Archive for July, 2010

FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN

I am sure that every perceptive person in the world realizes that the American Policy on Afghanistan is in tatters. American and NATO forces have got themselves into a no win situation in Afghanistan. Sacking generals for speaking truth is not going to change the reality. The day is not far when the American Forces along with their allies will participate in a withdrawal as they did from Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq, defeated again and again by ill armed barbarians who do not understand that they have been defeated and who have no fear of death and deprivation. America and Europe can neither afford the war in economic terms nor in term of casualties. Why does history repeat itself again and again?

The reasons are obvious to those who are ready to see them. The first is a flawed foreign policy of the Western Powers which is not based values of the U N Charter, humanity, justice and fair play but on whether the country is “with them or against them”. So Pakistan, who is with the Western Powers, had the license to commit genocide in East Pakistan in 1970-71, where millions were killed and hundreds of thousands were raped; Israel is the son-in-law of the Western Powers and has the license to carry out preemptive air raids or incursions into neighboring countries, to carryout genocide in Gaza, to deny food, medicines and basic necessities to millions of Palestinians and to carry out acts of piracy on the high seas. But the President of Sudan is charged with genocide in Dafur for much less atrocities than Pakistan or Israel simply because he is not in favor of the West. Pakistan, the fountain head of terrorism, is permitted to possess and proliferate nuclear weapons but Iraq or Iran cannot be permitted to have nuclear weapons because they are anti Israel and not submissive to the West. The Third World is getting stronger and such double standards are no longer acceptable.

The second reason is that America and NATO have intervention plans but no exit plans. They do not know how to fight asymmetrical wars where there are no front lines and use of air power kills large number of civilians and increases the will of the adversary to continue the fight.

American operational policy in Afghanistan is flawed. It refuses to admit that Afghan Taliban was created, armed and trained by Pakistan Army and ISI to takeover Afghanistan and thus ensure strategic depth. They refuse to acknowledge that Pakistani military actions against Afghan Taliban are cosmetic and designed to buy time and get more and more financial and military aid which it can use against India. When the American went after Al Qaeda and Taliban following 9/11, it was not Pakistan but the Northern Alliance of the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Eastern Turks and Hazaras who fought alongside the American and drove the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of the country. Pakistani Army officers were actually leading the Taliban forces against the Northern Alliance. When the Americans and NATO flee from Afghanistan in 2011, the elements of the Northern Alliance will be massacred by the Taliban. But the blood of its allies has never been on the conscience of the Americans or NATO. They have a long history of leaving their allies to their fate. They ditched the Khampas of Tibet in 1978 when they decided to build bridges with China. They ditched their allies in Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Cuba and Georgia because they could not face the consequences of continuing support. Afghan Taliban cannot be defeated unless its bases in Pakistan are totally destroyed and Pakistan stops giving them money, weapons and shelter. And Pakistan is never going to destroy their creation, the Taliban, not for a trillion dollars. Even today, it is common knowledge that Osama and Mullah Omar live in safe houses organized by the ISI in Pakistan.

There are only three strategies for winning in the war in Afghanistan. First is to befriend Iran and shift the logistics bases and routes into Afghanistan from Pakistan to Iran and then destroy the Taliban bases in Pakistan by air and ground operations. Get the Central Asian countries, India and Iran to provide troops to fight the Taliban. The Central Asian countries have their kinsmen in the Northern Alliance and would not like to see their clansmen being slaughtered. Iranians are Shias and Taliban are Sunnis. The two can never be allies. India has close ties with Iran and the Northern Alliance and interests in Afghanistan and can be counted on the help.

The second strategy could be to create an independent Baluchistan and maintain the Forces in Afghanistan from Baluchistan. The Taliban bases in Pakistan have to be destroyed. Central Asian Countries and India can be requested to contribute troops.

The third strategy could be to co-opt the Russians and maintain the Forces in Afghanistan through Central Asia. Russia, the Central Asian countries and India could be requested to provide troops. All of them have legitimate interests in Afghanistan and will cooperate if they are given a fair deal.

If America and NATO are going to flee from Afghanistan without a solution in place, they might as well divide the country into Pashto and non Pashto areas and give the Northern Alliance the military hardware and time to organize their defenses. Then the blood of their allies will not be on their hands.

WHEN PAKISTAN IS IN NO HURRY FOR A DIALOGUE, WHY ARE WE?

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

WHEN PAKISTAN IS IN NO HURRY FOR A DIALOGUE,

WHY ARE WE?

By

Col Bhaskar Sarkar VSM Retd

Website: www. Bhaskarsarkar.com

The Indian Foreign Minister, Mr. S M Krishna had gone to Pakistan to have a dialogue with his counterpart Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi on 16th July 2010. In a press conference on 16th July, Mr. Qureshi said “India’s selective focus on terror is unworkable. If we focus on one issue, it will be difficult for Pakistan to move forward. It is not possible to de-link Kashmir from the talks. We are in no hurry. When they (India) are ready to discuss all issues and show flexibility, we can meet again.”

We may not like Mr. Qureshi’s words or tenor. But one should grant him credit for being frank and fearless. He has said as clearly as any diplomat can that the Pakistani Government cannot and will not reign in terrorism against India and ISI and Pakistani Army will continue to support them. If India is still willing to talk, it is welcome.

One must also admire Pakistans guts. It is not afraid of India. Let us some statistics:

Country

GDP

(bn $)

Forex Res

(bn $)

Def Budget

(bn $)

Tanks

Nos

Combat Air craft

Total Army (m)

Nukes

India

1209

265

30

5000

780

1.2

70-100

Pakistan

167

12

5.2

2450

390

8

30-40

Most figures are of 2008 and minor changes are possible.

Pakistan has been exporting terror to India since around 1990. We have never retaliated. In the last one month, Pakistani Army and Rangers have violated ceasefire at least four times. We have done nothing but fire back. Waves of infiltrators are being sent into Kashmir and we have lost one colonel, couple of majors and a dozen jawans. The government is unconcerned. Money is being paid to separatists in Kashmir to create law and order problems. There is no retaliation.

I feel ashamed at the timidity of our political leadership. Small countries like Iran, North Korea, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Venezuela, Hezbolla and even Hamas can defy American dictates. But our leaders, leaders of a country of over one billion people which has the fourth largest armed forces in the world and the fifth largest economy, seem to shiver at the thought of invoking American displeasure. Pakistan can say that there can be no permanent peace with India unless Kashmir is granted independence but India cannot say that there will not be any bilateral relations between India and Pakistan unless Pakistan stops its soil from being used for terrorists attacks on India. Nehru did everything possible to appease the Chinese except handing over Dalai Lama and Arunachal to China. Narsimha Rao drastically reduced defense budget and froze modernization programs of the defense forces on American prompting through the IMF. Vajpayee should some guts by going nuclear but thereafter developed cold feet. If Vajpayee had the courage of Lal Bahadur Shastri, he would have ordered the Indian Army not only to recapture all heights captured by Pakistanis at Kargil including Pt.3535 but also Skardu, the base through which all the military actions in the sector take place. It would have helped the souls of the soldiers who defended Skardu and were lined up and shot after surrendering when their ammunition ran out and their wives and daughters who were raped, rest in peace. If he had an iota of feeling for the Indian jawans, he would have filed war crimes charges against Pakistan for the brutal torture, dismembering and killing of Lieutanat Kalia and the five jawans who were captured by the enemy on the first day of the Kargil war. His OP PARAKRAM (meaning valour), when the Indian Army sat on the Pakistani border but could not muster courage to cross it, was a cruel joke.

India has produced courageous leaders. When Pakistan sent infiltrators into Kashmir in April 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri ordered the Indian Army to attack the bases from where they had come. When Pakistan was carrying out genocide in East Pakistan, Prime Minister Indiara Gandhi defied the American and ordered the Indian Army into East Pakistan and created Bangladesh. She had no hesitation in ordering the Indian Army to vigorously retaliate against Chinese incursions into Sikkim in December 1965 and September 1967. Rajeev Gandhi had no hesitation in intervening in Sri Lanka when Sri Lankan Tamils were being starved by the Sri Lankan Government. He also ordered the Indian Army to evict Chinese who had intruded into Sumdorong Chu Valley in Arunachal in 1986.

I am ashamed to hear our Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh (a Sikh and follower of Guru Govind Singh) say that “war is not an option”. War is very much an option of state policy. It has been so for centuries and will continue to be so. India must always be ready for it. It is the duty of our political leaders to defend our country and our economic sovereignty and interest, to uphold the constitution and rule of law. If they are incapable of doing so, let them resign. I pine for a strong leader who is a nationalist like Subhash Chandra Bose (Netaji), Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mrs Indira Gandhi or President Rajapakshe of Srilanka who can ignore external and internal pressures from vested interests and do what is best for the country.

If Pakistan is not going to reign in terrorists and says it is in no hurry to resume the dialogue, why should India be in a hurry. The only reason could be that our honourable Prime Minister cannot refuse his western friends for the fear of loosing a Noble Peace Prize.

A NEW SOLUTION TO THE KASHMIR PROBLEM

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

A NEW SOLUTION TO THE

KASHMIR PROBLEM

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

What has the Indian government done for the people of Kashmir? I will try to recapitulate what it has done. Please forgive me if miss out anything and point it out.

  • Fought a war in 1947-48 to save the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani Army and its tribal militia. It was a war in which thousands of Indian soldiers died. The war was inconclusive. The princely state was divided along the Line of Control (LOC) into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Promulgated Article 370 to give a special status and autonomy to Kashmir. The Indian laws do not apply in Kashmir. The Chief Minister of the state is called “Prime Minister”. Why was this done? Apart for the reason that our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was a Kashmiri Pandit himself, and decided to give his native state a special status, I am not aware of any.
  • Passed a resolution in the Parliament declaring Jammu and Kashmir to be an integral part of India.
  • Deployed over 100,000 soldiers of the Indian Army and another over 100,000 paramilitary forces to protect its borders and maintain law and order. At least 300 security personnel die in Kashmir every year.
  • Fought three wars, in 1965, 1971 and 1994 to prevent Pakistan from annexing Kashmir by force and suffered over 5000 casualties.
  • Spent over Rs 100,000 crores of Indian taxpayer’s money in developing the infrastructure of the area, far more per capita than what the Central Government has spent on any other state.

What did India get in return?

  • A large segment of the population living in the Kashmir valley demands the right to self determination which means parting of ways with India.
  • The people of Kashmir valley rewarded the Kashmiri Pandits for Nehru’s favour by throwing them out of their ancestral homes in the Kashmir valley. These refugees still languish in camps in Jammu.
  • Create law and order problems in the Kashmir valley almost every day. Even the Chief Minister blames the Indian Government for the violence when maintaining law and order is a state subject.
  • Many Kashmiri’s provide logistic supports and recruits to Kashmiri militants and their Pakistani counterparts.

Demographically and geographically, the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir can be divided into three parts.

  • Kashmir Valley. This area, north of the Pir Panjal range of mountains and West of the Zanskar Mountains (Zojila Pass) and the valley of the Jhelum River has almost 100 % Muslim population. Some of the population is anti India. Almost 90 % of violent incidents occur here.
  • Jammu Sector. This part of Jammu and Kashmir has a substantial Hindu and Sikh population. This part is peaceful and would happily become a state of India.
  • The Ladakh Sector. This part has a substantial Buddhist population and is totally pro-India

The Solution

India should declare that it will hold a UN supervised plebiscite and grant full independence to the Kashmir Valley (defense and foreign affairs included) on 1st January 2016 if the majority of the people of the valley vote for it. However, no plebiscite will be held in the Jammu and Ladakh Regions and these areas will be amalgamated into India without any special status as states or Union Territories. No Muslims will be allowed to migrate from the Kashmir Valley to Jammu or Ladakh unless they have property there. In any case they will not be granted refugee status and will not be entitled to financial assistance. However, Muslims of Jammu and Ladakh region will be allowed to migrate to the Valley.

The Plebiscite should be held in November 2010. If the people of the Kashmir Valley opt for independence, the next five years should be used to plan a smooth transition. Some steps will be:

  • Redrawing of boundaries between Republic of Kashmir and Jammu and Ladakh regions so that the new border along the Pir Panjal Range and Zanskar Range is defensible against Pakistani attack. The Amarnath Shrine and Poonch should to be a part of India.
  • Redeployment of Indian Army and BSF from Uri and Dras Sectors and the Valley to new locations along the new border and inside India. For this new permanent defenses and accommodation for the Army and BSF will have to be constructed on priority.
  • Develop a new road and rail system to improve communication to cater for defense requirements and lateral communications between Jammu, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

Conclusion

Many of the Muslim population of the Kashmir valley are anti Indian and have little gratitude for the Indian lives that have been sacrificed to protect them and the Indian money that has been spent to make their lives more livable. Though mostly Shia or Sufi Muslims and well aware of the persecution and discrimination against their kind of Muslims in Pakistan, they still look upon Pakistan as their saviors. So if the majority of the people of the valley want independence, let them have it. A divorce is better than a painful and unworkable marriage. It must also be made clear that India would not intervene if Pakistan attacks The Republic of Kashmir nor allow refugees to flee into India.