporter of terrorism, splashing its own human rights violations particularly in Balochistan and canvassing to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state haven't induced any long-term change in Pakistan's attitude either.

Recent "surgical strikes" have been hailed nationwide as a bold initiative. But will surgical strike stop cross-border terrorism? No way.

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Will surgical strike stop cross-border terrorism? No way. (Photo credit: Google) 

Pakistan's defence and foreign policy towards India will continue to be controlled by the army and the ISI; no civilian government in Pakistan is likely to challenge them in near future.

Terrorist organisations like JeM, LeT, Haqqani and TTP with deeply entrenched relations with the military and the ISI won't be eliminated.

And Pakistan can't be totally isolated nor will it be declared a terrorist state in spite of India's spirited campaign.

Above all, Pakistan will not stop raising the Kashmir issue at every international forum. Given these hard ground realities, what should India do?

Only a long-term, multipronged policy utilising all bilateral, regional and international leverages might work.

1. Let PM Modi ask his ministers, MPs and coalition partners to get rid of the irrepressible obsession with Pakistan.

They must concentrate on dozens of serious issues confronting India rather than fritter away their energies in indulging in futile verbal boxing matches to score brownie points or grab some headlines and claim credit for the job well done.

Let the PMO and the MEA only comment on issues pertaining to India-Pakistan relations.

2. Let the Indian media ignore Pakistan for a year. So much happens every day domestically and internationally that cries out for attention. Why not focus on that? Abstinence from Pakistan bashing won't harm India.

3. We must continue robust and effective response, including targeted strikes against terrorist camps/hideouts /launch pads across the LoC relentlessly but without shouting from the rooftops. Let our actions speak for themselves.

4. Undertake both covert and overt action against Pakistan using the most advanced technologies and reliable human intelligence without chest-thumping and retaining all avenues of deniability.

5. Instead of trying to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state, we must announce emphatically and unequivocally at every bilateral and international summit that India can't accept a second partition; Pakistan will never be allowed to wrest Kashmir from India.

6. We must discreetly tell China that their blind support to Pakistan against India will have adverse impact on bilateral relations especially on trade, business and investment.

7. Countries like the US, China, Russia, Saudi/Arabia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey should be vigorously wooed with our economic carrot and urged to make their friend Pakistan see reason and make friends with India and reap huge benefits from India's economic surge.

8. Notwithstanding strong trashing from certain quarters, quiet diplomacy still matters.

Let the track 2/track 3 back channel parleys proceed with greater involvement of retired top brass of India's defence forces who could have more productive reading of the Pakistani army.

9. Diplomatic efforts at getting Pakistan excluded from the regional and international fora should continue without beating the drums loudly.

Even though the chances of success are slim thanks to China's opposition, demanding UN economic sanctions against Pakistan for not taking action against the terrorist groups proscribed by the UN is legitimate and we shouldn't be coy about it.

10. The Supreme Court should take suo motu cognisance and prohibit politicisation of achievements of the armed forces by all political parties.

Similarly, whipping up frenzy against helpless film producers must be made a punishable offence.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: November 01, 2016 | 09:36
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