Has Pakistan’s India-policy been driven by Indian bellicosity?
The international system has no place for ethics, or morality for that matter; it is generally deemed as anarchical, where states strive to achieve their national interests. Cardinal Richelieu enunciated the concept of Raison d’état during the Thirty Years War. The states should rely only upon themselves for help and protection i.e. self-help. Even variants of classical realism also agree upon the primacy of national interests; the Neorealist Kenneth Waltz is a glaring example. This realist worldview is challenged by liberalism; however, history is replete with examples, which give vent to the realist worldview. Who knows more about the ruthlessness of international politics, than the people of Pakistan and India? Ever since, the inception of these states, wars, conflicts and tensions have marred the region. India and Pakistan are, and probably will remain nemesis. Despite recent peace overtures, there seems to be a stalemate on the main issues. The founder of Pakistan, Qauid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave broad directions in every field of statecraft, be it foreign or economic policy. M A Jinnah stressed upon the need to apply logic and law to resolve differences; he aspired for peaceful and friendly relations with all countries, to include India. He even went further by saying that India and Pakistan should collaborate to defend their frontiers against a multitude of threats. Why didn’t his aspirations with regards to relations with India fructify? Why the two states went to war in 1965 and 1971? Why were these wars coupled with low-intensity-conflicts? To be very frank, these questions are answered illogically and baselessly; the reality, despite being crystal clear, is eschewed by many notables. The unfortunate part is that, not only Indians, but Pakistani liberals blatantly blame Pakistan for vitiating ties with India. Some of them even absolve India of starting and augmenting the Kashmir issue; moreover, they circumvent Indian involvement in the East Pakistan debacle. Stanley Wolpert, in his books “Shameful flight” and “ India and Pakistan: continued conflict or cooperation”, talks about Nehru’s obsession with Kashmir. Same goes for Alaistair Lamb’s book. It is not only about Kashmir; it’s about Indian security policies; it’s about 1971, not to forget Siachen , Kahuta, Brasstacks and other issues. Pakistan’s policies towards India were never meant to be aggressive, but she was compelled to mend them, owing to hostilities from India.
This paper aims to elucidate the bases of Pakistan’s policies towards her eastern neighbor. Why are Pakistani policy-makers India-centric? Why did General Kayani said” Yes, I am India-centric.”? Why did General Musharraf vociferously chide Fareed Zakariya on a question over India? It aims to give a rejoinder to all those experts who flay Pakistan day-in and day-out regarding being obsessed by India. The paper is divided into two parts; the first will be a survey of the relations since 1947. The second and the last part will look into the factors which drove Pakistan’s policy towards India. All important epochs, to include Kashmir, East Pakistan, Siachen and others will be discussed in detail.
Genesis and exacerbation of rivalry:
The main focus of international relations is on relations between sovereign states. The concept of sovereign states was promulgated in the treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War in 1648. Both Pakistan and India adorned the map of the world on 14th and 15th of August 1947, respectively. Ever since the inception, the two countries have been at loggerheads, in shape of wars and skirmishes. This part will delve upon the ever-hostile relations that have marred the stability of South Asia. To understand the very nature of the problem, it is important to succinctly discuss the tipping point of partition and its ramifications. There were revolts, Round Table Conferences, constitutional commissions and resolutions. But the British remained unruffled. It was the 2nd World War, which resulted in the division of the sub-continent. The British forces were groping for cover in the war; the fall of Singapore in 1942 was ignominious for the dwindling, yet mighty army. Sir Stafford Cripps led the infamous Cripps Mission in 1942 to eke –out India’s support in the war, but much to the chagrin of the high-ups , the mission failed to attain the purpose. Later, when the Quit India Movement and the Gandhi-Jinnah talks failed, enfeebled Britain was left in a huff. The last throw at the dice came in shape of the Cabinet-Mission Plan. The plan enunciated a program wherein, India was to be divided into three zones: Muslim-majority provinces, Hindu-majority provinces and Bengal and Assam. The centre was in charge of defense, foreign affairs and communication. The Muslim League under the leadership of Jinnah agreed to the three-tier scheme, but Nehru unequivocally claimed that the Congress was free to modify the plan later. This was perhaps the last nail in the coffin; partition was not a distant reality. To make matters worse, Mountbatten( Dickie) was nonchalant and probably incapable. His hasty and shameful flight is a cause of all conspicuous problems between the two states. The 3rd June Plan was announced, which barely gave 72 days for the transfer of power; this had inherent dangers associated with it. Cyrill Radcliffe, a man who never came to India was entrusted with the onerous responsibility. One perhaps cannot pass the buck on him, for he had a simple script to follow: divide the areas on the basis of majority population. In compliance, he awarded Ferozpur and Gurdaspur to Pakistan, for they had clear-cut Muslim majority. Radcliffe was probably oblivious of the surreptitious hobnob of Nehru and Mountbatten; they tried and eventually succeeded in snatching the two districts to India. This was ostensibly done to pave India’s way to Kashmir. The viceroy cited both strategic and irrigational reasons for not letting Ferozpur go to Pakistan. This action typified impartiality on part of Mountbatten; the fatal error emanated further problems, to include the Kashmir issue and most importantly the water crisis, which may be the next major battle-winning factor.
The background was such, that it was a matter of time before the two states would embroil in perennial animosity. Soon after independence, the two countries locked -horns over the Vale of Kashmir. This dispute is the biggest bone of contention between the South Asian neighbors. To delve on Indo-Pak relations sans Kashmir would amount to talking about Napoleon without his wars with England. It may not be wrong to say that Nehru loved Kashmir like anything: he always called Kashmir his “family home”. This decided the shape of the conflict. Soon India like it did in Hyderabad and Junagadh , started to play sordid tactics. First, as aforementioned, the influence which was exercised on Cyrill Radcliffe over the “grant” of Gurdaspur and Ferozpur was overtly done to allow India access to Kashmir. Alaistair Lamb in his book “Kashmir: a disputed legacy, has written about two letters to Mountbatten, which are enough to satiate those who still think that India had no part to play in orchestrating this dispute. On 14th June, 1947, Krishna Menon wrote a letter to Mountbatten, warning him of dire consequences to Anglo-Indian relations if the state of Jammu and Kashmir was handed over to Pakistan. Then Nehru remarked in his note to Mountbatten “ The normal and obvious course appears to be for Kashmir to join the Constituent Assembly of India. This will satisfy both the popular demand and the Maharaja’s wishes. It is absurd to think that Pakistan would create trouble if this happens.” With this attitude one can possibly imagine that the Indians would have radiated further preponderance. The Maharaja went on the offensive; he not only arrested prominent leaders but also tor-down the flags of Pakistan He was oppressing the Muslims with the help of RSS and the Sikh Rulers of other states, which were part of India. The massacres committed by the Hindu ruler was met with stiff resistance by the indigenous freedom movement and pashtun tribesmen from FATA; the Afridi and Mehsud tribesmen came on the cusp of Muzaffarabad, but were diverted. The vengeful Nehru lavished his martial and material resources on the defense of Kashmir. On 25th October, V P Menon flew to Kashmir and there Maharaja accepted the instrument of accession, which was readily endorsed by Mountbatten. Military might was leveraged, to say the least on behest of Sardar Patel and Nehru; 1st Sikh Battalion was sent to Kashmir on 27th October. Nehru was audacious enough to give General Atal a mandate of secret operations throughout Kashmir , to include efforts to bomb bridges over the Jhelum River. The excesses committed by Nehru and Patel through the Indian Army were also condemned by Gandhi . Jinnah’s orders of sending two brigades were turned down by Field Marshal Auchinleck. India rushed to the UN on 1st January, 1948 to complain about Pakistan’s support for tribesmen and Kashmiri freedom fighters. Soon Pakistan under the dynamic foreign minister, Zafarullah Khan went on the offensive in the UN with a well-devised counter-complaint. Zafarullah vociferously chided Maharaja’s accession, Indian aggression, and furthermore, asked the UN to constitute a commission. The UN obliged by establishing UNCIP, and on 21st April 1948 a resolution called for a plebiscite, which as of now is a far shot. India has without an iota of doubt impeded the process.. At first the Indian raised eyebrows on the credentials of the first plebiscite administrator , Admiral Chester W Nimitz; the efforts of General A G L McNaughton also failed. Wolpert in his book India and Pakistan: continued conflict or cooperation has quoted Nehru as saying to his Army “ The Kashmir operation is a fight for the freedom of India.” The spring offensive was started, but was met with a daring repulsive actions by the Pakistani Army, which was allowed to go to the forward defended locality. The ceasefire came into the equation on 13th August, 1948, but the ensuing period saw the exacerbation of Indian recalcitrance; Nehru gave curt responses to all foreign appeals Owen Dixon was convinced that India would not agree to demilitarization. T Indian rejected the troop reduction proposal of Doctor F P Graham with impetuosity. Soon Nehru turned his back towards Sheikh Abdullah, who felt that he was duped. Abdullah began to question the Indian designs and was aspirant of a free state. The surreptitious designs of the Constituent Assembly were sniffed by the Pakistanis, which made UN to remind the king makers of the spirit of the earlier resolutions.
India had an axe to grind with Pakistan; under the hawkish leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, India tried to knock Pakistan off the perch, especially in Kashmir. They tried tooth and nail to wriggle out of their obligations.
Another dispute which took shape between the two countries was that of water. Indian designs were evident in the water crisis too. Being an agrarian economy, the provision of continuous water was a crutch for Pakistani economy. The Indus River and its five tributaries flow into Pakistan from India and Kashmir. The upper riparian state (India), got the ball rolling once again; supplies of water were cut immediately after the Tribunal act was abandoned. The lower riparian country (Pakistan) was under the threat of famine, but India maintained that the proprietary rights in the waters of East Punjab rest wholly in the East Pakistan Government. Thanks to the mediation of Eugene Black, the president of the World Bank, Pakistan and arrived at a treaty in September, 1960. The Indus Water Treaty gave exclusive rights of the eastern rivers (Ravi, Sutlej and Beas) were given to India; whilst, Pakistan got rights of the western rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum). Moreover, Pakistan was expected to build two dams, three link canals and eight gated siphons; the cost was to be shared by a consortium of country, to include Germany and New Zealand.
The problems continued to emanate from Kashmir. In December 1963 , an event became the incendiary force for things of grievous nature. A sacred relic was stolen from the Hazratlal shrine, which was deemed to hold a hair of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The event was followed with violence in the Valley of Kahmir; the Indian Army was sent to quell the rebellion. On 27th May, 1964 , Nehru passed away; the vibes at his funeral assured Bhutto that the panacea for the Kashmir question is a military offensive. The conflicts and rifts began to change directions; soon, another issue came to limelight . Amidst Rajasthan and Sind, a 23,000- square kilometer desolate territory is situated. As usual, the Indian pestered the Pakistanis, by trying to evict its troops from Kanjarkot; however 8 Div’s 51 Bde was given orders to hold the fort, come what may. Then the Indians were defeated and encircled by 6 Bde in the “battle of bets”, After the spat was over, Shashtri was prompt in saying “now I will choose a battle-front on my own discreet soon”. The euphoria of Rann of Kutch; successful visits to China and Russia, the hawkish elements in the set-up planned Operation Gibralter. The plan predicated upon a few assumptions which proved somewhat wrong. Goc 12 Division General Akhtar Malik orchestrated the operation. But by the time Operation Grand Slam started, the infiltration had failed. The 1965 war was in full bloom; the march towards all-important failed not only because of change in command, but due to Indian offensive in Sialkot and Lahore. The war details are impertinent with this paper, but one thing can be said with certitude, that in spite of the odds, the officers and other ranks performed brilliantly, to say the least. The USSR provided her good offices at Tashkent, where a cease fire was signed in January 1966.
1971 was a cataclysmic year for my country; Pakistan lost her Eastern Wing, which today stands as a thriving state (Bangladesh) Why this happened is a perhaps a very distressing question, and cannot be answered in this paper . The home grown crisis was capitalized upon by the virulent Indians. Gen Maneshaw openly stated in one of his interviews, that Indira Gandhi ordered him to take military action as back as 27th April, 1971. However, India waited till the eve of Eid 20/21 November to launch an attack ; there Army comprised of II corp., IV Corp, 101 Communication Zone and XXXIII Corp. however, before November, 1971 they were covertly involved in action, which one can only associate with enemies, not friends. A proper training program was run in India under Brigadier Shah Beg and Brigadier Jagjit Singh; special courses were designed : Science Graduate courses, for instance. Lt-Gen A A K Niazi in his book “ Betrayal of East Pakistan has narrated an authentic account by Meorarji Desai. Desai didn’t hesitate to blame Indira Gandhi for provoking the war. Desai said that she sent thousands of Indians of soldiers in plain clothes, much to the chagrin of the army. There are other evidences to corroborate the panache of the Indian high-command. In 1971, India launched a diplomatic and intelligence onslaught before actually jumping in the theatre. The then Ambassador to USSR, Jamshed Marker has extensively described the Indo-USSR nexus against Pakistan in his book “Quiet Diplomacy; Mr Kosygin, who was otherwise very kind, began to actually threaten Pakistan. Marker saw the developments which led to the promulgation of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. It is mighty difficult to absolve India of massively intervening in the 1971 crisis. A detailed analysis of Soviet role in bolstering India is given by Dr Imtiaz H Bokhari in his book” Management of Third World Crises in Adverse Partnership.”
The subsequent years were a bit different; Bhutto was astute enough to get back 5,000 sq miles of territory and the POWS against an agreement of resolving the Kashmir issue bilaterally at Shimla. India’s deception was brought to the fore on 18th May, 1974 when they tested the nuclear device “smiling Buddha” it was deemed as a PNE, but there are evidences galore to challenge the claim. They had WGU and HEU available on behest of Bhabha’s three-phased strategy in 1956. The process of nuclearization in Pakistan sped-up. Bhutto, Munir Ahmad and Ishfaq Ahmad were all furious; famous statements were made. The rest is there for everybody to see. The military after the PNE started to take cognizance of the matter; this was something which was divulged by General Rafaqat to Brigadier Feroz Khan.
After an apparent détente, things began to travel towards another brawl with the re-election of Indira Gandhi. Pakistan was blamed to be behind the Sikh insurgency; whilst Mrs Gandhi was carrying out Operation Blue Star. Then the Indians carried out Operation Maghdoot in the Saltoro area of the Siachen Glacier; to date Pakistan has been unable to evict the Indians. This blatant act of so-called pre-emption paved the way for future crises and skirmishes , for instance Kargil. In a brief conversion with me Lt-Gen H S Panag, who was GOC in one of the Corps of Northern Command , said that the case of perception of the area further north. Then India got itchy and was all-set for an attack on Kahuta , but Pakistan bolstered by American assurance reprimanded the Indians of reprisals.
Let’s succinctly shed-light on three important crises; these could have caused ruination of the greatest magnitude. General Krishnaswami Sundeerrajan devised the concept of three strike corps, RAPIDS and 7 holding corps . He carried out an exercise known as Brasstacks to test the doctrine. The exercise was divided into 4 parts, which need not be delved upon here; however, the Pakistanis counter mobilized. The ulterior motive was to deceive the Pakistani forces to carry out action across the LOC and to strike at Kahuta . The 1990 Kashmir crisis was a direct result of Pakistan’s exercise “Zarb e Momin” Again, both the armies were facing off each other, both were skeptical of each other seemingly. A fog of war before actual war? The subsequent years saw nuclear tests by both adversaries; the Kargil conflict was an irresponsible act of bravado by the Pakistanis or rather untimely owing to the possession of nuclear weapons: a limit war has the propensity to escalate and reach a nuclear threshold . Kargil was somewhat foolhardy, but Operation Parakram was hawkish; the new doctrine Cold Start is highly- incendiary. I will delineate this doctrine in the later part of the paper.
Why is Pakistan indo-centric:
This part of the paper will make an attempt to say with certitude that Pakistan’s approach, or rhetoric towards India has been driven by India’s pernicious policies. The previous part elucidated Indo-Pak relations in gist; this part will pick out the tipping point of all the above-mentioned crises. One can see that Indo-Pak rivalry is a sui generis , especially when we look at confrontation of other states.
The shameful and hasty flight of the British from the Indian-Subcontinent was nothing less than a grievous offence. It resulted, not only in massacres, but also emanated disputes, which continue to mar the region. But before going into disputes, there is a need to delve on the virulence of the Indian high-command. Jinnah, as aforementioned was aspirant of maintaining cordial relations with “Hindustan”. However, there is no doubt about the fact, that the Indian leaders’ acceptance of Pakistan was merely a tactical decision. Here, I will only quote a few statements, which show that, the mood in the opposing camp was venomous. The venom was strong enough to impinge on Pakistan’s foreign policy.
The Indian National Congress declared, ‘The picture of India we have learned to cherish will remain in our hearts and minds’. This comment could have never indicated towards a friendly gesture. Mr Gandhi, even after changing his utterly anti-Pakistan rhetoric, was looking for a quick reunification. It should be borne in mind, that friendly relations can be damaged by disparaging and fiery remarks.
Our Indo-centric or strategic orientation towards is primarily because of the Kashmir imbroglio. Why is that so? The dispute was, is and will continue to be the bone of contention between the two states. Who kindled the Kashmir issue? As aforementioned, the unfair deal done with Pakistan as regards Gurdaspur and Ferozspur was part of a wider game : an easy access for India to the vale of Kahmir Who pressurized Maharaja to do what he did? Who roped-in Abdullah, and later incarcerated him, when he realized the truth? The answer to all these questions is pretty simple: India, in connivance with their erstwhile rulers orchestrated and brewed the conflict. Nehru’s obsession with Kashmir is well-documented. Wolpert said “He (Nehru) lavished India’s martial and material resources on the defense of Kashmir.” There is more to it; Nehru first sent General Atal, and later General Kalwant, with orders to cause maximum attrition in Kashmir. The subsequent imprisonment of Abdullah; the rejection of troop reduction and other such instances are indicative of India’s evil intentions. Naturally, in the system of international politics, states react, and hence Pakistan did react, but were impeded. The evidences cannot be eschewed. The Kashmir issue , which was delved upon in detail above is rife with examples to give vent to my claim i.e. India started and brewed the conflict.
Indian bellicosity was visible in their illegal efforts to baulk water flow to Pakistan, a country which hooked-upon the provision of continuous water. A mentioned earlier the Indus River and its five tributaries flow into Pakistan from India and Kashmir. However, the Indians not only cut –off supplies of water immediately after the Tribunal act was abandoned, but were turning down every overture of a congenial settlement of the issue. Had it not been for World Bank’s good offices, both countries would have embroiled themselves in another war. Pakistan didn’t start this issue, or perhaps couldn’t have done so.
Another important instance which typifies Indian provocative attitude is the spat at Rann of Kutch. As discussed earlier, it was India , which put the foot on the accelerator by making a fruitless attempt to evict Pakistani troops. A pity crisis was given air by India. Moreover, when the clash ended with India’s encirclement, Shashtri and other government officials began to talk of settling scores at an opportune time. This statement was fiery and may have formed the bases of Operation Gibralter. Yet another conflict was started by India, not by Pakistan.
High-headedness and military provocations were pestering Pakistan. If we add the nuclear dimension to it then things must have been worse. There are evidences galore, that under the garb of a civil nuclear program, India had developed WGU. A preponderant adversary with a strategically active bomb is naturally a cause of concern. The race for the bomb started due to the hawkish policies of Nehru and Dr Jehangir Bhabha. Here again, Pakistan was reactionary. Today, Pakistan is castigated for not signing the FMCT, and rapid production without realizing the very fact, that we went for the bomb after India was well on course. The reasons for Pakistan’s nuclear growth are well known . As of now our credible minimum deterrence doctrine is under jeopardy, for India has acquired the BMD system from Israel; in order to maintain and increase second-strike capability Pakistan ought to augment warhead production.
The other significant examples of Indian aggression include, their massive intervention in East Pakistan. I have given enough examples above from horse’s mouth to give credence to an axiom that Indian aggression and infiltration in a domestic affair of Pakistan was repugnant to every norm; to expect Pakistan to exude even a tinge of happiness towards India is unrealistic. As Brig Feroz points out in his new book “Eating Grass” that the strategic community in the country imbibed in them the spirit of “Never Again”.
It was evident that after Zia’s coup and especially after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Indo-Pak rivalry took a back-seat, but perhaps this was not what the Indians aspired. A fierce operation against the Sikhs began under the aegis of Mrs Gandhi ; however, the Indian provoked Pakistanis by blaming them. Next, there are irrefutable evidences regarding India’s obsession of attacking Kahuta; the Siachen issue was by all means started by India’s so-called pre-emptive Operation Maghdoot . Sundarji’s malignant intentions were there for all to see; two armies faced-off each other just owing to the hawkish policies of India: Zarb-e-momin wouldn’t have taken place had there been no Brasstacks.
I will link Brasstacks with Cold Start. General Sundarji’s desire to test his “holding corps doctrine” brought both countries on the cusp of war. The failure of the Sundarji strategy during Operation Parkram compelled India to develop a cold start doctrine. Let’s briefly discuss the strategic implications of this doctrine. The three strike corps were broken into Integrated Battle Groups (IBG’s) with a view to cause multi-pronged attacks inside Pakistan : bite and hold. The emphasis is being laid on speed and firepower. The basic problem inherent in this doctrine, is that it does not take into account Pakistan’s likely response. Misperceptions, Clauswitzian fog of war and Pakistan’s lack of strategic depth will force her to retaliate punitively. This may or most certainly will escalate a limited war to a nuclear threshold.
Thus we have to admit that Pakistan’s anti-India rhetoric was not developed at the top of the hat, instead it is owed to years of conspicuous Indian hegemonic designs ever since the division of the subcontinent into two sovereign states.Indo-Pak rivalry was on behest of India’s bellicosity; the above-mentioned instances bear testimony to this notion; India acted and we reacted. This is what the international system has in store for states; there is no place for morality in this system, ultimately the realist worldview prevails.